Friday, July 31, 2009
firstname.lastname@example.org I had such gratitude in my heart for my many blessings on this day, plus seeing that gorgeous sunset, reminded me of the Bible verse that says "For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down. . . My name shall be great among the nations, " says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 1:11 I pray that you will have miles of smiles from the rising of the sun, even to its going down! Tricia
Posted by tricia at 1:37 PM
One of many benefits of attending a "Becoming An Outdoor Woman" workshop (see previous blogs on B.O.W.) is that there are really nice door prizes to register for. I was the lucky recipient of the drawing for a gift certificate for free camping at an Arkansas State Park. After looking over the numerous travel options this afforded me, time constraints on the expiration date of the gift certificate made me realize if I didn't use it this week, I would probably not be able to do so before this "freebie" offer ended. So that led me back to a place nearby, where I first camped in 1960, with a group of about twenty Girl Scout friends----Bull Shoals/White River State Park. A nice feature about BS/WR State Park is that they have the "Rent-A-Camp" option where your package includes the basic items needed for a camp out (tent, camp cook stove/ fuel bottle, light, broom, dustpan, ice chests, sleeping platforms, and ice chest). But the wonderful thing about the BS/WR package is that the tent is already set up for you----WHAT A DEAL! What I wasn't aware of until I checked in, however, was that the light was an electric light on a long extension cord, that could be hung either outside on the pole for that purpose, or inside the tent. I had envisioned a Coleman lantern-type light, from reading the description, since it only said "light", instead of "electric light." So I was delighted to find out upon arrival that I had an electrical outlet, which came in very handy, not only for the light, but recharging the camera batteries after a full day of photography. It is probably a good thing that I didn't know in advance that I would have electricity. I might have been tempted to bring the electric fan, the electric vacuum, the electric can opener, the electric radio, the electric can opener, the electric pencil sharpener, electric toothbrush---anyway---you get the picture! The camp site also had a water faucet for running water, a picnic table on a concrete pad, a charcoal grill, and a fire pit. All this sets on a gravel-covered area that cuts down on mud, dust, and tick/chigger visitors. And talk about a BEAUTIFUL location. The two Rent-A-Camp sites are perched right beside the river, at the far end of the camp grounds, so they are a bit more spacious than the pricier RV sites.
Posted by tricia at 11:02 AM
Friday, July 10, 2009
The $4.5 million Visitor Center in the Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, which only opened on May 27 of this year, is a facility that all persons interested in conservation and education can be thankful for. It is a way you can see your tax dollars being used (specifically Amendment 75, called the Arkansas Conservation Amendment) in a way that will benefit many generations to come. Its importance within the the state's largest state park (over 12,000 acres) is magnified even more because it is located in the fastest growing area of the state (think Wal-Mart Headquarters). At its dedication a few weeks ago, park officials pointed out that it is within a one hour drive of 58,000 students. So even though it was uncrowded the day my granddaughter and I visited, the resumption of school will likely make the place abuzz with "the pitter-patter" of little feet, where they will be learning about the history of the Ozarks, as well as what each one of them can do to conserve the beauty of the area, that we tend to take for granted. Every aspect of the design was considered for its environmental impact. For example, the sign (upper left photo) at the facility's only entry road, is a reminder that multiple road accesses were limited in order to reduce environmental impact caused by roads. Underneath the parking lot (in an effort to make dual use of the space), there are 40 geothermal wells. The contemporary design is reminiscent of an Ozark barn (lower left photo), and also has a porch at each end. Rainwater is collected from the roof for re-use in the landscaping, including the man-made stream (upper right) that encircles the building, terminating in a pond in the rear area (lower right). Local materials were used in building the center to reduce transportation costs, as well as boost the local economy. All these factors make the Visitor Center a candidate for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) Certification.
