I awoke to frost on the car and tent. Also mist rising from the river.
Morning mist and a hint of sun on Roaring River.
As I walked along the river I noticed dozens of trout in the pools and rapids.
Also a number of fishermen lining the banks. I thought this strange, as you don't usually see trout so obvious in the water. I learned a little later that there is a hatchery
here that stocks the fish. More about this further on.
Early afternoon I took a hike along one of the trails in the park.
The area here is still limestone based. This dark entranceway
was about 3 feet high. A lot of caves in the region here.
More limestone above a dry creek bed.
Limestone blocks dotting the dry creek bed.
A big banner hanging on a CCC built lodge in the park.
Needs no comment.
Trout in the hatchery.
This hatchery worker told me they stock from 300 to 3,000
trout every evening in the river below the hatchery. It depends on how many
tags are purchased each day. They do this daily from March 1 through
October. The average trout they put into the river is 12 to
12 1/2 inches long and a year and a half old.
This explains all of the trout that were visible in the river this morning.
Also all the fishermen.
When younger I used to trout fish. I don't think I would have dreamed of
fishing in a place like this. We always tried to find out of the way places
that maybe even held wild trout, not just stocked ones. Fishing for trout that
were just released the night before seems a little too "manufactured" to me.
A Question Mark butterfly or a an Eastern Comma.
I sent the picture to Chapin and he helped to identify.
He said we'd have to see the underside of the wings
to tell for sure.
A good day hanging in place, getting out into the Ozarks on foot a little.
As I fixed my shrimp and veggies supper a Great Blue Heron flew over
the woods across the river, "gawking" a few times before disappearing.
Later the waning moon shown bright between the hills toward the east.
It will be a cold night once again.
It was cold, with frost once again on the tent and car. The morning sky was cloudy
so the tent didn't dry off very much before I had to pack up.
Another road day, heading south into Arkansas.
Avoca Arkansas. Our mailing address at the house is Avoca,
though we live in the town of Wheeler. Our Avoca was first
settled in the 1790s but didn't become a town till 1843.
As I drove south toward Fort Smith, AR I traversed the Boston
Mountains. They reminded me very much of the Berkshires in
western Massachusetts. I wondered if they were named because
of this connection. Looking this up online, I found this reference:
"The name of the mountains is perhaps a corruption of a French phrase
for “rough road,” though other sources have noted that “a Boston” was
slang in the American West for any difficult task."
So, maybe not, but they still reminded me of the Berkshires. Densely forested and not overly high or steep.
In Fort Smith I took a walk in Fort Smith National Historic Site.
Great Blue Heron by the Arkansas River.
Riverwalk in Fort Smith. Arkansas river.
Fort Smith housed many of the American Natives who were
marched westward after being torn from their homelands.
Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee and Seminole. Another
of the sad chapters of American history.
A judge who presided over this district in the late
1800s. He presided over 160 hangings, though he said,
"I do not desire to hang you men. It is the law." I wish
the quote shown above was what really could happen
in the real world.
Oklahoma is just across the river.
Miss Laura's, from the first decade of the 1900s, operated as a bordello
until around 1948. Interesting history.
The building is now used as the Visitor's Center for Fort Smith.
A photo of "Big Bertha" who bought the house and business
from Laura after about 10 years and then ran it for a few decades.
A newer stained glass window based on an original
artwork that hung in the house.
I very much enjoyed the short stay in Fort Smith, AR. Would certainly put it on my list of places to return to if out this way again.
So I drove across the bridge spanning the Arkansas River and on into Oklahoma.
Remnant building advertisement in Okemah, OK. I stopped here intentionally to visit Woody Guthrie's home town. I had passed through here a number of years ago when doing my US 62 journey.
The next photos are all by the little memorial park right in the center of Okemah.
Another meaningful historic stop on this amazing tour.
A nice reading at Emeritus at Statesman Retirement Living in Fort Smith. A good group of about a dozen folks who asked questions and were very attentive. I had a hard time leaving there because people would come up to talk and buy books, even those who didn't attend the reading! They have a writers group that meets monthly, four or so people, and there was a lot of interest in poetry expressed.
Afterwards I headed over to Bertha and Guy's house for the evening. I've stayed with them a couple of times previously. Bertha is a professor at OKCC and has had me present at the college before. I haven't seen them for six years so it was good to catch up on things. A pleasant evening of food and conversation.