Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Traveler's Mind


Not too long ago, I was drinking out of this coffee mug. Not for any particular reason, but because it just happened to be the mug I grabbed out of the cupboard. It's a mug we purchased at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas when I took the kids there -- back in March of 2015 -- when they were on Spring Break. My mom lives there for her job, and since I hadn't seen her in awhile, it seemed like something to do. 

Now, I had never envisioned Arkansas as being a vast place of beauty and wondrous nature, but I sure found out otherwise when I was there.




A shot of the Ozark Mountains at the entrance to Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas.

The Ozark Mountains stretch primarily through southern Missouri, Arkansas, and into Oklahoma. While not as massive in scale as the Rocky Mountains, they are still impressive nonetheless. I didn't realize that Arkansas was covered in so much mountains and forests! It's no secret that I love nature and hiking, so being here was like a dream come true. Petit Jean itself is not only home to mountains and forest, but to a cave and a large waterfall as well. 




My kids as they ran to a viewing rock at the main visitor's lodge at Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas.

Just look at that view! We spent our whole trip immersed in the stunning nature that surrounded us, and came home with a sense of renewal and peace. There was so much more of the area that we never did see, that I vowed we would return one day for a full vacation where we could do more of what I love best.

It was this wonderful remembrance, while drinking from my coffee mug, that got the wheels set in motion. My husband and I had finally taken the kids (in June of 2016) on a real family vacation to Colorado, but it was only four days. Much too short! We had already planned on taking the kids for a second, longer, family trip for their Spring break this year, which falls in April, so I mentioned Arkansas to my husband. After perusing the internet, and seeing pictures of places that I haven't been to yet, even, we decided to all go to the Ozarks this year. 




The wonderful vacation travel package I ordered from Arkansas.

I talked to Mom, who is more than excited to have us come visit. We're going to stay with her too, which gives us time to visit and have a place to stay. We're trying to pay off a few things this year (money was going to be tight) so we had feared we might just have to make the best of a staycation. Being able to stay with my mom and pack all of our own food makes this a perfect solution!

 After we made the decision, I ordered a travel guide from Arkansas which arrived in the mail this week. They sent us a whole set of books for us to use to plan the perfect outdoor vacation...so much more than a travel guide. We're definitely excited to go back to the mountains and spend oodles of time outdoors! Don't worry, you'll definitely get to see the end results.

Now, it's time to get this weekend going. I hope yours in fantastic, and that, you yourself, are planning a fun trip for this year. 

-H.A.
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