Sometimes we RVers find ourselves in places we would not have otherwise considered as we travel down the road. On our way to Texas in October we had such an experience.
It was late in our travel day, we were heading down I430 around North Little Rock, AR. Shari was doing her usual great job with the Good Sam directory, trying to locate a campground on the fly. It was looking like we may need to travel the better part of another hour before we would reach a rest stop for the night. That was not what we would like to do considering the level of the sun.
As we rounded a curve with a sight- blocking rock wall on our right, I spied a brown sign indicating Maumelle Park, along with a camping sign. It was one of those “you only have seconds to make a decision” situations. I decided to take the exit!
Instead of finding one of those quiet country roads that so often lead to public parks, we were immediately dumped onto a four lane, five o’clock traffic street with a red light gleaming just at the end of the short off-ramp. This is something that the driver of a forty foot motorhome with a towed prefers to never encounter. After the almost nose dive, we proceeded into the traffic and traveled through several stop light intersections. With no indication of the distance to the park, I was soon frustratingly questioning the wisdom of my quick decision. Of course this concern always precipitates a version of that old CW song, “Give Me Forty Acres”, with none in sight! About the time this emotion was peaking, Shari calmly said “There is the sign to turn toward the park”.
We made the turn, but still were not thrilled. It was a narrow country road, not in the best of shape, but we figured there had to be a nugget at the end of this search. There was, but the excitement did not end there.
When we pulled up to the gate and entered the host office, we did our usual “Hi, we host at a park too”, attempting to immediately establish a friendly relationship, just in case we need it. After the typical “can we help you”, “we’re looking for a campsite” exchange, our now friendly hosts state “we are full”. It was FRIDAY at a public campground within an HOUR of a LARGE city, on a BEAUTIFUL October day! What were we thinking?
After the also typical “Aw gee, we are really tired, where is another campground close by?”, the lady host said to her husband host, “Say, has that man on site 130 left”? To which husband host said, “I don’t know but I’ll go check.” Well, the man had, and we had… a camp site. Sometimes you just get lucky!
We had happened upon Maumelle Corp of Engineer Recreation and Campground at the confluence of the Maumelle and Arkansas Rivers.. This is a very nice campground with many flat sites in and out of stately pine trees. The sites are solid blacktop with nice surrounding grass. The river is within easy walking distance of all the large sites, and the park was quiet, even with the weekend locals there for both camping and day use. But there was more!
We soon learned about Pinnacle Mountain State Park that is only 3.8 miles, literally “up the road” from this park. (Actually we had seen the sign pointing to Pinnacle when we turned into the campground. We had asked about it when we thought we had no site here, but there is no camping.) A brochure for the state park peaked our interest.
As stated in the Arkansas Mountain Parks web article, “Pinnacle Mountain, rising 1,011 feet above the Arkansas River, has been a natural landmark for centuries. Pinnacle Mountain is one of seven peaks of the Quachita (pronounced wash-i-ta) Mountains within this 2,356 acre park.” Scenic vistas overlook the Arkansas River, and there are a variety of hiking trails, one to five miles in length. Hikers can also access the 223 mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail at the Park. Our photos chronicle a hike on one of the trails.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Visitors Center This small lake was beautifully clear
Just plain beautiful
Trail to overlook Pinnacle Peak in far background
Kent really likes purple Shari really likes mushrooms
First hike after dealing with IT Band Syndrome 3/4 of a mile over 700 foot vertical.
You have been warned!
Boulder field with yellow trail markers
Taking a break in the shade Near the top and across the valley
Not really though The real peak
Speaks for itself
Mark o’ the Top
Wishing Crevice? Heading down
Sun going down too
This was a very enjoyable hike for both of us. Being together in this way is the fundamental purpose of our travels. It was a great day!
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