Eagle Rock Loop - Part 1

Earlier this month, Tim and I celebrated 8 years of marriage (and 10 years since we met and went on our first date). That seems impossible.

It also seems impossible that we used to go hiking about once a month. From the beginning! Within weeks of meeting, we went on our first hike in Lost Pines. I didn’t even know I was a hiker until then … I had hiking and backpacking confused. I was nervous that we’d be doing something strenuous involving ropes and helmets. I was thrilled to find that walking in the woods, sometimes uphill, was considered hiking and that we shared a love for it.

Pre-2011 fire at Lost Pines
On one particular hike early in our relationship, we came to a Y in the trail. I had hiked this trail by myself many times, but unbeknownst to Tim what he chose next was going to indicate a lot to me about who he was as a person on some deep level. To the left, the trail meandered flatly along the dry creek bed. Although a beautiful hike in its own way, what I wanted to know was if Tim would choose the “hard way.”

"The Easy Trail"

To the right, the trail climbed steeply. It was clearly the more challenging route, and it was the one Tim picked, much to my heart’s satisfaction. When we caught our breath from that climb was when I felt it was time to start asking some difficult, uncomfortable questions that had been on my mind.

"The Hard Trail"
Through the last decade, it has remained true that Tim enjoys being challenged. So when he slipped me a list of questions about what to do for our anniversary I didn’t hesitate to circle “backpacking.” He found one of the most challenging loop trails in a reasonable distance of us and off we went to Eagle Rock Loop in the Ouachita Mountains.

As it turned out, just getting there was going to end up being a challenge. As soon as we dropped the kids off next door with Grandma and Grandpa, the hiccups started. Originally we planned to be off by 9, and onto the trail a little ways with camp set by dark.

The hands of the clock were creeping closer to 10 than 9 by the time we left, but we were still ok. We were enjoying chatting and being able to hold an adult conversation without interruption until …

We realized the trekking poles Tim had borrowed were back in the trunk of his car. An hour from home. As I whipped the Suburban into a side road to turn around, the air in the car changed. I was frustrated and embarrassed. The next hour of our trip was rather quiet, but I simmered down and forgave him and eventually we were actually really on our way.

There have been trips we were better prepared for, but we had Google maps, a hiking app, and a detailed paper map of the trail. What could go wrong?