Tag Archive: Bull Shoals White River State Park


 

Cardinals, Red-Winged Blackbird, Grackles, Goldfinch, Sparrows, Northern Flicker, Bluebird, Teals, Grebes, Egrets, Herons, Osprey, Bald Eagles…  and more of course. Lots of deer, rabbits and squirrels. Lunker bass, catfish, crappie, bream and the popular rainbow and brown trout. The vivid red birds and blue birds stole my heart, while for the dogs it was the big fat squirrels!

Sun coming though a little, some rain, misty out.

 

Bull Shoals White River State Park

Not knowing any better I tooled into this state park expecting, if not empty like so many other RV Camps, it would have plenty of room so I had a bit of a dispute with the Park Host when she told me there were only 2 spaces available and both of those were shared spaces. She confused me by saying I could go look and anything without a reservation sign was free, turned out she didn’t mean that exactly as I returned breathless and eager with a list of 3 spaces.  Nope, she said only those 2 I circled are free. the others, well, the signs aren’t up that’s all. I was miffed by this confusion and decided I’d go see what other camping was around. Was this even the place I was informed about but as I sat in my RV with the excited dogs I changed my mind and took one of the shared spaces. Senior rate didn’t apply for out-of-state visitors on the weekend.  Loved my space during the rest of the day. I pulled way over to the side so the newcomers would have room without being on top of me. The Park was indeed full to capacity, the RV spots were stretched along the river. Mine was at the beginning with extra space for the beach access with sets of layered stairs, swing seats and canopied benches below.

The White River near my camp spot.

This Park was GORGEOUS. Even the sun came out to celebrate! It’s 732 acres and if you come to stay awhile there are daily activities and interpretative programs including butterfly walks, kayaking, guided nature hikes, eagle hikes, fly fishing classes, outdoor cooking classes, lots of walks and classes on birds, owls, woodpeckers, vultures, the sounds of the night, bears, river cruises, tree id and more. I’m not sure if you can bring dogs to any of these classes or events. Lots of campers had dogs.

 

 

 

 

Nope, no fish in this spot… try further down, lots of fish there! They give fishing lessons here, this guy needs someone to gift him one of those. Why? Other than time of day, it may not show from this picture since there is a small tributary but the water where he’s been standing all day is STILL WATER, very quiet and in the center of the river where a fish would be exposed and no food would be found when right down a bit from him is turbulence and oxygenated water, a bit muddy and near shore…. yum yum say the fishes, that’s where they are chowing down and hanging out on the calm edges. If the fish aren’t eating they will rest in the undercurrents near submerged or overhanging trees on the river bank, somewhere protected, not like sitting ducks just waiting to be gobbled by all the birds.  Maybe he’s just standing there all day with fishing gear and pole to be picturesque.

This camper needs camping lessons! The one smoking an entire soaking wet tree! He broke the tree by wedging it between the table and the bumper on the camper! It’d  been raining a long time and the wood is soaked but drenched in enough started fluid off it goes.  The smoke was so bad they eventually hid inside their camper with the doors and windows closed while leaving this thing to smoke! They also left their porch light on all night!!!  NO NO NO…   go back to camping school! I had to run both my heater and air conditioner trying for some breathable air, still woke with a bad headache and sore throat, such a shame. CAMPERS ….   Please, Please learn to build a smokeless fuel-efficient fire and turn those darn lights out so the rest of us can enjoy the sky.

Would have loved to stay at this park for a few days and do more of the trails. so many butterflies, birds, wildflowers and the river however the park was full, noisy and smoky. Turns out I don’t like crowded as an older adult. When the park is crammed full and sites are close together it’s especially important that campers follow best practices.

Campground Etiquette: How To Be A Good Camping Neighbor

It so smoky at my RV site so I sat by the river with the dogs on the swinging bench watching the moon.

Managed to lose one set of my RV keys. Did I throw them in the trash with a pooper bag? Never found them but had a nice chat with the Camp Host that had checked me in…  yeah, about dogs of course! She told me that this State Park was the most popular in the state and was full like this on most every weekend. For my RV’er friends I suggest you keep a few extra sets of all your camper’s keys, I also keep a hidden entry key in a secret location, no fun getting locked out of your house and vehicle.

