In Arkansas, United States
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This is a multi-location EarthCache. I would suggest that you take a least a half to full day, if not more, to enjoy and explore the area.
As always, this is a National Park so be sure to “Leave No Trace”. However, at designated areas you can and you are even encouraged to fill jugs
or bottles from the springs so be sure to bring some empties along.
Free Parking is available at N34 30.758, W093 03.287.
Welcome to Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas
The hot springs located here are not volcanically originated; instead the surface water is heated by a different method as it percolates downward. The outcropping of Arkansas Novaculite and Bigfork Chert absorb the ground water. These outcrops form an arc running from the northeast around to the east. The ground water makes it way into holes, cracks, fractures, and joints. As this water percolates downward through these openings, it is increasingly heated by the surrounding warmer rock. It is heated at a rate of 4 degrees Fahrenheit for every 300 feet. This is the average geothermal gradient worldwide that is caused by the gravitational compression and the breakdown of naturally occurring radioactive elements. While the water is percolating down and again back up the water dissolves minerals out of the surrounding rock. Eventually the water meets more holes, cracks, fractures, and joints which in turn bring it back to the surface on the lower west slope of Hot Springs Mountain. The water emerging today is nearly 4,000 years old.
Native Americans were the first humans to take advantage of the hot springs area. There were abundant sources of local flora and fauna as well as the readily available Arkansas Novaculite and Bigfork Chert for their tool assemblages. In the 17th and 18th centuries French trappers and hunters explored and utilized the Hot Springs area. In 1803, the United States acquired the area from the French as part of the Louisiana Territory purchase. As print media became more popular, the word of the Hot Springs area spread, and more and more people came to visit. In 1832 the US Congress took unprecedented steps and set aside sections of land. This was the reservation created simply to preserve and protect a natural resource by the US government.
Visitor Center/Fordyce Bathhouse-N34 30.830, W093 03.226
Inside The Visitor Center
Here is a self-guided tour of the historic spaces. Be sure to watch the movie in the gift shop.
Question #1: In the basement near the elevator and stairs, there is a hole in the floor, what is in the hole (it is behind glass)?
Question #2: As you stand in front of the Visitor Center/Fordyce Bathhouse, describe the location of Hot Springs Creek.
Photo Requirement: Take a Picture of yourself with your GPSr in front of the Visitor Center sign near the fountain.
Open Springs-N34 30.843, W093 03.187
An Open Spring
Many of the bathhouses capped the open springs for their use. Here are samples of open springs and an informational plaque.
Question #3: What is the temperature of the water?
Photo Requirement: Take a Picture of yourself with your GPSr in front of the Open Spring.
Happy Hollow Spring-N34 31.128, W093 02.922
Happy Hollow Spring
Happy Hollow Spring had a different atmosphere than the more sophisticated bathhouses. It was more of a carnival like atmosphere where the entire family could be together and enjoy the festivities.
Be sure to bring a jug or bottle to collect the spring water, it’s free and is allowed and even encouraged by the Park Service.
Question #4: Describe the temperature of the water and what is the water’s chemical analysis?
Photo Requirement: Take a Picture of yourself filling a jug or bottle at the fountain.
Cascade-N34 30.952, W093 03.153
The Cascade is a beautiful hot spring fed water fall with mineral deposits and algae.
Question #5: Look for the plague on the large rock that your kids will want to climb, this EarthCache is called “Tah-Ne-Co”, what does that mean?
Question #6: While walking the Promenade you will notice dark green metal boxes all along the way, what do you think they are?
Photo Requirement: Take a Picture of yourself with your GPSr with the cascade in the background. There are additional photo opportunity spots on the walk way up to the Promenade (N34 30.957, W093 03.159 or N34 30.952, W093 03.153).
Hot Spring Mountain Tower-N34 31.041, W093 02.751
The Mountain Tower
Here you can get an amazing view of the Hot Springs National Park. There is an admission charge to go to the top, at the time of this listing it was $6.00 for Adults, $3.00 for Children, and under 4 free. However, you do not need to go to the top to obtain the answers to the questions.
Question #7: How tall is the current tower?
Question #8: How many, how tall, and what were the names of the prior towers?
Photo Requirement: Take a Picture of yourself with your GPSr with the tower in the background or a view from the top of the tower.
Goat Rock -N34 31.637, W093 02.350
The BiT Family On Goat Rock
Goat Rock Trailhead
Highlights along the trail
Goat Rock is a chance for you to get out and enjoy nature. The hike is about 1.4 mi. round trip on a very well improved trail with some mild elevation change.
Question #9: How far is Goat Rock from the main trail?
Question #10: What type of rock is Goat Rock?
Photo Requirement: Take a Picture of yourself with your GPSr on Goat Rock.
Optional Photo Requirement: Take a Picture of yourself with your GPSr beside a likeness of Hot Springs' most famous prior resident.
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Effective 05.16.07, all find logs MUST have accompanying pictures or they will be deleted.
This is a result of “armchair/desktop” EarthCaching attempts.
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Last Updated: on 3/1/2014 1:11:55 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (9:11 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum