Monday, March 28, 2016

Backpacking Adventures || Hobbs State Park Pigeon Roost Trail

First day!!

Well, it's about time. After a year of acquiring gear and researching, we've finally gone on our first backpacking trip! We didn't want to do anything too scary and long, nor go very far away from home in case something happened, so we found the perfect place: Pigeon Roost Trail in Hobbs State Park, a 40-minute drive from home, and only 9 or so miles in total.

My pack carried a sleeping bag and pillow, inflatable sleeping pad, 3L water bladder, a Jetboil cooking system and fuel, food, trowel, headlamp, warm clothes, first aid kit, Nalgene, and rain jacket. Goodness that was a lot.

Caleb's pack had basically the same things, except instead of cooking systems and food, he carried the tent!

We couldn't head out until Caleb got off work, so we reached the trailhead at around 5:15 pm.

For the next hour and 20 minutes (around 4 miles!) we hiked up and down and around a trail that is called moderate for a reason. Though it isn't technically a long trail as far as backpacking goes, it is crazy hilly. After about 30 minutes we were super hungry (we had sandwiches overlooking Beaver Lake. Very peaceful).

Our dinner spot
Me and our view

After dinner, we soldiered on to find the campgrounds. Though it was sad that all the leaves were still off the trees, it offered a fantastic view of Beaver Lake as we hiked past it. A little less than 1/2 a mile away from the campgrounds, we stopped by a little beach that was working on showing off the sunset.

It felt good to sit. And to not have extra weight on my back.

After that brief rest, we found the campsite and even managed to secure an area all to ourselves. There were plenty others out camping, but with five separate camping sites with a few tent pads each, it wasn't too hard to have a private area.

When we finally reached our campsite, the sun still hadn't set. That was our goal for the first day, so mission accomplished! With the tent and sleeping bags set up in dusky daylight, we were set for the evening without feeling rushed.

Swirly tree

We lit up a fire and sat on the logs surrounding it talking under the stars for the next hour or so and went to bed at around 9. We were dead. But being that tired didn't mean that we slept well! After a fitful sleep, we woke up in the morning to the sounds of a Red-bellied Woodpecker knocking on a tree right beside our tent.

Caleb at night
Caleb in the morning
I made my specialty oatmeal for breakfast with our Jetboil (that thing really works, just in case you were wondering!)

We then tore everything down and hiked out the last four or so miles back to the trailhead and our car. It was possibly the most grueling walking I have ever done. Everything from my left hip to my knees to my ankles hurt, the front of my shoulders and my hips were bruised, and it felt like I could never catch my breath.

It was fantastic.

Now we can say that we've done it, and that we have our first trip under our belt! It's two days later and we are still sore all over, and that's how we know we worked hard. We had so much fun, and can't wait to go do it again. Okay, actually we can wait a little bit.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photography || Crim Wedding 2015

What a day! This wedding was simple and sweet, and I'm thankful that Mr. and Mrs. Crim allowed me to be a part of their wedding. The wedding was at Fairlane Station in Springdale, near the train station, which made for some amazing photo opportunities! Even through the crisp December wedding, Cody and Kayla powered through for some lovely outdoor shots.

Be on the lookout for posts like this on a new website soon! I'm working on something more shiny and professional!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Year In Review

Well, it was a nice, normal year. The best kind of year. I tried to do a lot of noticing the little things, so if you noticed the 52-week photo challenge I did (and if you are reading this, surely you did, as it was the only thing I blogged this year) that was the catalyst I used to help me! I managed to follow through on all 52 weeks, so there was one goal accomplished!

The next 2015 goal: to see 100 different birds in one year. It's no "Big Year" of 300 or more, but I tell you what, it was HARD! With three weeks left in the year, and a cold snap nowhere to be found, I thought I was up a creek when I had five birds left. Luckily, a road trip to Oklahoma knocked out a few more birds at the border, then a trip down south with my dad knocked out the last two.

The Bunting. It looks like a cartoon with its colors!

My personal favorite birds that I saw were the Painted Bunting (my first ever!), the Scissortail Flycatcher (one of my favorite birds in general), the Pileated Woodpecker (you can hear him knocking across a lake), the Golden Crowned Kinglet (it's a hummingbird-sized cutie), and the Black and White Warbler. Honestly, I could name about 20 more birds that I thought were fantastic. Now, I plan on continuing the list into a life list by adding more and more birds to it!

Caleb and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. He took me to the Butterfly Palace in Branson, where I've wanted to go for years! A few butterflies even landed on me. It was beautiful and magical.

It was also the year of new furniture. We got rid of our old love seat and chair and end and coffee tables, and bought a new couch and built a new coffee and end table!

As far as other goals we set last year that we accomplished:
We sold Caleb's old truck and got a new vehicle!
Worked out 3 times a week (sometimes we even worked out 5 times a week!)
We each read over 20 books.
I shot my first wedding, and did some prep for starting my business!
Made my first quilt.
Finished a 5K in under 30 minutes (I am a sprinter. Caleb is an endurance runner. Training was fun.)
Picked a favorite weather man on a local news program.

Okay, that last one wasn't really a goal but it did happen and we are VERY biased toward him.

But yeah, other than that, a timid year overall. Just like I like it. Here are a few more shots from the year that I love.

Me and homegirl.