Podcast Episodes

Corps of Discovery

In 2018, America is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act as well as the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The 1968 National Trails System Act created and protected trails that celebrate outdoor adventure, such as the Appalachian Trail and trails that allow us to walk through history, such as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.

To celebrate this anniversary, on the America’s National Parks Podcast we’re sharing with you a two-part episode following one of our National Historic Trails — The Journey of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery from 1804 to 1806 in their quest to explore the newly expanded United States, and search for a route to the Pacific Ocean.


Listen

Listen to the episode in the player below, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Download this episode (right click and save)


Connect & Subscribe

You can find America’s National Parks Podcast on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and make sure to subscribe on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts, so you’ll never miss an episode.

Join the America’s National Parks Facebook Group here.


Learn More

Links to some of the resources we used and the website links we mentioned in this episode.

Lewis and Clark Expedition – a National Park Service Website that was the primary source of the text for this episode.

Lewis and Clark – The Journey of the Corps of Discovery – Ken Burns Documentary

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail – National Park Service website

Trails50.org – A site commemorating the National Trails System’s 50th Anniversary


Transcript

The America’s National Parks Podcast is sponsored by L.L.Bean.

This year, L.L.Bean is joining up with the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, to help you find your happy place – in an amazing system of more than 400 national parks, including historic and cultural sites, monuments, preserves, lakeshores, and seashores that dot the American landscape, many of which you’ll find just a short trip from home. L.L.Bean is proud to be an official partner of the National Park Foundation. Discover your perfect day in a park at findyourpark.com.

In 2018, America is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act as well as the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The 1968 National Trails System Act created and protected trails that celebrate outdoor adventure, such as the Appalachian Trail and trails that allow us to walk through history, such as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.

To celebrate this anniversary, on the America’s National Parks Podcast we’re sharing with you a two-part episode following one of our National Historic Trails — The Journey of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery from 1804 to 1806 in their quest to explore the newly expanded United States, and search for a route to the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s Abigail Trabue.

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In December 1803, 33-year-old William Clark established a small military-style training camp on the Wood River at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, north of St. Louis, Missouri, and across the river in Illinois. Clark had retired from militia service 6 years prior, after leading a company of riflemen in the decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which put an end to the Northwest Indian War. He resigned his commission as a lieutenant due to his poor health, but now, a new opportunity had arisen.

A man who served under Clark, Meriwether Lewis had been appointed as a trusted aide to President Thomas Jefferson, whom he knew through Virginia society. Lewis resided in the presidential mansion, and when Jefferson purchased approximately 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River from France, he tapped Lewis to explore the territory, establish trade with Native Americans, and find a waterway from the US to the Pacific Ocean, claiming the Oregon territory for the United States before European nations did.
Meriwether Lewis asked his former commanding officer William Clark to share leadership of the expedition. They would be called the Corps of Discovery.

At the Wood River camp, it was Clark’s responsibility to train the many different men who had volunteered to go to the Pacific on the expedition and turn them into an efficient team. By and large, most of the members of the Corps of Discovery were strangers to one another. The youngest man, George Shannon, was 17 years old, the oldest, John Shields, was 35. The average age of all the men was 27. Clark had the men build a fort and cabins out of logs. He drilled them, teaching them how to march in formation, use their weapons as a team and shoot effectively at targets. Most of all, he tried to get them to respect military authority and learn how to follow orders. When they would later face danger on the frontier, there would be no time for questioning their commanding officers.

During the winter, Meriwether Lewis spent a lot of time in the little town of St. Louis. He was looking to bolster the supplies and equipment for the journey, because twice as many men had volunteered to go on the expedition as he had originally planned for. The journey would take them up the Missouri River, from St. Louis to as far as had been navigated by white men into the Dakotas, and then beyond, searching for the source of the great Missouri, and a connecting water route to the Pacific. Lewis talked with fur traders who had been up the River, and obtained maps made by earlier explorers. On March 9, 1804, he attended a special ceremony during which the Upper Louisiana Territory was transferred to the United States. Two months later, on May 14, the expedition was ready to begin.

Clark and the Corps of Discovery left the camp and were joined by Lewis in St. Charles, Missouri, a week later. The party numbered more than 45, mostly young, unmarried soldiers. The civilians who made the journey were primarily guides and interpreters. Among them was William Clark’s black slave York, who would prove essential to relations with the Indigenous tribes. An additional group of hired boatmen would travel with the party through the first winter.

