Friday, October 20, 2017

Looking for Fall

We took a short trip up into the Ouachita mountains in Arkansas hoping for some beautiful fall color; unfortunately, the area has been enduring a drought and the color was drastically limited.  On the way up, we noticed how dry everything was, then we started to see all of the "Burn Ban" signs.  

We stayed at the Mt. Magazine Lodge which offered an amazing view, friendly staff, and excellent food.   We did a lot of walking on paved paths and hiked several of the mountain trails on offer.  Mornings and evenings were cold and windy, but during the days, the weather was that perfect fall crispness that we look forward to after our hot and humid Louisiana summers.

Mt. Magazine is the highest peak in Arkansas, and we hiked up Signal Hill to reach the highest point on the mountain.  It wasn't that much higher than the lodge, but the trail spiraled up (thankfully--the spiral kept the incline just steep enough to be challenging and that was plenty for me).   When I checked my Fitbit after an afternoon of hiking a couple of trails, I was surprised to see we had "climbed" 47 flights of stairs.

We met a young woman at the lodge whose goal is to climb the highest peak in each state.  I thought that was an intriguing goal, so when we got home I did a little research.  Here is a link to the highest elevation in each state--and boy, is there a lot of variation!  Mt. Deanli in Alaska is 20, 320 ft. high and Britton Hill in Florida is only 345 ft. high.  

You can see mountains in every direction from the lodge.

Shortly after sunrise, the valley is covered in fog and the lake in billowy clouds.

Another nice thing was getting away from the daily influx of bad news.  We watched the local news from Fayetteville at 5:00 AM, but turned off the national news.  We rarely checked our phones.  Change of scene, change of habit.   

The effort that goes into preserving the flora and fauna of the area is impressive, and even this late in the year, there were butterflies visiting the pollinator gardens even though most of the plants were long past their summer glory.  

I want to visit again in the spring or early summer to see the plants in bloom and the diverse population of butterflies the Mount Magazine State Park is known for.  


  1. This is an interesting post. I had to visit the site to see where the highest point in Indiana is. Both reviews said the view was pretty boring, which doesn't surprise me. We are having a very dull array of fall color. I have a Sugar Maple in my front yard that is usually blazing red in the fall. This year the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. That's not so surprising since we have had a dry summer. We had a few really rainy days, a lot of overcast days, but a low total rainfall. I hope that doesn't mean we'll get socked in this winter.
    xx, Carol

    1. I had to chuckle at the highest point in Indiana--Hoosier Hill. How appropriate! :)

  2. I found the same thing to be true in the SW Virginia mountains last week. There were some mild colors in the trees on the hills beside the interstate and the hills surrounding the lake at the state park near my home town. SW Va has had drought conditions, too. However, it did rain hard the day before I arrived, according to my sisters. Maybe the color is just later this year.

    1. Even some of the pines in Arkansas showed signs of drought with large brown patches. It is even harder in areas like the mountains in Arkansas and Virginia where there is so little soil atop those rocks.

  3. It sounds as though the change of scene was very welcome!


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