Graphic of A E T N Logo Graphic of P B S logo

Exploring Arkansas July 2013

Loading the player…

Iron Mountain Trail, Historic Washington State Park, Yellow Rock Trail
The Iron Mountain Bike Trail along DeGray Lake near Arkadelphia, when completed will be about 26 miles long. It offers a nice adventure ride that can be done in sections, or the entire length depending upon your physical ability. Historic Washington State Park is exactly that-an entire town that happens to be a state park. Washington was an important stop along the rugged Southwest Trail to Texas. It's also the home of the legendary Bowie knife. The Yellow Rock Trail at Devil's Den State Park offers magnificent views in all directions from atop Yellow Rock itself.

TRANSCRIPT

IRON MOUNTAIN AND DEGRAY LAKE NEAR ARKADELPHIA TWO OUT DOOR VACATION HOT SPOTS.  TODAY WE WILL FOLLOW ALONG THE 17-MILE ROUTE MOUNTAIN BIKING ADVENTURE ON IRON MOUNTAIN.  FELLAS.

WELL,  ACTUALLY STARTED IN THE PROCESS IT WAS IN 2000 ACTUALLY WITH SOME OF THE INITIAL CONCEPTUAL IDEAS OF WHERE WE WANTED IT TO BE, AND IT WAS LIKE 2008 BEFORE WE WERE ABLE TO MOVE OUR FIRST SHOVEL OF DIRT.  PHASE TWO OF THE NATURAL SURFACE TRAILS WAS STARTED LAST FALL, AND THAT'S ACTUALLY A TOTAL OF ANOTHER 8 MILES. BEHIND US HERE IN THE SPILLWAY CHANNEL IS ACTUALLY GOING TO BE ADA, AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES, GEO TREK TRAIL THAT BE ACCESSIBLE FOR EVERYONE DOWN HERE ALSO SO WE HAVE THE MOST ADVENTIOUS TRACK AND THE ADA TRAIL WILL BE UNDER 1 MILE FLAT, AND BE ABLE TO TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE GEOLOGY THAT IS BEHIND US.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT THE ROCK THAT WE SEE BEHIND YOU.  WHAT'S THE STORY THERE?

WE ARE STANDING THE SPILLWAY AND WHAT IS THE EMERGENCY OVER FLOWED.  THE LAKE NEVER OVER FLOWED IN ITS HISTORY BUT THIS WAS ACTUALLY CUT THROUGH THE MOUNTAIN HERE AS EMERGENCY OVER FLOW AND YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THE ROCKS -- THEY ACTUALLY LOOK VERTICAL.  THE PLATE SHIFT INTO A VERTICAL MODE AND PUSHED OUT OF THE GROUND AND WHAT IS EXPOSED BEHIND US IN THE CHANNEL IS 3 MILLION YEARS OF GEOLOGICAL HISTORY.

NOW, THE FINAL PHASE, YOU SAID THE 17-MILES AND ONCE IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE YOU HOPE TO GO TO 25 MIMES YOU SAID?

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 24, 25. PHASE THREE A LOT OF THAT IS GOING TO BE LAKE EXPOSURE. THE WAY WE HAVE IT LAID OUT HERE WE SHOULD HAVE LAKE EXPOSURE IN THE TRAIL THROUGH THE WOODS SO THE WAY THAT THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS DESIGNED SO THAT YOU CAN DO IT IN SMALL SECTIONS WHERE THEY'RE ALL SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THREE AND 4 MILES AND IT'S WHAT IS CALLED A STACK LOOP CONFIGURATION, SO THAT YOU CAN COME IN AND DO A LITTLE POD HERE, DO THE NEXT POD AND THE NEXT POD, SO ON AND SO FORTH.  IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO DO A LONGER RIDE YOU CAN STRING THEM TOGETHER AND NOT HIT THE SAME PIECE OF TRACK TWICE OR IF YOU WANT TO DO A SHORTER RIDE YOU CAN DO THAT TOO.

THAT WAS PRETTY.

ONE OF THE BEST PARTS IS IT'S CLOSE TO HOME.  I CAN RIDE MY MOUNTAIN BIKE FROM THE HOUSE AND ON THE TRAIL AND GET COOLED AND ALL THAT.  THE TRAIL IS REALLY GOOD FOR ANYONE.  THE NEWER SECTIONS THAT WERE JUST BUILT ARE A LITTLE MORE TECHNICAL THAN THE OLDER PORTIONS OF THE TRAIL BUT THEY'RE RIDEABLE FOR ANYONE DEPENDING HOW FAST YOU WANT TO GO, BUT I THINK ANYONE CAN PROBABLY RIDE IT.

