Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Little Fun at DeGray Lake Resort State Park.

Hunter and I are exploring Scenic Arkansas Highway 7 from end-to-end this week. Watch my Twitterfeed @TieDyeTravels for updates each day on where we've been and where we're headed.

As we're traveling, Hunter and I are staying at different places all along the way.  We'll be staying in a cabin and a treehouse later this week... but Tuesday night we got to stay at one of our state's excellent lodge parks.  DeGray Lake Resort State Park has a lot of fun stuff for adults, like golf and a spa and such.  And there's a lot for the kids, too.

Because we're staying somewhere different each night, we didn't spend as much time as we'd like at DeGray, but we saw enough to know we're coming back soon.

We arrived in the afternoon, after our detours of flooded sections of Highway 7
to the south.  The sky was a perfect blue and the temperature was in the 70s.

Hunter wanted to see the hotel a little closer, and saw the brook that ran by
the first story rooms.

I noticed all the boats out near the marina. This has been the first decently warm
week we've had since fall, and people wanna go fishing.

We checked into our room, which had two beds with excellent luxury linens...

and an excellent view. But Hunter was far more interested in what she heard at the front desk...

that the heated outdoor pool was open.

It didn't take her long at all to be dressed and for us to be by the pool.  The water
was just great.  Unfortunately, as the sun went down, it got cold above the surface.
But we enjoyed it while it lasted.

While I got changed for dinner, Hunter had to write down
how she felt about our trip.

Lake DeGray has the most marvelous sunsets.

Hunter insisted she'd be staying up for a while, but once she curled up in bed
she was out like a light.

We didn't want to check out the next morning, but we had places to go... including
a special program on the park grounds.

Hunter wanted to learn, and a program offered in the amphitheater called Animal
Tracks, Scat and Sign fit the bill.

Our interpreter, Jonathon, used this handkerchief to show us
what different tracks and scat animals might leave in the woods.

He showed us Playdoh that had been molded to appear
like different forms of scat, and molds of different
animal tracks that might be found around the park.
Then we were off into the woods on the Towering Pines Trail, which makes a
half mile through a section of woods and comes close to the water's edge.

Jonathon pointed out this sign, which wasn't created by an animal. The black
marks are scorching from a controlled burn last summer.  Burning the area clears
out undergrowth and gives space for new pine trees to grow.

We went down to the lake's edge.  Jonathon told us the sand trap that's usually
a good place to find animal tracks is currently under water.  He also mentioned
that over the past few weeks, parts of most of the park's trails had been under
water, thanks to flooding in the area.

We were happy to see the somewhat overcast skies starting to clear.

We finally found something to check out -- a pile of scat directly on the trail.

After examination, we came to the conclusion that this was either skunk or
possum scat.

We continued along the trail, looking for more animal signs. Jonathon tried very hard
to find something else we could check out.

These mushrooms had sprouted alongside a decaying branch.

The Towering Pines trail is not paved or covered in gravel.  It's been left natural.
These small orange markings show visitors where the path lies.

After we completed the program and finished the trail, Hunter and I roamed the
park and looked around.  The folks on this party barge seemed to be having
good luck fishing.

We decided next time we come, we're going to stay in a yurt.  They're really
big and really neat, and we won't have to bring our own tent.  Hunter says we certainly
can stay here, but we have to go to the lodge to go swimming.  I think we
can manage that.
If you'd like more information about DeGray Lake Resort State Park, head over to this website.  You'll find the park six miles north of Interstate 30 on Arkansas Scenic Highway Seven.

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