Travel up the Missouri River in 1804 was grueling, due to heat, injuries and insects as well as the troublesome river itself, with its strong current and many snags. The expedition used Lewis’s 55-foot long keelboat and two smaller boats to carry their supplies and equipment. The boats used sails to catch wind when they could, but in going upriver against a strong current, oars and long poles had to be used to push. Sometimes the boats had to be pulled with ropes by men walking along the shoreline or waist-deep in the water. They averaged 10-15 miles per day.

There were some initial disciplinary problems. Men fell asleep on watch, and ignored rations, but Clark was a harsh disciplinarian. Several courtmarshalls were held, and lashings had the men respecting his authority. They eventually began to respect one another, and after facing some brutal challenges, began to work together as compatriots. One man especially liked by all was Charles Floyd, one of the three sergeants. Suddenly, on August 20, 1804, Sgt. Floyd got sick and died. It is now believed that he died of a burst appendix. Floyd was laid to rest on top of a large hill by the river, in modern-day Sioux City, Iowa, where today there is a large monument to mark the spot. Sgt. Floyd was the only person to die on the two and one-half year journey, even though great danger lay ahead.

By October the Corps of Discovery reached the villages of the Mandan Indian tribe, where they built Fort Mandan (near present-day Stanton, North Dakota), and spent the winter of 1804-1805. The Mandan people lived in earth lodges along the Missouri River. Their neighbors the Hidatsa lived along the Knife River close by. The villages of the Mandan and Hidatsa people were the center of a huge trade network in the West. Lewis and Clark were not the first European-Americans to visit this part of the country.

One of the goals of the expedition was to conduct diplomacy with and gather information about the various nations of American Indians they would encounter on their journey. During the course of the expedition, contact was made with at least 55 different native cultural groups. Other groups, such as the Crow, almost certainly saw the explorers without the explorers ever seeing them.

The history of the Great Plains Indians can be traced back at least 13,000 years and possibly even millenia. During the last stages of the Ice Age, small bands of people migrated in search of megafauna like mastodons and mammoths. As game became extinct, their cultural organization became more complex, shifting to bison hunting and living in earth-lodge dwellings. However, European contact brought significant change. Prior to this contact, tribes of the plains lived by agriculture or gathering. The introduction of horses by the Spanish in the late 16th century provided Indians with a more efficient method of hunting buffalo. Many groups–the Cheyenne, Sioux, Comanche and others–shifted to a nomadic culture. Others such as the Mandans, Hidatsas, Pawnee, Wichita and Omaha remained horticultural societies, establishing permanent settlements in the river valleys of the plains.

In order to negotiate intelligently with the Indigenous tribes and their leaders along the route, Lewis received a “crash course” in diplomacy and about the known Indian cultural groups from Dr. Benjamin Rush and others in Philadelphia. Lewis also knew that gift giving and trade were important parts of most known Indian cultures, and that he would have to have trade goods to acquire the expedition’s necessities along the route. Lewis brought along peace medals produced by the U.S. Government in silver for presentation to Indian chiefs. Peace medals were an integral part of the government’s relations with American Indians in the 18th and 19th centuries. At the time, these medals represented a covenant between nations, and were valued equally by tribal people who had had contact with European-Americans and by the governments of Britain, Spain, France and the United States, each of which issued them. Lewis and Clark took along three large medals with an image of President Jefferson on them, 13 middle-sized Jefferson medals, 16 small Jefferson medals, and 55 medals struck during the presidency of George Washington. All but one were given out during the expedition. The front of the Jefferson medals had a formal bust of President Jefferson in low relief, along with his name and the date he entered office. The reverse showed clasped hands and bore the motto “Peace and Friendship.” This design depicted Indian nations as coequals of the United States.

Although the men of the expedition did not know what to expect on their trek, they were prepared to meet the various Indian tribal groups and curious about what they would be like. Previously, almost nothing had been known of the Indians westward from the Mandan villages.
Whether Lewis and Clark knew it or not, they were the “spearpoints” of an invasion of American Indian homelands in the West. Whether or not their actions were deliberate, they touched off an invasion which displaced entire peoples and tribal groups with European descended settlers, backed by the U.S. Army and English land law.

