R and I had a good weekend outdoors. I start to get antsy if I don’t have my proper dosage of fresh air for the week. We met up with my family at Devil’s Den Park for camping, horseback riding, and hiking. Oh, we also were almost killed by a flash flood/ tornado/mud slide/lightening strike Friday night. But more on that later. I’m starting at the end of our weekend, where R and I went on a guided hike through the caverns & crevices of the park. I love the Arkansas parks. So much to do and (mostly) everything is free. This park is about 25 minutes away and my favorite so far. We’re excited to explore the many others in the state.
So we followed the park ranger to the Devil’s Den cave and listened to a few minutes of the history. This was his last tour as he was retiring, so we felt special celebrating this moment with him.
After our lesson, we walked a bit further to a large crevice. I peered over the edge and caught my breath. The next thing we know, the ranger disappeared and was already down waiting for us to follow. This would be the first of 3 crevices we would explore in our 2.5 hour hike.
The cold air in the crevices was a welcome change to the humidity above. It felt like we were in some pre-historic setting, with the tall bluffs, cool air, and green moss. He advised us to use our hands as much as possible to grip and pull. It had been raining a lot over the weekend, so everything was more slippery than normal. I always enjoy a good hand dirtying, so I took every opportunity to touch it all. R tried to not use his hands at all and would try to find puddles of water to wash them off as soon as possible. That drove me nuts, just as I’m sure my dirty limbs drove him crazy too.
It’s hard to get a scope of how deep these went, but sometimes it felt like we slid down the sides forever.
At one point to get out, we had to do a little maneuver. No big deal, until you have to actually turn around and face the large crowd behind you to do it. I had to go after both a 10 year old who just blip!, went up and over, as well as a guy who couldn’t quite get his right leg over the ledge. So the park ranger had to drag him up and pull him onto safe grounding. I figure if my efforts landed somewhere in between, it was a success.
…biting my lip and following his directions.
After the tour, we followed along a trail for awhile. We found some waterfalls so R could wash his hands. It started raining and I was happy. I love that smell coupled with the bright green in the forest. We hardly got wet because of the tree canopies and so slowed down our walk to really take in everything through our senses. Good way to end the weekend.