Monday, May 31, 2010

Reminded of memories from UMHB

Last weekend I traveled back home to San Antonio but made some stops along the way. One of them being at my college- University of Mary Hardin Baylor aka UMHB!  It was so great to just drop by and see everyone from the maintenance office. While in college I did work study at the maintenance office-- mostly clerical work but other completely random things! Counting parking spaces, measuring rooms & counting desks, taking pictures of the new construction projects on campus, washing campus vans and pretty much anything else they asked me to do. I loved it!!

Here are some pictures of my time there-- mostly of the pond by my old dorm- Burt Hall. I spend many hours in the grass here studying, walking the track at all times of the day and to remember my wonderful times I stopped here to eat lunch-- my fav PB&J ! I hope that you enjoy these beautiful pictures of UMHB. 


Monday, May 17, 2010

Degray Lake & Crater of Diamonds

DeGray Lake State Park

DeGray Lake Resort State Park is the finest of Arkansas resorts. Situated on the north shore of 13,800-acre DeGray Lake, this recreational retreat in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains offers resort amenities combined with the outdoor adventures of an Arkansas state park. DeGray is a fishing and water sports resort. DeGray is a golf resort. And DeGray is an Arkansas state park perfect for family vacations, getaways, reunions, weddings, business meetings, conferences, and retreats.

DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge, the park's dominant facility, stretches along the shoreline of the island on which it is located. The 94-room lodge and its conference center can serve groups of 10 to 350 persons, offer sweeping views of DeGray Lake's blue waters and the distant mountains that surround them. DeGray Lake is one of five renowned Diamond Lakes of southwest Arkansas lakes known for their crystal-clear waters, which attract snorkelers and scuba divers throughout Arkansas. The DeGray Lake area abounds with birdlife and wildlife. It is rich in scenic natural beauty, and it is a pristine and peaceful setting where you can experience a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Take a hike, go bicycling or join a guided trail ride. Go picnicking or sightseeing. Enjoy a group get-together at one of the park pavilions or join a park interpreter for a guided hike, lake tour, nature program or outdoor workshop. Plan your getaway to DeGray, Arkansas's resort state park.

MY ADVENTURES-- Wandered around the park for a bit. Even tested the waters with my toes- it was cool but felt great since it was over 80 degrees outside. Beautiful lake for summer swimming and lots of fishing and boating adventures. Also there is a golf course on grounds too. Seems like a great place to go with friends for camping in the hot summer.

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Arkansas, The Natural State, is blessed with an abundance of geological wonders. Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only diamond-producing site in the world open to the public, stands out as a unique geological "gem" for you to explore and enjoy.

Here, you are invited to prospect in the park's diamond search area, a 37 1/2-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic pipe that 95 million years ago, brought to the surface the diamonds and some of the semi-precious stones lucky visitors find here today.

Diamonds of all colors of the rainbow can be found here at Crater of Diamonds, but the three most common colors unearthed by park visitors are white, brown and yellow. Crater of Diamonds State Park is a rockhound's delight since, along with diamonds, more than 40 types of rocks and minerals can found here, too. These rocks and minerals include lamproite, amethyst, banded agate, jasper, peridot, garnet, quartz, calcite, barite, and hematite.

MY ADVENTURES-- Arriving here and realizing that it will cost about $40 just to out to look in mounds of dirt for diamonds. The fields of dirt are in the blazing sun and its almost 90 degrees outside. Plus, the cost and digging in the dirt alone just didn't seem like much fun. Maybe if it weren't so hot and I had diamond mining partner I would have been more excited. Plus seeing other tourists or miners coming back from the dirt field just covered head to toe in dirt and dust didn't seem to appealing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hot Springs!!!

Hot Springs National Park


Hot Springs is the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System, dating back to 1832, when Congress established - 40 years ahead of Yellowstone - the first federally protected area in the nation's history. Hot Springs Reservation - which was renamed Hot Springs National Park in 1921 - originally was created by Congress to protect the 47 naturally flowing thermal springs on the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain.

Although it's small there is plenty of things that kept me busy during my travels through the National Park.  The  world famous Bathhouse Row, is located right in the heart of Hot Springs' Historic Downtown District.


Restored Fordyce Bathhouse (currently also the Park Visitors Center) right in the middle of Bathhouse Row. Tours through the marvelous building give a quick understanding of where the thermal waters come from, how they are used and how the federal government protects the 700,000 gallons of thermal water that gushes uninterrupted from the earth every day.

There are display springs that let you feel just how hot the water really is (148 degrees Fahrenheit), and the beautiful cascade of thermal water at the northern end of Bathhouse Row lets you dip your feet in the thermal waters as you relax and enjoy the beauty of Arlington Lawn Park.

