Hot Springs, Arkansas While we were in Hot Springs, AR we stayed at Catherine’s Landing, a really nice RV park. The spots were very spacious and since it was so late in the season there were hardly any campers there. As you can see, pretty empty. Brown, but empty! And right behind us was a finger of the huge Lake Catherine. Our main reason for this stop was to get another National Park checked off our list, Hot Springs National Park. This park is very different from most others in that a good portion of it is in the city of Hot Springs! This end building is the offices for the Hot Springs National Park. The hot springs and the surrounding 4 square miles was designated as protected federal land in 1832, way before there were any national parks, so in that sense it’s the oldest National Park even though it wasn’t designated as such until March 4, 1921. This model shows that office building on your right and, from right to left, the current bathhouses; Lamar, Buckstaff, Ozark, Quapaw, Fordyce (which is the park’s visitor center and open for tours only, not an operating bathhouse), Maurice, Hale and Superior. Looking down “Spa Row” from in front of the offices. Lamar Bath House Buckstaff Bath House Ozark Bath House Quapaw Bath House, named for the Indian tribe who occupied this area for many, many years before the white man invaded. The front of this spa has a sculpture paying homage to those indians. Fordyce Baths which is now the visitors center and open for tours. Very interesting as you’ll see. The original entrance to the U.S. Hot Springs Reservation as it was called. As this sign states, this was and I believe still is a popular designation for baseball players as well as other athletes. We toured the Fordyce Baths. This is the women’s locker room/changing area. The ladies lounging area. The ladies lockers for their personal effects while at the baths. One of the massage rooms. That vibrating massager looks like Dewalt made it! Another ladies only massage room. The ladies and men were kept separate on two different floors. The gym was much like todays gyms. Some of these apparatus they used look a bit harsh! No pain no gain I guess! Speaking of pain, they had quite a few of these electro therapy machines. There was even an electro therapy bath! Kind of like throwing the toaster in your bath? That’s the control box on the wall behind the tub. So after all those shocking apparatus, we saw this hot tub, pretty cool! That is until you realize that board is to lower you into the hot water completely submerging you! I wonder if they tied you down first? And of course the steam cabinets. And then there’s this Hydrotherapy room. We couldn’t quite figure out what this table with the slot in it and a big drain under it was for. Until we saw this! Something to do with enemas, YIKES! And this was a Needle shower. You could thankfully at least adjust the intensity! And after all that torture there was this beautiful big spa room with its stained glass ceiling and a massive sculpture in the center that was the hot spring fountain. Some time in your visit they apparently taught cursive writing as well! They could re introduce this now, maybe with some of those electro therapy things as incentive to learn! The lounging room also had a beautiful stained glass ceiling. I even got my picture with Santa! After our tour we went to check out the town. They have many of these water stations where anyone can get fresh hot spring water for free, just bring your own jugs. Some of the architecture was truly beautiful and well preserved. The Army–Navy Hospital which is now a Rehabilitation Hospital. A mural downtown. We also went up into the death trap, I mean Mountain Tower, which is up behind the Baths Row. Its steel and cement so relatively safe I guess! Great view from up there, even though the weather wasn’t all that great for pictures. Baths Row is just below here, hidden by the trees. The view looking down 216′ to my tiny little truck in the parking lot! NO RETIREES WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS BLOG!