Our Fall 2014 Overnight Backpacking Trip to Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas, the first backpacking experience for more than half of our group of eleven, was an awesome adventure.
We began the 3-day, 2-night trip by departing SMU on Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm on the dot as planned. After driving for approximately 4 hours and stopping for dinner on the way, we arrived at our campsite for the night in Daisy State Park. With the early morning and miles of hiking we had ahead of us in mind, we went to bed soon after pitching our tents and exploring a small moonlight-illuminated lake nearby.
The chilly air of the next morning made the warmth of our oatmeal breakfast more enjoyable. After breakfast, we packed our bags with everything that we were going to need for the next two days. We then left for the trail in Ouachita National Forest, on which we were going to hike to get to our next campsite. Thanks to the perfect sunny weather with temperatures around 60 degrees, we were able to enjoy our surroundings among the trees and have fun photo-shoots at overlooks that provided beautiful backdrops. For lunch, we ate bagels with peanut butter and snacked on trail mix, granola bars, and cookies. Once we arrived at our campsite, we set up our tents and started a campfire, which we used to roast marshmallows for our pre-dinner s’mores. Our dinner consisted of curry-flavored lentils, rice, and chicken spiced up with various seasonings. During and after dinner, we sat around the campfire and played mafia for hours. We decided to go to bed only when we were no longer able to keep the fire alive.
In the morning, we had warm oatmeal for breakfast again before packing up for the last time. After gathering firewood for the next group of campers, we began our hike out of the forest, making a slight detour to visit a waterfall. The hike out of the forest was a different experience compared to that of the day before, as the trail was relatively flat with less dense vegetation. With the bright sun shining through the transparent yellow leaves of the tall trees, the weather was as pleasant as it was the day before.
We arrived at a small stream marking the end of the trail before we knew it. Having only been snacking on trail mix for the duration of the hike, we were eager to load up the van and get to CiCi’s Pizza to treat ourselves to lunch.
We all agreed that this trip was a success–especially because the first time backpackers want to do it all again!
Hanna Shin, Trip Leader in training.