Sept. 17 – Texarcana & Crater of Diamonds State Park

We started the day by visiting Texarkana, Arkansas this morning. Or was it Texas? It’s actually both! We have to admit that we came here for pure novelty but it’s a nice little town, We took some pictures at the Visitor Center/Post Office and then hit the road.

Jay had been reading recently about Crater of Diamonds State Park and wanted to check it out. In August, a women found a 4 carat diamond on the surface of the crater. That would certainly allow us to travel a bit longer but we weren’t expecting any miracles!

By the way, have I mentioned that Arkansas is hot? When we arrived at the park, it was about 96 degrees outside and climbing. We were about to pay to walk into a crater, exposed to the blazing sun to dig in the dirt on out hands and knees for shiny rocks. No one has ever accused us of being wimps. Or brain surgeons 😉

At the park, you can purchase a souvenir bag that includes a small shovel and a magnifying glass or you can rent your gear. We did both, each buying a souvenir set to take home with us and renting a larger shovel, screen and bucket for carrying our huge diamond!

To enter the crater, you descend a set of stairs from the visitor’s center, We brought two umbrellas to shield us from the sun but it was completely useless. Within a half hour, I was dehydrated and felt a bit sick. I trudged up to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face and take a break while Jay pressed on. Crazy, but we ended up staying in the crater for three hours! We didn’t find anything but a few small pieces of agate and a lot of dirt. Jay was a bit disappointed but I was happy to leave the punishing heat.

We hit the road around 3:30 PM, making our way to Gulpha Gorge Campground in Hot Springs National Park. The GPS indicated we would arrive after 5 PM so I called ahead to ask about our options. The person I spoke with stated there was an after hours check-in. When we arrived, we were directed to a vending machine in a small information center. You select your site on a keypad, enter your moolah, and out comes your receipt, which you then attach to a wooden post at the campsite. We had never seen anything like that before and it was pretty cool!

Tomorrow, we will explore more of the park and maybe find some hot springs water to take home with us.

Check back for more J&J fun!

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