DO YOU DO THE WHOLE 17 MILES OR DO YOU TAKE IT SECTION BY SECTION?

WELL, THERE ARE DAYS THAT YOU DO RIDE IT ALL, MAYBE TWICE, AND THERE ARE DAYS YOU JUST COME OUT AND DO SOMETHING QUICK AND GET BACK TO THE HOUSE.  THAT'S THE BEST PART ABOUT IT.  THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT LOOPS.  YOU CAN NETWORK IT OR DO A PIEC AND GO.  THAT'S THE BEST PART I THINK TOO.

IRON MOUNTAIN TRAIL ALONG DEGRAY LAKE DEFINITELY MAKE A IRON MAN OUT OF YOU OR IRON WOMAN.

HISTORIC WASHINGTON IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS NORTH OF HOPE HAS BEEN COMPARED TO COLONIAL WILLIAMS BERG AND SERVEDACE A CONVENIENT STOP FOR TRAVELERS ON THE RUGGED PATH TO TEXAS.

1824 THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE THAT GOT TOGETHER ON THIS SAND HILL AND SAID WE THINK THIS PLACE COULD BE A ROUND VIEWPOINT FOR TRAVELERS HEADING REST AND A STOPPING POINT FOR PEOPLE THAT WANTED TO FIND THEIR FORTUNE HERE AT THE TIME AND YOU HAD PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE THAT CAME HERE.  YOU HAD THE TRADES MAN AND THE PROFESSIONALS AND THE FARMERS THAT WERE THE BACKBONE OF THE ECONOMY AND CAME HERE TO GROW CORN, LIVESTOCK AND THOSE PEOPLE WERE PART OF WHAT BECAME ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS HISTORY NOT TO MENTION ARKANSAS HISTORY. WHEN WE DO PROGRAMMING HERE AT HISTORIC ARKANSAS STATE PARK WE ARE ACTUALLY CONTINUING A TRADITION THAT HAS GONE ON A LONG TIME.  THAT IS TRADITION FROM THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF CONFEDERACY WHEN YOU GO TO THE HOMESTEAD COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND PRESSED INTO SERVICE THROUGH THE CIVIL WAR AS ARKANSAS CAPITOL, THAT IS CONFEDERATE CAPITOL. YOU HAVE THE BLACKSMITH SHOP AND HIGHLIGHTS THE BOWIE KNIVES STORY AND CONNECTION TO ARKANSAS HISTORY.  WE HAVE MEXICAN WAR CONNECTIONS HERE.  WE HAVE THE EARLY POLITICIANS OF ARKANS THAT WENT ON TO NOT ONLY HOLD REGIONAL OFFICE BUT NATNAL OFFICE AND AUGUSTA GARLAND AND ONE OF THE GOVERNOR'S OF ARKANSAS.  THEY WERE A FEW OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE REALLY INSTRUMENTAL IN FORMING WHAT BECAME THE WASHINGTON STORY. WE HAVE A LOT OF MIX GOING ON HERE. WE HAVE THE TOWN OF WASHINGTON. YOU HAVE THE WASHINGTON FOUNDATION.  ARKANSAS STATE PARKS AND OF COURSE WE HAVE A WIDE RANGE OF VOLUNTEERS FROM THE COMMUNITY THAT COME OUT AND HELP INTO INTERPRETATION.  THEY HELP OUT WITH SPECIAL EVENTS DURING THE YEAR AND THEY RANGE FROM HIGH PROFILE EVENTS AND FESTIVALS AND ONE OF THE PREMIER CRAFT SHOWS IN THE STATE AND WE HAVE THE HILL OF THE TRAILS BEFORE IT WAS CALLED WASHINGTON AND WE HAVE CIVIL WAR WEEKENDS IN NOVEMBER.

FIRST COMPANY FALL BACK. READY, AIM, FIRE.  LOAD. EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT.

