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Exploring Arkansas September 2006

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Underwater Arkansas, Mt. Magazine State Park, Stonecreek Ranch
We'll explore the depths of Lake Ouachita through a program offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish CommissioNorth Then, it's off on a trek to the highest point in the state atop Mount Magazine in west Arkansas. The episode concludes with riding, roping and "punching doggies" at a dude ranch near Mountain Home.

TRANSCRIPT

THE OTHER BEAUTY OF THE NATURAL STATE IS THE UNDERWATER WORLD. ON THIS WEEK'S SHOW, WE'LL INTRODUCE TO YOU UNDERWATER ARKANSAS. A PROGRAM PROVIDED BY THE ARKANSAS GAME & FISH COMMISSION. AND THEN WE'LL HEAD TO THE MOUNTAINTOP TO THE HIGHEST POINT IN THE STATE ATOP MOUNT MAGAZINE, ALSO KNOWN AS THE ISLAND IN THE SKY. WE'LL WRAP IT ALL UP WITH RIDING, ROPING, AND PUNCHING DOGGIES AT STONE CREEK RANCH NEAR MOUNTAIN HOME. BUT FOR NOW, LET'S DIVE INTO NEAR MOUNTAIN HOME. BUT FOR NOW, LET'S DIVE INTO THE NATURAL STATE. ♪ 

BEFORE WE ACTUALLY GO UNDER, A QUICK LESSON OR TWO AND MACROINVERTEBRATES, THE INSECTS THAT PROVIDE FOOD FOR MANY OF THE FISH IN LAKES. 

THIS LOOKS LIKE A SHRIMP OR SOMETHING. 

YEAH, IT DOES. (SNEEZES) 

BLESS YOU. 

IS IT A BUG? YOU ARE CLOSE. 

CRAY FISH? 

THAT LOOKS LIKE IT'S SWIMMING ON ITS SIDE TO ME. THAT'S A BIG HINT. IT'S A SCUD OR SIDE SWIMMER. 

AFTER GETTING THE SCOOP ON THE BUGS, WE MET UP WITH MIKE TAYLOR OF OCEAN EXTREME. OUR GUIDE DOG ON LAKE OUACHITA. 

THIS IS A SLATE ROCK BOTTOM THE PLACE WE'RE GOING. IT'S A NICE UNDERWATER POINT THAT GOES OUT THERE. IT STARTS IN ABOUT 3 FEET OF WATER AND SLOWLY SLOPES OFF TO ABOUT, WELL, 18-20 FEET ON EACH SIDE IS WHERE YOU WILL GET INTO THE PLACE WHERE THE WATER CHANGES TEMPERATURE. MOST OF YOUR FISH THAT YOU LEARNED ABOUT -- DID YOU LEARN ABOUT FISH TODAY I HOPE A LITTLE BIT? 

A LITTLE BIT. 

COOL. MOST OF THE SUN FISH SPECIES AND THINGS LIKE THAT ARE GOING TO COME UP TO GREET YOU AS SOON AS YOU GET IN THE WATER.  FOREWARN YOU ON THAT. WE CAN'T TRAIN THEM, BUT THEY  FOREWARN YOU ON THAT. WE CAN'T TRAIN THEM, BUT THEY ARE SURE CONDITIONED. ♪ 

AFTER A 10-15  MINUTE BOAT RIDE, WE ARRIVED AT NOT EXACTLY A CORAL REEF, BUT YOU COULD SAY A COURT'S REEF. 

THE OTHER THING THAT WE HAVE IN THIS AREA, THERE IS A BIG QUARTZ VEIN THAT RUNS FROM THAT CEDAR TREE ON THE BACK AND COMES STRAIGHT BACK WHERE BOB'S AT AND IN THAT DIRECTION UNDERWATER. YOU WILL FIND THAT MOST OF THIS IS SLATE, BUT THEN YOU WILL SEE THE WHITE QUARTZ ROCK. YESTERDAY AFTERNOON WE FOUND A CRYSTAL THAT WAS ABOUT, OH, ABOUT THAT BIG AROUND (INDICATING), ABOUT LIKE THAT. AND ABOUT THAT LONG (INDICATING). IT WAS AWESOME. I WILL SHOW IT TO YOU WHEN WE GET BACK TO THE STORE. I FORGOT ABOUT THAT. THAT'S A LITTLE ADDED ARKANSAS DIAMOND FOR YOU GUYS. 

