Sleeping Under the Stars: Overnight Hikes in Arkansas

If you're dreaming of getting outside when the weather warms, why not dream of sleeping under the stars on an overnight or multi-day hike. There are plenty of trails in Arkansas with enough mileage for an exciting expedition that could be tame enough for families or adventurous enough for seasoned backpackers. I admit, I've been dreaming of campfires lately. Backpacking or sometimes just car … [Read more...]

Sleeping like Bears

"I'm going to sleep like a bear tonight" was the last thing AO contributor and friend Justin Cloar said to me after his 6:54 finish at the Ouachita Trail 50K. I returned good wishes for his peaceful hibernation, hoped the same for myself, and said goodnight. Instead of a peaceful night of deep slumber, I was awake at 1 a.m. watching Big Bang Theory and again at 4 a.m. eating Pad Thai and watching … [Read more...]

Ouachita Trail 50 – 2013

In the early morning darkness, the flashlights and headlamps bobbing through the parking lot, a hundred and fifty odd runners plus their support teams, families and friends milled about collecting race bags and bib numbers and waiting for Race Director and Queen of all things Ouachita 50 Chrissy Ferguson, to give her expletive punctuated pre-race instructions. Basically, stay on the trail, watch … [Read more...]

Guts and Glory on the Ouachita Challenge

What do you get when you combine an International Mountain Biking Association "Epic" trail with part of one of the longest hiking trails in the mid-west, attach them with gravel and paved roads to create a 60 mile loop in the middle of the Ouachita Mountains? You get the leg smoldering, glute searing, ego busting Ouachita Challenge. When mountain bikers from out of state ask local riders where to … [Read more...]

Hydrate or Die

The weather in Arkansas is fickle. We all make jokes about how the weather turns on a dime. Last weekend the temperatures hovered just below freezing in the morning, barely warming into the 40s. I set out for my long trail run on Saturday wearing long pants and sleeves, a knit hat and gloves. On Sunday runners lined up at the start of the marathon wearing layers and hoping to get started so they … [Read more...]

Ouachita Trail 50 – 2012

Would you run 50 miles of some of  the most beautiful trail in Arkansas? What if it was just 50 kilometers? Most people, even seasoned athletes would say that kind of distance is intimidating, but 175 people thought it sounded like a great way to spend a Saturday. I had thought that I might be one of them this year but instead of running I would be lying in wait at the end of the first big hurdle … [Read more...]

Humbling – The Ouachita Challenge Tour – 2012

Thanks to Arkansas Outside friend Jo Spencer for this great story of the Ouachita Challenge Tour. Humbling. That's the best one word description I can think of when describing the Ouachita Challenge. I am not much of a mountain biker; I ride on the road mainly and focus on triathlons as my race of choice with the Ironman distance being my favorite. I mention that because after about 20 miles … [Read more...]

The Ouachita Challenge Race – 2012

Coming away from the 60 mile Ouachita Challenge clean, meaning no flats or mechanicals is pretty rare. Racers this year continued to find tire biting rocks particularly in the first sections of the race. This years race went clockwise starting at the school in Oden, AR. The school continues to be a great venue for the race start and finish. From Oden, riders headed north on forest roads to the … [Read more...]

Now This is Hiking Weather

I could never resist the call of the trail. - Buffalo Bill Time to check the hiking boots for dry rot, clean the cob webs out of the backpack, start planning some big hikes. But where to go? Arkansas has some of the best hiking in the country and the trails are not usually very crowded. The evening temps are starting to set up nicely to give us some good fall color (we could use a little rain if … [Read more...]

No Respect!

After having lived all over the country I finally settled here in Arkansas. I like the place. It has lots of small towns, friendly folks and an uncommon diversity of geography, wildlife, and climate. Mountains dominate the north and west (sure they aren’t snow-capped but there is little to compare to one of our hollows in the springtime). The wetlands in the south and east offer some of the best … [Read more...]