Labor Day weekend was a hot one in Southeastern Oklahoma. So we figured we should get right out there in the heat and thumb our nose at the sun. I talk tough, but I’m definitely a fair-weather outdoors person. In fact, I hate the heat and pray for winter each year. Nathan loves summer and truly seems unaffected by it most of the time. So, what better time to go hiking? Actually, we decided to explore a trail we have been interested in and save the hiking for cooler weather. Sanity prevailed for once!
In short summary: the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is 223 miles stretching from Talimena State Park in Oklahoma to Pinnacle Mountain State Park on the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas. Now here’s the thing. I grew up not too far from Talimena and almost every year, my grandparents and family went on a trail ride – that’s horseback for any of you city folk — from a small town called Wright City to Talimena and then we would all attend the rodeo. Those were some of my favorite memories growing up. Even then, I usually had a camera in my hand. But, I had never heard of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.
When Nathan told me about it, I started looking online and wanted to check it out a little more closely over a long weekend. We knew it was going to be close to 100 degrees. We planned to hike short ways up the trail, and when I had my usual meltdown of — I hate walking and bugs and I need cold beverages and pizza — we would come back to the car and check out some of the highlights along the first section of the trail.
Maybe it’s just me, but hiking trails should not start off with the word “deadman” on a sign. I was under no illusion that we would be on the trail long enough to find “Deadman Gap” so I didn’t worry too much.
If I were to describe our approach to hiking, I would have to give a couple of examples. If you remember the cartoon Speedy Gonzalez with Slowpoke Rodriguez. Well, Nathan is Speedy and I’m Slowpoke. Here is a video, if you are not familiar with the reference. Poor Nathan walks up the trail, decides I’ve fallen and turns around to come check — so, he walks twice as far. Meanwhile, I’m chasing butterflies or looking for shiny things in the woods. Or, I’m curled up in a fetal position on the trail asking for my mommy. It happens.
Another way to describe our approach to hiking is simply that Nathan could be labeled a speed hiker and I would be known as his albatross. I’m very lucky he doesn’t just run off and leave me in the woods.
Come back Nathan! Wait! Please don’t leave me! There are bears and Walking Stick things and spider webs and poison ivy that I can’t recognize (even though you’ve shown me thousands of times what it looks like) and I’m hot and I need an iced coffee… Nathan? Hello?
We went a ways up the trail then when I started mumbling curse words under my breathe, talking about air conditioned buildings and checking my Iphone for a signal so I could send out a tweet that I was being held hostage — we returned to the car and headed up Highway 1. We found Winding Stair Recreation Area. The second picture is at Horse Thief Spring and the fourth picture is of course bigfoot.
I’m hoping to explore more of the Ouachita Trail soon — likely at a leisurely pace.