YOU MAY HAVE GUESSED, MIKE TAYLOR OF OCEAN EXTREME IS THE EXTREME. 

WE LIKE TO HELP PEOPLE ENJOY THE NATURAL STATE FROM THE BOTTOM UP. NOW, YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THAT IF YOU WANT TO. NOW, YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THAT IF YOU WANT TO. 

THERE YOU GO. 

SINCE 2002, UNDERWATER ARKANSAS HAS BEEN GIVING SNORKELERS AND DIVER AS WHOLE NEW PERSPECTIVE OF THE UNDERWATER ENVIRONMENT. 

YEAH,  ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO WE WERE HAVING A LITTLE BRAINSTORMING SESSION, AND JUST TALKING ABOUT ALL OF THE GREAT RESOURCES THAT WE HAVE IN ARKANSAS, TERRESTRIAL, ON LAND, WE'VE GOT GREAT HIKING AND BEAUTIFUL RIVERS. I SAID, GOSH, WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THE UNDERWATER THINGS THAT WE HAVE IN ARKANSAS? WE HAVE SOME OF THE CLEANEST, CLEAREST LAND LOCKED WATER IN THE NATION. AND LAKE OUACHITA IS A PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR FOLKS TO GET OUT AND LEARN ABOUT UNDERWATER ECOLOGY. SO, THUS, UNDERWATER ARKANSAS WAS DEVELOPED. IT'S JUST A GREAT PARTNERSHIP THAT WE HAVE OUR BIOLOGIST AT GAME & FISH COME AND DO WONDE WONDERFUL PRESENTATIONS ON, YOU KNOW, UNDERWATER FLORA AND FAUNA. YOU LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY FISH. ALL OF THE AQUATIC VEGETATION THAT'S HERE. WE LEARN ABOUT MUSSELS. WE USE OUR FISHERY STAFF TO HELP US, AND THEN WE LOOK WITH THE FOLKS HERE AT LAKE OUACHITA. FOLKS HAVE A CLASSROOM SESSION IN THE MORNING, AND THEN FOLKS DIVE ALL AFTERNOON. IT'S A GOOD TIME. WE ENJOY IT A LOT. 

I GUESS THAT YOU HAVE NOT ONLY TEACHERS, BUT JUST PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE TO COME IN THE VARIOUS DIFFERENT CLASSES THAT YOU HAVE THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER. 

RIGHT. TODAY'S SESSION WAS REALLY GEARED TOWARDS TEACHERS. THEY CAN COME AND GET A LOT OF INFORMATION THAT THEY CAN TAKE BACK TO THEIR CLASSROOM. THEY GET IN-SERVICE CREDIT HOURS FOR BEING HERE. SO NOT ONLY DO THEY HAVE A GOOD, FUN DAY IN THE SUN AND WATER, BUT THEY CAN TAKE BACK IN-SERVICE HOURS WHICH HELPS THEM. AND THEN WE HAVE A FATHER AND DAUGHTER HERE TODAY. WE HAVE GRANDPARENTS THAT COME WITH THEIR GRANDKIDS. JUST ANYBODY THAT'S SCUBA CERTIFIED AND IS INTERESTED IN GETTING OUT HERE AND LEARNING A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT GETTING OUT HERE AND LEARNING A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT THEY SEE WHEN THEY GO DIVING. ♪ 

AND WHAT DO THEY SEE? 

FISH IN THE WEEDS. 

WEEDS? (LAUGHTER) 

WEEDS? (LAUGHTER) 

DO YOU SEE ANY TREASURE? 

YES. 

YOU DID? WHAT DO YOU HAVE THERE? OH, LOOKIE HERE. MUSSELS. 

THAT'S PRETTY MUCH ALL THAT I HAVE. BESIDES ROCK. WELL, YOU'LL HAVE SOMETHING TO SHOW AND TELL BACK IN TEXAS. 

UH-HUH. 

YOU GOING TO COME BACK NEXT YEAR? 

I AM HEAPING. 

YOU'RE HOPING? 

SHE'LL BE BACK. 

A TEACHER IN ROGERS? 

