Since today is another day, it seemed only logical to go on another adventure. Today’s destination was to a place in Arkansas and then a side trip on the way back just happened to work out as well.
I got up this morning and wasn’t sure about going anywhere today or not. I finally decided “why not?”. I had thought about this trip yesterday after I went to Wilson Creek National Battlefield so it wasn’t too last minute.
And, it fit right in; I went to Pea Ridge National Military Park, another historical battlefield that is part of the National Park Service. At Wilson Creek NB they talked about Pea Ridge as well as Lexington, which is east of Kansas City (and I have been there before).
I got there and the sky was, unfortunately, getting overcast and somewhat threatening. I say unfortunately because it looked like a fantastic place to hike and I would like to have gotten out for some walking.
There was a lot of construction going on so no picture of the entrance sign because, well, it wasn’t there. The Visitor Center looked huge but it, too, was closed so there was no going inside to learn some things or get maps.
However, they had a great cellphone solution – a tour of the park with a video for each tour stop. This website is the tour. There is also a cellular version at the bottom of the page. The tour was very well-presented and was informative but not too long to keep interest in.
I will let the website tour do the history (if you want to watch it) and I will just add a few pictures from my visit.
Along with the battlefield, the park includes the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. I actually got to take a few steps on that same trail where my ancestors were marched forcibly from their homeland. It was pretty interesting to do that and see where they came from and where they were headed.
This opening in the trees east of the next stop was called the Wire Road or Military Road (and another name that I cannot recall), and was used as part of the Trail of Tears.
They had quite the display of cannon lines displayed throughout the park. These were near the old townsite of Leetown. Over next to the forest I saw this sign and it really helped show what the troops on both sides were dealing with as far as the trees and brush while trying to fight the enemy.
This park seems bigger than Wilson Creek, but perhaps it was because the terrain was more open in many spots, and that will become more apparent in some later pictures.
These next pictures were taken from the East Overlook. Pay special attention to the interpretation sign about the line of troops. Just incredible.
This is the Elkhorn Tavern. If you notice the bed frame has ropes supporting a mattress that was essentially straw in a bag. It would be laid out on top of the ropes if they were not too loose. If the slack needed to be taken out it was so the bed would not sag in the middle. It’s where the term “sleep tight” originated!
Across the road from this was a lot of construction going on for what looked to be a bigger parking area. Within the closed area we’re two monuments to the troops on both sides and, just like Wilson Creek, the troops – both Union and Confederate – had reunions together.
And my final pictures from Pea Ridge National Military Park show more of the massive amounts of cannon and the huge open space as compared to Wilson Creek.
It was well worth the drive but it is only a couple of hours from Springfield. I would like to go back and hike some trails in the park. I would really like to walk the Trail of Tears through here.
Pea Ridge was a new place for me, but the next place I remember going to when I was a kid and my last time here was probably close to 40 years ago.
This stop is another one of the awesome Missouri State Parks – Roaring River State Park.
Roaring River is a spring-fed river that originates in a cave.
The water flows out of the cave and into a small lake that is full of trout. There is also a fish hatchery where the trout are bred and raised to maturity then released into the water for fishing. You can drop as many quarters as you want to get special fish food and feed them all day if you so desire.
There is even a Park Store for fishing needs and groceries as well as souvenirs. This place is old-school family vacation stuff. It brought back a lot of memories, and some of my family history is actually from this area.
I think it’s worth saying something here. I go back to these places not for the memories of better times; I don’t live in the past and there’s no need to relive it. I go back to these places to see sometimes what has changed, but mainly because I remember places like this as being special, beautiful places even as a youngster.
Well, it’s been several days full of adventures this week! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I may take a down day tomorrow to take care of some things I need to do with the trailer.
You never know though…