WE HAVE PROGRAMS THAT GO ON HERE IN THE PARK AND BEHIND ME YOU SEE THE VISITOR'S CENTER, THE HEMPSTEAD COUNTY COURTHOUSE. THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE START THEIR EXPERIENCE IN WASHINGTO. WE'RE OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.  YOU GET INFORMATION.  WE HAVE EXHIBITS. WE'RE IN THE PROCESS  OF EXCHANGING THE EXHIBITS OUT DURING THE YEAR. THERE IS A LOT OF TO SEE AND IN THE COURSE OF MOVING AROUND THE TOWN THERE ARE EIGHT TO 10 SITES OPEN AND WE HAVE A NICE VARIETY. THERE ARE MANY INTERPRETIVE VENUES WITHIN THE PARK AND IN THE TOWN AND WE TRY TO HIGHLIGHT AS MANY OF THOSE AS WE CAN.

THE WILLIAMS TAVERN RESTAURANT STILL OFFERS TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN CUISINE WITH SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY SINCE JOHN WILLIAMS BUILT IT IN 1832. IT HAS BEEN REPORTED HE FED AS MANY AS 60 MENS AND HORSES EVERY DAY AND NIGHT.  IT'S OPEN FROM 11 TO THREE DAILY.  ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE 1836 COURTHOUSE AND CONFEDERATE CAPITOL OF ARKANSAS IS THE REPRODUCTION OF A 19TH CENTURY CLASSROOM COMPLETE WITH THE SLATES ON THE BENCHES IF YOU HAVE A NEED TO BRUSH UP ON YOUR THREE R'S READING, WRITING AND ARITHMETICS AND YOU CAN GET A LESSON HOW PRINTING USED TO BE DONE.

GRAB THIS AND PULL THE LEVER. GRAB THIS LEVER RIGHT HERE. GRAB IT.  [INAUDIBLE] YOU NEVER WORKED.

NO.

YOU HAVE NOW.

YOU CAN VIEW SEVERAL HUNDRED PIECES THAT PLAYED A ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT AROUND HISTORIC WASHINGTON AND SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS IN GENERAL INCLUDING A UNIQUE DISPLAY OF BOWIE KNIVES THAT BRICKS US TO THE BLACKSMITH SHOP.  IT WAS IN THIS BLACKSMITH SHOP JAMES ACK FORGED THE FIRST GIEF FOR A MAN JAIMED JAMES BOWIE WHO WAS LATER KILLED AT THE ALAMO IN TEXAS.

HOW LONG WOULD IT HAVE TAKEN JAMES BLACK TO FORGE THAT BOWIE KNIVES?

THE FORGING PART IS A SMALL AMOUNT OF TIME DEPENDING EXACTLY HOW BIG IT WAS AND THE SHAPE OF IT.  I WOULD GUESS TWO TO THREE HOURS.  ONE OF THE KNIVES THAT PEOPLE THINK MAYBE THE ONE THAT BOWIE DESIGNED AND I TOOK THREE HOURS.  I NEVER DONE ONE OF THOSE.  IT WAS A DIFFERENT SHAPE AND BIG METAL AND I TOOK MY TIME.  WHEN I MADE A FEW OF THEM AND A FEW HOURS ON THE FORGING. NOW THOSE WILL TAKE 75 HOURS TO FINISH.  A KNIFE NEARLY AS LARGE AND MORE COMPLICATED TO MAKE BUT SIMPLER TO FORGE AND MAYBE THE ALTERNATE THAT TOOK HOUR AND A HALF TO FORGE BUT 120 HOURS TO FINISH BECAUSE OF THE WAY HE DID THINGS.  AGAIN WE DON'T KNOW WHICH KNIFE BLACK MADE FOR HIM OR HOW BIG.  DIFFERENT PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS THINKING IT WAS ONE OR ANOTHER AND IT MAYBE NONE OF THOSE, BUT THE FORGING ON THE KNIFE IS USUALLY SOMEWHERE AROUND 5% OF THE TIME IT TAKES TO MAKE ONE.  THAT'S WHEN YOU GET INTO THE REAL WORK, GRINDING, FINISHING AND TEMPERING, FINAL DRAFT, FINAL POLISH, ATTACHING THE GUARD, THE HANDLE, THE EDGE AND ALL THAT WILL TAKE ON AVERAGE ABOUT 20 TIMES AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO FORGE THE KNIFE.

SO PAY A VISIT TO HISTORIC WASHINGTON.  GO BACK IN TIME AND EXPERIENCE THE PEACE AND BEAUTY OF SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS.