I TEACH AT ROGERS AT THE ACADEMY. AND I JUST CALLED THE ARKANSAS GAME & FISH COMMISSION, AND I WAS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO DO OVER THE SUMMER, AND I HAVEN'T BEEN DIVING SINCE A FEW YEARS AGO, SO I WANTED TO TAKE IT UP. 

WHERE DID YOU MOVE FROM? 

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. 

SO DID YOU OCEAN DIVING. 

A LITTLE OCEAN DIVING. 

THIS ISN'T QUITE LIKE THE OCEAN. 

NO, NOT AT ALL. IT WAS VERY, VERY ENJOYABLE. (LAUGHTER)  

WELL, I HAD THE HOOKED ON FISHING AND NOT ON DRUGS PROGRAM IN MY CLASSROOM, AND I LEARNED THAT THERE WERE OTHER PROGRAMS AVAILABLE FOR TO US EXPERIENCE IN THE SUMMER THIS IS ONE THAT WE FOUND AND THOUGHT WE MIGHT ENJOY. 

TELL US ABOUT THE OUTING. IS IT ALL THAT YOU EXPECTED? 

OH, IT'S WONDERFUL. WONDERFUL. WE FOUND ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF FISH AND ROCKS AND SEAWEED AND VERY ENJOYABLE. 

NO TREASURE? 

WE DID HAVE TREASURE. (LAUGHTER)  WE FOUND A QUARTZ VEIN, AND WE TOOK SOME HOME TO PUT IN OUR AQUARIUMS IN THE CLASSROOM.EN 

WELL, I SAW FISH UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, AND A COUPLE OF LITTLE LONG-EARED SUN FISH, AND SOME BLUE GILL, AND A BASS. ONE THING THAT I THOUGHT WAS NEAT WAS A LOG PERCH, AND IT JUST WENT THROUGH AND UNCOVERED EVERY LITTLE HOLE WHILE I WAS WATCHING IT, AND IT WAS JUST SEARCHING FRANTICALLY FOR SOMETHING. I THINK THAT IT WAS A LOG PERCH. I HOPE THAT'S WHAT IT WAS. THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT IT WAS. (LAUGHTER)  BUT IT WAS FUN. 

IT'S AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN SEE DOWN THERE AND FIND AND BE FASCINATED BY. 

YEAH. AND, YOU KNOW, THE NEAT THING ABOUT SNORKELING OR SCUBA IS THAT YOU CAN KIND OF JUST BE STILL AND LET EVERYTHING COME TO YOU AND LOOK AT IT A LITTLE BIT CLOSER. 

YEAH, SOME OF THOSE FISH WILL START PECKING AT YOU.  YEAH. (LAUGHTER)  I NOTICED THAT. 

THERE IS SO MUCH OF OUR WORLD THAT IS UNDERWATER, WHY NOT EXPLORE SOME OF IT. AND THAT'S JUST AMAZING THAT YOU GET PEOPLE OUT HERE AND YOU NEVER THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE STUFF THAT YOU DISCOVER. AND, YOU KNOW, IF IT'S A KID, FOR INSTANCE, THEY GET EXPLORING AND THEY FIND SOMETHING THE FIRST TIME THAT THEY SEE, IT AND YOU SEE THAT AMAZING OPPORTUNITY OF DISCOVERY ON THEIR FACE, AND YOU CAN KIND OF LIVE THROUGH THAT IT'S A NEAT EXPERIENCE. 

IT SURE IS. DID YOU SEE ANYTHING NEAT OUT THERE TODAY? 

YEAH, WE SAW ALL KINDS OF SPECIES OF FISH. WE SAW PLACES WHERE HABITAT WAS CREATED FOR FISH. YOU CAN SEE THAT THE FISH WERE REALLY COMING INTO THAT AREA AND THRIVING. THAT'S KIND OF NEAT. 

