I’m just not very good at it. I don’t do “slow.” I don’t do “relax.” In my world, there is always something else to do. Some way to make business better. Some item to be ordered. Something to be inventoried. Something to be researched. Something to be cleaned. …
And that may be true, but the problem with that mentality is that while I am focused on all things business, I may be missing all things truly important.
So last week, I cleared my calendar and hired someone to work at the store. My husband and I went away for a few days, just the two of us. Everything he did or said had been bugging me for the past few weeks, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t actually him. Even his breathing was bothersome! If he gave me a compliment, I wondered what his ulterior motive was. If he asked my opinion, I thought he couldn’t make up his own mind; and if he did something without asking me, I thought he didn’t value my thoughts. You get the idea.
So I called a time out for myself and for us. Because HE truly is more important than any business operation I may have (though we all will notice that this blog is turning our family into a component of the business to a certain degree, but, hey, I’m a work in progress!)
We really are all about Arkansas, so we headed to Cove Creek Cabins for a couple of days of relaxation and a wonderful float trip along the Buffalo River. As we approached Jasper, we turned left and wound through the mountains. I fought the urge to close my eyes as our tires edged entirely too close to the bluffs. Before long, we were in Compton, which appeared to be our destination … but looks can be deceiving. I always thought that I lived in the middle of nowhere in Jessieville, but I now have learned that there are degrees of nowhere. Cove Creek is in the middle of nowhere. I, on the other hand, apparently live on the edge of nowhere.
I was beginning to question my husband’s sensibilities (which was exactly the opposite of the point of the trip!) as we read that we were to turn left at the orange cone. I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty confident the landowners placed the orange work cone there so that renters had any landmark at all.
The half-mile drive began to calm me down. There was a horse in the field and chickens clucked about. A cat greeted us and Einstein barked. Daffodils lined the path to the cabin. Once inside, we were amazed to see antiques throughout the home. There was a gas stove, which reminded my husband of spending time with his aunt and uncle as a child. Even better, according to him, was the 52-inch HDTV. Even better, according to me, was the comfy couch and the expansive back porch with a view of the Ozark Mountains.
We curled up on the couch and began making our plans for the next day. It might have been Spring Break, but the weather seemed to have forgotten. When Michael had called the canoe rental before we left, they questioned whether we really wanted to float the Buffalo. Apparently, you get VERY cold if you fall in and the water is 52 degrees. And while we never have flipped a canoe, did we really want to test it out now?
Ultimately, we decided that, no, we did not. I reviewed the waterfalls in our area in Tim Ernst’s waterfall guide and settled on Hemmed In Hollow, with the highest waterfall between the Rockies and the Appalachians. It was a five-mile hike roundtrip, and I have a bum knee, but we agreed it would be worth it. And as a bonus? The trail head is in the middle of nowhere, too, on the same dirt road we were staying on.
The next day, we packed our lunches and our waters, braced up my knee and headed out. My mobility with the brace was somewhat impaired, but we were undaunted. (Again, it’s hard for me to take it easy, so what’s a “hard” hike with a 1000 foot descent and ascent on an injured knee?! Bring it on!) We giggled and sang some songs, and stopped for photos. The first one was atop the mountain. Way down at the bottom, you could see the Buffalo reflecting back at us. About a mile in, we were discussing that the hike was just fine. Easy peasy. We stopped for more pictures and were now basically level with the sheer bluff walls. Cool! A bird soared past. Mike said it was a buzzard, but I claimed it as an eagle.
We ventured on. The trail became steeper and the rock steps harder to descend. There were switchbacks that were difficult to maneuver, especially with a left knee that would not cooperate. The next three-quarters of a mile simply were not pleasant, but we were about to see the highest waterfall between the Rockies and the Appalachians! Totally worth it.
We finally came out of the abyss of the mountainside and ventured through a forest of birch trees. Pretty cool when you’re used to oaks and pines. We were getting close!
And then it happened. The trail forked again, and we became confused. We turned to our left. There was a small waterfall. We were getting close; I could feel it! Then there were two downed trees. Surely someone would have cut those out of the way, right?
We turned around and headed to the other part of the trail. Saw a cool rock bottom that our son would have loved to skateboard along. We were traipsing along, when it occurred to me that we were moving away from the bluffs, which meant we were moving away from the waterfall. We turned around again and headed back the original way.
My handy GPS began mocking me, taunting me with the fact that our 2.5 mile journey was more than three miles already. We clambered over the downed trees. But then the trail just petered out. We were confused and getting tired and hungry so we found a large rock and had our picnic lunch.
We were almost done eating when I heard a deer snort behind me. I jolted around, only to learn that the deer was actually a father and son ambling along about 15 feet above us, obviously following the missing trail. We finished eating, and climbed up the side of the mountain. Sure enough: trail. We zipped along the last little bit to find a very unassuming, though very high, waterfall. Obviously, we were not there at peak waterfall time.
Do you know what the best part of a complete letdown is at a moment like that? You and the person you’re with are completely one! No one else can completely understand what you went through, but the one who journeyed with you does. Mike and I both found the whole situation pretty hilarious (more so later than right at the moment, but still!). Somehow, neither one of us could read Tim Ernst’s extremely well-written directions. Somehow, neither one of us could see a clear path when we crossed over a creek bed. And, somehow, neither one of us had put any thought into water levels!
We trudged back up the 1000 feet, more quickly than we went down. We were hot; we were sweaty; we were covered in dirt. So what to do after that? Why, we went over to Osage Pottery and then realized we were in Carroll County, which meant Eureka Springs couldn’t be too far away, so we went there, too. Yes, we looked like heathens, but we were heathens together. There might have been one store where no one spoke to us, but everyone else treated us like royalty.
What an amazing day. I was with my husband, and we made memories.