Day 24, Wednesday, June 27
100+ Degrees Each Day
From Hot Springs I've traveled through central Arkansas criss-crossing the Ozarks through the Ouachita National Forest. Last night was spent at Petit Jean State Park, built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) during the Depression. The main lodge sits on a mountain of 800 feet, but with a beautifully spectacular view down the Cedar Falls Valley. Sadly, because of the drought, there is no water falling over the rocks. Nevertheless, it is a lovely setting. I am one of the few people to know this, because the place was nearly empty. In my camping area of 40 sites, there were only 3 sites in use. There are cabins near the lodge. I think most of them were taken.
Today I continued my ramblings through the Ozark and settled in Buffalo River National Park. It is a 135 mile, un-damed river, the longest in the lower 48. Because of the drought it is nearly dry.
Trying to sleep in the heat of the night is a study in desperate perseverance. Last night I had a forest nearly to myself. Only the sounds of nature in my ears and sweat on my back. The cicadas were so loud the tent walls vibrated. It was unnatural, otherworldly, but not in any way frightening. When I awoke before dawn only one or two were left. I wondered if they were lonely.
I am writing this in an air conditioned McDonalds. I honestly don't want to leave and face the heat. I deserve a break today.