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Exploring Arkansas February 2010

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Ozark Adventure Race, Lake Enterprise, Ozark Railway Adventure
From orienteering to mountain biking, canoeing, trekking and zip lining-it's the annual Ozark Adventure Race.Lake Enterprise by the town of Wilmot in south Arkansas is a neat, tucked away gem of the Natural State filled with picturesque cypress trees. The Arkansas Missouri Railroad offers a scenic passenger train trip back to the Golden Age of railway travel

TRANSCRIPT

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IT'S 50 TO 70 MILES OF MOUNTAIN BIKING, ROPE ELEMENTS, ORIENTEERING, THE LEWIS AND CLARK OZARK ADVENTURE RACE WHERE WE BEGIN AT DEVIL DEN'S STATE PARK. AND THEN WE'LL TAKE YOU TO SOUTH ARKANSAS, TO LAKE ENTERPRISE, THAT'S FILLED WITH GIANT CYPRUS TREES AND WE'LL CLOSE IT OUT AT THE RAILROADS. LET START UP WITH THE OZARK ADVENTURE RACE.

YOU MADE IT!

READY, SET, GO.

SO YOU THINK YOU MAY BE TOUGH? WELL, HOW'S ABOUT THIS... BEGINNING IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING AND NOT FINISHING UNTIL THE AFTERNOON SOMETIME, TRAVERSING SOME OF THE MOST RUGGED TERRAIN IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS.

THE FASTEST TEAMS DO IT IN ABOUT TWO HOURS ON THE LAKE, AND THE SLOWEST TEAMS TOOK UPWARDS OF FOUR HOURS. SO THEY WERE OUT THERE IN DARK, THE FASTEST TEAMS AND THE SLOW TEAMS WERE COMING BACK IN THE LIGHT AS THE SUN WAS COMING UP. AFTER THEY FINISHED THE PADDLE, THEY GOT ON THEIR BIKES AND RODE FROM LAKE FORT SMITH TO DEVIL'S DEN. IT'S ABOUT 30 MILES, JUST UNDER, LIKE 28, AND THERE'S TWO REALLY BIG CLIMBS. YOU START AT THE LAKE, SO YOU ARE DOWN IN THE VALLEY. YOU'VE GOT TO CLIMB UP TO THE RIDGE, CLOSE TO MOUNT GALOR AND THEN THERE'S ANOTHER CLIMB OUT OF THE CHESTER, WHICH GOES UP TO THE NUMBER 12 CHURCH. THAT'S EVEN LONGER, AND THERE WAS A LOT OF TEAMS THAT WHEN THEY GOT UP TO THE NUMBER 12 CHURCH, THEY WERE DEFINITELY BREATHING HARD. FROM THERE, YOU FOLLOW HIGHWAY 220 TO DEVIL'S DEN.

OF COURSE, YOU CAN IMAGINE TRAINING FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS TAKES TIME AND COMPLETE DEVOTION, A MINIMUM OF SIX MONTHS.

THAT'S WHY I'M DOING IT, BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN TRAINING ALL SUMMER AND ALL FALL. AND IT'S BEEN LONGER THAN WE EXPECTED. WE'VE MADE SOME MISTAKES THAT HAVE ADDED HOURS TO OUR RACE. YEAH. BUT IT'S GREAT. IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

FOR THOSE WHO AREN'T EXACTLY UP TO TREKKING ACROSS 50 TO 70 MILES OF OZARK TERRAIN, THERE IS AN URBAN VERSION OF THE RACE. ♪

WELL, THE URBAN ADVENTURE RACE NOW IS A TWO TO FOUR HOUR INSIDE THE CITY-TYPE EVENT, WHERE, AGAIN, PEOPLE ARE DOING A LOT OF THE SAME THINGS THAT THE OZARK ADVENTURE RACE IS DOING. I GUESS THE BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE IT TO A PERSON THAT KNOW ADVENTURE IS A HIGH-TECH SCAVENGER HUNT. THEY WERE MOUNTAIN BIKING, THEY WERE PADDLING AND, OF COURSE, ALL OF THAT HAD TO HAPPEN BY ORIENTEERING WHICH IS USING A MAP AND A COMPASS AND THEY ARE GETTING FROM POINT "A" TO POINT "B." NOW THE OZARK ADVENTURE RACE IS AN EVENT THAT WE ADDED THREE YEARS AGO AND REALLY EXPANDED ON THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF OUR RACE. AND SO NOW THE OZARK ADVENTURE RACE IS AN 18-HOUR COMPLETION EVENT. YOU CAN BE OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, WHICH WAS WHAT WE DID THIS MORNING, VERY EARLY. 3 A.M. START AND THEY REPORTED TO LAKE FORT SMITH AND PADDLED IN THE DARK TO CHECKPOINTS AND NOW WE ARE ENDING IN DEVIL'S DEN STATE PARK. AND THROUGHOUT ALL OF THAT, THEY HAVE DONE ZIP LINES THEM TRAVERSED ALL TYPES OF TERRAIN ON THEIR MOUNTAIN BIKE, BY HIKING AND THEN OBVIOUSLY WE TALKED ABOUT THE PADDLING.

