Friday, September 26, 2008


One of the most beautiful and dominant characteristics of our unique part of the world, are the various peaks along the skyline.
We see them daily and their presence is comforting to some, challenging to others. They do not go unnoticed very often.
Visitors invariably comment on them and their beauty, though they seldom know them by name. Fewer yet manage to learn of the history of such peaks, even the ones that catch their imagination. Many of these peaks had fire towers on them and a few of those towers remain. The remaining towers are no longer used as a vantage point for forestry fire watch purposes. Other
means of fire watch are used now. Most of the remaining towers are used as electronics sites for cellular telephone service providers and so forth.
One such peak and tower, located in the South part of our county, is Whiskey Peak Tower. Hatton Gap is where US Highway 71 passes over Cross Mountain. Whiskey peak is located to the West of Highway 71 on Cross Mountain and it still has it’s signature steel beam fire tower jutting skyward at the pinnacle. It catches they eye and sometimes the imagination of passers
by. A few of these hardy souls will be drawn toward the sight of the tower in the distance. Most will take a look at the rough, steep and narrow, single lane, mostly hacked out of stone, road that leads to the tower, and turn back towards the highway. Some will continue upward, cautiously. The global positioning System Coordinates of the tower are: N 34° 20.768 W 094° 25.058 . It is clearly visible on most topographic maps as the one of the most dominant terrain features in the South Part of Polk County. The foundation of the Ranger's residence is still visible, but the Ranger and his family are long gone.
Locals still tell stories about the way the peak got it's name and of desperate men and hard times in the shadow of Whiskey Peak. A visit to a local restaurant, store, station or fruit stand, and mentioning Whiskey Peak will prompt many memories and stories.
Should someone want to drive to the top of Whiskey Peak the road is open, but four wheel drive is the preferred mode of transport to the top. The view is absolutely breath
taking, the breeze cool and pleasant, and the glimpse back into Ouachita history is priceless.

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