I just returned from a trip to the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas(AK). After buying my car, I was very much looking forward to going on a road trip like this, and I did it! I drove with two of my buddies from Monroe, Louisiana to the Ozarks and back, covering a total distance of 850 miles. On the first day, we left Monroe around 6:30 am and reached the town of Hot Springs, AK around 11 am. Since the town was crowded with tourists amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to entirely avoid getting out of the car in the town, but we did go to the top of the hill with view tower to get a nice overlook of the town and surrounding forests. After spending about an hour there, we drove straight to Wooly Hollow State Park, AK.
An important lesson that I’ve learned the hard way from my past campings is to set up the tent before dark. So, we up our camp at a site surrounded by RVs in a bustling campground. We then hiked the Huckleberry trail around lake Bennett, an easy 4-mile hike. Making use of a long summer day, we spent some time relaxing at the lakeshore and strolling around in the park. Once it started getting dark, we returned for campfire and dinner, which was a disaster. We roasted some tasty corns but the vegetables didn’t taste any good. It was then time for the main course- grilled vegan burgers. Before savoring the main course, we decided to take a walk to the restroom which was on the other side of the campground. We returned only to see a camp devasted by the raccoons. The buns that sat on the picnic table were now scattered all around, a sight that vanquished our hopes for a good meal after a strenuous day. Our main curse was thus reduced to just veggie patties, which unfortunately tasted just edible. The raccoons kept coming back expecting more food, teasing our defeated spirits. We had to keep scaring them by throwing stones so that we could at least enjoy what was left. After a good night’s sleep, we drove through one of the windiest roads I’ve ever taken, through some deep country with any sight of vehicles except for occasional trucks. We hiked Pedestal and King’s Bluff trails, a total of around 4 miles, through some amazing viewpoints and a lot of cliffs. The cliffs had a nice platform at the top but with a thinner bottom, looking like a pedestal. Our next destination was Falling Water Falls, where we didn’t spend much time because it was very busy with spectators and swimmers. We then bid farewell to the Ozarks and hit the lonely country roads back to Monroe.