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  #1  
Old 11-26-2006, 06:32 PM
DeltaRomeo DeltaRomeo is offline
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Default Petit Jean State Park (AR) Aircraft Camping Report

...write-up by Ross Burgess

"As I cruised home today at 6,500 feet on a perfect RV day, I wondered if there would even be a Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas if there had not been a Great Depression. See, in the 1930s, trying to stimulate recovery, the government created several alphabet-soup agencies to provide jobs. One of these, the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, created the structures, facilities, and trails in the area centered around Cedar Creek Canyon that became Petit Jean State Park.

Petit Jean has its own airstrip, KMPJ (sat pic), with adjacent fly-in campground complete with electricity and bathhouse. We flew in Friday afternoon, eleven people in seven RVs, for a quick one-nighter. The aircraft ramp is on the southwest end of the runway near Lake Bailey, with the camping area right there in the trees (see pictures). JayBird and Carol, Monkey and Kate, Andy and Tyler, and me from DFW area, Paul Dye from Houston, and Tobin, Tracy and Jason from Pascagoula.

We set up camp in record time. I swear, Jaybird takes his tent and duffels and stuff, throws it all up in the air, and it comes down a perfectly set up campsite. We called the Visitor Center for the 5-mile van ride to the main part of the park. Our mission: a group picture by Cedar Creek Falls, the signature feature of Petit Jean. This involved a 45-minute hike down into the canyon and along the creek, much of it on steps cut into the rock by those CCC workers 70 years ago. Accomplished photo mission, then got some shots of macho men Tobin, Paul, and Jaybird behind the falls (see pics). We were able to sprint back along the trail and leap back up the cliff because we were inspired and energized, and also because we knew there was a restaurant up there.Dinner at the Mather Lodge dining room (adjacent to the CCC Room, sort of a lounge), then back to our airport campsite. The Ranger who drove us back said they only get fly-in campers maybe four times a year; seems hard to believe, but there it is. You will be pleased to learn that there are no more problems in the world, because we solved them all that night around the campfire. You shoulda been there.

How did I sleep that night? Put it this way: when geese honk on a clear, still night, it?s really, really, loud. Apparently they don?t sleep, either.

Next morning we ate, took a short hike (see pic of ?why women live longer than men? [ed. you'll know it when you see it]), said our farewells and scattered for our various destinations. We had learned that ?Petit Jean? is not French for ?my dungarees are too tight.? No, actually, the story involves a young French girl, who followed her nobleman lover to America by disguising herself as a cabin boy and applying for a job on his ship. Her ruse apparently worked, as the crew called her ?Petit Jean,? Jean being a male name in decadent France. You can read of her adventures on the state park web site, if you care. Neat stuff."


See The Rest of the Petit Jean Aircraft Camping Pictures
(click on 'Slideshow' for largest pics)
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2006, 07:49 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Default The Beacon Tower....

The reason, of course, that Tobin and I were up the tower was reconassance...Scorch had us on a morning death march looking for the fabled Northwest Passage (or was it a stone bridge?) shortcut to the main park. Being aviators, we were looking for a high place from which to prove that although the world was indeed round, the fabled passage was a myth. We have no pictures from the summit of the climb, as neither of us wanted to let go with either hand...

It was at about the point where this picture was taken that we began having a lively discussion about the quality of the welding on the ladder rungs (which were supporting Tobin), and decided that since we are all aluminum aircraft builders, welds were not our strong suit...and "strong" was, in any case, not an appropriate word to use in reference to these particular welds (which probably dated back to the Viking conquest of America....)!

However, a great time was had by all, and it was great to meet some new folks!

Paul
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2008, 08:44 PM
Gary Bricker Gary Bricker is offline
 
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Thumbs up Gary Bricker

Are there any plans for another trip to PJ. Has anyone stayed in the lodge
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2008, 12:00 AM
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Special Delivery Special Delivery is offline
 
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Default Donuts at Petit Jean?

Anyone report a sighting of the 'hot rod' C152 donut delivery vehicle from North Little Rock?
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2008, 07:13 AM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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False alarm Ernie....this was last year's trip!
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  #6  
Old 11-08-2008, 02:40 PM
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grantcarruthers grantcarruthers is offline
 
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Default

Seems a shame to let one of the few fly in parks go unused. Should we plan a spring camping trip for the VAF. Probably a little early to talk about it now but at 224nm I'd be in. Maybe get Bob Axom to organise a race nearby?? Just dreaming of spring as we move solidly into late fall early winter; breaking out the heavy jackets for the kids ya know. Horses are getting their winter coats, leaves are 98% fallen, etc. Air races, brats and hiking sound awefully good as I contemplate how I'm gonna block off the oil cooler as I should have last year.


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  #7  
Old 11-08-2008, 04:41 PM
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Special Delivery Special Delivery is offline
 
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Default Hard to get good help these days...

Paul
Don't know what happened... North Little Rock was on schedule for a delivery this year.
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