Saturday, August 1, 2009

We're Going on a Bear Hunt...

Take pictures with my camera...

If you have children, you know this song (Bear Hunt). My kinders love it. Well, we were on the look out for bears, but no luck. (Apparently black bears are not uncommon up here, there are many signs to make you aware :) I did take a few pictures though.

We slept in this morning, then had a nice breakfast at the one and only restaurant up here. Afterwards, we put on our hiking shoes and headed outside into the...rain. LOTS of rain. We went back into the lodge to see if there might be any rain ponchos for sale in the gift shop. There was a LARGE selection of pool toys and swimsuits, but no rain ponchos. The gift shop worker called the visitor center (down the road) to check if they might have any ponchos. Only youth. There are advantages to being really short. I can wear youth. So we dashed out in the rain and drove over to the visitor center to buy one cheap youth poncho. I made the mistake of trying to stretch the neck a bit and tearing it (the tear got bigger as the day went on) but it served its purpose. And it was cheap, so I won't feel bad about tossing it in the end...Here is a picture from the back porch of the visitor center... as you can probably tell

When there was a break in the rain, we headed down the first hiking trail outside the visitor center...the Will Apple trail. It was a "blue" trail meaning easy, a good one to start with. :) There was an old homestead along the trail. Here is a tree growing with the barbed wire fence in it. It fascinates me how that happens!
Everywhere we looked, green. Arkansas is the Natural State, after all! This is actually the remnants of a swimming pool from the 1920's. It is filled in with plantlife now, but you can see the wall at the end. It was actually very neat to see; I had never thought about pools that many years ago. (This photo was taken after our biggest rain of the thankful for that cheap poncho that kept my backpack and most of my body dry...)
Along the hike, we were fortunate to see a wide variety of butterflies. I have loved butterflies (and their carefree fluttering) since I was a young child. I think one of my rooms had butterfly wallpaper even when I was a child. I don't know enough about butterflies to identify them. They just look pretty to me!
Along the trail...We decided to hike Bear Hollow Trail. I was lured by the description of waterfalls and beautiful bluffs. Well, we didn't see one waterfall. The creeks were dry, which was ironic since the day was so very wet. :) We did see bluffs at the VERY end of the almost 3 mile trail. I think in all we hiked about 7 miles. Some parts were easy to hike, many parts were not. The uneven terrain was kind of tough on the ankle, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

We didn't get to spot a lot of animals. They were wisely staying out of the rain. :) But we did see a few frogs.

This is Inspiration Point which was at the end of the Bear Hollow Trail. It was a beautiful lookout.
Me, the scaredy cat, out on the ledge of Inspiration Point. I am typically scared of heights, but it was so beautiful out there, I had to take a peek. I am just thankful it is not a close that point I was a sticky, sweaty mess.
My goofy man. Cute, isn't he?
I am not a plant expert. I don't think these are even plants, maybe more of a fungi. But I thought they were cool looking, like little stars!
One of our favorite parts of the hike was spotting "splashes" of color. I won't even tell you how many of these yellow flowers I photographed today. They were just so gorgeous against the green background. We also really enjoyed the red leaf that would randomly be growing among the green...I love God's handiwork!

This is Sunrise Rock. It was beautiful too, though we preferred Inspiration Point.
Hiking up the incline. There were a LOT of inclines. I really felt like we went up more than we went down. :)

I know, not the most exciting pictures, but again, I just love that little splash of color. This was a red mushroom or toadstool...did I mention I have very little knowledge about nature? I don't study it, I just admire it.
Here is another butterfly. I just loved it on the purple flower. I watched it for the longest time (which also gave me a nice little break to catch my breath...)

This is me about 6 miles into the hike. I wanted to just sit down and give up but the only way back to our vehicle was to finish the hike. I am hugging the sign, hoping we make it back. A little funny: when we did get to the end of the hike which came out near the visitor center, a park ranger driving by stopped to check on us because we looked confused. Dazed and confused. That is us. :)

I know, yet another random picture. Do you see what happens when I have no children to photograph? If you squint, you can see a green beetle in the middle of the picture. It was the most amazing electric. Really cool.

Yet another frog, trying to blend into his surroundings so I would leave him alone. :)

After we arrived back at our vehicle and both breathed a sigh of relief to be sitting, we took a little drive over to Cameron's Bluff. Before we even got to the overlook, Mark got to see an amazing sight. A large deer (8 point buck, possibly, which means little to me) crossed in front of our vehicle just ahead of us. It was a beautiful creature. Mark grew up hunting deer. I on the other hand cannot fathom killing anything beyond the occasional fly and mosquito. I asked him how he could kill such beautiful creatures. I obviously do not have the "hunter's mind"...

As we were walking out to the overlook, I spotted yet another butterfly. Aren't they gorgeous?

The view from the overlook was amazing. And we didn't even hike to it, we just drove and walked down a few steps. :)

We ate dinner at the lodge restaurant, which I mentioned is the only restaurant in the near area. The food was pretty good, though I was greatly disappointed at the end to find out that the special (which hadn't been shared with us) was crab legs. Bummer! However, the service was REALLY slow. So while we were waiting for our dessert (that I now regret eating but it was so yummy), I slipped out to take a few pictures from the back of the that point, most of the clouds had cleared out. The sun was setting; it was just beautiful. I don't think the camera always captures the beauty, but it is fun to try!
That is Blue Lake down in the valley (a reservoir of Petit Jean River) and the Ouachita Mountains.
Another trail...this one is for rockclimbers/rappellers. I don't think we will be taking this one. :)
My fella :)

Another "hold out the camera and snap blindly" shots. It is one of the few times we can get a picture of us together. :)
I love my man. Thanks, honey, for the weekend getaway. It was a great way to end my summer!

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud you got to get away with your hubby! Sounds like you have had such a good time. Enjoy the rest of it because the real world will be waiting for you when you get back :). What a great tradition that you do that, definetly a good time to get away together.


Sweet Words of Wisdom