 

Gaston’s White River Resort …  Buffet Breakfast!  They have their own airstrip if you’d like to fly in and are canine friendly 🙂 View, excellent. Food, fair.

Gaston’s White River Resort began 59 years ago when Al Gaston, Jim Gaston’s father, purchased 20 acres of White River frontage with six small cottages and six boats…the year was 1958. Present day, Jim’s grandson – Clint Gaston – will carry on the family legacy for many years to come. The resort now covers over 400 acres, and has 79 cottages ranging in size from two double beds to ten private bedrooms. The airstrip has grown from 1,800 feet to 3,200 feet. The six boats are now over 70, and with a state of the art dock to hold them all. The years have brought an award winning restaurant, private club, gift shop, tennis court, playground, game room, duck pond, three nature trails, swimming pool, conference lodge, and fly fishing school.

Another shot of the restaurant at Gaston’s.

Once past the river you come to the dam and Bull Shoals Lake. This area was mostly deserted as the tourist Season had not yet begun. Getting back into geocaching would be fun, seems it’s encouraged with a permit to place hides in the 52 State Parks.

 

Would have liked to have seen the Ozark Folk Center State Park dedicated re heritage of the Ozark people and the Buffalo National River. From what I see there are activities for everyone in the Ozarks, even Road Scholar programs, caving, cultural, art and history tours, music, learning native crafts, swimming, river running, snorkeling, mountain biking and cycling, climbing and hiking, educational programs. It’s all here.

The Dam. Saw just an edge of the large reservoir lake. Much of the city area was very quiet, not attracting out of season crowds like the State Park

Another park I would have wanted to see:  Chicot State Park in South Central Louisiana….  another time, another day.

Bull Shoals Dam

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I want to reflect on the “other side” of Arkansas I traversed, route 30 from Texarkana to Little Rock and then to Memphis. I mentioned not having the best impression of Hot Springs but did I say how impressive the birds were? One thing that bothered me a lot was the practice of burning trees alongside the highway. Seemed they were chopping them down to clean the shoulder, maybe intending to widen the highway or for a fire break? The burning was like being trapped in a mini elongated wildfire that only occurred next to the stream of trucks and cars. Not particularly in line with the theme, Natural State. (My LTV does not have air filters so whatever’s outside is what I breathe.) And that leads to my point, Arkansas seemed to be a land in conflict with itself. Changing certainly. Tons of trucks on dusty reddish roads, blue trucks, yellow trucks, red ones, silver ones and white ones and they all roll right along.  I noticed how few of them had flaps. Not sure what they are called, the flaps that hang between the front and rear tires and prevent occupants of cars who collide under a truck from certain death.  There were so many trucks that I had to laugh at the no parking on shoulder signs when they were filled with resting trucks. Where else could they go when many rest stops were closed and/or had inadequate space for all those big loads? I hate closed rest stops! I need them, my dogs need them … open them up! Lots of those truckers had dogs, I’d see these adorable bits of fluff pop out of the biggest trucks.  I saw billboards saying, Arkansas is Breast Feeding Friendly, and then one about Colon Cancer. In opposition to the smoke and the trucks were naked trees bursting in pink, white and light lavender blossoms.

Traveling north on smaller roads brought me into gentle curvy mountains, except they don’t say curve or windy they say “crooked” so I started saying that too, lots of crooked roads doing dastardly deeds! I began to see cows and horses, lovely rolling land with farmhouses, ponds, lakes, big two-story brick homes, huge churches. The ever-present wind strengthened under the patchy sky, all like a painting one could drive through.It would not be wrong to expect a mythical creature to be waiting around the next curve. Saw signs for produce markets and flea shops, all closed. Saw a chiropractor and massage shop on one side of the street and cows on the other side of the street. In the small town of Ravenden along the Spring River Hwy 63, stands a 12 foot RAVEN with red eyes. Apparently is says on the back: “The RAVEN was the first bird sent from the ark in search of land,” and “The RAVEN has the reputation for DIVINE or MAGICAL powers.”

