For the past several years, Christmas Day has brought with it a tradition I share with my husband. Because we are a blended family, Christmas and all the chaos surrounding it has often been especially challenging. At some point we kind of gave up trying to conform to the schedules of all others involved and took it upon ourselves to retreat from the firestorm, give up having a family Christmas on Christmas Day and head outside together instead.
For 2006 we were on top of Pinnacle Mountain just in time to see a beautiful bald eagle “buzz the tower”.
Christmas Day 2007 meant another trip to a favorite, Petit Jean State Park for the Seven Hollows and Cedar Falls trails with lunch in between.
In 2008, we took a trip to Mt Magazine State Park just before Christmas to celebrate the anniversary of our first date. Christmas Day had us hiking at Pinnacle again, but bushwhacking the backwoods, scouting the area for the mountain bike trails we were hoping to build.
Lake Catherine State Park was the destination for December 25, 2009.
2010 was a year we managed to keep our family close, but still go hike on our own by renting a cabin at Lake Ouachita and hitting the dirt while others enjoyed the comfort of central heat, couches and a warm fireplace.
Each trail we choose has its own Christmas magic for us: the story of seeing that soaring eagle never gets old, listening to the beautiful waterfalls at Lake Catherine, seeing Grampie in his Santa hat at Ouachita, or spending the day dreaming about a place we can ride our bikes. This year we chose a trail in a park I’ve only visited in the heat of summer. Mainly because Woolly Hollow State Park has a really nice swim beach complete with a great snack bar. Did someone mention nachos? After a short drive from Little Rock to the park near Greenbrier, cleaning up after one car sick dog and figuring out a new remote control for the camera, we were ready to get on the trail. We started at the Cabin Trail, used the Cold Creek Trail to connect to the Huckleberry for what should be about 4.5 fairly easy miles if we had calculated correctly. The trail magic for this year…the new puppy.
The Park System tends to be very good at dual usage and using what’s on hand to get a job done.
Our route took us all the way around Lake Bennett with a beautiful view of the park and the swim beach from across the lake. But this was my favorite spot of the hike:
Merry Christmas! Next up- New Year’s Day traditional mountain bike ride. We’ve been invited to paddle on New Year’s this year. Choices, choices.