Nicholas Fluhart

August 27, 2010

East Camden, AR Expedition

Filed under: Trips and Fun — Nicholas Fluhart @ 10:10 pm

I recently joined a 1,200 acre lease in East Camden, Arkansas. I don’t have much time to hunt any more, but I really wanted a place to ride my dirt bikes and ATVs year-round without issue. The location of the lease is known in this part of the state as “The Area” which is in reference to the 68,000 acre WWII era Naval munitions depot. It’s a very historical and interesting place to say the least. Here’s a link to some general information (scroll down to the last plant discussed, the Shumaker Naval Munitions Depot). One of the most impressive facts not mentioned is that the entire depot was constructed in 5 months. Unbelievable. In years past I studied maps and photos of the place and have been out there on ATV rides a few times, but in late winter 2010 we decided to launch a two day exploratory expedition to familiarise ourselves with the lease and the surrounding area.

Setting up camp.

Coordinating the Camp

Once we had the camp set up, we shot some targets and ate lunch before setting out on our ATVs.

Crossing deep water.

Below you see my ATV parked next to a fence warning of the nearby ordnance well. What is an ordnance well? When the 68,000 acre depot was built, there were several homesteads that were removed. These homesteads of course had water wells. After the depot was finally closed, they disposed of the equipment and explosive ordnance. One such method of disposal was to dump it down the old water wells. It wasn’t until decades later in 2006 that the Army Corps of Engineers determined this may be a hazard, so they constructed a small fence which serves more as a warning than an actual barrier.

Fence surrounding an ordnance well.

We explored several interesting structures, such as the old explosives plant shown below.

A break at the explosives plant.

Small Arms Testing Facility

Then we were off to the gravel pits. To build such a massive complex of mostly concrete buildings, several large gravel yards were needed, some of which are still in operation today. Also, rail road tracks linked all of the facilities in the depot. Subsequently, the largest railway network in the state of Arkansas was constructed to facilitate the needs of the depot.

Surveying the Gravel Pits

One of the gravel pits from the area.

The last day of the trip, the weather pretty much rained solid. It made for some awesome riding, but it was a bit difficult cooking breakfast as seen below…

Breakfast in the Rain

Then we set out for the trails. Being the last day, we pulled out all the stops and rode hardcore, and as such, what ride would be complete without an incident? On the final leg of the expedition, a tie rod end on my ATV suddenly failed resulting in my loosing control of the steering which caused me to run off the trial.

The incident.

Below is a fantastic slide-show of the trip from beginning to end. However, I didn’t get many pictures of the magnum mud ride we went on because it was raining steadily and as you may have noticed from my last post, my camera is not amphibious. More on the way!

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