Monday

It has been SO hot, the heat index is close to 110 every day. I feel like I have sweated enough to refill the lake, I have soaked through everything I have worn so far.

I woke up early and went out to catch a breeze. After moving to the shade, the AC has really cooled things off in the camper, but I can only take being cooped up so long!

Matt stumbled out of the camper around 7:30 and we got our cameras and went for a walk. I woke up Chandler to tell her where we were going, but I don't think she heard anything after, "You don't have to wake up yet." They snoozed on happily in the cool camper.

Matt and I walked around by the marina and up to the Meadowbrook Trail. We saw a mama turtle laying eggs! That was wonderful, I was itching to tell Ben. The day we arrived at the park, we went in the visitor center to stretch our legs and cool off after getting checked in. They had loads of aquariums, some were huge. Off to one side was an open touch table with turtles. Ben stood by waiting for his turn as a group of kids huddled around the turtles. He watched a while, horrified, while the kids poked the turtles faces and feet and turned them upside down in the water. One mother marveled that 'those turtles will let you do anything to them! They don't seem to mind a bit!' When one girl dropped her turtle a good 3 feet onto the stone floor, Ben lost it. He cried and cried. The irony here being that one of the biggest factors in not going to the Gulf was that I did not want him to be upset about all the turtles-over 500 dead now-from the oil spill. There we were, not 5 minutes into our stay at the park and there is an injured turtle in front of him. I held him a long time and when the group moved off for some park naturalist event (WHERE was the park naturalist when they were maiming the turtles!?) then he was able to spend some time looking at the turtles and watching them move and swim.

He woke up several times that night and asked about the turtle, I went down as soon as they opened the next morning to ask. They were concerned and immediately went to check the turtles, which made me feel a little better. I told Ben about it, but I knew he would be even happier to know there was a new batch of babies coming that would scuttle off to the lake and hopefully never be touched by anyone their whole long lives.

Matt and I walked on over to the lake that morning and took a few pictures. I was most impressed by the total lack of mosquitoes. I did not get bitten once the whole trip! By 9 a.m., I was soaked through my clothes again! I ain't used to sweating like that!

By 11-after stopping to buy and replace the ding dang headlight AGAIN- we had arrived at Mount Magazine State Park-another thing I liked was no state park fees, you just drive up and do what you want.
We had a picnic near the overlook, then drove to the overlook and...over looked. Then we parked and hiked to the highest point, which was uphill, of course. Once there, there was a sign and a big rock map of Arkansas and no view. Chan was scadalized, it went in the kid book of crappy hikes along with The Chimneys. hahaha! She signed the guest book and made mention of the lack of view.

It was HOT, nearly 1 on the top of a mountain in late June. I was looking forward to some rain to cool the world off.

We stopped at the visitor's center and picked up a couple goodies and looked at the exhibits and watched the birds. It started pouring, we headed out toward Paris to drive the 309 scenic drive. I saw my wipers and a lot of rain. I finally pulled over for it to pass through, I could not see squat, including the road.

We arrived in Paris, the rain was gone, the world was dry again like it never happened. FREAKY. We had ice cream and Matt bought a picklesickle, which turned out to be frozen pickle juice in a little cup. It was pretty good, especially with the creamy sweet of the ice cream and the tangy salt of the pickle.

We had dinner in the camper and we all had showers. There was a very brief sunset, I ran ahead to get a shot across the lake of the firey orange and red glow. I never got it because scampering on the rocks was a litter of baby mink! They were SOOOOOO cute. OMG, I was standing there WITH a camera IN my hand and all I could do was gawp. Well, and it was nearly dark and they were black and on dark grey rocks. I did not want to scare them with the flash! : )

We got to bed before 10, which was nice!

++++

Waiting for the new bulb

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The Petit Jean River Valley Overlook

At the visitor center:

At the other overlook:

Talis Scree

The clouds made the lighting insane.

On the high point trail:

Dancing on the highest point.

In Paris:

Back at Lake Dardenelle:

Above: Huckleberry chocolate bar
Below: InsectINside 'amber' candy

The power plant at sunset:

 

Back at the camper:

DAY FOUR