A twisting scenic drive up Hot Springs Mountain behind the bathhouses takes you to breathtaking Hot Springs Mountain Tower. Elevated 1,256 feet above sea level, overlooking 140 miles of beautiful Arkansas countryside, including Hot Springs National Park and the Ouachita Mountains. A concessionaire of the National Park service where you'll be whisked by elevators to the top and a spectacularly beautiful view of the city, mountains, forests and lakes that surround Hot Springs 40 miles in all directions.


An extensive 26-mile network of hiking trails that range from the easily negotiated Grand Promenade to some challengingly rugged mountain treks crisscrosses the park.


Arriving in the early afternoon I toured through downtown seeing the historic buildings and walked down Bathhouse Row. It was like walking down a street with these fancy high class spas from the 1920s but all on one street together competing for business. I could just close my eyes and imagine what it looked like back in the hay day on Bathhouse Row. 

I walked through Fordyce Bathhouse and it has been restored to look as it did in the 1900s- it was pretty cool. Plus they had pictures displayed in each room in the bathhouse to display clients relaxing and enjoying their stay at the spa.

Then I continued down Main Street towards Arlington Hotel and the cascading thermal pool. The water is really hot!! Like hotter than a bath or hot tub hot!! But it was nice to put my hands in a splash the water on my face. 

Next, I walked through Arlington Hotel which has a "mall" in the lower level. It is just spa type shops selling soaps, candles, and other good smelly things for baths or relaxation.

Finally I made my way to the trails up Hot Springs Mountain!! Went on a 3-mile hike in the dense forest which was perfect timing to avoid the stinging death heat rays from the sun. While hiking I discovered some new wild flowers that I had never seen before!! 

Afterwords I went to the east side of the park & toured Hot Springs Mountain Tower. It is 21 stories above the city and I climbed up every one of them just so I could stop along the way to take pictures!! It was super windy and a bit chilling up at the top when compared to the 90 degrees at the base.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Little Rock


Little Rock is the capital and the most populous city of the state of Arkansas and also the county seat of Pulaski County. As of 2008, according to the US census, Little Rock had a population of 189,500. Including the immediate area/ towns the population increases to 862,500.


Located near the geographic center of Arkansas, Little Rock derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called la Petite Roche (French: "the little rock"). The "little rock" was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing.

Central High School

Little Rock Central High School is a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Central High School was the site of forced school desegregation during the American Civil Rights Movement. Central is located at the intersection of Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive (named for the civil rights leader and formerly known as 14th Street) and Park Street. Central High School, which covers grades 9 through 12, has an current enrollment of 2,422. 

Built in 1927 at a cost of $1.5 million, Little Rock Senior High School, later to be renamed Little Rock Central High, was hailed as the most expensive, most beautiful, and largest high school in the nation. Its opening earned national publicity with nearly 20,000 people attending the dedication ceremony. Historic events in the 1950s changed education at Central High School and throughout the United States.


River Market

The Little Rock River Market District is the downtown area of Little Rock, Arkansas along the Arkansas River. Since 1996, it has become the cultural, social and corporate center of Arkansas’ capital city. It consists of the area east of Cumberland Street to the Clinton Library east of Interstate 30 and south of the Arkansas River to the Arkansas Arts Center, and to the banks of North Little Rock’s Verizon (formerly named the ALLTEL) Arena.

The River Market District is most well known for the actual Little Rock ‘’’River Market’’’. The River Market has over the last century been the center of exchange of goods for farmers from across the state of Arkansas and the tradition continues today every Tuesday and Saturday mornings. In 1996, the decision was made to refurbish the area around the River Market into a mix of local businesses, museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars. Today, the River Market District’s restaurants and bars are packed most Friday and Saturday nights and the District is continually hosting many major conventions. 

Old Mill Inn

The Old Mill, located at Fairway Ave. & Lakeshore Drive in North Little Rock, is a historic re-creation of an 1880's water-powered grist mill. The mill was seen in the opening scenes of David Selznick's 1937 movie classic "Gone With The Wind", and is believed to be the only remaining structure from the film. Admission to The Old Mill is free, and the hours of operation are from sunrise to sunset.

The Old Mill, also known as Pugh's Mill, was built in 1933 by Justin Matthews as a replica of an old-water-powered grist mill. The mill was designed to appear as if it belonged in Arkansas and had been here since the 1800s. It is made largely from tinted concrete work over steel and copper rods made to represent wood, iron or stone, and features sculptures by Mexican artist Senor Dionicio Rodriguez. 

The Old Mill was nationally recognized in 1986 by being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was also presented with the Greater Little Rock Historic Preservation Award by the Quapaw Quarter Association.