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article imageIs This Heaven? No, It's Mt. Magazine, Arkansas

By Carol Forsloff     Jan 17, 2009 in Travel
One of the most beautiful statements in the movie the Field of Dreams is at the end of the film when someone asks the principal character played by Kevin Costner, "Is This Heaven? The character replies, "No, this is Iowa."
Well every part of the world has a part of heaven, likely. It may be difficult to find in war and hunger and hurt in so many places. But sometimes where you least expect it, there it is.
People who visit Mount Magazine in Arkansas say they feel like they are in heaven and the people who join them angels. It is a mystic place, with clouds that drape themselves just eye level from the top of the mountain. Wisps of fog spread over the valley when the morning comes.
This is a place where the sun drops in as a regular visitor through glass windows that overlook a pristine valley. Water poured from a cabin faucet tastes like it was just brought up from a mountain spring especially for the visitor.
One of the crown jewels of Arkansas is Mt. Magazine. It is the highest point in the State at 2753 feet above sea level. At this height it sometimes feel that you can hold God's hands and run around safely, with none of the world's grief to worry about.
Mt. Magazine is part of the USDA Forest Service 2234 acres of its plateau summit in Arkansas. Once home to farms, homesites and other types of dwellings, few vestiges of its early life remains. Native Americans may have used the mountain for scouting or for special ceremonial occasions, but the height of the mountain together with its limited water made it difficult for any group to live there long.
Historically Mt. Magazine was used by settlers and vacationers to escape
the summer heat of the South. The small settlements that created a tiny hamlet were virtually eliminated during the depression at the time of drought, erosion and poverty.
During the depression campgrounds, cabins and trails were built by the Federal Works Progress Administration. The lodge that was built during that time burned down in 1971.
Today the top of the mountain is showcased by a majestic lodge from which the visitor can be inspired by beautiful vistas and unique foliage that combine to form the natural beauty of the area. A vacationer can stay at the lodge or rent one of a series of cabins walking distance surrounding it. There are trails for outdoor adventure, high sandstone cliffs for rock climbing and the great mountain bluffs for taking a leap and hang gliding.
Inside the lodge is a heated pool, necessary indeed because the outside is about 15 - 40 degrees during the days and evenings. A restaurant, business center, exercise facilities and a gift shop rounds it out.
The visitor center is a short drive from the lodge. There tourists can enjoy interactive exhibits, an audiovisual auditorium and wildlife viewing area.
Five days in heaven is hardly enough, but it's great not to die to get there. I was scarcely ready to leave there this morning, but daily routines and the exigencies of life brought me back. But not in a hurry.
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