During the winter with the Mandan Lewis and Clark recruited a Frenchman who had lived with the Hidatsa for many years. His name was Toussaint Charbonneau, and the captains wanted him to act as an interpreter. With Charbonneau would come his 16-year-old Shoshone Indian wife, Sacagawea. Sacagawea had been captured by a raiding party of Hidatsa warriors five years earlier, taken from her homeland in the Rocky Mountains to the Knife River village where she met her husband. Lewis and Clark knew that they would probably meet Sacagawea’s people, and that they might have to ask for horses if they could not find a nearby stream which led down to the Columbia River. So Sacagawea would be invaluable because she could speak to her people directly for the explorers.

There was, however, a complication. Sacagewea was pregnant. She went into labor that winter, and complications arose. Lewis wrote in the journal of the expedition:

“This was the first child which this woman had born, and as is common in such cases her labor was tedious and the pain violent; Mr. Jessome informed me that he had frequently administered a small portion of the rattle of the rattlesnake, which he assured me had never failed to produce the desired effect, that of hastening the birth of the child. Having the rattle of a snake by me I gave it to him and he administered two rings of it to the woman broken in small pieces with the fingers and added to a small quantity of water. Whether this medicine was truly the cause or not I shall not undertake to determine, but I was informed that she had not taken it more than ten minutes before she brought forth. Perhaps this remedy may be worthy of future experiments, but I must confess that I want faith as to its efficacy.”

The winter was harsh, sometimes reaching as low as negative 40 degrees. But the Mandan people taught the Corps of Discovery valuable skills, like how to make their moccasins, and improved dugout canoes. They hunted buffalo together. The Mandan traded supplies such as fur and food for repairs to their tools from a small iron forge Lewis and Clark brought along.

On April 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark sent the keelboat with the hired boatmen back to St. Louis with an extensive collection of zoological, botanical, and ethnological specimens that they had collected so far, including a live prairie dog, which they went to great lengths to capture, as a whole town of prairie dogs evaded them until they could flush one out of its home with water. The “barking squirrel” which they called it would live out the rest of its life at the White House. They also sent letters, reports, dispatches, and maps back to Jefferson. Troublemaking members of the expedition were sent back as well – what lied ahead was no place for malcontents.

As the keelboat headed south, the expedition, now numbering 33, resumed their journey westward in two smaller boats and dugout canoes. The Corps of Discovery now traveled into regions which had been explored and seen only by American Indians.

They pulled and sailed their boats up the Missouri River through what is now Montana. By early June they reached a place where two rivers met. Lewis and Clark knew they needed to find the correct fork of the river. If they didn’t, they might not get to the Pacific Ocean in time for the winter. The only clue they had was that the Indians had told them that the Missouri had a huge waterfall on it. They led small groups of soldiers up each river, Lewis going up the right fork and Clark up the left, both looking for the waterfall. Neither party found one, but the water on the left was clearer, and the water to the right was murky like the Missouri had been up to this point. Lewis and Clark knew the river would have to begin to clear up as they came closer to the source, and decided that the left fork was the right river, although the rest of the party disagreed. They attempted to convince their commanding officers, but when Lewis and Clark stood in their conviction, their men obeyed.

As the current increased, the expedition moved slowly up the new fork, as Sacagawea fell very sick. Lewis began to worry their decision to turn left was flawed, as they hadn’t reached any sign of a massive wat-;erfall. Impatient, he led a small party of men overland to see if he could find it. Otherwise, they would have to turn back. On June 13, he spotted a mist rising above the hills in front of him. After a few minutes of walking, he looked down into a deep ravine, and saw a beautiful, huge waterfall. His joy was crushed as he scouted ahead and found that there was not just one waterfall, but five, and that they stretched for many miles along the river — an area now known as Great Falls. The canoes could not be paddled upstream against such a current. They would have to be taken out of the water and carried around the obstruction.

Meanwhile Sacagawea’s health was getting worse by the minute. In a desperate effort, she was given water from a nearby sulfer spring, and miraculously returned to full health. Sacagawea was more than a teenage girl who may be able to talk to some indians upstream. She had become an essential member of the party, while her husband proved nearly worthless. When their canoe overturned in the rushing waters, spilling out nearly all of the expedition’s medical supplies and journals, Charbonneau panicked. Sacagawea remained calm and recovered every single item, with a baby on her back. Her recovery of the essential journals is the only reason we’re able to tell this story today.

