HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
After a month home in Florida, we headed back on the road towards Colorado for a 6 month winter job. Before officially embarking (again) on the west coast, we detoured to our last east coast destination, Hot Springs National Park.
Our drive out took us through the lower southern states again, and when we arrived in Arkansas we settled in for another night sleeping cozily in parking lots. Hitting Hot Springs around lunch time, we walked along the small strip of historic Bath House Row to start our tour of the tiny National Park. The visitor center had a small museum showcasing the historically preserved bath house, which gave a since of what the park was like in it's hay-day. Eric and I watched the video recap as well, and left with a much higher appreciation of the park.
In the early 1800's the natural hot springs began attracting national attention, and were believed to cure just about anything. The waters were used to 'cure' physical and mental ailments, and doctors prescribed a soak and time with nature in the surrounding hills. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson signed into law the Federal protection of the hot springs area in the Arkansas Territory (not a state yet.) This makes Hot Springs, AR the first protected land unit in National Park system. Growing over the century, Hot Springs went from log huts to marble bathhouses and was officially declared a National Park in 1921. Since then the medicinal use of the naturally occurring hot springs has diminished and the land around it has developed into small suburbs. The park still includes 5,550 acres of protected land allowing people to recreate and connect with nature, a cure for modern day 'illnesses' (mental stress) just as the park was originally intended.
We indulged in the main attraction on bath house row; a bath! The Quapaw historic bath house offers a variety of spa treatments to feel the 'healing properties' of the natural mineral water. We took a 20 minute private bath in the update Jacuzzi tubs. I did not feel any different after the soak, but it was delightful after a few nights on the road. Along the main strip, we found natural water fountains that the locals still filled up bottles of water from. We had a few empty Chick-fil-a cups and thought, when in Rome! Finishing up the tour with a drive through the hills, we enjoyed the fall colors of the east as we sipped our hot mineral water.
The rest of the drive to Colorado was pretty bland traveling through vast grasslands and flat plains. We spent our 3 year anniversary / Halloween night at a Walmart parking lot in bum-fuck nowhere Kansas. Arriving in Denver, we were excited to see the first peek of the Rocky Mountains, and celebrated with the first of many lunches at Torchy's Tacos. After a day and a half of struggling to find trailer storage, we headed into Summit County where we were to spend the next 6 months working at Keystone Resort.
10/10 would go to old spa again.