I passed a campground next to a river that was devoid of campers, there were a few boaters using the launch, on my way to a State Park where I wanted to camp.  The State Park was CLOSED when I arrived, apparently they had just finished a special “hunting” season  and were not ready to open for the public.

Disappointed both in the “other” interest in birds, mine being looking at them alive and not knowing where to go I headed to Mountain Home. I stuck gold at the Info Station meeting another single mature woman who told me THIS WAS THE BEST PLACE FOR A SINGLE WOMAN TO LIVE …   HANDS DOWN, Yeah, I’m capping because she practically shouted it to me once we got beyond the being complete strangers thing. Most people warmed up once they realized I actually wanted to see the beauty of their area and not just the tourist traps. I never explored the town of Mountain Home as I thought I would although the little I saw of it on the main drag was one of those typical shopping mall cities with lots of traffic.  Do people really shop at all these ditto stores (repeats in every big town.) There was some variety like the Waffle House which I never did try even though I like waffles, Popeyes or Mapco and Citco gas, plenty of others but mostly the same old, same old, though I admit I stopped a few Whole Foods Markets. Speaking of which I was appalled that at the Memphis Whole Foods almost all the produce was from CA or WA, the only local produce were strawberries and pecans and Whole Foods didn’t have these available. I did try a little natural food store that was not a chain, not sure, don’t remember where and found some local apples. Come later in April, May, June it would be different.

The Info lady instructed me to head to Bull Shoals White River State Park to camp only she did not give me the name of the camping area or even that it was a State Park, nor did she warn me that it would be full (ALMOST). I wound my way up and around following the little map she provided. Because what she led me to so astounded me and because it’s time to quit writing for the night I will post it on the next blog.

 

 

The wind lessened allowing a nice drive through Arkansas.  The Info guide had told me I’d be passing though a cross-section of countryside and towns, some prosperous, some not and then I would reach the Ozarks. I had a fantasy of heading north through Missouri until reaching the turn for Denver / Boulder and crossing the Rockies over I-70.  Like I said a fantasy, comes from living in Coastal CA too long, heck my old camper-van can double as nice sporty ski car or a trusty SUV, right? It was late March, barely April, that’s winter in the mountains; nevertheless heading north afforded adventure. It was a dark day, beautiful, green, flowery, lush with tall trees, rivers and lakes, lots more butterflies, brightly colored birds and pockets of sunshine.

A town on the way

Another town,. . . needs some paint.

This was in Hardy towards the end of the downtown district. Lots of shops, restaurants, historical areas and more…  sorry didn’t take many photos. Took a nice walk with the dogs.

Yep.

Hardy Arkansas   Started as railroad construction camp in 1884  . . . The little town of Hardy, AR boasts three museums, summer musical shows, bed and breakfast inns and several festivals each year. Cherokee Village, the state’s first resort/retirement settlement, is just southwest of town, offering lake activities and two championship golf courses.

I didn’t take enough pictures to show the charm of this little town and surrounding areas. I could image it being very crowded and lively later in the season.

From their website: Art & Artisans, BINGO, Canoeing, Cultural Heritage, Fishing, Floating, Hunting, Wildlife, Kayaking, Music, Fish Hatchery & Aquatic Center, Parks, RV Camping, Dining, Lodging, Shopping, Zip Line, Spring River Artist Guild, Festivals, Events & Retirement.

The campground at Hardy. Was only one camper in a rather spacious riverside campground.  I thought about staying, went exploring looking for the section of lake area retirement homes. I’d met a woman, a bit my senior in a downtown cafe who told me how much she loved living here. She explained how she’d lived in Coastal Oregon and in Colorado but returned to Arkansas in spite of her grown kids request to have her closer. Living was easy, not complicated, she told me, safe for women on their own; a place to enjoy rather than struggle. She truly loved living here, was happy near one of the lakes, and although we didn’t know one another, she encouraged me to check it out. That it was a better life here.  She wouldn’t be the only, on her own, mature single woman to tell me similar about Northern Arkansas.

 

 

Gonna post this while I figure out the next photos and time.  The Ozarks out in Arkansas were so lovely!