Sometimes the best trips are unplanned.
Cabin fever happens in the South too, just not in winter. For this northerner, a summer of 100+ degree temperatures drove me inside to the relative safety of air conditioning for weeks. I even got on a plane to Canada for a short visit where 40C on landing was still a relief!
Finally, in early September, a cold front rolled through and the RV was pulled out of storage. Escape was the only destination.
After spending so much of the year heading West, we decided it was time to head East. After a quick pit stop in the McAlester area for some Italian food from Lovera’s Market, we took the scenic route up toward the Arkansas border. Originally not intending to go further, I dropped the idea of visiting the Ozarks and one place in particular – Mount Magazine State Park. I had seen the photos of the big lodge on the side of a cliff and thought, what’s another hour and half?
Mount Magazine seemed a strange name and I thought I’d look up it’s source (from Wikipedia):
The mountain gets its name from when French explorers were traveling through the area and a landslide occurred on the mountain. The noise from the landslide was so great that one explorer described it as the sound of an ammunition magazine exploding. The explorers then named the mountain “Magazine”.
We arrived a few hours before sunset and discovered that on the weekend, reservations for the campground are highly recommended. My husband was tired of driving and I suggested he park by the Lodge so I could get some photos before we headed down the mountain. The Lodge itself is stunning. Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking a long valley, it is only a couple hundred feet below the highest point in the state. The sun was lowering and I wandered inside to check to see if there was any way we might be able to stay at the campground. It happened that the Park Ranger had just returned from touring it and when I told him we were unable to secure a site, he frowned. He said it wasn’t full and told me to wait. When he returned, we had a site for the night. This is what I call five star service.
By the time we set up, there was just time to get to Cameron Bluffs for the sunset. The view was breathtaking. Rich greens and oranges were slowly traded in for purples and magentas. We took our chairs to the overlook for an orchestra seat to one of the most spectacular sunset views I have ever witnessed. Butterflies slipped in and out of the light and, as the valley descended into to darkness, a concert of coyotes echoed from below.
Plans are in the works for a bit of a facelift on the website. Until I can can convince myself to learn PHP, I have to use WP themes that I customize. Upgrading my theme means a design modification. Frankly there are days when the idea of returning to the simple HTML/CSS site is appealing, but in order to integrate the blog in the easiest, most non-technical way… I must pack away my dinosaur and pull out as much CSS as I can that won’t be overridden or tempt me to break the incomprehensible PHP. The fact that I used to do this makes me feel I should be able to figure it out for myself. Perhaps one day soon, I’ll wise up and hire a programmer. I can design it and do what I am good at – paint and write – and they can do what they love and make it all work.
But for now, expect a few hiccups from time to time in the next few weeks and maybe a few days of complete mess beginning Oct 1!
(photos: Mount Magazine State Park, Arkansas ©2012 MB Hendry)