Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Warm Weather Hiking Goals

            Many of you who have been around for awhile know that I am a HUGE fan of hiking. While it's not nearly as miserable and frigid here in Arkansas as it has been for most of the northern half of the country this winter, it still isn't exactly warm enough to go hiking most days. If it were just me going, maybe. It would be chilly, but doable. But, I always take Myka with me so that is out of the question. So, I've been daydreaming about when it gets warmer out in the meantime.
            You may remember me talking about going on the park interpreter led hikes last summer. I'm not comfortable going new places out in the woods (or national park forest in this case) by myself, on top of having a child with me, so it was really nice utilizing those hikes to familiarize myself with some of the trails in the park.
            Anyways, as if I didn't push myself with those hikes lugging around a 20+ pound toddler, snacks, and several water bottles, I really wanted to challenge myself this year. I want to explore more of one trail in particular: the Sunset Trail. Sounds nice, right? It is 9.7 miles long. Yep. You read that right. Still not seem like a big deal? Again, toddler and all the junk that goes along with toddlers AND the normal hiking stuff. Then throw in hills and rough terrain in some spots. And the fact that while I can withstand more physical exertion than you would expect just by looking at me, the fact remains that I am really overweight. (If you've not seen recent pictures of me, I'm not just being a stereotypical woman and saying that. I really, truly am.)
It's so long the park felt the need for it to have 3 maps. lol
            Luckily, I came to my senses. The logistics of doing the entire thing with a 1 year old are just, well, insane. Doable, yes. Fun, probably not. It would take us at the very LEAST 10 hours, but more than likely much longer. Being out in the woods that long with no proper restroom facilities doesn't even sound fun to me. I'm not a "pee in the bushes" type. Finally, the trail doesn't go in a complete circle. I would have to walk several more miles to get to wherever I parked or have to have someone come pick us up. Not fun. However, I would like to at least do each of the 3 sections of it on separate days.
Pictures from the Sugarloaf Mountain Section to Balanced Rock

             We did a good part of the Sugarloaf Mountain section during one of the ranger hikes last summer. You can see it on the middle section of the map picture above. That alone took us about 4 hours to walk out there and back, if that tells you anything. And we were trying to hustle some on the way back since the rangers are technically only allotted 4 hours for the hikes.
            Anyways, it should be interesting. I'm not going to lie: I'm a little worried about doing the Stonebridge Road section (right) since it is 4 miles long. Maybe my husband and I can get a babysitter on one of his days off and do it together. :)
            How about you? Do you have any fun outdoor excursions planned for the summer yet?

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