Doug & Barbara Peterson

Doug & Barbara Peterson
Barbara & I at a scenic overlook on the skyline drive in the Rocky Mountain National Park, 8-13-2016

Friday, June 15, 2018

Summer Trip 2018, Red Rock Canyon State Park, Hinton OK

Located just 40 miles east of Oklahoma City, OK Red Canyon is a surprise with a unique landscape surrounded by sandstone cliffs on either side of the park that seem to be so unusual from the rolling hills and farm land you see while traveling across Oklahoma. We had a relaxing time enjoying the landscape, hiking trails and the parks pool.

Red Rock Canyon Park Drive

One of the several hiking trails in the park

Wildflowers growing along side the trails in the park

Red Rock Canyon Pool, very refreshing on a hot day

Red Canyon is located just off I-40 making a perfect place to camp overnight while traveling out west. Most of the campsites have eclectic and water with restrooms nearby. There are pay showers in the bath houses. We found that even on the weekend there were several sites open. Because it is such a great park for locals to come to in the summer it never hurts to make reservations ahead of time. We will come back here during our future trips as it is a great place to relax for a day or two on a long journey.

Our Campsite at Red Rock Canyon
Pickup Tent Camper with a air conditioner attached, Perfect the hot weather we experienced during our visit

Locals drive there classic cars through the park during the day. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer Trip 2018, Hot Springs National Park

This national park is full of history dating back to the days when it was a retreat for the rich and famous who came here to bath in mineral rich springs and spas that are located in the area called Bathhouse Row. During our visit in the park we stayed at the national parks Gulpha Gorge Campground. The campground is well maintained with nice bathrooms. The only downside is there is no showers. The sites at Gulpha Gorge our first come first serve sites. We were lucky enough to get a shaded site by the stream that flows through the campground.

Our campsite next to the stream in Gulpha Gorge 

Amphitheater at Gulpha Gorge 
Hot Springs Mountain is a short drive away from Gulpha Gorge. The drive up to the top is rewarding with views of surrounding area which can be seen from the top of the Mountain Tower. 

We filled up are jugs up with fresh spring water on the way down from the tower at Happy Hollow Springs

Hot Springs Row is where all the historic bathhouses are located in the park. Many of them have been restored and provide an interesting glimpse of this area that is full of history. Over the years many people of traveled to this area to drink and experience the healing powers of the spring water that comes from deep underground. 

The Buckstaff Bathhouse

The Quapaw Bathhouse

The Fordyce Bathhouse, visitors center & museum 
The Fordyce Bathhouse is where you can find the visitors center and Museum. So many interesting details are preserved there of a time long ago when visitors would come to seek the healing powers of this special place. 

Hot Springs National Park is a special place where history is preserved and the natural beauty of this area protected for future generations. The park is a great place to relax.

When in the area there are several places where you can buy crystals that are mined in this area. The land around Hot Springs, AK is rich in precious crystals and gems We stopped just outside the campground at Ron Coleman's rock & gem store. The Ron Coleman Mine is located seven miles from the Gulpha Gorge. Although we did not visit the mine you can actually dig for crystals there.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Summer Trip 2018, LeFleurs Bluff State Park, Jackson MS

Lefleurs State Park is a lovely state park near Jackson, MS located conveniently just a few miles off of interstate 20, one of our courses of travel to the parks out west. The park has 305 acres and has camping, fishing, nature trails and a nine hole golf course. It is located near many of the museums, shops and dining opportunities that makes the capital city of Mississippi so interesting. We enjoyed a hike on the parks nature trail after setting up camp. The trail follows the New River and leads to the Science and Nature Museum which is located on the grounds of the park. We did not have enough time to explore the museum which we will save for another trip.

Our lakeside campsite

Cypress Trees near the parks nature trail
The New River which flows through Jackson, MS
Fishing pier across the lake from our campsite
Bathhouse at the campgrounds
 Bridge over the New River as seen from the nature trail

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Summer Trip 2018, Florida State Parks, Blackwater River State Park near Milton, FL

Black Water River State Park near Milton, FL is a beautiful destination for canoeists and kayakers. We stopped here on our way out west in the summer of 2016. It is one of favorite parks to visit. The Black Water River is a one of the most pristine sand bottom rivers in the nation providing opportunities for swimming, fishing, camping and paddling.  The campground is well maintained with hookups, flat pebble gravel sites and great facilities. The river is just a short walk from the campground with elevated walkways, showers and changing rooms all located by a sandy beach area on the banks of the Black Water River. We were pleasantly surprised by how nice this park is and plan to go back on travels in the future. Florida State Parks rival and many cases exceed the best state parks in our nation. They are a true treasure.  I highly encourage all those who love our states parks to reach out and support them becoming a advocate for there preservation for future generations. 

Blackwater River State Park

Boardwalk path out to the Blackwater River

Cypress Swamp on the way out to The Blackwater River

Sandbar beach on the banks of The Black Water River

Morning Hike at Black Water River State Park

View from the hiking Trail that parallels the River

Alligators are present in all of our Florida waters, They are basically shy of big humans

Our campsite at Black Waters State Park

Great facilities at Blackwater State Park

Nearby the park you can find outfitters, Blackwater Canoe Outfitters, to rent a tube, canoe or kayak. These outfitters will take you to a point up the river to enjoy a day on the river for as long as like paddling  this beautiful stream with it's 3 mph current. Actually you can sit back and drift down.