One of the on-going discoveries, or realizations, is that there is so much about our own country that we do not know.
The most recent site of this discovery process was Arkansas, beginning with its state park system, specifically, Petit Jean State Park.
Paging through the Arkansas State Parks Guide at the Russellville (AR) Visitor Information Center and seeing the beauty of this and the other 51 state parks certainly confirmed these earlier assessments.
On the day of our visit to the park, we left early to beat the heat, but by 9 a.m. it was already 94 degrees.
Our first views (above) of the park were impressive.
But when we found the first trailhead, we were in for some surprises. The first had to do with the trails themselves.
The second surprise had to do with the effects of the drought. In the photos above, we could see trees of brown leaves scattered through the forested area; we could see the Rock House Cave (above), but we could not see or hear the nearby Cedar Falls from the Cedar Falls Overlook.
The picnic area showed the effects of the lack of rain.
We continued our tour. At the Cedar Creek Trailhead is the log cabin of the first permanent white settlers who came to the mountain in the 1840s and established small farms. John Walker and his family arrived about 1845 and built this log cabin. The cabin was originally located north of what is now Lake Bailey, but it was later moved and restored by the CCC in the 1930s.
But I'm not sure what this piece of equipment is in the center of the approximately 20'x20' cabin.
We stopped by picturesque Lake Bailey and hoped that paddle boaters, canoeists, and kayakers would soon be populating the park.
"The Legend of Petit Jean is a romantic Arkansas tale that purports to explain the origin of the name of Petit Jean Mountain. Although there are other explanations that are both more logical and more mundane, when someone refers to 'The Legend of Petit Jean,' the person is most likely alluding to the romantic one.