Nature Perfect Arkansas

Arkansas is a southern U.S state bordering the Mississippi River. It’s known for its abundant parks and wilderness areas with terrain encompassing mountains, caves, rivers, and hot springs. Arkansas has been nicknamed as the Natural State and I didn’t doubt it. I visited the state and all I can say is indeed, it was a Nature Perfect Arkansas.


Arkansas, the Natural State

Upon entering Arkansas from Memphis, TN route, all  I can see was wide vast fields and changed to valley, forests and some mountains. I was searching the net before I left for Arkansas and I saw this amazing view in the web that really caught my attention so I made sure to add it in my itinerary. The good thing about it was it was just few minutes away from the capital of the state. It was located in North Little Rock and it was called the Old Mill.


The Old Mill


Looks like a fairy tale land


Just a lovely view


The Garden


Full bloom flowers


Iron Grist Mill


The Garden and the Stonebridge


Stone Bridge


Wild Duck


The Old Mill is located at T.R Pugh Memorial Park. It was dedicated on August 6th, 1933 and is a replica of the abandoned water-powered grist mill that would have been used by the Arkansas pioneers in the 1800s. Although the Old Mill never operated as a mill, the iron grist mill on the first floor of the building is authentic and dates to 1828. It served the Cagle family of the Pope County for three generations. The developer who was Justin Matthews intended for the Old Mill to appear as the ruins of the bygone era supplanted by the modern methods. The Old Mill appeared in the opening credits of the 1939 movie, Gone With The Wind. The Old Mill was indeed like a fairy tale land. It was picture perfect with all the flowers in full bloom. The weather was also perfect when I got there. It was surely the highlight of my trip to Arkansas. But I was not then with my Arkansas trip yet.

The next destination was in the capital of the state, Little Rock. Little Rock was not as big of a city. By the name itself, it was pretty decent but it is a good thing. Little Rock was not as a hustling and bustling location. I got to see the Arkansas State Capitol.


Arkansas State Capitol


Arkansas State Capitol with the US and State flags


The Capitol



Street of Little Rock

Arkansas State Capitol is the main house of the government of the state. It is neoclassical architectural style with mixed classical revival. It has been added to the U.S National Register of Historic Places and as a scale replica of the US capitol. The capitol has frequently been used as a filming location. The exterior of the capitol is made of limestone which was quarried from Batesville, Arkansas. The front entrance doors are made of bronze. The state capitol is one of the nicest buildings within Little Rock.

After Arkansas State Capitol, I headed to a famous high school since it was mentioned in some of the sites to visit in Arkansas. I added it in my itinerary because I was already in Little Rock. I traveled and visited the Little Rock Central High School.


Little Rock Central High School


Front Entrance


The Four Statues that represent Ambition, Personality, Opportunity, and Preparation


Trees around the Little Rock Central High School

The Little Rock Central High School was built in 1927. It was known before as Little Rock Senior High School and was designed in the Gothic revival style. It was then hailed as the most expensive, most beautiful, and the largest high school in the nation. It has been listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and named as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. I was there on a Sunday and spring break so, it wasn’t that busy and the whole school was like a deserted place which was perfect for picture taking.

I only toured around the capital of Arkansas and North Little Rock. I didn’t have time to go to the northwestern part of the state coz if I have ample time, I could have visited the hot springs up there. But my travel experience in the state was marvelous. I had fun sightseeing even there were just few locations. It was amazing and it still proved that the state is a Nature Perfect Arkansas.img_6140


Spring Has Sprung and Etc.

Spring is a season after winter and before summer. This season means rejuvenation, renewal or birth with most of the flowers, plants and animals on hibernation mode to become active again. Flowers bloom and animals back to hunting food in the wild, forest and even on streets. Upon seeing these and the sudden change of climate and increase of temperature, it is a good sign to be more active outdoors. Since this is a season where most people will say, spring has sprung, meaning spring is here and it is time for everyone to be more energetic and engaging to the outside world.

During winter, I was more of a homebody for most of the time and once I saw the trees having buds and the flowers about to bloom, I have decided then to come out and be more adventurous this time. When spring is mentioned, it always comes into my mind of a specific flower that blossoms during this season. It is widely popular and rare since there are only particular places in the world where it has this. It is very famous in Japan but is also indigenous in some Asian states such as Korea, China and India and they called it, Sakura in Nihongo or Cherry Blossoms.20160329_131349I really wanted to see this flowering tree blooms so, I have researched where I can find it here in the United States since I can’t just flew to Japan to see it. There were a lot of locations within the U.S where you can find them. The most popular cherry blossom destination is in Washington, D.C in Tidal Basin and they also celebrate it as National Cherry Blossom Festival. Second area would be in Northern Philadelphia. Yet both locations I can’t go to since it is more than 8 hours travel from my place. But, it didn’t stop me from doing more research. Then one day, a picture popped out when I typed in Ohio cherry blossom and it says the location is in the south part of the state. It is located specifically in a school campus in Athens, Ohio along the bike path with the view of the Hocking river. It will only take me an hour and half drive to get to Athens so, off I go. I got to Ohio University  at noon. It was a lil chilly but it didn’t bother me. The school campus was ginormous, they have their own golf course, stadium and lots of school buildings and apartments.

