David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
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Texas 2003
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Sequoia National Park 2004
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09/22  Plan B, Part 2
09/23  Canaveral National Seashore -- Freaky People
09/24  Seminole State Forest
09/25  Swimming in Pepsi
09/26  Arachnids
09/27  The End Of The Trail
09/28  Go West Young Man
09/29  Mountains in Arkansas? Who knew?
09/30  Kansas ain't so flat
10/01  Two Kinds of Flat
10/02  Points of Interest
10/03  No Place To Hide
10/04  Look! Grass!
10/05  Everyone repeat after me: Medo is not a jeep.
10/06  Without Incident
10/07  The Fever
10/08  Goodbye, Black Hills
10/09  Lunch with Bison
10/10  ''You're in Oregon Now.''
10/11  Sea to Shining Sea
10/12  My anemone's anemone is my friend.
10/13  Fast Times at Seven-Thousand Feet High
10/14  Redwoods and Grapes
10/15  Welcome to the Jungle
10/16  I live to move furniture.
10/17  Whole Lot of Critters
10/18  Deserts
10/19  ''Please state your nationality''
10/20  Essence of Guano
10/21  Cannonball
10/22  All Done
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Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
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Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
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Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Mountains in Arkansas? Who knew?

2005-09-29

Ozark National Forest (or pretty darn near) just off Route 23 (35.651 N, 93.814 W)As I'm laying here in my car typing this update, I AM suddenly struck by the fact that for the first time in over a month I'm not spending the evening dripping with sweat. Cool.

After waking up this morning and driving through a very touristy Hot Springs I stopped for breakfast at a camp/rest area on Route 7 just inside Ouachita National Forest. There I met Donald.

Donald has an interesting career. He's a drifter with hair and beard way down past the collar and consumes a gallon and a half of beer daily. He pays for this extravagant lifestyle by collecting minerals, jewels, gold, whatever from various outdoor locations around the country and then selling them in bars and such for a few bucks. If nothing else, this guy knows minerals. I pulled out an atlas and there wasn't hardly a location where he couldn't tell me what kinds of gems could be dug up there and what kinds of gems he himself had found there. I guess he could have been pulling my leg, but he named more types of jewels in our brief conversation than I'm likely to ever hear about again. He also had me searching for locations on the map and was pointing out roads that were and weren't shown. I gave him my mosquito head net and a ride to the nearest store and back, and he gave me a handful of crystals that he had recently dug up from the neighboring mountain--quite illegally I might add, which means I'm now transporting contraband.

Next I drove up to Petit Jean State Park to enjoy some real hiking: Temperature in the seventies, no bugs, rocky well established trails, elevation changes, beautiful scenery, waterfalls. I enjoyed seven miles of trails that mostly traced out rock formations and small canyons created by the many creeks.

There were also two troops of school kids hiking the trails. One little boy was carrying a walking stick. When he sat down to eat lunch I asked him if his stick could hold his weight (knowing full well that it couldn't). He assured me that it could. I leaned real hard on my own stick and told him that if a stick can't support your weight than it isn't worth carrying, because it will break when you need it and then it will be all over. As I walked down the trail I glanced back to see the boy leaning on the stick the way I did. The stick promptly broke. He stared at it for a second and then tossed it away. I don't know why, but this little episode tickled me to no end.

I also met two brothers from Dallas. They had already planned the vacation they were on, but because of Hurricane Rita and their home address indicating that they are "evacuees," they were getting a lot of free services. One of the brothers was handing out Christian tracts and the other was smoking cigarettes and wondering if the park restaurant served beer. I suspect those two have some interesting conversations.

In Florida, the only people I met on the trails were hunters and officials, neither of which ever seemed too pleased to see me. I'm liking this new atmosphere.

The Ozarks are nice. It's just a really pretty place, reminiscent of some East Coast forest land with a big difference being that there are mountain ridges here that flow East-West instead of the normal North-South. In my limited experiences reading fishing and hunting magazines, it seemed like the author of any given article was always born on or near the Ozarks. Because this seemed to be significant, I thought I should check this area out.

I drove West to Mount Magazine State Park where I walked up to the heighty elevation of 2753 feet. Granted, I start walking at 2500 feet, so it wasn't much of an accomplishment. But can any of you reading this boast of standing at the highest point in Arkansas? I didn't think so.











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