Today we took a little trip up Mt. Nebo for Day 20 of our 30 Days/30 Miles walking goal.
Let me start off by saying that this post is going to be picture heavy. There were so many cool things to see, we ended up taking 81 pictures. I narrowed it down to some of my favorites. It’s also going to give a bit of history, because I find it fascinating.
Mt. Nebo is located about 20 minutes from our house. The mountain rises 1,350 feet from the River Valley which makes it Arkansas’ second tallest mountain behind Mt. Magazine.
This was our second time to Mt. Nebo since we’ve lived here, but our first time of actually getting out of the car and walking around. I can’t wait to go back.
We started by going up Hwy. 155 to the Benchroad Trail overlook. The overlook has a gazebo and looks down over the River Valley. Supposedly on a clear day you can see both Mt. Magazine (36 miles away) and Mt. Petit Jean (45 miles away) from Nebo.
The first home built on Mt. Nebo was owned by Louis C. White and his wife.
The story of how Mt. Nebo was named goes that one morning Mrs. White looked out over the River Valley and proclaimed that it must have looked how it looked to Moses as he looked out over the promised land from Mt. Nebo in Jordan. I’m not sure how factual that is, but I can believe it:
At the overlook is the entrance to Benchroad Trail and this lovely sign:
Not only is the trail beautiful, but it has some pretty amazing history as well. Sometime we’ll come back and hike the entire trail, but for now we’re going to stick to our mile a day regimen.
The entrance to the Benchroad Trail:
You might be wondering how the Benchroad trail got it’s name.
In the 1890s, there was a town on Mt. Nebo. It was described as a “summer resort” and had two hotels. Most of the town was on the summit but there was a hotel named the Blevins Hotel along with about 30-40 houses on the “bench.” The bench is a giant sandstone shelf on the side of the mountain:
There was so much of this sandstone — and up close it looked and felt exactly like tree bark.
You can still see the foundations of some of the homes that once existed here but have since been destroyed by fires, weather, time, and the tenacity of nature.
Walking further down the trail from the bench we came across another trail that branched off toward the Mt. Nebo Spring.
You can’t really tell from the picture but the trail down to the spring is steep and there is a drop-off less than 10 feet to my right. It’s a long way down.
Mt. Nebo Spring was constructed in 1894 and separated the town on the summit from the rest of the people living on the bench. This was Mt. Nebo’s sole source of water. It’s still running to this day.
The spring is a section of mountain that has been cut away and reinforced with blocks of stone. There are stone blocks here that must weigh 500lbs. They used Oxen to do a lot of the work on Mt. Nebo moving the stones and lumber in to place. It must have been grueling work, regardless.
I love that the picture was dated “94″. The people in the picture never considered it would still be around until 1994 or used as historical piece 117 years after it was taken.
Leaving the Spring trail, we continued down the Bench Trail and we came upon the Upper Spring trail which was incredibly steep. We brought along our dog and I didn’t think he would do very well going up, so we didn’t ascend it. We will eventually, though.
Further down the trail we came across the Steps Trail, which is another trail that I’m not sure where it leads, either. There’s just so much to see on Nebo that it would literally take days of walking to see it all.
To give you an idea; the Upper Spring trail was even more steep than this. We didn’t attempt either. I can’t imagine how people carried water up to the summit back in 1894. It’s 300ft of ascension from the spring.
We walked for a little while past the Steps trail, but were already past a half mile so we decided to turn around and call it a day. On the way out, we saw this tree that I thought was just too neat not to take a picture of. It’s still alive, too. Remember what I said about the tenacity of nature? Perfect example:
We explored a very small portion of the mountain today. To give you an idea, I zoomed my GPS map out to show the entire mountain versus how little we actually walked. There’s plenty more to see and I’m sure we’ll be making a lot more trips up it.
Total: 1.56 miles.
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