Monday, May 23, 2016

Magazine Mountain or Mount Magazine

(according to the USGS and Wikipedia, there is actually a difference)

Sunday was the final day of this year’s road trip before we strike off on Monday from the Ozarks for home.

We spent the day at Mount Magazine, which is part of the state’s excellent park system and is located within the Ozark National Park. We drove along the scenic route from Russellville to Havana and began with just a little hike, a walk really, along the one mile West Benefield Trail. From there we continued in the park going up to the high point, Cameron Bluff. The vista over the Petit Jean Valley was gorgeous. From there we went up to the lodge. It is large and modern, but overlooks Blue Mountain Lake. 

The drive up the mountain

Petit Jean Valley

The West Benefield Trailhead

Wildflowers along the trail
Near the end of the trail is the grave of one of the Benefield daughters, born and died sometime in the 1890s

Cameron Bluff

We are now resolved to come back for the 2017 Arkansas Pen Show and split a week here and at the Ozark Folk Center.

From Mount Magazine we returned to Russellville, and on Monday will go from there to Wichita, Kansas.

One final thought on Arkansas and maybe the south in general. People and places often meet your expectations. That was more true for this trip than the previous two. I’ll leave questions of why that is for another entry.

As we began this final portion of this trip, we had no great expectations for Arkansas or the Ozarks. We knew it would be beautiful, that’s all. What surprised us were the people. Southerners are reputed to be warm and welcoming and for the most part that was our experience. But Arkansans seemed to go beyond that. Moreover, not only is the state, or that part of it that we saw, extremely beautiful, but it struck us as a place that, for lack of a better word, “works.” In a time of national dysfunction, Arkansas seems a well-ordered society that places value on education, infrastructure and fostering community. I’m sure that if we lived here it would not seem so idyllic, but we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and will return.

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