This past weekend I took my first trip to Hot Springs, AR. And it was a bit of a drive down there from St. Louis. I left St. Louis around 8:30 Friday morning and thought I would leave after the traffic had died down and I didn’t really have much traffic until South of Arnold when the construction really started to back up traffic. The drive wasn’t too bad. I was able to catch up on the songs on my iPod and realize I need to find some new music since I kept listening to the same songs over and over. But it passed the time.
I had finally made it to Arkansas and still had about 2.5 hours to drive after crossing the state line. After a quick stop for gas I was ready to get to Hot Springs. I arrived shortly after 3:30…it was a much longer drive down there than I had thought.
Friday night Kelly and I took a nice relaxing swim in Lake Catherine and after dinner we went for a tour of the lake on the speed boat. The lake is beautiful!
After a nice long boat ride we were both ready to relax for the night. We headed in to watch a movie and rest up for the upcoming hike in the morning.
We woke up early Saturday to hopefully beat the heat and get a good hike in. Kelly’s parents have been next door neighbors of Lake Catherine State Park for 5 years and Kelly has yet to try out the hiking trails. We put an end to that on Saturday. We decided to hit the 3 mile trail since it was the middle distance.
All the trails were easily marked with color squares and the map that we got at the ranger station was a huge help. Had we actually read the description of the trail that we took we would have known that although it was only 3 miles, it went to the highest elevation (782 feet). The climb was a bit tough at points but the views were great.
On our way down we found the sign that lead us to the waterfall and we moved easily on to the next trail. We were able to follow a creek until we actually got to the waterfall. The waterfall wasn’t much of a waterfall this time of year. It was merely trickling from the creek but it was still fun to climb on the rocks.
All in all it was a great hike and would love to do it again, maybe in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.
After our hike we cooled off in the lake for an hour or so and relaxed a bit more. I love lake time. There is no sense of time!
After a quick lunch we headed down into downtown Hot Springs. We toured the galleries and the little shops that lined Central Ave. The town really reminded me of the small towns in Texas that I’ve been to. We stopped for some Fudge and avoided the Duck Tours that were all over the place. The one place that we did stumble upon was the Gangster Museum of America. Kelly had never been there and thought it was fairly new so we thought it would be a nice little treat to check it out. We were pleasantly surprised as to what we found from the tour that we took.
We learned all about the history of Hot Springs and the gambling in the town and how it was a safe haven for all of the mobsters. They even showed on a video of the under ground tunnels that the mobsters took to get around. It was a fun tour to talk about the town’s history without being boring!
After the Gangster tour we quickly walked through the Arlington, the hotel of choice for Al Capone and other big named mobsters when they were in town doing business or enjoying the bath houses.
We even took a tour of a bath house on bath house row.
On Sunday we took another 2+ mile walk around the neighborhood followed by a jump in the lake to cool off. I have learned that Arkansas weather is very similar to St. Louis. the humidity is just as bad and it is just as hot. But having a lake outside your back door makes it so much better. We ended up taking the pontoon boat out for a spin to see if Kelly could water ski behind that and it worked. She says it ruins her skiing credibility, but I think it makes you a better skier if you can ski behind that. We swam a little while longer after the boat was put up and then it was time to clean up and start the drive home.
I’ve decided that my next trip will include me flying down there. It’s just too long of a drive to do it by myself. But it really was a great weekend!