If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Chasing Autumn.

Fall is my favorite season. It's so happened Larry loves it the most as well. I mean, we love SEASONS, first and foremost, all four of them - Earth changing every few months, from beauty and warmth of the summer, to changing colors and dropping leaves, to being covered under snow and asleep to waking up the new green...But Fall holds special. Add to it that my birthday is smack in the middle of Fall - you get the point. Where I used to live, the colors of the Fall are on fire! I miss it dearly, deep reds, bright orange, burning yellow...Texas disappoints every season it turns. So, every October, around my birthday, I am on a quest to find real Autumn.
Real Fall in Maine, 1996
Last year we went to Park City, UT, and caught wonderful Aspen fire on the hills of the mountains.
This year, flying didn't work out, so the closest drive I could come up with was to Arkansas. We stopped in Hot Springs a few years back, and loved how conveniently located the main mountains is, right in downtown. Hot Springs National Park was The First piece of land in USA back in mid-1800's that was designated to be protected by federal government. Yep, it was worth it back then, and surely worthy our visit! We might have miscalculated by a week in terms of midst of Fall colors, but Autumn is not just a red-orange-yellow. In fact, the REAL real Fall is "brown, then down". It's about the air, the smells, the sounds of fallen lief under your feet, the half-naked trees you can see through. It is so much more - all of it we did get in the trip.

We stayed in a wonderful little house less than half a mile from the Promenade with Bath Houses - but secluded in the woods. Amazing what a busting town it used to be! All who-is-who used to come here for bathing in hot springs (a nature's wonder!), hike the trails and do physical therapy and training. From Babe Ruth to Presidents, and it certainly was major baseball hub. How time changes things! The town grew outwardly, and only 2 bath houses are open. But still, it's a gem.

The first day we did a short 3 mile walk-around the main mountain behind Bath Row, then enjoyed walking Promenade, drinking beer (even I did, and it was tasty!), and coffee (The Best coffee place we've been to!) and some food.

For the second day Larry researched all the mountains around and connected them in a BEAUTIFUL 16 mile hike/jog with 3,000 feet of gain, starting right from our house and ending at that coffee shop. What a paradise! The words won't make justice, but the ever-changing terrain, trees, covered path under our feet, the views around and afar, the clouds making it more fall-like (and easier to hike without sweating buckets), old stone features. We had all those miles and hours to ourselves! Only handful of people in half a day in the woods. What a great excursion into Autumn...how much we can't wait to be around hills that are alive in every time of the year!

Upon return, lunch and a shower, we did a more relaxing, touristy walks, and set by the fire at the house to eat dinner. All in all, a great success of chasing Autumn!

On the next day's drive home, we made a circle to "touch" the state of Louisiana, the number 44 state for me in search of visiting all 50 states in US. Only 6 to go (Alaska, Kentucky,  North Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi, Iowa). And to end on a high note, while almost asleep in the car (with Larry driving), as we made our way through a small town, I woke up to a cobblestone downtown - and a sigh of a yarn shop. Almost jerked of my slumber, I exhaled "Stop!", and we made a visit to a neat little yarn, with very nice lady owner, and got some yarn (but of course). With that, we are ready to some cool air coming down to Texas, too, please!

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