Friday, September 3, 2010

The Ouachita Mountains

I am fortunate to live in a very scenic and unique area of Arkansas, the Ouachita Mountains.
The Ouachita Mountains are a mountain range which extends from central Arkansas to southeastern Oklahoma. The Ouachita Mountains are the only mountain range in the United States which run east to west instead of north to south.

The name Ouachita was probably derived from the Choctaw words owa (hunt) and chito (big). The Choctaws would speak to the French explorers of their Owa Chito (Big Hunt) far away from their home territory of what is now Mississippi and Alabama. The Choctaws would cross the Mississippi River and hunt buffalo in the region of the Red River and later further north toward the Ouachita Mountains.

The Ouachita Mountains are fold mountains, just like the Appalachian Mountains. Where oceanic crust meets less dense continental crust, the oceanic crust is forced under the continental crust. The continental crust is buckled by the impact, and fold mountains are the result. Geologists from all over the world come to the Ouachitas to see the strange and curious rock formations.
At one time the Ouachita Mountains were very similar in height to the Rocky Mountains. But millions of years of wind and water have eroded them leaving only the heart of the mountain exposed.

The Ouachita Mountains are also noted for the quartz crystals deposits. The Mount Ida region has numerous crystal mines, many of which are open to the public. 
The eastern portion of the Ouachita Mountains is also home to many novaculite mines. Novaculite or Arkansas whetstone is the rarest and finest abrasive stone in existence. Natural springs can also be found throughout the eastern part of the mountain range. With the majority of the hot springs located around the city of Hot Springs.

The Ouachita National Forest , established in 1907 and covering 1,784,457 acres, covers most of the Ouachita Mountains. It is the oldest National Forest in the southeastern United States. The Forest contains numerous hiking, biking, and horse backing riding trails with the most extensive being the Ouachita National Recreation Trail - 223 miles long. The Talimena Scenic Byway extends from Talihina, Oklahoma to Mena, Arkansas and travels the majority of the route along the mountain ridges and provides many breathtaking views.

If you enjoy outdoor adventure, then I encourage you to vacation in Arkansas, The Natural State.


Anonymous said...

You are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful state! Loved this post, and will be back to visit and read more!

JoyceAnn said...

Enjoyed reading about the Ouachita mountains , it's beautiful there. I hope to visit those mountains one day.

~ Many Blessings ~

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds idyllic! You're lucky to live there!

Anonymous said...

We are practically neighbors..So HOWDY NEIGHBOR!

I have hiked all over the Ouchitas. Arkansas has some of the most breathtaking landscape.



Chris in the Emerald City said...

Hey, we might be neighbors as well. We love the Buffalo National River! Heading up to Mountain View this weekend, then on to Greer's Ferry.

Rue said...

What a beautiful area! I would love to see some of those quartz mines!

Jeanne said...

Howdy Neighbors!! :0) {{waving}}

richies said...

The Ouachitas are one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I am reminded of that anytime I take a trip and return home to my beautiful Ouachita's

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