2017 Aug 19 – Branson, MO to Hot Springs, AR

We left Branson at 10 am and headed south into Arkansas.  Branson is less than 45 miles from the border. Most of our trip was spent driving Scenic 7 Highway that goes through three Ozark Forest Parks  so we pretty much drove through trees on both sides of the road.  Since they are almost all deciduous trees this area would be spectacular in the fall. I liked this stone stacked building.  Couldn’t get a good photo as we were driving by but it was pretty neat.

We stopped to find a few caches.  One was at this historical marker. Another was at the picnic area of Buffalo National River, the first National River in the US. There was an Earth Cache at an old quarry and a lovely view on the other side of the road. Another cache was hidden in the wildflower garden at the Hilary Jones Wildlife Museum. After we found the cache then went inside to see all the taxidermy of local animals.  We see a lot of road killed armadillos and groundhogs.  We saw a live groundhog at a rest stop the other day.  I would like to see a live armadillo.

The viewpoint overlooking the Grand Canyon of Arkansas was a nice stop.  This is nothing like a canyon such as I am used to; it is much more reminiscent of a forested valley.

The one thing I had marked down to go see on our trip today was the Natural Bridge at Alum Cove.  We drove 5 miles off the road to the entrance and then had to walk down a very rugged, rocky trail to the bridge.  Unfortunately when you get to the bridge you are on top of it and there is no way to see it unless you walk a long circutuous route further down into the valley.  And even then I am not sure you could see the arch as the forest has overgrown the whole area.
 This is all we could see.  The actual arch is under where we are standing and all we could see was a hint of it if we looked down into the crevass.

Around here if it says, “Stay on the Path” – or even if it doesn’t – stay on the path.  Poison Ivy lined both sides of the trail for most of it’s distance. We pulled into the site of a former CCC camp from Roosevelt’s depression area make-work projects.  The camp had been dismantle years ago but several of the building cornerstones, the fireplace in the rec center and some of the sidewalks remain.  


                          I like the face in the fireplace.

We drove into Hot Springs, Arkansas at 6 o’clock.  Since school started this week most of the tourists have gone but there were still lots of people on the streets. There were some lovely bath house buildings lining the main street but I couldn’t get photos of them due to cars and trees.  Apparently the water is 143 degrees when it comes out of the ground here.  Obviously, it would need to be cooled before you could get in it.  This is a very popular holiday spot.

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