In January and February, when I was planning out our camping and hiking trip, I needed to find a place to sleep in Arkansas - on our route home. I have no idea how I stumbled upon it, but I found White Rock Mountain and saw the photos of their rustic cabins online and decided to 'splurge' and stay in the cabin as it had electricity, water and a bathroom... things we never had all at once this entire two week trip!
It was going to take us all day to arrive there, but the pictures I saw online of the hiking in that area were gorgeous, so I booked 2 nights. The first was to arrive and sleep and then the next day would be for hiking, resting that night and taking off early the next morning to drive home.
In the end I loved that we did this - but the photos online were a little deceiving!
First off; getting there was not easy. We were using GPS coordinates of longitude and latitude as well as 2 cell phones. None of the maps agreed with each other and some of turns it wanted us to make didn't really even exist. (One was into someone's driveway.)
But using all three plus watching for signs (when they finally posted any!) we found our way... sort of. The other thing that was crazy was the roads were probably the worst we drove on this entire trip - and we drove on some terrible, horrible, awful roads in Arizona when we were on random 'forest' roads in the middle of nowhere. These were terrible. I sometimes had to go about 4 mph as there were not just 'rocks' jutting up from the roads, but some were almost a foot tall. Bumpy with rocks and holes; even if you had a truck, if you valued your tires staying inflated you wouldn't have gone over 10 mph. You could tell the road had been literally washed out in many places - and never repaired. It was a nightmare.
(We found out later it was allowed to get THIS bad because they hadn't grated it this year in anticipation of putting in a bunch of drainage pipes - which we saw lining the sides of the roads). We seriously thought we were on the wrong roads because how could a road THIS terrible and unusable lead to a public recreation area with camping and cabins? Right?
It did. By now I think they should be finished putting in the drainage pipes and have grated and re-graveled the road, so I'm sure it's probably much better.
The cabin looks SO AMAZING in these pictures! I know!!!! But they aren't what they seem. Very pretty and rustic but they are so unloved. They are incredibly worn, infested with mice and spiders and insects of all sorts (millipedes, cave crickets, bugs I have no names for). The doors don't fully close without gaps so you can't keep them out and if you have a fear of spiders, I just don't think this is the place for you. (I went into the kitchen during the night and wowza... about 10 different insects/spiders/things on the floors and cupboards... the bathroom is the same so we just 'watched' the 5-6 different spiders and insects and kept an eye on them while we did our business... making sure they stayed put while we were 'busy' and didn't jump or crawl on us).
Honestly, pitching a tent outside would have probably netted us a much better sleep... but we still love love love these cabins. If they were fixed up, roof holes, gaps in the walls, etc mended, (and sprayed for spiders and bugs), I would even love to purchase one as a get-away home. They are just so beautiful and you can tell back in the 1930's when they were built, they were built solid and sturdy. It's just that there hasn't really been any upkeep since the 1980's.
There were so many spiders that we put our hair in ponytails and braids and then hunkered down into our sleeping bags and actually used the rounded head portion of it to cover our heads and pulled the elastic string to secure it in place so no spiders and bugs could crawl into our long hair and get tangled while we slept.
It was hot... oh so hot... but it was spiders or sweating; and we opted for sweating.
(I did got to the office to ask for spider spray but the current caretakers said they don't believe in using 'stuff like that' and they just let them live where they live. There are hundreds of spider webs and spiders throughout the whole house, including numerous egg sacs. I told them about a huge, white spider egg sac behind the kitchen door that is ready to burst with hundreds of spiders. They said they'd sweep it out the next time they were in that cabin.)
The mice in this cabin are brilliant.
We are seasoned campers and know about hiding away food and not having food smells, crumbs etc.
We had all our food in a plastic bin except one bag of snacks inside a large, zippered insulated tote bag
which I stored in the center of a tall table, away from any curtains or things a rodent
could climb on. It found it.
Not only found it but climbed up the tote bag - got it's nose at the top of the zipper
and shoved it's body forward so the zipper zipped 'down' and open about an inch; which allowed
it INSIDE the tote and got into our one bag of little Combos snacks.
The view out the back door is amazing - and one of the trails literally leads right out from the door.
When we first arrived it was pretty late in the day so we went on a short hike, then turned around and came back to the cabin to make dinner and try to sleep.
The two nights we stayed, every time I wanted to sit on the back porch and just enjoy the view (or coffee), I was constantly finding ticks on me. It was crazy because there were no trees directly overhead and no shrubs or bushes or weeds up against the cement patio we were sitting on! But sure enough; ticks found me!
The next day was our hiking day
The trailhead starts right outside the cabins and there are 3 different trails that all connect at some points; allowing you to go as far as you wish. We ended up hiking about 4 1/2 miles, then turning around and coming back 4 1/2 miles for a total hike of 9 miles that day.
The hike would have been easier had it been fairly flat but it's not. It was pretty easy going for the first 3-4 miles but coming back was especially difficult because you are already hot and tired but it's steep inclines and much of it is uphill. Just keep swimming... just keep swimming... swimming, swimming (Dora) became a "just keep hiking, just keep hiking, hiking, hiking...." motto. One of 3 different motto's we used to keep going even though the heat and humidity coupled with the steep inclines were tough.
An awesome view....
The end of the trail... all we had to do was make it up this last incline to the cabin and we would
be done with our 9 mile hike!
It was time to bid adieu and get back on the road!
And thus ended our Girls Road Trip 2018.
You'll see these in many photos of us on this trip.
This pack was an afterthought - and wow! LOVED IT. My daughter loved it so much you will see it on her back in all the photos of us hiking or touring 'out and about'. Folds up into it's own little pouch when not in use. Not one bad thing to say about it; no matter how much we put in it, it was comfortable.
These boots! I blogged about a different pair (same brand) I bought 2 years ago and HATED but I decided to give these a go. I love them so much. My daughter ended up getting same ones as I did.
When I bought these, I didn't think I'd care about the rounded head part - but it ends up - when you are sleeping in an area with tons of spiders, putting your hair in a braid or pony and then tightening this around your head a bit, really does help you sleep more secure knowing spiders won't be crawling into your long hair and getting tangled during the night.
I like to order the best seller kits; but whoa - watch prices! The same exact kit can sell from $30 to $60 depending on supply and demand and Amazon's tracking cookies on your computer. We made sure to order TWO cases of the biscuits and gravy because love them that much and also a whole case of chicken breast and mashed potatoes.
These trekking poles were something I bought not knowing if I'd use them or not. I did end up using them quite a bit hiking in Arkansas. They collapse to a good pack size but are sturdy when pulled out to size.