Keeping it Human Powered and Outside

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Arkansas Outside recently asked for our help by sharing with them the Human Powered, Outside Weekend we had recently. And being the good Boy Scout I am, I am happy to comply. And by “Boy Scout” I mean I’m a girl. And by “asked for our help” I mean AO simply blogged about wanting readers to share their own stories of adventure. This article is completely unrequested, but I know where Joe and Lisa live.

I did not give much thought to my Human Powered Outside weekend until I snapped a photo op with my Jamis Dragon.


You see, I had just finished studying for a professional exam—one with essays so I won’t know if I passed for six weeks, and I desperately wanted a place where I could go and not feel guilty for not doing anything. The Spousal Unit rented a cabin at Devil’s Den so I could unwind; we took Friday and Monday off to unplug and get back to our roots.


In a Princess and The Pea moment, I woke up with a sore back as the bed is as soft as the ground, but I liked the fact there was no cell phone service at the cabin; however, if you have to have your fix of cat videos, they do have free WiFi at the park store. The Spousal Unit and I headed out to ride the Fossil Flats mountain biking trail. I believe I did ride leader Missy Vail and my Arkansas Heels On Wheels mountain biking ladies proud as there were only two Oh-Hell-No’s shouted during the ride. However, never having ridden singletrack with me, this unnerved my husband who after a quarter mile of our six mile loop announced that he didn’t like this trail and insisted we go back. Before we did, we found a pump track. I’ve never ridden a pump track before. Pump tracks, or loopy dos, or whatever you want to call them, are interesting things because allegedly one is supposed to go fast enough on the downhills to power up the uphills without ever pedaling. Those who know my mountain biking prowess know I am infamous for humming while I ride the trails. I have improved significantly because when I ride at Camp Robinson or Pfeiffer Loop I no longer entertain my companions with song. But the first thing my loving husband remarked upon conquering a small hill followed immediately by a left turn, besides my abject cry for help when I saw the drop off if I went straight, was that I was humming again. I remarked upon leaving the pump track, if the designers wanted me to pick up speed, they would have made the track wider. I’m not sure, as he was in front of me, but I’m pretty sure The Spousal Unit rolled his eyes at me.

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From the ride, we changed and departed to go hiking. We started off on the main 1.5 mile loop with views of Devil’s Den, but it was quite crowded on the trail due to the lovely, warm, spring weather on a Saturday.


It was especially annoying to hear people yell back and forth, up and down the switch backs. I couldn’t even hear the birds or attempt to connect with nature. I turned to my Spousal Unit and asked if this is what he truly wanted and directed him to look back as the multitudes of weary, poor, huddled, city-dwellers yearning to breathe free trudged up the path. We both decided we would continue our Human Powered, Outside Weekend through a nap or meditation. For me, trying to sit still is as complicated as going fast on a pump track and trying not to hum. We took a longer route back to the cabin which actually worked in our favor as it was less crowded and much more beautiful.

enchanted road
As we walked, I came upon what every little girl would think of as an enchanted road to a magical kingdom. I think this is the best part about Human Powered, Outside Weekends: the endless possibilities of the imagination.

The nice thing about getting away for the weekend is that not everything has to be full throttle all the time. It’s nice to slow down, which can be Human Powered, too. After our naps, The Spousal Unit and I went to Siloam Springs for a romantic dinner, and because we’ve not been there before, we did a little sight seeing. I found a great vintage store that had a ton of hats from bygone times and bought two more pieces to my toilette set I’m working on for the guest bedroom.

Syllamo Events Calendar

old wall

Sunday morning brought an end to our weekend that wasn’t outside, but I think you can forgive me as my husband and I walked through Crystal Bridges being so close to Devil’s Den. Walking through the museum can wear a person out just as much as hiking. I was finally able to see Rosie The Riveter up close. The interesting thing about looking at art up close and personal for the first time is seeing all the new details you miss when you see the print or lithograph. I never knew Rosie was crunching Mein Kampf with her boot, or that she had a halo. I knew America had propaganda during WWII; you can’t really grow up watching Bugs Bunny and not see that, but it’s interesting to see propaganda portrayed to the American Public on a magazine cover.

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As we drove back to Little Rock, I agreed with my husband it was a very good Human Powered, Outside Weekend, even if some of it was spent inside.

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One Response

  1. Very well done Chantal!! Very funny and entertaining to read. Sounds like the perfect Human Powered weekend adventure!

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