Fouke, Arkansas

On a three day weekend in October of 2017, we found ourselves in Arkansas, once again, in search of beautiful fall landscapes.  We left the Dallas-Fort Worth on a Friday night and spent the night in Texarkana.   The next morning we decided to drive fifteen miles south to pay homage to Fouke, Arkansas, home of the Legend of Boggy Creek.

When in Fouke visit Monster Mart

Inside Monster Mart is a museum/tribute to the hairy creature

You can see Bigfoot foot casts and pick up your souvenir.  Don't forget to sign the guestbook!

Fouke is a quiet little town that is best known as being the locale for the Fouke monster legend, one of the most popular legends in the state. The town attracted attention in the early 1970s when a resident of Texarkana reported seeing a mysterious creature there. A reporter for the Texarkana Gazette wrote an article about it and a legend was born. Fouke and its monster became famous and were featured in the 1973 movie The Legend of Boggy Creek. The Fouke monster has been described as something of a Southern Sasquatch- a “big-foot-type monster.” The documentary style film on the creature was made by South Arkansas native Charles Pierce in the early 1970s. The film assured a place in folklore history for the Bigfoot look-a-like, which has allegedly been seen in and around Fouke since the 1940s. The low budget, campy movie earned cult status and the familiarity of this tale and the regular resurgence in the media of yeti, Bigfoot, and caveman-like characters keep the legend alive.

Sadly disappointed we did not see the Fouke monster we headed northeast to the Ouachita Mountains and the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. For centuries, Native Americans, early European explorers, and visitors from around the world have flocked to the natural hot springs to bathe in the healing waters.  Today, the rich history of the hot springs has been preserved, and the bathing rituals continue to be popular among travelers.

Gulpha Creek runs through The Gorge in Hot Springs National Park

We had to go all the way to Hot Springs National Park to see the first sign of fall

Many buildings in Hot Springs are from the Art Deco time period

Ouapaw Bathhouse

This bathhouse window had a Gothic look

Shady character on the streets of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Stained glass ceiling of a bathhouse

Statue inside bathhouse honoring explorers and Native American's that visited the springs

Rows and rows of mailboxes at the Oupaw Bathhouse

Fordyce Bath House is now a cafe & brewery

Statue honoring in square of Hot Springs

After spending the afternoon touring the bath houses at Hot Springs we headed back west to where our cabin awaited us at the Mena Mountain Top Cabins in Mena, Arkansas.  We stayed in this location once before and enjoyed it so much we were back for another visit. The small cabins at Mena Mountain Top are clad in pine and rustically decorated each with a theme (our cabin had a fishing theme).  Each cabin has a screened in porch that over looks the mountainside and is a great place to sip your morning coffee.  

View from the road near our cabin


View from our road near our cabin.  You can see Rich Mountain in the distance.

 The next day we took a scenic drive from Mena, Arkansas, up northwest to Heavener, Oklahoma, where we made a short hike to view the Heavener Runestone. Some believe that Vikings stopped in Heavener more than 1,000 years ago and left a sign of their passing carved on the face of a massive boulder.  The huge rock, now called the Heavener Runestone, is the centerpiece of a park within the city.

Interesting hike to Heavener Runestone

The Heavener Runestone....what does it say?  "Glome Dal" or "Glome's Valley"

Rural Heavener, Oklahoma

After leaving Heavener we drove the back roads south to Queen Wilhelmina State Park to take in the scenery. Queen Wilhelmina State Park is located atop Rich Mountain which is the second highest peak in Arkansas.  Some of the most breathtaking views can be seen from the Queen Wilhelmina's newly renovated lodge.  We stopped here hoping to have lunch in the Queen's Restaurant, however, it was a long wait to sample their delicious southern cuisine.  We decided to head back to Mena and enjoy the rest of the day touring the town before we said our goodbyes to the Natural State.

Mountain views from Queen Wilhelmina State Park

And more mountain views from Queen Wilhelmina State Park

And even more mountain views from Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Old Mountain Creek Bridge outside of Mena, Arkansas

Mountain Creek near Mena, Arkansas

Old post office/general store of Whitetown, Arkansas

Could not resist photographing these beauties although I disturbed their dinner

Sundown at our cabin.  Goodbye day, goodbye Natural State


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