Hot Springs National Park and Ouchita National Forest – Arkansas 5/27/18

 

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

 

Driving through Arkansas with stops at Hollis CCC Camp and Hot Springs National Park

 

Not much hiking today, but some interesting sights for sure.

We headed out of Fayetteville, through the Ozarks and Ouchita National Forest on Scenic Byway 7.  We made a quick stop at Turner Bend, which is a whitewater rafting destination that we will keep in mind for the future.  There’s a little store there with all kinds of gear that reminded me of Neel’s Gap on the AT.

There were several overlooks along the road with pretty views.

Scenic Byway 7

My favorite stop of the day was at the remains of the Hollis CCC Camp.  Again, one of the New Deal program’s vestiges.

I love the idea of the CCC.  There’s a great section in Ken Burns’ National Parks documentary series that really gets into what the CCC was about and how it changed the lives of so many during The Depression.  I think we are actually in a great place to bring back something similar today.  With our infrastructure in dire need of repairs and updating and the coming job market shake up due to automation and the loss of retail, it makes perfect sense.  But I don’t run things up in this joint.  I digress.

We walked around the ruins (only 90 years old or so, but still) and read the many informative signs describing what once was.

Building foundations at Hollis CCC Camp
Fireplace from the Rec Hall

After a couple more stops at picnic areas we got to Hot Springs National Park.  It is really more of a town than a park, with most of the hot springs having been transformed into bathhouses in the early 20th century.  There is a small mountain that the hot springs flow out of that you can drive or hike up to the top of with a great view of the town.  We chose to drive up today.

Court and Finn
View of Hot Springs

I got the stamp for my National Park Passport at the Visitor Center and we felt a couple of the hot springs flowing directly out of the ground.  They are really really hot.  Not just a clever name.  There also is apparently a strong baseball history in Hot Springs, which I will have to research more later.  The dogs were a bit of a handful, with the town being full of people for Memorial Weekend, so I didn’t get many pics.

If you would have asked me when I thought I would get to Hot Springs National Park on my list of parks to visit, it would have been way down the list, but I’m glad we got to visit and it was pretty interesting.  No grand mountains or epic wildlife, but pretty nonetheless.

 

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