I used to have a hiking buddy who liked the life of less resistance, and I never understood his approach. I am a go, go, go, kind of person. When I get off work on a Friday, I plan to be out of town that night. And I then come straggling in late Sunday night. I use up every bit of free time.
This personality difference was illustrated in how we chose what trail to hike. I did not mind getting up before dawn and driving a few hours to explore a new trail or one that I hadn’t hiked in a while. He, on the other hand, always wanted to pick somewhere close, that was easier to get to. But close means the same trails over and over again. And while I do have my favorite trails and do not mind hiking them over and over again, I much prefer exploring new places.
I have chosen to make 28-hour car rides over flying because you get to see so many different things along the way. I don’t mind at all sitting in a car for hours upon hours, as long as the scenery changes along with way. To my friend this kind of a trip sounds awful, and I’m sure he doesn’t understand my approach.
I live in Arkansas, and I have traveled both east and west. I prefer going west over east. Yes, the Rocky Mountains are bigger than the Appalachian Mountains, and for a mountain girl there is that appeal. But I love road trips west because the scenery is so different.
The Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains are breathtaking for sure, but they are similar to Arkansas. But as soon as I hit Oklahoma going west the terrain is much different.
And even when it comes to planning day hikes with my friend, I prefer the new scenery. Give me a trail with something I haven’t seen before or in a long time. Give me new challenge. I simply love to explore.
Are you interested in hikes around where I live? Check out my Hometown Hikes blog post
When it comes to exploring something far off, I try not to go back to a place I have been before. This is not because I only want to visit a place once, but because there is SO much more out there that I want to explore. Every place I’ve been to I’d be happy to go back to. I clearly just need more vacation or to do the #VanLife thing.
But with all that being said, I do have my favorite trails that I can hike blindfolded – the ones that I have done more times than I can count. There is great comfort in the familiar. And I take great pride in my home.
There is a place in southwest Arkansas that I hold dear to my heart and can go back to time and time again.
I do love knowing an area so well you can navigate without a map. And having that connection to the mountains is something I hold dear. You know the kind of place you could pinpoint yourself on Google Earth without GPS because you know it so well.
The Falls Branch Trail at Lake Catherine State Park and the Caddo Bend Trail at Lake Ouachita State Park are ones I can hike in my sleep because I’ve done them so many times. But they are also great trails that offer much to the hiker.
So are you a favorite kind of trail person? Or a get out and drive to the ends of the earth exploring new places kind of a person?