Golf Course

Golf Course

School Buildings

School Buildings

Bobcat Stadium

Bobcat Stadium

But I was not there to see the school. I was there to see ‘sakura‘. I walked the bike path for about 20 mins since I parked my car near the golf course. And finally, I saw these lovely trees.20160329_13080120160329_131047 20160329_131314 20160329_131329 20160329_131226After seeing it, my spring is complete.

While I was driving back home, I have thought of doing some side trips. I usually utilised the back roads passing thru McConnelsville. There is this one park in McConnelsville in State Route 78 that is considered a tourist attraction. They called it the Big Muskie’s Bucket. It is within Miner’s Memorial Park.

Miners Memorial Park Historical Marker

Miners Memorial Park Historical Marker

As what it says on the marker,

Miner’s Memorial Park
Agriculture dominated the economy of southestern Ohio’s Morgan County until the 1940s when harvests dwindled, the population declined, and land values dropped. Surface mining the area’s rich underground coal deposits replaced agriculture as the major industry and revitalised the declining local economy. As the nation’s demand for electricity grew over the next half-century, so did the demand for coal as fuel for nearby power generation plants. During mining’s heyday in the 1960s to the late 1980s, American Electric Power’s former Central Ohio Coal Company subsidiary employed nearly 1,000 people. Nearby communities — such as Cumberland, Caldwell and Chandlersville — thrived. As time passed, however, the robust coal industry was hit hard by environmental regulations that reduced the market for the area’s high sulfur coal. In turn, mine work forces shrank considerably and local businesses closed.

20160404_123607The centerpiece of Miners Memorial Park is the Big Muskie’s Bucket. The story behind it is ‘Big Muskie’ was once the world’s largest earth moving machine. It was built in 1969 and could move 39 million pounds of earth and rock every hour, revealing rich coals in southeastern Ohio. The Big Muskie could swing its boom for 600 feet and weighed 13,500 tons. In 1990s, when power demands and other factors convinced the owners to shut it down and was then salvaged for metal scraps by mid-1999. What remains today is a monstrous metal bucket. The bucket sits on a rise, overlooking the valley that it once mined.

Big Muskie

Big Muskie: Turning Coal to Power

What is left, the Big Muskie's Bucket

What is left, the Big Muskie’s Bucket

Big Muskie's Bucket

Big Muskie’s Bucket

Since we mentioned power, the next destination after I visited Big Muskie’s Bucket was just around my town, Caldwell . It is located in Highway 78 East of town at the junction of Hwy 564, you will find a small park on the southeast corner paralleling Hwy 78. It is named as the Thorla-McKee Well.

Thorla-McKee Well Historical Marker

Thorla-McKee Well Historical Marker

As what the marker says,

Salt was an important commodity to early settlers because of its use in daily living. In 814, Silas Thorla and Robert McKee dug a well in search of salt brine. They discovered salt and by accident, discovered oil. Oil’s value was unknown to them so they had to separate the oil from the salt water by soaking the oil up from the surface with blankets. The oil was wrung from the blankets, bottled as ‘Seneca Oil’ and sold as a ‘cure all’. The remaining brine was boiled down to extract the salt.

To expound the story, it was then said both Silas Thorla and Robert McKee noticed a deer was licking a spot on the ground and figured that it might lead to an underground pool of salt brine. They, then, drilled a well, lined with hollowed-out logs looking for salt. Salt was important in preserving meat during long winter months and also livestock needed salt. They did find salt brine but it was fouled with oil. They tried to separate the oil from the salt brine thru blankets wringing out the oil as nuisance since oil wasn’t of much use in 1810s. The oil was put into bottles and sold as a digestive elixir, Seneca Oil.

Thorla-McKee Well

Thorla-McKee Well

By the time that oil became really valuable in America, Thorla and McKee were long dead. This well by accident is what the local chamber of commerce calls the ‘first oil well in America’ nowadays.

The First Oil Well in America

The First Oil Well in America

Visitors can still visit this place in a small park in Caldwell with a wheel less caboose near the parking area and the historical marker. But unlike the chamber of commerce, it only ventures to call it the ‘Thorla-McKee Well’.

Ohio Historical Marker

Ohio Historical Marker

Wheel-Less Caboose

Wheel-Less Caboose

Articles Way Back Then

Articles Way Back Then

Indeed, spring is here. The sun is shining but since I am in Ohio, sometimes snow just falls from the sky which is not unusual. So far for my spring travels, I’ve got to see these places whether it snows, rains or the sun shines. As long as a traveler enjoys his travels, then, that is acceptable, may it be spring has sprung and etc.