Although there are numerous hiking trails throughout the park, I wanted to visit the Historic Van Winkle Trail because I read that it would take us to where the lumber for the first building of my alma mater, "Old Main" at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, was milled. For this and many other reasons, the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (lower left photo). The trail is only one-half mile long, and is wheelchair accessible (lower right-hand photo). Since the parking lot is located on the opposite side of Highway 12 from the trail, a paved tunnel has been constructed under Highway 12 in order to gain safe entrance to the trail head (middle right photo). Interpretive plaques along the trail (middle left photo) provide historical data on the artifacts you are viewing. Little Clifty Creek (middle left photo) was a factor in determining the location of the former industrial center. Since 11,644 acres of the approximately 12,000 acres of the park are from the estate of Roscoe C. Hobbs, I think we owe a debt of gratitude to him for his conservation efforts. Thanks to his foresight, plus the work of numerous public officials and volunteers, the next generation can learn about being environmental stewards of the land. Revelation 11:18, when prophesying about end times, uses the phrase "destroying those who destroy the earth". This should add to that ever-growing list of why we want to take good care of this beautiful planet God has given us, called EARTH. Miles of (environmentally friendly) smiles! Tricia (Note: Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area is located 10 miles east of Rogers, Arkansas. Call 479-789-5000 for more information or log on to www.ArkansasStateParks.com)
Posted by tricia at 12:23 PM
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
One hundred and fifteen years ago, St. Louis Union Station opened as the largest, most beautiful terminal in the united States. And based on my recent visit there, I think it still rates as one of the outstanding attractions of Saint Louis, Missouri. It was an enormous project for its day, that was conceived in 1889, when the Terminal Railroad Association was formed for the purpose of consolidating the numerous railway entries and exits of the St. Louis area. Union Station was designed by St. Louis architect, Theodore C. Link, and his design included three main areas: the Headhouse, the Midway and the Train Shed. The Headhouse contained the Terminal Hotel, ticket offices, waiting rooms, restaurant, and railroad offices. The Midway was the covered transfer area for passengers. The Train Shed was a large, roofed area covering the loading platforms and tracks. The Carl Milles' Fountain in the park in front of the station (upper left photo) made some waves in Victorian-era St. Louis, with its controversial sculpture. On the very hot day that I visited, I was amused by a man who got into the fountain in his swimming trunks, and appeared to be not only cooling himself off, but also retrieving the coins thrown in the fountain by sentimental visitors to the site. The last time I visited Union Station, its sky-piercing clock tower had been enclosed in scaffolding, so I was glad to get to have the opportunity to photograph it in its renovated status, without the unsightly ( but always necessary) renovation scaffolding. From the time it opened in 1894, to the end of the 19th century, St. Louis had become the "Gateway to the West" and its new Union Station was the rail crossroads of America. In fact, in 1900, SIXTY-TWO percent of St. Louisans had foreign born parents. This fact makes sense to me when I remember that a relative of mine from St. Louis, had one parent who was born in Italy, and one parent that was born in Germany. In its heyday in the mid 1940's, the Midway area of Union Station was the spot where over 100,000 passengers a day traversed on their way to or from a train. However, after World War ii, the general public began choosing other forms of transportation, and on October 31, 1978, the last train pulled out of St. Louis Union Station. (Just one more reason to heed the words of the Psalmist who wrote "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." Psalm 20:7 )
As soon as you go inside from the plaza level, you can hear the lively clapping and cheering and singing of the crew from "The Fudgery" (lower left). They get you into a festive spirit as soon as you enter the shopping level, and will even give you a free sample of fresh fudge, at the end of their "performance/culinary demonstration". Although Union Station is not classified as a Museum, it houses a very nice room with exhibits of transportation relics of the past, a video that plays continuously from its location in the window of a caboose, telling about the history of train travel in the U.S., and how it all relates to Union Station in Saint Louis. There are also displays about Fred Harvey's famous western hospitality on the railroads, through the use of his exquisitely dressed "Harvey Girls", who provided passengers restaurant service by offering great food and gracious rapid service (upper and lower right). Many displays also show the impact of those who used the station during their time in military service. In the middle of all the retail businesses, commercial trampolines have been set up that (for a small fee) will harness you up to bungee cords, enabling you to turn flips on the trampoline without the need for gymnastics lessons. It was great fun to watch brave "future Olympians" on the trampolines,from both the lower and upper levels of the shopping sections (upper left). And lest you fear not being able to spend that money you received in your "Stimulus Bonus" from the government, there are plenty of shops where you can buy souvenirs, clothing, gifts, food, and, of course, Cardinal Baseball Team items. Just a few steps from the plaza area of Union Station, you can board the public light rail transportation in St. Louis, known as Metrolink. It will take you to all the sights downtown, across the Mississippi into Illinois, and back West to the airport, where you can fly anywhere in the world. So in a way, this extraordinary structure from the 1800's, is still your "Union Station" to a big world just waiting for you to explore! Miles of smiles! Tricia
Posted by tricia at 12:47 PM