IT IS KIND OF A DIFFERENT WORLD OUT THERE. IF ONLY MORE AND MORE EEM COULD GIVE IT A SHOT THEY WOULD -- 

AT FIRST, IT SOUNDS LIKE MAYBE IT'S SPOOKY OR SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK WILL BE REALLY CHALLENGING. BUT IF YOU JUST GIVE IT A CHANCE, BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOU ARE DOWN THERE AND THE POWER OF DISCOVERY TAKES OVER, AND YOU REALIZE THIS IS NOT SO HARD. IT COMES NATURAL TO YOU JUST HARD. IT COMES NATURAL TO YOU JUST LIKE THAT. ♪ (BUBBLES) ♪ 

BACK DURING THE EARLY 1800S, ALL OF THE MOUNTAINS BETWEEN THE ARKANSAS AND PETAJ PETAJEAN RIVERS WERE CALLED THE MAGAZINE. EACH MAGAZINE MOUNTAIN, IF YOU WILL, HAD ITS OFFICIAL NAME, WITH THE LARGEST REPRESENTING THE ENTIRE RANGE. AND THUS WE HAVE MOUNT THE ENTIRE RANGE. AND THUS WE HAVE MOUNT MAGAZINE. ♪ 

CALLED A ISLAND IN THE SKY DUE TO ITS GEOLOGY AND ELEVATION AT 2,753 FEET, THE HIGHEST POINT IN THE STATE, MOUNT MAGAZINE DOES HAVE SOME FEATURES OF AN ISLAND ISOLATED FROM OTHER BOTANICAL AREAS. THE MOUNTAIN IS RENOWNED FOR ITS RARE PLANTS AND WILDLIFE SUCH AS A NEW SPECIES OF SNAIL DISCOVERED IN 1903 CALLED THE MAGAZINE MOUNTAIN SHAG GREEN. AND THEN THERE ARE THE BUTTERFLIES, THE RARE BUTTERFLY IS THE MOUNTAIN'S MOST FAMOUS RESIDENT. MOUNT MAGAZINE CONTAINS ARKANSAS'S LAST REMAINING VIRGIN FORESTS. AFTER MOVING TO THE MOUNTAINTOP, PARK INTERPRETER DON SIMONS COULDN'T BE MORE THRILLED. 

WELL, MOVING TO MOUNT MAGAZINE WAS PROBABLY THE SMARTEST THING THAT I EVER DID. I CAME OUT OF THE DELTA AND I MOVED UP HERE. IT'S A GREAT PLACE TO BE. IT'S SO DIVERSE. IT'S BEAUTIFUL. I HAVE TO LOOK OUT AT THE SCENERY EVERYDAY SOMETIMES, AND IT'S AMAZING HOW I NEVER GET TIRED OF IT. THE PLANT LIFE, THE WILDLIFE, IT'S SO MUCH TO LEARN AND TO INTERPRET TO THE VISITORS OF THE MOUNTAIN. I HOPE THAT THEY CAN ENJOY IT NEARLY AS MUCH AS I DO. IT'S JUST A WONDERFUL PLACE TO BE UP HERE ESPECIALLY ON A HOT SUMMER DAY LIKE TODAY WHEN IT'S SUPPOSEDLY 10 DEGREES SUMMER DAY LIKE TODAY WHEN IT'S SUPPOSEDLY 10 DEGREES COOLER IN THE VALLEY. ♪ 

WHICH IS WHAT ATTRACTED MANY OF THE MOUNTAINS EARLY SETTLERS DURING THE 1800S. THERE WAS THOMS RUSH WHO MOVED HERE TO HELP HIS WIFE'S CONDITION. TODAY THE BLUFF SERVES AS A WEDDING SETTING. MANY OF THE NAMES ON THE MOUNTAINS WERE NAMED AFTER EARLY SETTLERS. THIS IS NAMED AFTER BENJAMIN BENEFIELD. A GRAVE TO THE ENTRANCE OF THE PICNIC AREA, THE FINAL RESTING PLACE OF ONE OF THE BENFIELD CHILDREN. STONE FENCES CAN BE FOUND IN MANY AREAS, REMNANTS OF THE OLD HOMESTEADS. LODGES ON THE MOUNTAINS WERE CONSTRUCTED AS EARLY AS 1900. A LODGE AND A RESTAURANT BUILT IN 1940 WAS DESTROYED BY ARSONISTS IN 1971. TODAY A NEW 60-ROOM STATE PARK LODGE AND 13 CABINS OCCUPY THE EXACT SAME SITE. OF COURSE, NOVICE IT'S TO MOUNT MAGAZINE WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A HIKE TO THE HIGH POINT. SIGNAL HILL TRAIL LEADS VISITORS TO THE HIGHEST SIGNAL HILL TRAIL LEADS VISITORS TO THE HIGHEST ELEVATION IN ARKANSAS. ♪ 

THIS 1 1/2-MILE ROUND-TRIP HIKE TAKES TWO HOURS TO COMPLETE. JOINING UP WITH A PARK INTERPRETER HELPS IN LEARNING ABOUT ALL OF THE UNIQUE PLANT LIFE AND SOME OF THE EARLY SETTLER HISTORY. 

