Thursday, April 18, 2013

Village Creek State Park

Village Creek State Park

March 2013

The Trail of Tears
Along the Memphis to Little Rock Military Road

I wanted to hike a short section of the very sad Trail of Tears through Village Creek State Park in Arkansas. 

A 20% chance of rain for the afternoon turned into a 100% guarantee as we neared Village Creek State Park.  I was prepared for Kellisa because I just purchased a rain canopy for the Freedom Push Chair. However, I wasn't prepared because I didn't bring my rain jacket. I paid a cold, wet price all afternoon.

After the short lakeside hike, we were met with a real challenge. The small trail next to the stairs was too narrow and would have been too dangerous and slippery. My only choice was to push, lift and carry Kellisa up the stairs in the rain:

Looking down the stairs we just climbed:

Kellisa's rain canopy:

The trail is eroded out of the ridgeline from so many before us as we enter a section of the Trail of Tears:

The trail is turning into a creek:

The rain turns to a slight drizzle. I remove the rain canopy to let Kellisa enjoy some fresh air:

The trail cuts through the ridge with a narrow set of stairs. Kellisa's chair was wider than the stairs, so I went alone to look on the other side. It was worse and I didn't feel comfortable taking Kellisa down the other side. I made the decision to play it safe and turn this hike into an out and back.

Looking down the stairs we needed to descend:

Nothing like a narrow twist in the middle of the stairs to make it interesting:

Miles hiked:       2.66
Low Elevation:   261ft.
High Elevation:   414ft.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Big Oak Tree State Park

Big Oak Tree State Park

March 2013

After the disappointment in El Paso the week before, Kellisa and I needed to get away to get some positive miles behind us on the trail. Since we never hiked in Missouri, it seemed like a nice, easy late winter destination. I wanted to go to the highpoint, but the bridge I planned on using to cross the Mississippi River was closed and the detour wasted too much time. A quick glance at the map and we were headed to a little known state park- Big Oak Tree.

The drive to the park was eerie. It felt like we were driving into a low budget horror movie. The color was gone, with only muted browns and grays remaining. The farms looked like they were abandoned decades ago instead of the previous autumn. Then I realized that we didn't see any cars, tractors or people. Even the houses and churches were abandoned. It was like all the people just vanished.

The final miles to the state park had me questioning if we should turn around and drive towards civilization. A dirt road led to the trees in the distance, which would turn out to be the state park.

Even the state park was abandoned. No visitor center. No offices. No maintenance buildings. It looked like we were the first visitors in years. It didn't help that it was still winter and all the trees and bushes looked dead.

We were the only ones in the park. Usually, I'm more afraid of people than wildlife, but in this case I just wasn't sure. I might have felt better to see people. On the other hand, would I want to see people in this setting? We were there and it took everything I had to proceed with the hike.

Our first hike was the Boardwalk Trail: 

As soon as we started, it felt like someone was watching us.

I was right...we were being watched:

Our second hike was the Bottomland Trail:

My first reaction was to look for an alligator:

Big Oak Lake without water:

I recently purchased a new Garmin to track our hikes and transpose them over topo maps. Below is our hike in Big Oak Tree. We walked in between the trailheads instead of driving.

Miles Hiked:              3.56
People Seen:                  0
People Watching Us:      ?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekly Medicine

Below is a picture of Kellisa's pill boxes for one week. The white box contains her calcium and iron supplements. The yellow box holds her a.m. medicine and the blue is for her nighttime medicine.

Below is a picture of everything that needs to go in or on Kellisa in one week. The only exception is the large rectangle box at the bottom with a pill bottle on the right. Those are emergency seizure rescue medications. 

When we travel, we have to bring all the above to keep Kellisa healthy.

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