Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Pensive or Melancholy

 Location: Gulpha Gorge Campground; Hot Springs, Arkansas

Today is day 4 of 4 here in Hot Springs. The campground is a National Park Service campground so I'm getting the 50% discount for using my Senior Pass. That works out to $17.00 per night which isn't as cheap as some COE's but definitely cheaper than private parks. I don't even want to get started talking about the rising price of campgrounds. So I won't. 

I've been slacking lately about posting travel pictures. I've been told over the years that some people enjoy them because it shows them what places look like. Yep, they can see pictures online about these places but seeing them "through my eyes", makes it a little different, a little more personal. I'll try to do better.

It's a decent campground and the campsites are laid out well so you don't feel cramped although the campers are near to each other. It is an older campground but is being maintained well. It is like a lot of federal campgrounds now a days in that all campsites are reserved online only with no walk up services. You essentially just drive to your campsite and set up without checking in with anyone. As I've walked around the campground, I've seen two camp-host campsites but haven't seen any hosts walking around. It would be nice if they would casually check in with new campers. I guess it is comforting knowing that if something major happened, they would be around as the local contact person.

It's a nice campsite with a stream running behind it. The weather has been pretty good with a couple of hours where I needed to run the A/C to cool down before bedtime.

The view out my back window


This is the amphitheater in the campground where ranger put on programs for the campers. I didn't see a list of events and didn't hear any going on. Nice location though.

I had reservations for four days which is a little longer than my usual three day stays. I had plans to do some exploring in this town that I've always heard about but never visited. Of my list of four items that sounded worthy of exploring, I only did one. That was to take some scenic drives on a couple local mountaintops. Other than that, I've ate out a couple of times and explored Walmart. Whoop-ti-do!! LOL

The road to the top of one of the mountain scenic drives. The burn scar on the right was from a prescribed burn by the Forest Service. They are doing proper forest management, unlike some of the states on the western coast that will not allow it and yet complains about wildfires. 

Another mountain top. 

A view overlooking Hot Springs. The large brown building in the lower center is the Arlington Hotel Resort and Spa. Many presidents have stayed there and is somewhat of a landmark in town. 

I'm not sure exactly what is going on with my mood lately. The town is giving off a combination of good and bad vibes, so I don't think it's the town. The campground is OK and I get good vibes from it. I'm not physically sick and although I'm getting a little less than my normal amount of sleep, I don't feel tired. I check my blood pressure and blood sugar daily and they are both normal. I'm not depressed. I've visited that dark area before and I know I'm not there.

The best I can come up with is I'm either pensive or in a state of melancholy. I'm leaning more toward the pensive side because I think melancholy has a tinge of depression associated with it. To be honest, although I've used both words over the years, I had to look them up to get a good idea of their definition. Then, of course, my engineer training kicked in and I had to try to figure out why I was being pensive. How can someone be pensive and not be curious as to why? I came up with several reasons for my pensive-ness (?). Most had to do with time, changes and loss. Several people that I know are dealing with terminal illnesses and their time is short. I've known others throughout my life that faced that situation so it's nothing new. It changes them. They begin to live more for today instead of tomorrow, and that is understandable. No longer are they thinking in terms of seasons, such as "next Fall" or "when Winter gets here,,,,". They are taking joy in a good meal that they can keep down, or a few hours of no pain, or being able to do something by themselves instead of needing help from someone else. It's the simple things that really count at that point in a persons life. Although we all plan for our futures, none of us are promised more than our present. I've been doing a lot of looking over my back trail, reviewing my past. Dealing with regrets and what-ifs as well as rejoicing in some of my happiest memories of life events. I just got the feeling that some reader is going to think I'm terminally ill. Nope, I'm not. I'm just being "pensive" :). I'm starting to like that word more and more. 

Anyway, in some ways Hot Springs has been a bust and in other ways, it has been restive and regenerative. Wow, in my previous life (career), I would be accusing me of using too many "weasel words". I take back all those times I said that to people. Most were lawyers. I think that is a required course in law school, ie, Weasel Words 101. Well crap, now I have to apologize to lawyers? I've known one or two that were stand up people.   

Oh well, tomorrow is moving day and my next campground is less than 100 miles away along the Arkansas River a little south-east of Little Rock. I have no exploration planned, so maybe it will be another "pensive campground". Yeah, I'm OK, or I will be after a nice cup of coffee and banana nut bread muffin.  

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.


  1. Living during these times can make a person I hear you !
    Safe travels

    1. Thanks Anon,,,,, safe travels back to a kindred spirit.

  2. Thank you for the nice write up on the area.

    1. Your welcome Barney. Good luck on your travel plans.

  3. I was at that campground a few weeks ago. I enjoyed my stay too! As for your feelings or words, I'm in that state too! Let me know what you did to get out of it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hello John. I'm glad you're traveling because I know you planned it for so long. As far as the pensive mood, I have a few great campgrounds ahead of me right on the Arkansas River so I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out. Ya'll be careful out there.

  5. I think "pensive" is the current state of mind for a lot of folks. I am there myself........

    1. That seems to be the feeling of a lot of people,,,,,