NOTICE ALL OF THESE HORIZONTAL HOLES ON THIS. THESE WERE MADE BY YELLOW BELLIED SAP SUCKERS IN THE WINTERTIME. THEY DRILL THESE HOLES, AND THIS SPECIES OF TREE AND SEVERAL OTHERS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE SAP OOZE OUT. OF COURSE, THEY DRANK SOME OF THE SAP, BUT THEY WERE MOSTLY INTERESTED IN THE INSECTS LIKE GNATS AND FLIES THAT ARE ATTRACTED TO THE SAP. AND THIS IS A SUGAR MAPLE TREE. AND SOME OF THE SETTLERS HERE ON THE MOUNTAIN AND IN THE AREA WOULD ACTUALLY TAP THESE IN THE WINTERTIME TO CATCH THE SAP IN BUCKETS, AND THEN THEY WILL BOIL IT DOWN TO MAKE MAPLE SYRUP OUT OF IT. BUT IT TAKES 40 GALLONS OF THIS SAP TO MAKE 1 GALLON OF SYRUP. THIS SAP TO MAKE 1 GALLON OF SYRUP. SO IT'S A LOT OF WORK. ♪ 

ALL RIGHT. THE SUMMIT. THE HIGHEST POINT IN ARKANSAS. ABOUT THAT? 

WE MADE IT. 

DON, CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, BUT I HEARD THAT THIS POSSIBLY MAY BE ALSO THE HIGHEST POINT BETWEEN THE ROCKIES AND THE APPALACHIANS, OR IS THAT NOT RIGHT? 

NO, IT'S NOT. ACCORDING TO SEA LEVEL, IT'S DEFINITELY NOT THE HIGHEST POINT BETWEEN THOSE TWO MOUNTAIN RANGES. THE HIGHEST POINT IN OKLAHOMA AND NEBRASKA, KANSAS ARE ALL MUCH HIGHER THAN WE ARE ACCORDING TO SEA LEVEL. BUT WE HAVE TO QUALIFY WHAT THEY USED TO SAY IS THE HIGHEST POINT IN ELEVATION GAIN. THAT'S KIND OF CONFUSING. FROM BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE UP HERE IS OVER 2,200 FEET. SO WE'RE THE ONLY REAL MOUNTAIN IN THIS AREA THAT HAS THAT MUCH ELEVATION GAIN. BUT THAT'S KIND OF CONFUSING. SO I THINK THAT WE JUST NEED TO KEEP TELLING THEM THAT WE'RE JUST THE HIGHEST POINT IN ARKANSAS AND BE SATISFIED WE'RE JUST THE HIGHEST POINT IN ARKANSAS AND BE SATISFIED WITH THAT. 

THE 400-SQUARE-FOOT STONE MAP OF ARKANSAS AT THE SUMMIT IS THE IDEA THAT DON CAME UP WITH AFTER VISITING OTHER STATE'S HIGH POINTS. 

WELL, WHEN I FIRST STARTED WORKING HERE IN THE YEAR 2000, I CAME UP HERE AND THIS WAS A VERY UNDERUSED TRAIL, AND THERE WAS JUST LITTLE MONUMENTS SET IN CONCRETE, AND A SIMPLE LITTLE SIGN SAYING "HIGHEST POINT IN ARKANSAS."  AND I THOUGHT THAT ARKANSAS DESERVES SOMETHING BETTER THAN THAT. SO WE THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR A LONG TIME, AND I HAD TRAVELLED TO OKLAHOMA AND A FEW OF THE OTHER PLACES, AND THEY ALL HAD NICE, BIG MONUMENTS PROCLAI PROCLAIMING THE HIGH POINTS. AND SO WE CONSIDERED SEVERAL OPTIONS, AND THEN WE CAME UP WITH THIS DESIGN. IT'S A 400-SQUARE-FOOT SCALE MAP OF ARKANSAS. WE'RE REAL PROUD WITH IT. 

WHO IS THE FELLOW THAT DESIGNED IT? 