THERE'S ALSO A MYSTERY CHALLENGE EVENT IN BOTH RACES.

WHEN THEY GET TO DEVIL'S DEN, WE HAD A ZIP LINE SET UP THAT WAS SET UP BY WASHINGTON COUNTY SEARCH AND RESCUE. THOSE GUYS ARE REALLY GOOD. THEY ALWAYS HELP US OUT. AND IT'S A 510-FOOT LONG, AND THE ELEVATION CHANGE ON IT IS POSSIBLY CLOSE TO 100 FEET. SO THEY STARTED UP ON THE PICNIC AREA, ACROSS FROM THE SWIMMING POOL AND ZIPS DOWN CLOSE TO THE DAM. SO THERE'S DEFINITELY SOME SCARED PEOPLE COMING DOWN THERE. ♪

IT'S A LOT DIFFERENT THAN TRIATHLONS, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE IT'S A TEAM EVENT, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, YOU DON'T FIND OUT THE COURSE UNTIL LIKE THE NIGHT BEFORE. AND OR EVEN AFTER THE RACE STARTS. LIKE TODAY, WE GOT THE MAPS AND THE COORDINATES AFTER THE RACE HAD STARTED. SO YOU HAD TO PLOT. YOU ARE KIND OF GOING IT INTO BLINDLY. YOU GET A MILEAGE OF TREKKING AND BIKING.

TYPICALLY YOU MOUNTAIN BIKE. YOU TRAIL RUN, AND YOU PADDLE AND THEN YOU NAVIGATE WITH A MAP AND COMPASS THE WHOLE TIME. YOU HAVE TO ORIENTEER. YOU HAVE TO NAVIGATE WITH A MAP AND COMPASS.

THE ADVENTURE ASPECT IS WHAT DRAWS MOST PEOPLE TO IT. YOU ARE OUT IN THE WOODS AND CLIMBING UP BIG BLUFFS AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST FUN AND YOU GET GREAT VIEWS AT THE TOP, AND IT'S JUST -- IT'S JUST -- TO ME, IT'S GREAT. I JUST LOVE IT.

YEAH. IT'S VERY MUCH A TEAM SPORT. YOU KNOW, FOR INSTANCE, THESE GUYS, THEY HAVE TOW SYSTEMS SET UP ON THEIR BIKES. SINCE I'M THE WEAKEST BIKER, THEY WILL TOW ME BIKING. OR IF SOMEONE IS A WEAKER RUNNER, THEY MIGHT HOOK UP A CORD AND HELP THEM RUNNING. SO YOU SEE A LOT OF TEAMS DOING THAT. IT'S REALLY NEAT BECAUSE IT WORKS ON THE PREMISES THAT YOU ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE WEAKEST LEAK. THEY WORK TOGETHER TO KEEP EVERYONE AT SAME LEVEL.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE TEAMS. YOU CAN ONLY GO AS FAST AS THE WHOLE TEAM.

YEAH.

SO IT'S ABOUT GETTING THE WHOLE TEAM ACROSS. YOU KNOW, THAT'S GREAT TOO. THAT'S A BIG DIFFERENCE FROM TRIATHLON ALSO.

