Thoughts and Musings
on everyday life from Jonesboro, Arkansas
This was a five day, four night backpacking trip with four other friends...three of which had never been backpacking before. But I knew that they would be capable because they are all in good physical shape from biking, running, and other activities. But this was different from other stuff they had done. We covered over forty five miles of terrain, carrying packs that weighed somewhere between 42-52 lbs. There was also more than 9000 ft of elevation gain and lost. If you want to see the complete route we took and all of the stats, here is a link:
I have hiked the Buffalo River area several times the past couple of years, but every time I go back I am amazed at how beautiful it is. It always seems a little different each time I go, even when I go to some of the same places I have been before. This past weekend was nice because of several different reasons...
Here are some pictures from a hike into the Irish Wilderness July 3 and July 4 of 2015. We had planned on staying out two nights, but in the end, decided to make it back to the trial head Saturday afternoon. All in all it was over 20 miles.
We started our hike a little after 1pm Friday and finished around 4pm Saturday, and never saw another person on the trail. That is a shame because with a little effort, this could be a very good hike. That being said. Any hike is a good hike when you are with friends. It was a good time with friends. I would probably give this hike a six. It was a pretty strenuous hike (which I like), but it was not a very well defined trail in some places. During the entire 20 miles or so we hiked, there were only three camp sites that we saw, and they were all relatively close to each other. We lost the trail two or three times and without my GaiaGPS app there is no telling how long it would have taken us to get back on track.
The Memphis Backpacking Meetup Group went to Winding Stairs last month, and I went with them for my first trip to the Ouachita Mountains. But they only did about 2.5 miles of the ERL (Eagle Rock Loop). Me and one other guy (Michael) hiked another four miles or so of it, but I really wanted to go back and do the entire 27 mile loop because I heard it was very scenic, and also pretty tough.
It is May 2nd, and the weather has finally turned warm. The rain has slacked off just a little from the April Showers, and that means that it is getting close to junior tennis tournament season. Although junior tennis goes on all through the year, late spring and summer are when the truly big tournaments come around, like the Arkansas Junior Qualifying, and the Southern Closed Championships. Locally, we have the Rice Bowl Championships in May, and the Firecracker Jr Championships in June, both of which are held at the Jonesboro Country Club.
One of the things I regret is that I do not have a lot of pictures from earlier in my life. Pictures of my family and friends, people I went to junior high and high school with. People I worked with and dated, and played tennis with. Of course, I was not raised in an era where everyone carried a phone in their pockets 24/7 that could take pictures. I have a few, but by and large, most of the pictures I ever had are gone, and I never really had that many to begin with.
So, I joined a backpacking group out of Memphis a few months ago that I happened to find online. I found out really quickly when I got into hiking and backpacking that there are not too many people who want to do the kind of stuff that I want to do, and actually have the time and money to do them. Especially in a relatively small town like Jonesboro. So naturally I went online to do some searching for like minded people and found this group.
They had a couple of hikes scheduled for this spring, with the first one being a hike to the Ouachita Mountains in Southwestern Arkansas, to a trail called Winding Stairs. This trail is part of a bigger trail called the Eagle Rock Loop, which is 26.8 miles long. I checked my calendar to see if I could squeeze in this hike and decided I could. I wanted to see what kind of hikers came out of Memphis, Tennessee. It's always nice to compare notes with other people I haven't hiked with and see how they do things. I wanted to see if I could learn anything.
P (AKA Camel) and I had originally planned this hiked for the weekend of February 27-March 1, but snow and sleet had forced us into postponing. Not that snow or sleet was something we minded hiking and camping in, but it would have been very difficult to actually drive to the Buffalo to start the hike in that kind of weather. So we moved it to this weekend, which was good for me because it was the last weekend of spring break for my juniors. All week had been slow, and I was ready to get out of town.
We had come to the Buffalo River twice in 2014. Once in May and the other time in October. Both times were fantastic. They were both different hikes because of the time of year, but they were each fantastic in their own way.
It is Sunday, January 4th, 2015 and I just got home from the gym. I had been out of town on a hiking trip for the past 10 days and I desperately needed a workout. By the looks of things at the gym, everybody else was thinking the same thing. There were more people riding bikes and running on treadmills and pumping iron than I had seen in a long time. What was the deal? Oh, right. It is a new year.
It’s the age old question: Would you rather be a big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big pond? As with many things, this question is very relative in many different areas of life. From school, to business, to where we choose to live, and yes, to sports also, including tennis. To ask the question in a more tennis related way: Is it better to play with the big dogs and gain valuable insights and experience from them while getting beaten down on the court, or is it better to play against less competitive players and hone your mental toughness and confidence?
In my professional life, I am a tennis director at a country club in Jonesboro, Arkansas. In my personal life, I am an avid outdoors person who loves to bike, hike, and climb to as many places as I can, and I try to live as healthily as possible. I also am a dedicated animal lover and planet enthusiast.