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Adventures in Arkansas

May 11, 2014

At the end of April/beginning of May, I spent a week in Arkansas for work with my coworker, Elise (of dog- and cat-sitting fame).  This was the 35th state I’ve been to, and I probably would never have visited otherwise.  We had a good time overall and I learned a bit about the south (where I haven’t spent very much time).

Our workshop was in Little Rock, which was a nice city but much smaller than I was expecting.  We technically stayed in a hotel in North Little Rock, just across the river, but it was within walking distance to downtown.  There was a nice path along the river that I ran on in the mornings and in the evenings we walked across the bridges to have dinner.CIMG2534

This was the only picture I took in Little Rock – yes, that is a submarine (it’s a museum) and the pedestrian bridge was all lit up in pretty colors.

We ate at some nice restaurants – giant pretzels with mustard, salads, queso dip, barbeque (so good), lots of iced tea (luckily there was unsweetened as well as classic sweet tea), pizza, delicious pecan pie…  One evening we were sitting on a patio about to leave and a man carrying cowboy boots started serenading us with “The Gambler.”  Oh, the irony when he got to the line about “know when to walk away/know when to run” and wouldn’t get the hint to leave.

The one major hiccup of this trip was that two out of the thirteen boxes of materials we needed for our workshop didn’t get sent, which we found out the morning of the first day.  Luckily everything we use is pretty easy to find, so we sent someone to the store and Elise spent the morning making parachutes while I ran the workshop.  It could have been a lot worse, and I think we handled it pretty well (one of EiE’s unofficial mottos is that if there is no blood and no crying then it’s a good day, so we had a good day).  Crazy how those scenarios we give people during interviews really do happen!  The boxes were overnighted so we had everything we needed the next day.

After three long days of making parachutes and maglev trains (love this job), we headed to the Ozark mountains in the northwest part of the state for a day and a half of vacation.  Elise had found a cabin near some interesting hiking trails and we figured we should explore a bit more of the state.  We drove right through the town of Mayflower, which had been hit by a tornado the day before we arrived.  Crazy, crazy stuff; I’d never seen anything like that before.

The “town” we were staying in consisted of a post office and a gas station, which was typical for the area.  The cabin was amazing:CIMG2536

We had picked up some fresh local strawberries on the way, which easily made breakfast on the porch one of my favorite parts of the trip.

The hikes we went on were really cool.  On the way to Hawksbill Crag there were lots of rocky outcroppings.CIMG2547

And then we made it to the crag!CIMG2554

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We picnicked on the crag and then drove back down the steepest dirt road I’ve even seen.  It worked out well that I had rented the car, so I did all the driving while Elise navigated (I get carsick on windy roads and don’t have a smartphone).

We found another short hike with lots of fun features:CIMG2557

This passageway under the rocks was my favorite.CIMG2558

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(Sorry there’s no scale in that one; it was a small rock, not a people-sized ancient dwelling.)

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There was a cave at the end of the trail that we could have continued deeper inside, but we didn’t have headlamps and it was really dark.

On the last day we drove back to Little Rock a different way in order to see Petit Jean State Park (which was pronounced “pedigene” and took us a long time to figure out how it was spelled).  We didn’t have a ton of time to visit, but it had nice views and a pretty lake.

Arkansas was quite the adventure!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Casi Newell permalink
    May 11, 2014 10:28 am

    “(Sorry there’s no scale in that one; it was a small rock, not a people-sized ancient dwelling.)”
    I’ll see what I want to see, and I see an elaborate cave dwelling!

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