HEREAT DEVIL'S DEN IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS WE'VE DONE SEGMENTS ON DEVIL'S DEN CAVE AND WE HAVEN'T HIKED YELLOW ROCK UNTIL NOW.  IT'S SUPPOSED TO HAVE NICE VISTAS AND GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS AND YELLOW ROCK ITSELF SO LET'S DO IT TO IT.

WELL, YELLOW ROCK IS ONE OF OUR MA TRAILS THAT WE HAVE HERE.  YOU CAN EITHER DO A TWO OR 3-MILE HIKE ON THERE.  IT'S PRETTY STRENUOUS.  YOU'RE CLIMBING UP IN THE AREAS UP THERE AND YOU WILL SEE DURING THIS TIME OF THE YEAR BEAUTIFUL WILD FLOWERS, HEAR LOTS OF BIRDS OUT THERE, AND IT'S JUST A BEAUTIFUL AREA.  YOU WILL GO OVER TO A VISTA WHICH OVER LOOKS THE LEE CREEK VALLEY AND THIS TRAIL WAS BUILT MAINLY BY THE CTC BOYS WHEN THEY WERE HERE BETWEEN 1933 AND 1942.

WE COME DOWN TO DEVIL'S CHANNEL ALL THE TIME AND BEEN ON THESE TRIALS MANY TIMES.  WE HAVE DONE THIS 1/2 A DOZEN TIMES.  THE LENGTH IS GOOD AND 3 MILES LONG SO YOU GET A BIT WORK OUT.

IT WAS FUN.  I ENJOYED IT BECAUSE OF THE HILLS AND THE ELEVION AND THE SIGHT  IT WAS A GOOD VANTAGE POINT, THE SIGHTS.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

IT WAS COOL.  IT WAS LONGER BECAUSE WE DIDN'T TAKE THE RIGHT PATH.

BY STARTING OUT AT THE LOWER TRAIL HEAD AT CAMP GROUND A YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO YELLOW ROCK AND CUT THE LENGTH TO 2 MILES ROUND TRIP.  THERE IS A CIVILIAN CONSERVATION OVER LOOK THAT IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE FROM THE ROAD.

IF YOU FOLLOW 170 YOU CAN FOLLOW THE ROAD AND WALK DOWN AND IT WILL TALK YOU TO THE OVERLOOK ALSO.

WHAT ABOUT YELLOW ROCK IS REALLY YELLOW.  THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED THE YELLOW ROCK TRAILS.

IT'S YELLOW IN COLOR. PEOPLE LOVE THIS TIME OF THE YEAR IN THE FALL WHEN THE COLORS, THE AUTUMN COLORS AND BEAUTIFUL TO LOOK DOWN IN THE VALLEY.

AT YELLOW ROCK WE MET UP WITH THE DILLY FAMILY WHO WERE NOT ONLY ENJOYING THE SPECTACULAR VIEW AND HAVING THE CHILDREN DOCUMENT THE EXPERIENCE IN TRAVEL ART JOURNALS.

I THINK IT WORKS REALLY GOOD FOR OUR FAMILY BECAUSE THERE ARE NICE TRAILS.  IT'S NOT SUPER HARD OR STRENUOUS TO GET WHERE YOU WANT TO GO AND SEE THESE BEAUTIFUL VIEWS AND OUR KIDS LOVE BEING OUTSIDE.  I THINK MOST KIDS DO.  SOMETIMES THEY DON'T NOT WHAT TO DO IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD BUT WHEN YOU GET THEM OUTTHEY LOVE IT SO FOR US IT'S NATURAL TO MAKE THE EFFORT TO GO TO PLACES LIKE THIS, AND WE LIKE IT AND THEY LOVE IT, SO IT JUST WORKS WELL.

I SEE YOU GOT THEM DRAWING AND PAINTING AND NOT JUST COMING OUT HERE TO LOOK AT THE SCENERY BUT ACTUALLY TO UTILIZEIT?

WELL, YEAH THAT WOULD DEFINITELY BE MY WIFE, KIND OF HER DOING, BUT THEY -- SHE'S -- WE HOME SCHOOL AND SHE'S BROUGHT THAT IN AS PART OF WHAT WE DO IS HELP THEM TO USE THEIR CREATIVE SIDE, YOU KNOW, AND JUST LOOKING AT THE WORLD AROUND AND TRYING TO PUT THAT DOWN IN A LITTLE BOOKLET THING, SO YEAH THAT'S -- IT'S FUND TO SEE KIND OF THEIR PERSPECTIVE AT THEIR AGE SEEING WHAT THEY SEE AND TRYING TO PUT THAT DOWN ON SOMETHING.

