I wanted to go to the peak Trail with Rick today but it was closed. We hiked up to the barricade then cut over to the winding Hot Springs Mountain road. We walked about a mile up then found access stairs (marked 1914) onto the Dead Chief Trail. We decided to hike back down to the city for a few shots of the Historic District. It was a Lovely day out, we were like a couple of tourists in our own town.
Nov 11 2009: I am not sure what possessed me to try to climb Hot Springs Mountain. I decided I would leave the streets of Hot Springs and climb part way up. Explaining to my fiance’ earlier this month “Rick it will be my goal to climb to the Mountain in the coming spring” but something said go part way… so I did.
The climb up the stairs and ramps to the promenade nearly did me in and I looked up at the tower and thought about turning around. However the Mountain called so I climbed up the Tufa Terrace Trail, then on to the Peak Trail. The entire time I was huffing, puffing and thinking Oh you old woman what were you thinking. I continued to the point where the Honeysuckle Tail branches off, bent over and threw up.
Feeling lighter I figured I would see if I could make it a little higher. So I decided to climb just a bit further, then one more bend and maybe another incline. Bent over huffing & puffing I looked up and in the distance saw the observation tower. I knew I would never forgive myself if I did not continue my climb to the top. This was pathetic and I was so happy I did not see anyone while I was gasping for air.
Still gasping and puffing I flung open the main doors to the tower like a survivor of a Alpine Plane crash looking for food and water. Once in the door I realized the Tower was going to cost $7 and I did not bring any plastic. I poured my purse out on the counter and had exactly the $7 in bills and change. The Ride to the top was glorious and I began to forget the struggle to get there.
The air was cool as I stepped out onto the platform and I was thrilled to have it all to myself. I could see all of Hots Springs, the Lakes and the Surrounding Mountain ridges. I called Rick and told him where I was and he could not believe I had climbed up to the tower.
As I road down in the elevator thinking how amazing my adventure had been… the the penny dropped. I still had to hike back down. I was wearing a pair of old Air NIKE Sneakers… great for the flat walking not so great for the ankles going down an uneven rock covered surface. I decided to take it very slow and stop to take photos along my journey back down. I was rewards with lovely photos of two different squirrels… a very enthusiastic reddish gray squirrel and ghost list gray squirrel whose presence I did not realized I had captured until I was reviewing images on my PC. This began my love affair with the mountain. Learn more about the Peak Trail and view additional Photos.
Love of nature is the essence of what is beautiful in mankind. Let your soul rejoice at even the smallest creature.
~ © Lee Hiller
A few months after my Fifty-second birthday I drove from Oregon to Arkansas and fell in Love with a National Park…My beloved fiance’ Rick London would say I fell in Love with him and drove 2300 miles from Oregon to Hot Springs Arkansas to be with him… He did after all spin tales of Hot Springs and the beauty of living in a National Park during our many months of courting. Enticing me with the Hot Springs history of bathhouses, gangsters and her beautiful Mountains.
As someone who was a just a basic flat sidewalk walker I never imagined I would be hiking 4 miles most everyday on the many park trails. Hot Springs National Park has carved my mind, spirit and body into a nature loving “Mountain Woman”. I hope you will enjoy my trail information, photos and adventures as I explore the beauty of Hot Springs National Park, the Gulpha Gorge and the Ouachita Mountains.
It is with great Love that I dedicate this blog to my Love/Finace’ Rick who has never once complained about my love affair with Hot Springs National Park.
I never intended to blog about hiking in Hot Springs National Park and I am working catching up on the many entries including this one that I should have made at the time the events occurred. First time up I though OMG what was I thinking. It’s been just over two months and I cannot stay away from the trails. I decided it would be fun to share trail and photo experiences for those planning to come here for the first time or those hoping to relive a past visit.