JIM LANGEFORD IS OUR TRAILS COORDINATOR FOR ARKANSAS STATE PARKS, AND I BROUGHT HIM UP HERE, AND I TOLD HIM MY IDEA, AND HE JUST LOVED IT. HE FELL IN LOVE WITH THE WHOLE IDEA, AND HE GOT US A AMERICORPS CREW, AND THEY SPENT A MONTH BUILDING THIS UP HERE. 

DONE APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH IS A REGISTER. TELL US ABOUT THIS. 

WELL, AT EVERY HIGH POINT THAT I'VE BEEN TO THERE IS SOME SORT OF REGISTRATION DEVICE THERE. SO WE PUT ONE UP HERE, AND EVERY YEAR I TALLY HOW MANY PEOPLE SIGN IN ON IT, AND HOW MANY STATES ARE REPRESENTED AND COUNTRIES, AND WE NORMALLY GET ROUND 48 STATES EVERY YEA YEAR, 21 COUNTRIES, SOMETIMES MORE, AND WELL OVER 4,000 PEOPLE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. THEY'VE MADE THIS TREK UP HERE TO SAY THEY'VE BEEN TO THE HIGHEST POINT IN ARKANSAS. 

WELL, I'VE GOT TO DO MY DUTY HERE. (LAUGHTER) DUTY HERE. (LAUGHTER) ♪ 

SO EXPLORE FOR YOURSELF THE MAGNIFICENT BEAUTY THAT IS MOUNT MAGAZINE, AND EXPERIENCE WHAT FOLKS HAVE BEEN ENJOYING MOUNT MAGAZINE, AND EXPERIENCE WHAT FOLKS HAVE BEEN ENJOYING FOR MORE THAN 150 YEARS. ♪ 

COME DOWN THE OTHER SIDE. 

SUNRISE AT STONE CREEK GUEST RANCH NEAR MOUNTAIN HOME. THE OWNER GETS HORSES READY FOR ANOTHER ACTION-PACKED DAY THE OWNER GETS HORSES READY FOR ANOTHER ACTION-PACKED DAY OF WESTERN ADVENTURE. ♪ 

YEAH, I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT THE I WATCHED JOHN WAYNE LAST NIGHT. "HE WOULD A DOE" SO I AM READY LAST NIGHT. "HE WOULD A DOE" SO I AM READY TO GO, PILGRIM. 

HE SAYS THAT AFTER A WEEK OR SO, HE CAN TRANSFORM JUST ABOUT ANYONE INTO A COWBOY OR COWGIRL. 

ABSOLUTELY. THAT'S WHAT SETS US APART FROM YOUR TYPICAL GUEST RANCH AND DUDE RANCH. THERE IS NOT ONE HORSE ON THE PROPERTY THAT'S TRAINED TO FOLLOW THE TAIL OF ANOTHER HORSE. THEY'RE EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY NICE, WELL-TRAINED HORSES. I CAN RIDE THEM WITHOUT A BRIDAL, AND YOU CAN, TOO, AFTER YOU LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH A HORSE WITH OUR WHOLE BODY. I THINK THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT LEAVE HERE AFTER A WEEK'S VACATION DOING THE HORSEMANSHIP ACTIVITIES THAT GO HOME RIDING BETTER THAN PEOPLE THAT HAVE OWNED A HORSE FOR MANY YEARS. YOU KNOW, GOOD HORSEMANSHIP ISN'T COMMON SENSE. IT BECOMES COMMON SENSE AFTER WE LEARN HOW HORSES THINK, AND HOW INTUITIVE THEY ARE TO EVEN HOW WE FEEL ON THEIR BACK. KNOW, I THOUGHT THAT I KNEW EVERYTHING THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT A HORSE BY THE TIME I TURNED 16. UNFORTUNATELY I WAS IN MY 30s AND I REALIZED I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING. SO I'VE BECOME A STUDENT OF HORSES A LONG TIME AGO AND STILL LEARNING. 

A FORMER RODEO COWBOY, ARVILLE WORKED IN THE OIL INDUSTRY. HOW HE ENDED UP OPERATING A DUDE RANCH IN ARKANSAS IS QUITE THE STORY ITSELF. 