YES. AND THE MENTAL ASPECT. YOU KNOW WE HAVE TO NAVIGATE WITH A MAP AND COMPASS. YOU MIGHT MAKE A WRONG TURN AND GET TWO OR THREE MILES OFF COURSE. THAT'S FRUSTRATING. YOU HAVE TO STAY STRONG AND BE POSITIVE AND WE'LL GET BACK ON COURSE AND BE FINE. SO YOU SEE A LOT OF TEAMS, YOU KNOW, REALLY STICKING IT OUT. THEY MAY HAVE GONE WAY OFF COURSE, BUT THEY HANG IN THERE AND GET IT DONE. SO IT'S PRETTY NEAT TO WATCH PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, PUSH THEMSELVES. I MEAN, IT REALLY IS VERY MUCH ABOUT PUSHING YOURSELF AND TO SEEING HOW FAR YOU CAN GO. AND YOU SEE A LOT OF CROSSOVER. PEOPLE THAT MAY BE USED TO JUST RUN OR, YOU KNOW, JUST BIKE AND SO THEY LOVE THE IDEA OF TRYING, YOU KNOW, SEVERAL DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES AND SEEING HOW THEY CAN DO IN ALL THREE THINGS. ♪

GO, GO! ♪ ♪

LAKE ENTERPRISE IN SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS, BY THE TOWN OF WILMOT, WHAT IS MOST STUNNING AND STRIKING ABOUT THIS LAKE ARE THE GIANT CYPRESS INDUSTRIES WITH ALL THE SPANISH MOSS.  -- CYPRESS TREES WITH ALL THE  YOU KNOW, IN THEEAR SPRINGTIME, OF COURSE, YOU WILL HAVE THE BRIGHT GREEN COLOR, AND -- AND WHEN IT'S WINDY, IT -- MOSTLY YOU CAN'T GET ON BECAT'S TOO WINDY, TOO CHOPPY AND YOU CAN GET OUT HERE AND YOU WILL FIND A LITTLE CUBBYHOLE IN THE CYPRESS TREES AND STILL FISH.

LAKE ENTERPRISE REALLY IS A ENEMOWNNHI POF THE S AS IT TWISTS AND TURNS AND SNAKES AROUND, OFFERING ITS UNIQUE LOUISIANA/ARKANSAS SCENERY. BESSIE REYNOLDS LIVES ON THE LAKE AND GAVE US A TOUR. ♪

RIGHT OVER THERE, PRIVATE PROPERTY WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST DISCOVERIES OF ARKANSAS,ITH TH BIGGEST ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND. THEY HAD AN INDIAN FOUND THERE, BACK IN 2002. THEY FOUND SOME NICE ARTIFACTS. ♪

LIFE ON LAKE ENTERPRISE, I WOULD DESCRIBE AS QUIET, CALM, SLOW, PEAUL. THER QUI A LOT TO DO HERE ON LAKE ENTERPRISE. WE HAVE SKIING, AS I TOLD YOU EARLIER. HALF THE LAKE WAS DESIGNATED FOR THE SKIING AREA. THIS AREA O HERS WHERE THE SKIING POINT STOPS, AND TO KIND OF SATISFY THE FISHERMEN AS WELL. THERE'S BASS FISHING. WILDLIFE AND GAME COMMISSION S STARTED PUTTING THE LITTLE FINGERLINGS IN AND BUILT UP THE FISH POPULATION HERE. WE HAVE WHITE PERCH. THIS TIME OF YEAR, I HEAR THAT THEY ARE CATCHING QUITE A FEW WHE GH  THEN IN SPRINGTIME, WE HAVE THE BRIM, WHICH IS LOTS OF FUN. IT'S FILLED WITH BRIM. YOU CAN FISH UNTIL YOUR HEART'S CONTENT OUT HERE.

AND CATFISH? I JUTART HEARING CATCHING E A FEW OF THE BIG CATFISH. WE'VE ALWAYS HAD SOME OF THE SMALLER ONES AND THEN THE REALLY, REALLY LARGE ONES, THEY CAUGHT 60 AND 90-POUND CATFISH OUT HERE. CONTENT, YOU CAN DO IT OUT HERE ON LAKE ENTERPRISE HERE.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR POLE HERE, YOUR RIG.

THIS IS FOR WHITE PERCH FISHING OR BRIM FISHING. MY FAVORITE IS THEER FISHING. OF C'S SET UP NOW FOR THE BRIM FISHING. I WILL CHANGE IT OUT AND PUT JIGS ON IT, AND DO A LITTLE WHITE PERCH FISHING. IT'S LIGHT ACTION. KNOW, YOU CAG AND SNAG THEM.

WHITE PERCH ARE GOOD EATING TOO!