WELL, PART OF THE REASON THAT WE HOME SCHOOL IS THAT SO LIKE I ONLY HAVE A FEW KIDS AND NOT A WHOLE CLASSROOM AND ENGAGE IN NATURE.  IT'S BEAUTIFUL BUT IT'S REALLY COOL TO GO TO THE DIFFERENT PLACES IN ARKANSAS THAT ARE LIKE INCREDIBLE BEAUTIFUL AND THE KIDS -- LIKE TODAY WE SAW COTTON MOUTH AND JUST ENGAGE AND BE PART OF NATURE, SO THE WHOLE JOURNAL THING IS THEY'RE OUT AND ABOUT AND THEY INTERPRET WHAT TY SEE AND WE'RE LUCKY TO LIVE IN A BEAUTIFUL STATE THAT WE DO AND IT'S ENGAGING IN THAT.  YEAH.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR TRAIL, YELLOW ROCK?

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IS IT'S A WIDE ENOUGH TRAIL THAT YOU DON'T -- LIKE WE ENCOUNTERED A LOT OF POISON IVY BUT IT'S A BEAUTIFUL TRAIL SO YOU CAN STAY ON THE TRAIL ITSELF.  THE WATERFALL IS BEAUTIFUL.  THE DAM IS BEAUTIFUL.  THE OVERVIEW IS BEAUTIFUL.  WE HAVE FRIENDS IN TOWN AND WE CAME OUT TODAY TO SHARE THIS WITH HER AND IT'S AWESOME TO LIVE SO CLOSE TO THIS ACCESS, SO YEAH JUST ENGAGING IN NATURE AND BEING PART OF IT.

YOU SAW A SNAKE?

YEAH.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?

IT WAS COOL.  I LIKE SNAKES.

OH OKAY.  I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO TELL ME YOU WERE AFRAID OF SNAKES.

IT HAD A FROG IN ITS MOUTH.

IT DID?  WHAT ELSE DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS TRAIL?

I LIKE THAT YOU CAN SEE EVERYTHING FROM THE TOP.

YEAH LIKE RIGHT HERE AT YELLOW ROCK.

IT'S A GIANT CLIFF THAT YOU CAN GO ON.

YEAH.

I LIKE THAT IT'S A LONG WAYS. IT'S LIKE 3-MILES.

GOOD EXERCISE HUH?

YEAH.

YEAH.

I LIKE THAT THAT YOU GET TO DO A WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF ON IT. LIKE THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF TREES OVER THERE.  I LIKE PAINTING.  I LIKE DOING ART ON TOP.

YEAH, THAT'S WONDERFUL.  ALL OF YOU DOING THIS WONDERFUL ART WORK HERE ON TOP OF YELLOW ROCK. THAT'S JUST BEAUTIFUL.  WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT ALL OF THE ROCK FORM ACTIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL?

AND THE HUGE OVER HANGS?

I THOUGHT THAT WAS COOL. THEY'RE REALLY TALL.

YEAH THEY ARE.

IT WOULD BE SCARY IF YOU CLIMBED UP ONE.

DID YOU SEE THAT SNAKE TOO?

YES.  MY BROTHER HAD BINOCULARS SO I SAW IT HAD A FROG IN ITS MOUTH AND I LOOKED AT IT [INAUDIBLE] FROG, BUT WE DIDN'T KNOW UNTIL THE PEOPLE SAID IT WAS A FROG. [INAUDIBLE] BECAUSE IT WAS LIGHT.  ONLY COULD SEE WHITE AND AT FIRST I WAS LIKE WHAT IS THAT WIGGLY THING?  MAYBE IT'S A WATER SNAKE BECAUSE IT'S A SNAKE.

YES, THE FUN AND ADVENTURE OF EXPERIENCING THE GREAT OUTDOORS. SO HIKE AND EXPLORE FOR YOURSELF THE YELLOW ROCK TRAIL AT DEVIL'S DEN AND FOR MORE ON THIS DESTINATION PLUS MANY OF OUR OTHERS OR ORDER A COPY OF OR EPISODE COME TO OUR WEBSITE AT AETN.ORG/EXPLORINGARKANSAS AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS".

AETN.org > Programs > Exploring Arkansas > Exploring Arkansas July 2013