The Tourists of Blanchard Springs

July 27th, 2016

Today Pops and I played Arkansas recreational tourists.  We decided to do more of a driving tour to the Mountain View area to escape the heat we’ve experienced on the last few hikes.    We are also still “lickin’ our chigger wounds” from the snake infested, overgrown field from the last blog.  You know, the one I only walked 50 feet into and said absolutely not…well, Pops walked a lot further into that field and was assaulted by chiggers.  His legs are so ate up with bites (I mean like hundreds) it looks like he has leprosy.  Since I opted to only walk about 50 feet in I came out of that situation with only about 30 bites .  This was a reminder to us to be sure and spray down with bugspray after swimming.  Every time.  These Arkansas bugs don’t play.

Anyway, back to us playing tourists.  After researching on Trip Advisor for what to do in Mountain View we decided on Blanchard Springs Recreational Area, the swinging bridge of Mountain View and the peace pole.  We took off towards Clinton on Hwy 65N and then turned right on Hwy 9 towards Shirley.  If you get carsick easily this is not the road for you.  Once we reached Mountain View we still had a 20+ mile drive to reach Blanchard Springs.  When we arrived we decided to scope out the area.  There’s tons to do here and it is an extremely family friendly spot.  So much so, it was pretty busy for a Wednesday.  Of course the most popular thing here is probably the caverns.  However, I am not a tour person and really don’t like people, so I adamantly refused to be in a group of tourists for over an hour.  And that was the shortest tour.  No thanks.  There’s a reason why we visit desolate places each week.  First we decided to walk down the handicap accessible walkway to the Blanchard Springs.  The entire 1/10 mile was so hazy and once we reached the end we realized why.  The spring comes out of a 58 degree cave and it’s so cold that once it hits the sultry Arkansas summer air it turns to fog.  We spent about 20 minutes here taking in the sights and cooling our feet in the chilly water.

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After “chilling out” at the spring we headed back up the road to Mirror Lake and the spillway.  We first walked down another 1/10 mile boardwalk to the overlook but this wasn’t very photo worthy.  Instead we walked back to the beginning of the boardwalk and found a trail that went to the creek bed.  This was more my style.  Before the spillway there’s remnants of what used to be an old mill.  The old rock foundation is a neat spot to attempt to photograph.  Unfortunately I’m way too short to get the shot I was going for (the spillway through the mill window), so I mosied on down the creek bed in my Keens and got some up close and personal shots of the Mirror Lake Spillway.

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Afternoon rainstorms started rumbling in the distance so we headed out of Sylamore Creek and drove around scoping out the rest of the park.  There’s several swimming holes but they were quite low and stagnant so we passed on that.  Pops tried talking me into a cavern tour yet again, but I still refused.  We left the park and went searching for the swinging bridge.  It wasn’t too hard to find considering it’s right off the highway on Swinging Bridge Road.  It’s an old one lane suspended wood bridge over the Sylamore.  We stopped and I took some shots but there wasn’t much to it.  If you want to see an awesome suspended bridge I recommend the Beaver Bridge past Eureka Springs.

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By this time we were starving so we headed back into Mountain View to grab a bite.  I wanted something original to the town and somewhat kitchy so we stopped at Wing Shack.  I must say if you’re ever in the area you should stop here.  Burgers and ribs were awesome.  Our next stop was to find the peace pole we saw on Trip Advisor.  We drove past it several times before we found it.  It was kind of underwhelming.  Nothing to really write home about and I couldn’t get a picturesque shot of it so we headed out.  Back on the curvy Hwy 9.  However, if you ever take that route be sure to stop and capture the quilted barn.  It is idyllic Arkansas.

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