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Hot Springs Mountain, Arkansas - Valley Of The Vapors

Posted in Ultimate Adventure on June 1, 2000
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Long ago, before it was called the Hot Springs, the Indians called this area in Arkansas the Valley of the Vapors. This was in reference to the 47 natural hot springs, which bubble 143-degree water from the base of the Hot Springs Mountain. The Indians used to gather at these springs, which were known as a place of peace. Today there is a new gathering at the base of the mountain. Tourism draws millions of visitors to the area each year, and bathhouses have sprung up around the springs.

A part of the area that remains as wild as it was when the Indians inhabited it is the thousands of acres of privately owned, heavily wooded land just outside of Hot Springs near the Ouchita National Forest. This is where Superlift holds its annual Hot Springs 4xAdventure. The event uses this brutally challenging terrain, which resembles the Upper Tellico, North Carolina, area.

The difference between the two is that the trails in Hot Springs are significantly wider. Most of these trails were cut to facilitate logging, and they snake through the dense woods, winding up and down the terrain for miles. The dominant challenge here is steep angles and rocks - you will be challenged. There are trails for all skill levels, and depending on whether or not it has rained recently, mud can be a factor too.

Superlift 4xAdventure headquarters was at the Hot Springs KOA, where owners George and Anita Barrett and their staff rolled out the red carpet for the participants. A large tent with various Superlift displays and an RTI ramp greeted participants. Registration included three meals, participation in all the event's activities, a raffle ticket, a dash plaque, and an event decal. Trail lineups were a short distance away from the KOA and left at various times of the morning. This year's participants enjoyed cool nights and warm days during the peak of the fall colors.

This year, the 2000 Hot Springs 4xAdventure will celebrate its third year October 20-22. If you want more information on this 4xAdventure or any of the other three on tap, contact Bob Hazel, Sports In the Rough, Dept. OR, 284 14th Ave. NE, Ste. 5400, Hickory, NC 28601, (828) 261-0221, www.sports-in-the-rough.com, bob@sports-in-the-rough.com.

Anatomy of a RecoveryEveryone stood in stunned silence as John and Wava White's YJ Wrangler began its end-over-end descent of Quicksand Hill. After a couple of slow-motion endos, the YJ abruptly changed its course and went into a few high-speed barrel rolls before mercifully coming to rest on its side. It was at that point that Quicksand Hill had everyone's full attention as the group skittered down the hill to go to work.

The roll was caused when the YJ slid backward off the steep obstacle, dropping the left rear tire into a hole. The steep angle and the sudden drop created these shocking results. The technicality of the recovery required logical thinking and care to save the Jeep from further damage. Amazingly, the Jeep was driven up the hill under its own power in a little more than an hour's time. As any experienced off-roader knows, these things happen, and it's important to know how to recover yourself in less-than-ideal situations.

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