Sunday, April 16th
It was a bit weird to celebrate Easter Sunday while on the road! About the only Easter-y thing I did was to fill eggs ahead of time and put them in the car in people’s seats.
We headed straight to T. R. Pugh’s Memorial Park. It looked really neat online, but I know firsthand how that can go so I was delighted to find that it was every bit as amazing in real person as it looked online.
It was like a fairy wonderland.
We were the only ones there for a bit and it seemed like a gift. It was so lovely and peaceful and perfect on an Easter morning. Absolutely amazing. I didn’t want to leave.
But we had to press on.
Our next stop was the Visitor’s Center for the Little Rock Central High School. This was the first desegregated high school in the country. I wasn’t sure the boys would find this super interesting, but we all spent some time viewing the exhibits and learning about that very important time in our nation’s history.
Right across the street are the memorial arches.
We met a nice ranger who encouraged us to cross the street and view the school. I’m so glad he did because a bunch of trees were blocking the school and it didn’t look like much, but when we walked over we saw this:
Stunning! That’s got to be the grandest high school I’ve ever seen! Way to go, Little Rock!
You can tour the school with a ranger, but it takes about an hour and we needed to move on.
We crossed the street again and looked at the old Mobile station. This is also a part of the NPS because it’s the only place reporters could send info back to their papers.
Our next stop was only an hour and a half away. Crater of Diamond’s State Park, to be exact. It was sunny and hot, but that didn’t deter us. We changed into old clothes, grabbed our shovels and buckets, watched a film about diamonds and how to find them and we were off!
Our hope faded in about 10 minutes.
The mine is all above ground. It’s a massive field of dirt that’s freshly plowed every day. You pick a spot and plop down and start digging and moving dirt around. The dirt is packed so you have to loosen a spadeful, dump it out, and then use your hands or trowel to smoosh the dirt around to try and find any diamonds that might be hiding within. It’s hot, dirty, disheartening work.
Gabe had been the most excited about this adventure and he was the one to crab, first. He found a shady spot under a tree and dug there for a while so that helped a bit.
Tim and Karen tried washing bucketfuls of dirt and panning through it. We moved around, tried different things. After just a few hours everyone was exhausted and hot and tired and not even the possibility of finding a diamond could hold them there any longer so we left.
We’d found a few small pieces of jasper and other non-diamond minerals, but it was pretty disappointing overall!
The upside to leaving the mine early was that we knew we’d get checked into our hotel at a good time so that we could clean up and rest well. But first we had to find food and that was presenting a challenge because it was Easter Sunday. Finally we took the classy route and bought food at Wal-Mart and ate it in the parking lot. What can I say, mining for diamonds really takes it out of you!
We made it to Shreveport at a good time and got settled in. Unfortunately, it was the grossest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
It’s only one night, it’s only one night, it’s only one night. Tomorrow is a new day.