At this point the two larger boats were left behind. They carried the canoes and supplies around the waterfalls, a task that they long before planned to take a half day. It would take a month. Their moccasins only lasted two days at a time on the rocky portage. They would collapse to exhaustion and fight battles of wits and wills to press on, until finally, every supply and canoe had made it around the great falls.

Lewis had a special collapsible, iron-framed boat from Harpers Ferry that they had been hauling along unassembled, and it was time to put it together. Unfortunately, to Lewis’s dismay, the boat didn’t float, so two more dugout canoes were fashioned.

They set out westward once more, paddling upstream. The mountains that they knew were coming loomed ahead in the distance. But these were not the mountains they had prepared for. They were much larger than any mountain they had seen back in the east. By August 17 they reached the Three Forks of the Missouri, which marked the navigable limits of that river. At this spot the Missouri is fed by three rivers, and they turned up one that they had named for President Jefferson. They finally reached its headwaters, where the once mighty Missouri could be easily straddled between their legs. On foot Lewis, crested the Rocky Mountains, where he thought he would see the headwaters of the Columbia river over the peak, which they would float their way downstream towards the pacific ocean. Instead, he saw more mountains, stretching off as far as the eye could see.
———-

Next week on America’s National Parks, we’ll pick up there, as the Corps of Discovery faces its most difficult challenge yet, the vast mountain ranges of the West.

If you enjoyed the show, we’d love a 5-star review wherever you listen to podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Just search “National Park Podcast.” You can also join our new America’s National Parks Facebook group. We’ll link to all of our social media, as well as National Park Service resources, music credits, and more in the show notes at National Park Podcast dot com.

If you are interested in RV travel, give us a listen over at the RV Miles Podcast. You can also follow Abigail and I as we travel the country in our converted school bus with our three boys at Our Wandering Family dot com.

Today’s show was sponsored by L.L.Bean, follow the hashtag #beanoutsider, and visit LLBean.com to find great gear for exploring the National Parks.


Music

Provided through the generosity of the artists under a creative commons license.

Podcast Episodes

America’s Spa

In the mountains of western Arkansas, there’s a place where rain waters are absorbed through crevices in the earth’s surface, then warmed and enriched with minerals, percolating deep underground. The water then flows back to the surface in steaming hot springs, filling the cool mountain air with steam in the winter. It’s a place that humans have been using for millennia for rest, relaxation, and healing. It’s also our first piece of federally protected recreation land.

On this episode of America’s National Parks, the American Spa —Hot Springs National Park.


Listen

Listen to the episode in the player below, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Download this episode (right click and save)


Connect & Subscribe

You can find America’s National Parks Podcast on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and make sure to subscribe on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts, so you’ll never miss an episode.

Join the America’s National Parks Facebook Group here.


Learn More

Links to some of the resources we used and the website links we mentioned in this episode. 

Hot Springs National Park – National Park Service Website

Buckstaff Bathhouse – Historic Hot Springs Spa Treatment

Quapaw Baths – Modern Hot Springs Spa Treatment


Transcript

The America’s National Parks Podcast is sponsored by L.L.Bean.

L.L.Bean believes the more time you spend outside together, the better. That’s why they design products that make it easier to take longer walks, have deeper talks, and never worry about the weather. Discover clothing, outerwear, footwear and gear made for every type of adventure, with the outside built right in. Because on the inside, we’re all outsiders. Be an outsider with L.L.Bean.

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In the mountains of western Arkansas, there’s a place where rain waters are absorbed through crevices in the earth’s surface, then warmed and enriched with minerals, percolating deep underground. The water then flows back to the surface in steaming hot springs, filling the cool mountain air with steam in the winter. It’s a place that humans have been using for millennia for rest, relaxation, and healing. It’s also our first piece of federally protected recreation land.

On this episode of America’s National Parks, the American Spa —Hot Springs National Park.

Here’s Abigail Trabue.

—-

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto was the first European to visit what the indigenous people called the Valley of the Vapors — a confluence of 143-degree springs flowing from the western slope of what is now known as Hot Springs Mountain, part of the Ouachita Mountain range in modern day Arkansas. Tribes used it as a neutral gathering place for over 8,000 years, believing that the water of the thermal springs possessed healing properties. De Soto and his conquistadors spent several weeks resting in the steam and waters.

