Monday, March 28, 2011

Mount Magazine, Arkansas Highpoing

Possum pie, dead batteries, and first bear of the season were all contenders for the title of todays post.  We have had a busy and varied day.

It started out in the Walmart parking lot.  I wanted to get one of those sunrise over Walmart pictures, but the cloud cover was just too thick for the sun to shine through.

As is my custom, I got up early, fed the cat, made myself a cup of coffee and sat down on the sofa for my Bible reading.  When Gene got up, I was still sitting there, with the cat in my lap, and the flashlight in my hand.  Gene commented that I could turn on a light, if I wanted to, instead of using a flashlight.  I explained that my intent was to save the house battery to run the furnace blower.  That was my primary concern since it was only about 40 degrees outside.  With that comment, he went over to check the battery level.  That was when he discovered the battery charge indicator showed the battery was dead.

Now, that was a surprise.  We had only run the furnace for two cycles Sunday evening and two cycles this morning.  Being snuggled under a down comforter when we went to bed, we turned the furnace off overnight.  We’ve certainly used much more battery power in times past than we did last night. We both ran through everything we could think of to determine what might have happened.  The battery is relatively new, so it shouldn’t have failed, we don’t think.  Gene is very diligent about checking the water level and this morning when he checked, the water was fine.  We have a couple theories we’re going to check next time we’re off the grid.  Gene started the motor home to quickly recharge the house battery and now, everything is fine.  It sure did start the day off with a brief moment of panic.

With that issue on the back burner for the time being, we pulled out of Walmart with a short 70 mile drive for today.  That 70 miles, however, took forever.  We were headed to Mount Magazine State Park, just below the summit of Mount Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas, and there’s no easy way to get there.  The roads were narrow and curvy and it wouldn’t surprise me if our average speed for the entire trip wasn’t but about 35.  Onward and upward; slow but sure we finally got here.  This is the first state park we’ve stayed in in over 5 years and it’s wonderful.

The campground only has 18 sites, all paved, and all with full hookups.  Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, charcoal grill and tent pad.  The price--$25 per night plus tax and if we’d been 62 years old there would have been a 20 percent discount even though we’re not Arkansas residents. There is only one other occupant here with us tonight.

After we got checked in and set up in our site, we dashed off to climb the mountain.  Perhaps that’s a little over-stated.  We had less than a half mile hike to the summit with about a 150 foot gain.  Still, it was fun to be on the trail.  At the top we did the photo thing and signed the summit register and made our descent by continuing on around the loop to where we had started--at the campground.

When we checked in, the lady at the desk encouraged us to do two things--visit the new lodge and hike out to Sunrise Point to see the bear.  We really didn’t have much hope of seeing a bear, but since it involved a hike we went for it.  When we got to Sunrise Point, only about a quarter mile from the trailhead, the Assistant Park Superintendent and her husband were out there with binoculars.  If they hadn’t been there, we would never have seen the bear.  As the crow flies, she was maybe a half mile away across the ravine, stretched out on a rock catching a few rays.  From where we were standing, she was just a black dot.  I’m surprised the picture turned out as well as it did.  She’s the first bear this trip.  We expect to see them daily, once we get into Canada, especially the Yukon.

Signing the summit register

Our next stop was the lodge.  It was definitely worth a visit.  Mount Magazine State Park is the newest state park in Arkansas and everything is in mint condition.  The lodge is new, of course, and has a fantastic view of the valley below from its perch on the side of the mountain.  Gene offered to treat me to coffee and dessert in the restaurant.  How can a girl pass up an offer like that.  We selected the Possum Pie, but both agreed it was nothing nearly as special as the waitress made it sound.  That didn’t stop us from eating every bite, however.

A full day to say the least.  I think I said yesterday that we’d be in Fort Smith today.  I was wrong.  I forgot about Mount Magazine being on the way.  So I end today by saying again--Fort Smith tomorrow.

That’s all I have.  Thanks for tagging along.

No comments:

Post a Comment