The Chinese believe the greatest journey begins with the first step. It’s obvious the Chinese have never been to Arkansas. As I look out, it’s now dark, I’m on this two lane road and from what I can tell, I’m not even close to arriving at my destination. As a matter of fact, my navigation tells me I’m still 3 1/2 hours away. Why it took me from Kansas City to Little Rock is beyond me. Along the way, I saw a sign that said the “Crater of Diamonds” was only 90 miles. I’m thinking maybe I should have gone to dig for diamonds, after all, it was only last week that a 12-year-old kid found a 5-carat diamond out in this field. But, I’m duty bound for Gaston’s Resort and nothing can stand in my way.
As I’m nearing the 14th hour I make a call to my office to tell them my plight and after the laughter died, they talked me in. I was like a pilot flying on instruments. Even in the dark, Gaston’s Resort is impressive. The grounds are impeccable and as neat as a pin. In the distance, I could hear the river which was music to my ears.
Gaston’s Resort is on the White River and is truly one of the gems of Arkansas. Started by Jim Gaston back in the 50’s as a fishing camp, Gaston’s has evolved into a 5-star resort. This gem has numerous facets and one of my favorites, by far, is the excellent brown and rainbow trout fishing. Another facet is the accommodations that can handle up to the Hatfield and McCoy clans without a problem. The food is to live for, like bison and rabbit saddles, and their menu rivals any New York City restaurant with a chef to match. Plus, they have biking, hiking, nature trails and of course the Visitor Center sponsored by Gaston’s that gives you a glimpse of how this gem was formed. Diamonds are formed under great pressure and Gaston’s growth was also under great pressure to find the right guides, chefs, wait staff and people to make it as perfect of a gem as it could be. Now, Clint Gaston is at the helm and is the third generation to do so.
On the first day, we fished with Ritchie a very competent, knowledgeable and friendly guide. He knew the spots that held good size rainbows. Others fished for the monster browns that the White River is known for. Around noon we headed for a shore lunch with a menu of fried trout, ribs, dirty rice and all the fixings. To top it off we enjoyed strawberry and cherry cobbler made in dutch ovens. The smell of wood smoke was in the air and I mentioned to my fishing partner, Glynn Harris, that if I could find a girl that smelled like that, I’d have it all.
Great fishing, food, accommodations and staff at Gaston’s Resort made the trip all worthwhile. When you go just remember, if you get to Monkey Run, you’ve gone too far!