In 1673, explorers Pere Marquette and Louis Jolliet claimed the area for France. For the next 130 years, the land would move between Spanish and French control, eventually finding its way into the Louisiana Purchase. In 1803, the hot springs of Arkansas became a part of the United States.

White settlers began arriving almost immediately after, fascinated with the springs and the mysteries of the water. It became a tourist destination almost as quickly. Resourceful settlers built boarding houses for visitors entranced with the promise of healing every ail.

Recognizing concerns over conservation of such a specific, special area, In 1832, President Jackson made the Hot Springs the first piece of federal land protected for recreations. Some would call it America’s first national park, though such a title didn’t exist until Yellowstone was formed 50 years later.

47 hot springs release nearly a million gallons of water every day off the southern wooded slope of Hot Springs mountain. It was believed the waters benefited diseases of the skin and blood, nervous affections, rheumatism and similar diseases, and the “various diseases of women.”

The earliest baths involved reclining in natural pools for long periods of time. Crude vapor baths stood over the springs, which bathers would inhale. Wooden tubs were added, and physicians began arriving in the 1850s. Bathhouses were established to harness the springs in a more formal way. During the 1870s the bathing regimen became more diverse, and physicians prescribed various types of six to ten-minute baths for patients and two-minute steam treatments.

Drinking and bathing in the waters would cause a profuse perspiration, which was considered important for fighting disease. The advice of a physician who was familiar with the use of the waters was considered necessary to avoid injury, and it was specifically cautioned against for those with respiratory illnesses. Often massive amounts of medication were combined with the treatments.

The hot baths were usually taken once a day for three weeks, followed by a period of rest. A second three weeks’ course was then taken, followed again by another break. The usual stay at the springs was from one to three months, but many of the very sick stayed a year or longer.

One description of the process in 1878 told of a hot bath of 90 to 95 °F for about 3 minutes, timed with a sand-glass, followed by another three minutes with all but the head in a steam box. The bather would also drink hot water during this period. Afterword, the bather was rubbed down and thoroughly dried by an attendant, and then returned to their room to lie down for a half-hour to let the body recover its normal temperature.

The bathhouses began using vapor cabinets a few years later, which look like a medieval torture device, where all but the head are shuttered into a trunk. The bather would sit in the cabinet for 10–20 minutes with the lid closed tightly around the neck, and vapor from the hot water would rise through the floor at temperatures around 110–130 degrees.

Toward the end of the 1880s Russian and Turkish baths were offered, and in the 1890s German needle baths, and the Scotch treatment of concentrated streams of hot or cold water on the back were added.

The first bathhouses were canvas and wood tents, which were then replaced by haphazard wooden buildings. The buildings didn’t stand up well to the steam of the springs and began to collapse from rot. Those that didn’t burn to the ground.

But business was good, and the wood structures were replaced in the early 1900s with marble, brass, and stained-glass sanctuaries, lining a strip which was dubbed Bathhouse Row. They were outfitted with beauty shops, gymnasiums, music rooms, and state-of-the-art therapy equipment. The gymnasium on the third floor of the Fordyce Bathhouse was the first gymnasium in the State of Arkansas.

The Hot Springs Reservation came to be called “the National Spa,” and in 1921, Stephen Mather, director of the 5-year-old Nation Park Service, convinced Congress to confer the National Park designation on the area. Officially, it would be our 18th National Park.

The aspects of services were still left to bathhouse operators, but once the National Park Service took over management of the area, the Park’s superintendent established several rules. In the 30s, a tub bath could take no more than 20 minutes and a shower no more than 90 seconds. During the next decade, shower time was reduced to a minute, and maximum temperatures were specified. After a bath of about 98 degrees, the patient might spend 2–5 minutes in a vapor cabinet, get 15 minutes of hot or cold wet packs, followed by a needle shower, light massage and alcohol rub.

Hot Springs was a popular destination for the rich and famous during the first half of the 20th century. It became the off-season capital for Major League baseball teams like The Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Nationals, Chicago White Stockings and Boston Red Sox. Al Capone and his top captains would seize the entire fourth floor of the popular Arlington Hotel when visiting. In a sort of homage to the Native people, Hot Springs was neutral territory for gangsters from Chicago and New York. Theodore Roosevelt visited in 1910, and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt came in 1936. Harry Truman had a favorite club where he played his favorite game, small stakes poker, at the illegal casinos that thrived in the area.

