On the drive northeast from Dallas, TX, we passed through Texarkana and on to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in hopes of procuring a carat or two of brown, yellow, or white diamonds. The rain and fields of mud made short work of our bling dreams, though my buddy Matt and I walked away with a couple of shiny rocks (quartz, agate, and jasper).
Arranging a hike for a group of people you don’t normally trek with is difficult. Everyone has different capabilities and desires. Some like to (and can) push hard and feel worn out after a hike. Others feel more comfortable meandering through the woods, soaking up the sights and sounds of nature. Any way you do it is right, but in a group, it’s all about expectations. Figure out who can do what and who wants to. 15 miles of technical terrain sounds amazing to me, but might be nightmarish to others. Knowing what obstacles you’ll be encountering is also choice.
The next morning, Matt told us the cabin cat had caught an owl. Sure enough, we walked out on the deck and the owl managed to use our distraction to escape its fate as a feline feast! We packed up and got sorted for a 4-hour kayaking adventure over mild rapids and along gorgeous bluffs.
This is the stuff you can probably look at on Google Earth, but can’t understand until you get out there and experience it. A few tip-overs, a couple of beers, a broken phone, and a 20′ (or 30’…it was 50′ if it was 1!) cliff jump into frigid water later, we made it to the end of the route and on our way to Copper John’s Resort on the White River.
By the time we arrived, the drinking had already begun. The dam ran almost the entire time we were there so the river was up to cabins rather than 30′ out from us. No one seemed to have much luck with fishing until the final day when all the caught trout were smoked and devoured. Oatmeal pies were consumed in bulk along with cheap domestic beer. Stories were told, books were read, hornets were chased away with improvised flamethrowers, paint cans were filled with vodka…what you’d expect from a guys trip.