I WAS WORKING IN THE OIL INDUSTRY, LIKE I SAID, AND I WAS ASKED TO HELP OUT ON A DRILLING PROJECT IN COLOMBIA, IN SOUTH AMERICA. AND IT WAS MOTHER'S DAY FOUR YEARS AGO, AND I WORKED IN THE OFFICE MOST OF THE TIME IN BOGOTA, BUT THIS TIME I WAS OUT ON THE LOCATION. AND WE GOT ATTACKED BY THE GUERRILLAS, THE TERRORISTS OF COLOMBIA. IT WAS A TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE. CAME REALLY CLOSE TO GETTING KIDNAPPED AND SAW A LOT OF HORRIBLE THINGS. BUT I GUESS THAT EXPERIENCE HELPED ME FIGURE OUT WHAT'S IMPORTANT IN LIFE. I FOUND OUT WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS NOT THE NUMBER ON THE BOTTOM OF MY W2 FORM. NOT ALL OF THE STUFF THAT I WANTED BUY. NOT WHAT YEAR AND MODEL MY CAR WAS. THAT STUFF IS THE FARTHEST FROM OUR MINDS WHEN WE'RE EXPERIENCING SOMETHING THAT WE KNOW COULD BE THE END OF OUR LIFE. SO WITHIN TWO MONTHS I DECIDED THAT I WAS GOING TO DO SOMETHING THAT I ENJOYED FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. AND IT PROBABLY TOOK ANOTHER 4 OR 5 MONTHS TO DECIDE WHAT THAT WAS. BUT THIS IS IT. I LOVE HORSES. I LOVE HORSEMANSHIP. LOVE PEOPLE. I LOVE SHARING HORSEMANSHIP WITH PEOPLE. SO THIS WAS THE OBVIOUS THING. LET'S START A GUEST RANCH THAT'S ABOUT GOOD HORSES, YOU KNOW, WHERE PEOPLE CAN BRING THEIR HORSES AND ESTABLISH A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR HORSE, OR PEOPLE THAT, YOU KNOW, ARE NEW TO HORSES. WE HAVE SOME REALLY, REALLY NICE HORSES HERE FOR THEM TO RIDE AND LEARN TO RIDE OR RIDE NICE HORSES HERE FOR THEM TO RIDE AND LEARN TO RIDE OR RIDE BETTER. ♪ 

I'LL SHOW YOU HOW MOST PEOPLE TURN A HORSE. THEY WANT TO TURN THAT WAY, AND THEY GO (INDICATING). ALMOST EVERYBODY TURN AS HORSE LIKE THIS (INDICATING). WHEN WE PULL BACK, WHAT DOES THAT SAY TO THE HORSE? STOP. YOU SAY GOOD FORWARD AND TURN, AND IF YOU DON'T, IT'S JUST YOU SAY GOOD FORWARD AND TURN, AND IF YOU DON'T, IT'S JUST THIS ONE ROUND. ♪ 

THE BASIC RIDING IS PEOPLE THAT REALLY AREN'T INTERESTED IN EXTREME LEARNING EXPERIENCE. THEY JUST WANT TO BE WITH HORSES, DO THE TRAIL RIDING THING. THAT COMES WITH ABOUT 10 OR 15 MINUTES OF ORIENTATION. IF THEY'RE INTERESTED WE'LL SPEND 10 OR 15 MINUTES EACH MORNING BEFORE WE GET OUT WORKING ON SOMETHING THAT THEY WANT TO DO BETTER. AND THEN IT'S JUST AN ENJOYABLE TRAIL RIDE. AND THEN THE NEXT STEP OF THAT IS LIKE A HORSEMANSHIP EXPERIENCE. WE SPEND A COUPLE OF HOURS A DAY, AND THAT'S ALL THAT WE NEED, AND WORKING ON THEIR HORSEMANSHIP. AND THEN IN THE AFTERNOON WE'LL GO OUT ON A TRAIL RIDE AND KIND OF PRACTICE WHAT WE LEARNED. IT'S A GREAT PLACE TO GO ON A TRAIL RIDE TO BECOME A BETTER HORSEMAN. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO OUTSIDE. WE TEACH PEOPLE TO RIDE COW HORSES. WE HAVE CUTTING HORSES HERE. I'M LEARNING TO TRAIN CUTTING HORSES. I STARTED CUTTING HORSES FOR MANY YEARS, BUT I AM KIND OF LEARNING MORE ABOUT FINISHING THEM. YOU CAN BRING YOUR OWN HORSE HERE. THAT'S BECOMING REAL POPULAR. WE HAVE A OF GUESTS NOW THAT BRING THEIR HORSES. YOU KNOW, THEY'RE WANTING TO ESTABLISH A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR HORSE. WE HAVE A COWBOY RACE COURSE THAT'S AN OBSTACLE RACE COURSE THAT'S SET UP OUTSIDE. THERE ARE 18 DIFFERENT OBSTACLES FROM WATER CROSSINGS TO SOME COW WORK THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO JUMP OVER. THERE ARE TRAILS IN THE WOODS TO NAVIGATE, A LOG TO DRAG. THE KIND OF TEST TO TEST OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR HORSE. IT TESTS OUR POISE AND OUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS WITH THE HORSE. 