OH, YEAH. YEAH. FRY 'EM UP AND SOME OF THE BEST EATING YOU CAN GET. THE WAY CHUK IT. AND SO WE TRIED OUR LUCK CATCHING SOME OF THOSE PERCH OR BASS, OR BRIM OR CATFISH. ♪

AND WE TRIED... AND WE TRIED... AND TRIED. ♪

IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE ANTI-BACKLASH. NOT QUITE THERE YET. YEP, CLAIM IT ON THE REEL. SURELY NOT BECAUSE OF A LACK OF SKILL. SURELY NOT. LAKE ENTERPRISE, FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF WHY IT'S BEEN A WELL-KEPT SECRET HERE IN SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS. ♪ ♪ ♪

IT'S AN ERA THAT'S LONG SINCERAVEL, MANY TIMES REF TO AS THE GOLDEN AGE OF RAILROAD TRAVEL. AND HERE, WITH THE ARKANSAS/MISSOURI RAILROAD OUT OF VAN BUREN, YOU CAN RELIVE THAT ERA IN THE MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS OF NORTHWEST ARKANSAS.'S HOP ABOARD.

ALL ABOARD FOR WINSLOW! [ BELL ] ♪

IT'S NOT QUITE THE JOURNEY OF SOME OF THE EXCURSION TRAINS THAT GO THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE OF ALASKA, BUT STILL, THE ARKANSAS/MISSOURI R 48.

WHO WANTS WATER? WHO WANTS WATER? WE HAVE THAT OTHER DRINK AVAILABLE. WHO WANTS WATER?

YES, THIS IS THE WAY TO SEE THE OZARK COUNTRYSIDE INARLY 1900s PASSENGER CAR FEATURING GENUINE INLAID MAHOGANY MATERIALS, AND NOT TO MENTION THE D YOU RIDE THE ♪

THIS RAILROAD THAT WE ARE RUNNING ON TODAY WAS ACTUALLY BEGUN IN 1880, THROUGH T T-- ORE BEFORE THAT TIME, THE PERSONAL RAILROAD THAT BUILT THIS LINE, WAS PART OF THE MISSOURI-PACIFIC RAILROAD. AND AROUND 1876, IT SPLIT OFF FROM THE MIS OWN. THEY BEGAN T WESTWARD EXPANSION IN THE EARLY 1880s. THEY WIND DOWN THROUGH THIS REMOTE AND SPARSELY POPULATED AREA, DOWN TO THE ARKAN YEARS TO LAY 35 MILES OF TRACK. THEY CONSTRUCTED THREE HIGH TRESTLES AND SEVERAL LOW BRIDGES, UNTIL THEY GOT TO THE ARKANSAS R THAT PRETTY PHENOMENAL FEAT TO ACCOMPLISH THAT. ♪ ROUGH THE 1700-FOOT LONGOU WINSLOW TUNNEL. YOU ACROSS THREE RAID TRESTLES, SOME AS HIGH AS 125 FEET ABOVE THE VALLEY BELOW. ♪

WINSLOW IS A FORMER RESORT TOWN, AND IS NAMED AFTER PRESIDENT EDWARD FRANCIS WINSLOW WHO ALSO SERVES AS PRESIDENT OF THE FRISCO RAILROAD DURING THE LATE

PEOPLE CAME FROM ARKANSAS, TEXAS, LOUISIANA, AND STAYED THE SUMMER UP THERE. AND THE FAMILIES WOULD STAY ALLS DOWN HERE. THERE WERE SEVEN TRAINS A DAY THAT WOULD RUN FROM WINSLOW BACK DOWN TO FORT SMITH FOR THE GENTLEMEN TO GET TO WORK.

ALONG THE WAY, THERE'S ALSO THE TOWN OF CHESTER, WHICH GOT ITS NAME FROM A LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER FROM CHESTER, IOWA, AND THE TWO-STORY BRICK HOTEL HERE BUILT IN 1887 IS SUPPOSEDLY HAUNTED.

THE ONLY OTHER INTERESTING THING TO NOTE ABOUT CHESTER IS THAT THE 140 MILES THAT THE A & M OPERATES BETWEEN MONET, ME TRACK THAT WE ARE ON NOW IS THE STRAIGHTEST THREE MILES OF THE WHOLE 140 MILES. IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY SEEM SO CURVY WHEN YOU ARE IN A LONG, STRAIGHT CAR LIKE THIS BUT WE D AFTER WE GET THROUGH SHEABURG, IF YOU WANT TO WALK BACK AND TAKE A LOOK OR JUST KIND OF GET YOUR BEARINGS OUT THE BACK WINDOW, YOU WILL SEE HOW REALLY CURVY THIS IS.

