Hi friends! I hope you all are having a great weekend, and enjoyed your extra hour of sleep this morning! We’re all having a lazy Sunday here, and recuperating from our hiking trip yesterday.
Yesterday morning the alarms went off at 5:45, and we were up and out the door headed for the trail in no time. Our destination was the Eagle Rock Loop Trail located in the Ouachita Mountains just outside of Mena, AR. This trail is a 26.8 mile loop that John and I have completed twice. We’ve also done several day hikes in this area. The trail is the perfect mixture of natural beauty and a physical challenge.
Originally we planned on completing the entire 26.8 miles yesterday. John and I did this last spring, and it was tough! My dad signed off on the plan so we were ready to give it a shot. Unfortunately, factors like arriving at the trailhead later than expected and the knowledge that dark comes early this time of year quickly made us abandon Plan A.
We decided to hike the hardest 12 miles of the trail instead. One of the features of the Eagle Rock Loop is the six hills that span the trail giving you beautiful wide open views. The views are wonderful, but the hills? They’re no joke.
We climbed up and down 4 of them before we decided it was time to turn around. Normally, I dislike in and out trails, but going back over the hills from the other direction is so different that it was almost like an entirely new trail!
I was dealing with a runner’s knee flare up so the last section of the hike was a little bit painful. It was made so much better by the beautiful fall colors that were exploding everywhere. The colors around home have started to fade a bit so I was not prepared for the beauty we experienced yesterday. I can honestly say the colors were better than they have been in several years, and I was so glad we were able to experience them.
I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to complete the whole trail. I am sometimes guilty of focusing too much on mileage and the challenge, and not stopping to enjoy the wonders around me. When I get in this mindset, nature quickly reminds me of the reason why I choose to hike. The wonder of being off the grid in a space where relatively few people venture is amazing. It’s almost like our own private playground, and being there evokes such a feeling of a joy in me that the mileage becomes so unimportant. Hiking is so much more than that.
If you ever find yourself in Arkansas, promise me you’ll check this trail out. It really is one of the best ones in this part of the country and something you shouldn’t miss out on. I’ll even be your tour guide!
Did you enjoy the great outdoors this weekend?