Marjorie Lawrence, star of the Metropolitan Opera moved to Hot Springs in 1941 after she was crippled by polio, and taught voice to local children in her spare time.

Boxer Billy Conn trained for his 1946 rematch with Joe Louis in the Fordyce Bathhouse Gym. He ended up losing what is often remembered as “the fight of the century.”

By the 1950s, changes in medical technology resulted in a rapid decline in water therapies. People also began to take to the open roads in their own vehicles rather than traveling by train to a specific destination.

The gambling establishments and brothels were out of hand. In 1961, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Hot Springs had the largest illegal gambling operation in the country. In the town of Hot Springs, they were popular places and not really seen as illicit. Tony Bennett first crooned his signature “I Left My Heart in San Franciso” in the early 1960s at the Vapors Club, around the same time that a young Bill Clinton was graduating from Hot Springs High School.

Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller closed the casinos in 1967, some of which continued to operate as nightspots with major entertainers without the gambling for a few more years. Business declined for the bathhouses, and, one by one, they began to close.

In the 1980s, the citizens of Hot Springs, along with the National Park Service, began a restoration effort to revitalize the historic bathhouses. Today, visitors can tour the restored historic Fordyce Bathhouse Museum, which doubles as the visitor center for the Park. It looks just as it did in the 1920s.

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Hot Springs National Park is not your typical outdoor National Park destination, but it does host a variety of nature and wildlife to behold. There are several scenic drives through the mountains, and several trails, but this being the only of the “big 60” National Parks in a city, the experience at Hot Springs today is more about history than anything else. You can walk up and down bathhouse row, and tour the Fordyce Bathhouse of course, and then there’s a gift shop in the Lamar Bathhouse. The architecture of these buildings and the wild medical water treatment contraptions are worth the visit alone. You can also stroll the grand promenade, which is a paved walkway above bathhouse row, and drink from fountains that produce the natural hot spring water. You can even fill jugs if you want.

You can, however, still get spa treatments in Hot Springs National Park. The Buckstaff bath is one of the historic bathhouses still in operation. Here you can get the historic treatment. You purchase a bath ticket and lock your valuables in a security box, and are then guided to the dressing room where an attendant provides a bath sheet for you to wear. You get a private bathtub which your attendant has cleaned and filled with fresh 98-100-degree spring water. You soak in the large tubs for 20 minutes

Following the soak, you’ll get into a full-steam cabinet for two minutes, or a head-out cabinet for five minutes. Sitz (or sitting) tubs filled with 108-degree water are next, followed by applications of hot packs for specific aches or pains. Finally, you’ll take a tingling two-minute cool-down shower. A full-body Swedish massage lasting twenty minutes or more is optional and costs extra, and you can decline any portion of the experience.

More modern spa treatments are available at the Quapaw bath, which offers services like a Peach Hibiscus Foot Scrub, Hot Stone alignment, clay body masks, and 50-minute Deep Tissue massages. Here, you can also find the most affordable way to spend time in the hot spring water – for $20, those 14 and older can soak in thermal pools.

The National Park Service makes no healing claims to the water, though it is high in certain minerals. But the benefits of a hot spa treatment for aches and pains, and steam treatments for sinuses and the lungs are undeniable.

The town of Hot Springs is also full of a lot of the touristy stuff that tends to surround places like this. Zip lines, go-carts, laser tag and the like. The home of the Clintons, located at 1011 Park Avenue, is not open for tours, but you can view it from the streets of downtown.

The National Park Service operates a campground on site, which has recently added full hookups for RVs. It’s first-come-first-served only, but there is also a wide array of private campgrounds in the surrounding area, many on beautiful waterways.

This episode of America’s National Parks was written by me, Jason Epperson, and narrated by Abigail Trabue. If you enjoyed the show, we’d love a 5-star review wherever you listen to podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Just search “National Park Podcast.” You can also join our new America’s National Parks Facebook group. We’ll link to all of our social media, as well as National Park Service resources, music credits, and more in the show notes at National Park Podcast dot com.

If you are interested in RV travel, give us a listen over at the RV Miles Podcast. You can also follow Abigail and I as we travel the country in our converted school bus with our three boys at Our Wandering Family dot com.

Today’s show was sponsored by L.L.Bean, follow the hashtag #beanoutsider, and visit LLBean.com to find great gear for exploring the National Parks.


Music

Provided through the generosity of the artists under a creative commons license.

 

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