WE MOVED HERE FROM CALIFORNIA A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, AND THERE WAS A COUPLE OF TRAIN RIDES THAT WE WENT ON THERE. ONE WAS A SKUNK. IT WENT FROM FORT BRAGG TO -- TO WHERE? WILLE TS AND BASICALLY IT WAS OPEN CARS AND IT HAD BENCHES ALONG THE SIDES AND ITG LIKE TOS RI AND THEN THERE WAS ONE IN -- THAT WAS CALLED THE WINE TRAIN AND WE DID HAVE DINNER ON THAT, BUT THEY DIDN'T DO ANY NARRATION AT ALL, AND THIS HAS  GOOD, AND THE CONDUCTORS GAVE NARRATION ALONG THE WAY, YOU KNOW, THE DIFFERENT TOWNS AND ESPECIALLY SINCE WE JUST -- [ TRAIN WHISTLE ]  -- SINCE WE JUST MESTING. WE ARE ANXIOUS TO LEARN THE HISTORY. [ TRAIN WHISTLE ]

THAT HORN IS A LITTLE BIT OVERPOWERING. THERE'S A LOT OF HISTORY ALONG THIS LINE.

IT IS. OF HISTORY. WE REA ENJOYED IT SINCE WE MOVED HERE.

SO I GUESS YOU'LL COME BACK, SAY, IN THE FALL.

WE'D LIKE TO. IN FACT, THE CONDUCTOR WAS SAYING THAT HIS FAVORITE TIME  OF THE DOGWOODND SO I KNOW WE HAVE SEEN A FEW OF THOSE AND EITHER WAY IT WOULD BE REALLY NICE TO COME IN WHEN IT'S NOT QUITE SO COLD. [ LAUGHTER ]

I ENJOYED IT VERY MUCH, THE INACTION OF THE PASSENGERS AND I'M ABLE TO TELL THEM THE STORY OF THE RAILROAD AND THE THINGS THEY ARE EXPECTED TO SEE ALONG THE WAY AND WILDLIFE AND THAT SORT OF THING. IN TRAINS  MUCH. AND THERE'S TIMES I DON'T RIDE IT BECAUSE I HAVE SOME HEALTH ISSUES. I'M ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO BE A VOLUNTEER OR A SHOW CONDUCTOR ON THE EXCURSIONY ENJOYABLE. UP UNTIL TIME, I'VE NEVER BEEN ON A TRAIN. I'M IN MY FIFTH YEAR AND I HAD NEVER BEEN ON TRAINS BEFORE UNTIL THAT TIME. SO I'M RELATIVELY NEW TO THIS. SO THAT'S POYMENT OUT OF IT.

AND I GUESS WITH KIDS, LIKE WE HAVE A COUPLE --

ABSOLUTELY. THE KIDS ENJOY THIS VERY MUCH. AND I LIKE THE INTERACTION WITH THEM AND OFTENTIMES WE GET PICTURES TAKEN, THE CONDUCTORS AND THEY ENJOY THAT VERY MUCH. SE WE CELEBRATE THEIR BIRTHDAY. WE ALSO CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES. WE HAVE INTERACTION WITH OUR PASSENGERS.

OLI OF ALTUS BROUGHT HIS TWO GRANDCHILDREN, MAKAYLA AND NICHOLAS FOR THE MEMORABLE JOURNEY BACK IN TIME.

WELL,ED. THEY WAS REALLY EXCITED.

WELL, THEY ARE VERY FIRST TIME ON A TRAIN?

FIRST TIME. MINE TOO.

YEAH?

YEAH.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO RIDE ONE OF THESE OLDER TRAINS,

S ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE TRIP SO FAR?

YEAH, IT'S NICE. I WOULD RECOMMEND IT. ♪ MAKAYLA, WHA DO YOU THINK OF IT?

I LIKE THE TRAIN. IT'S REALLY GOOD. IT'S FUN.

WAS IT ALL THAT YOU EXPECTED IT TO BE, OR DIFFERENT?

I EXPECTED IT TO BE A LITTLE BIT D THINK YOU LIKE MOST ABOT SO FAR?

UM, I LIKE THAT IT'S BUILT LIKE WAY BACK.

YEAH.

YEAH, THIS IS FROM THE EARLY 1900s. COOL.

IT IS VERY C ♪

SO RELIVE THE ERA OF REAL TRAIN TRAVEL FOR YOURSELF WITH THE ARKANSAS-MISSOURI RAILROAD AND FOR MORE ON THIS  OF ON EPISODE,US MANY OF OUR VISIT OUR WEB SITE, AETN.ORG/EXPLORINGARKANSAS AND WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN THE NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS."

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