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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Little Rock Arkansas - EEEEP...

Central High School National Historic Site

Birding buddy Don and I had just left El Dorado Arkansas, headed in the direction of Tennessee. First, we made a short stop for a totally non-birdie activity – yes, I know, a rare event. We stopped to visit the Central High School National Historic Site, in Little Rock Arkansas, located across the street & kitty corner to the high school.

View of Central High from the Visitor Center

The exhibits were interesting and horrifying at the same time – no surprises there. Viewing the exhibits was like entering a dark closet at the end of a hallway, and peeling away layers of ugliness from one’s own country. It was fun, you know, like getting a root canal.

Historic Site Exhibit

Now there was no need for me to feel to bad about the former discrimination of my own, so-called ethnic group in America. According to the site exhibits, there was plenty enough discrimination to go around; discrimination against Native Americans, woman - of any race mind you - who had the audacity to want the vote, and Gay people, I mean, like there was loads of hate and discrimination to go around. No waiting! By the time we left the historic site, I felt far less picked on. If I return in ten years time to the site, there had better be an exhibit on anti-fat discrimination or there's going to be trouble!

Equal Opportunity Discrimination: Native Americans,
Women's Suffrage as well as other trod-upon groups.

The bright spot of the trip – OK, aside from getting my National Passbook stamp) was visiting with a couple of high school boys who worked at the visitor center. They were cute Black kids chatty & helpful and I was so impressed with them I had them sign my Passbook. I told them when they do big things I will be able to brag that I ‘knew them when’.

Hurrah! Scored more stamps. Yes, it is easy to make me happy.

After visiting the historic site and its sobering sights, we were in need of a spoonful of sugar. We ordered cajun paninis for our lunch and sweet treats which I'm sure did a lot to lift our spirits.

Community Bakery for a spoonful of sugar or three

We took our lunch and headed to Boyle Park, in Little Rock. There we lunched under a HUGE and beautiful gazebo that seemed big enough to hold most of Little Rock. Then, full of Cajun panini and brownies we set off on a hike to find some birds.

Don strolling along the stone bridge in Boyle City Park

Riverside view in Boyle Park

Boyle Park had great picnic oriented structures

Dear me… I admit, in retrospect, I was cranky! The air was humid and warm and I do not do my best under such conditions. Add to that, the birds were rather sparse. I did get a quick glimpse at what I believe may have been a Canada Warbler, but the bird took off. ARGH! Had the bird hung around it would have been a lifer for me. After a while I just busied myself with the wildflowers as Don searched for the Louisianna Waterthrush – a lifer for me had it shown up – alas, no Waterthrushes.

Indian Pinks

Partridge Berry plant in flower

Cute and as yet unidentified park wildflower

Soon we were back on the road headed back to the Village Creek State Park with high hopes that were rewarded. It not being a busy weekend, we lucked out managing to score a cabin in the Park for one night!

We were thrilled on two counts, as not only were we able to spend the remainder of the day and into the night within the park boundaries, but getting a virtual 2 bedroom suite of a cabin, it meant we each paid only ½ our usual rate for one night on the road. Strange that for half the usual price we each spent on a room, we each got a room, plus the use of a full kitchen, living room, back screened in porch, plus an outside barbeque area with picnic table, and only one stinking night to enjoy it all. Bugger!

Oh well! We made the best of this one night bonanza.

Fiendish, Arkansas Chapacabra (or maybe a raccoon)

We went out Whip-poor-will & Chuck-will’s-widow hunting but heard not a thing, a big disappointment. The park was however, crawling with night stalking raccoons, possums and timid White-tailed Deer. The biggest treat for the evening turned out to be quite unexpected; a HUMONGOUS Luna Moth. The moth was as large as some bats as it fluttered about under the park lights and then landed on the lawn, allowing me some nice photos.

Luna Moth

My biggest memory from our stay at Village Creek State Park was while Don was off tracking down Veery Thrushes I left the cabin to try & get a shot of Wood Thrushes, that flitted around near the cabin. When I got back, the cabin’s front door had shut behind me – and locked. I freaked! Then, after the panic of having to spend my free afternoon at the cabin waiting for Don to return, I went around the back to discover not only was the patio door open, but so was the inner door that lead into the cabin. So much for securing the cabin against the invasion of Wilderness Claire.

1 comment:

  1. Who needs TV to travel the US I have you.