THEY CALL ME FESTIS. A NEW LEADERSHIP PROGRAM AT THE RANCH IS DESIGNED TO PROVE ONE'S EFFECTIVENESS IN LIFE. 

THAT'S A PART OF OUR BUSINESS THAT WE'RE REALLY STARTING TO DEVELOP. WE'VE DONE SIX LEADERSHIP EVENTS USING HORSES. THERE ARE JUST THOUSANDS OF LIFE LESSONS IN A HORSE. YOU KNOW, I'VE PROBABLY HEARD 200 MOTHERS WHEN WE'RE TEACHING PEOPLE TO RIDE, MOM'S STANDING OVER ON THE FENCE WATCHING. AND THEEL'S SAY LATER, "YOU KNOW, I NEED TO BE MORE LIKE THAT WITH MY KIDS."  AND I'VE HEARD MEN SAY, "YOU KNOW WHAT?" HORSEMANSHIP IS LEADERSHIP.""  AND IT TRULY IS. A HORSE IS AN ANIMAL FULL OF FEAR, THAT'S LOOKING FOR A LEADER. AND THEY DO SO MUCH BETTER IN THE PRESENCE OF A PERSON THAT'S CONFIDENT. YOU KNOW, HORSES LOVE CONFIDENCE. THEY LOVE CONFIDENCE. 

ONE CONFIDENT COWGIRL WE MET SHARED WITH US WHAT SHE LEARNED. 

YOU TUCK YOUR THUMB UNDER YOUR POCKET ON YOUR RIGHT SIDE OR YOUR LEFT SIDE, IT DOESN'T MATTER. AND THEN YOU STEER WITH ONE HAND, AND THEN YOU MOVE WITH YOUR THUMB BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT HOLDING THE SADDLE. YOU ARE JUST KIND OF MOVING WITH YOUR THUMB, SO YOU MOVE WITH THE HORSE'S BODY. 

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR LEGS? 

YOU KIND OF STICK THEM OUT VERY LITTLE. SO IF THE HORSE STARTS BUCKING, YOUR KNEES WILL GET CAUGHT ON THE SADDLE. BUT IF YOU SQUEEZE, THEY'LL JUST GO FASTER. THAT'S TELLING THEM TO GO. 

SEE, YOU'VE LEARNED A LOT. YOU COULD PROBABLY TEACH 

SEE, YOU'VE LEARNED A LOT. YOU COULD PROBABLY TEACH SOMEBODY ELSE HOW TO RIDE. ♪ 

SO EITHER A COWBOY UP, OR A COWGIRL UP, AS THE CASE MAY BE, AND ENJOY THE TRUE WESTERN EXPERIENCE HERE AT STONE CREEK RANCH AT MOUNTAIN HOME. AND THEN HEAD TO THE MOUNTAINTOP AT MOUNT MAGAZINE AND HIKE UP TO THE HIGHEST POINT IN THE STATE, ARKANSAS'S SUMMIT. IF IT'S SUMMERTIME, ENJOY THE UNDERWATER WORLD OF THE NATURAL STATE DURING ONE OF THE SEVERAL SESSIONS OFFERED BY THE ARKANSAS GAME & FISH COMMISSION AND UNDERWATER ARKANSAS. AND FOR MORE INFO ON THESE AND OTHER DESTINATIONS, VISIT OUR WEBSITE, AETN.ORG/EXPLORIN AETN.ORG/EXPLORINGARKANSAS. WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS."

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