Beyond cell coverage. It's the "Where the Sidewalk Ends" for this generation. And the Hoods spent Saturday afternoon driving off into the wilderness of the Ozark National Forest.
Well first, we did this.
One minute – he was tearing around the room, yellow dump truck in hand. The next minute – out. I tell you this kid has two speeds — high and off.
After a nap, we loaded up the car and headed off. We had a map, a camera, some animal crackers, and some bad directions – we were ready. County Road X led to County Road Y led to what we THOUGHT was probably the turn-off. So we left the safety and certainty of pavement and headed down an unmarked dirt road. Pretty soon I felt like we were driving up a wall. Rocky, single-lane, dirt road — straight up the side of a mountain. Sweet.
About 5 miles in, I was beginning to think there was no way we were headed in the right direction. But what do you know? Just as I was about to suggest we turn around and try the NEXT unmarked dirt road — there it was. The trailhead.
Colt had no idea what we were so excited about – nor did he know what "hiking" meant. But by golly, he was ready. With Chuck Taylors in place of hiking boots (what a city kid!), he hit the trail.
After about a mile and a half – we hit the jackpot.
Hawksbill Crag, or Whitaker Point — the most photographed spot in Arkansas. Well it only makes sense to take the most photographed CHILD in Arkansas to visit the most photographed SPOT in Arkansas, right?
Of COURSE we had to stand on it.
I can't imagine how beautiful it is in the fall — I plan to find out. But standing there and looking out over the Ozark National Forest is a fantastic view.
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Colt was such a trooper. It's about 3 miles roundtrip, and the way out to Whitaker Point wasn't bad at all. But after sitting for a minute and snapping a few pictures – we joked that we know all too well, "the summit is only halfway".
After some water and animal crackers, he was refueled. On the way back to the trailhead Colt hosted his own fierce little battle between independence and exhaustion. We would alternate — 10 minutes of riding on Daddy's shoulders, too tired to walk — followed by 10 minutes of, "Myself! Myself! Hiking!".
We had a great time, and we'll definitely go back. I'd love to see it in the Fall and I'd love to take Colt again when he's a little older. It's a nice little hike.
My advice, I suppose, is to allow yourself plenty of time – if you plan to take a toddler. He was insistent upon doing things himself – which earned him some pretty gnarly, skinned-up knees before all was said and done – but he was ok with finding his own footing and navigating the trail by himself. Also — on the way there. You WILL think you've taken the wrong road. Just when you are certain you've gone 5 miles out of your way and you're about to drive off a cliff — drive just a little further. Trust me.