Our Pathfinders series is a collection of guest posts from Adventurers all around the world. If you'd like to contribute, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Today's post is by our friend Ben Matthews.
We go through the mundane routine of everyday life always searching for something more that you can do to make life more exciting and stimulating. For me, I have found being in the outdoors to be my muse. My everyday life involves, waking up, going to class, getting home to eat something before work, going to work, coming home to do homework/study, going to sleep. So the weekends are what I live for during the week.
When I finish my last class on Friday’s, I get a rush of excitement for what the weekend holds. One weekend in particular was the beginning of fall break at my school, which means a five-day weekend. Hell yeah. My friends and I set out for a shorter, but thrilling trip to the Ozark Mountains within the Ozark National Forest near the Buffalo National River.
We packed our backpacks with the essentials; food, sleeping bag, tent, whiskey, etc. and headed out into the woods. We made our first stop at Lost Valley and explored all around this area, which includes huge limestone bluffs, caves and several cascades and waterfalls.
After hiking in and out of Lost Valley, the sun was beginning to sneak beneath the flowing mountains of the Ozarks as we headed up the gnarly dirt road toward the Hawksbill Crag trailhead. When we set off on the trail, the sun was just below the horizon, so it wasn’t terribly dark yet, so we could walk with confidence down the short one and a half mile trail to the crag. Upon arrival at the crag, we met two guys that were already set up for the night there and quickly became friends with them as we set up our camp near theirs. That night, we made our dinner on the crag that consisted of chicken tacos and passed the bottle of whiskey with our new friends around the campfire and had great conversation. After the whiskey hit us all enough, we decided we should get in our sleeping bags for the night and get some sleep underneath the stars and a very prevalent Milky Way galaxy formation.
In the morning, we rose before the sun to catch the sunrise at one of the most iconic landscapes in the state of Arkansas. I went off to take photos as the sun rose over the hills, as the rest of the crew began cooking breakfast and brewing coffee.
As the sun rose, it enhanced the changing colors of the leaves in the valley that we did not get to see the night before, since we arrived so late. This was a brilliant site to see and I was very pleased to capture it with my camera. At this time, a few other hikers were joining in on the site seeing, so we boiled some more water and shared our coffee and hot apple cider with them. This was a grand morning at Hawksbill Crag and will be one to remember for the rest of my life. The people you meet one night in the outdoors can become great friends by the next morning, if you just give them the chance. Cheers to many more adventures and to get out and explore for yourself.
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