11th Anniversary Trip

11th Anniversary Trip

We set off a little early on a Friday (thanks to Tyler working some overtime earlier in the week) to celebrate our 11th anniversary. We headed south to a cabin in Hatfield (which fun fact…we booked and then found out the cabin owners were friends of my good friends!), and planned on doing some hiking and sightseeing.

Originally, our plan was to check in and settle in….but since they were calling for rain on Sunday, we decided to do some exploring on Friday before checking in.

We stopped on the way at Queen Wilhelmina State Park to hike Lover’s Leap trail. It had been raining, but the rain cleared out and we had a nice cool (but a bit muggy) hike.

The trail hugs the mountain, and there were lots of rock steps which thankfully weren’t too slick. It wasn’t too muddy, either.

There were some GORGEOUS vistas along the trail, and near the end you came to a big wooden platform at the highest point. So pretty!

The Natural State never disappoints!

After our hike, we decided to have dinner in Mena and head to the cabin. That evening, we enjoyed the hot tub and relaxed watching TV. We slept in on Saturday morning and did a little fishing at the pond on the cabin property….then we headed to Cossatot State Park.

The park is unique. It’s a vistor’s center and then it spans 12 miles along the river, with different access points. You can hike or float the entire 12 miles….or fish/camp along the different access points.

We decided to visit Cossatot Falls to see the cascades. While this river is known for it’s kayaking and floating, we didn’t see anyone on the river all day.

We did hit the trail along the river for a bit (I didn’t start my watch, so I’m not sure how far), but we got some great views from above.

And we saw a salamander (I think?).

We took a shortcut from the trail above down to the river and started hopping rocks to get to the actual falls. I’m not surefooted or adventurous, but Tyler helps me and makes me feel brave.

The rocks are GORGEOUS. They are jagged and have lines of quartz running through them.

We made it all the way to the falls and sat and watched the water for a while. There was a park ranger there who commented that he couldn’t believe we made it all the way- but that’s what we came for!

We went back to the truck, had a picnic lunch and then grabbed fishing poles. Tyler led me back out to the water, and we had to GET IN to get to the spot he wanted to fish. It was COLD!

But it was fun casting out there…..until my shoes were wet and we tried coming back, and I slipped. For a minute, I thought I broke my hand! I hit my palm on a rock and it HURT. I didn’t have much grip strength for a day or so…

And the lack of grip strength meant that when I got the camp chair out of the truck (to sit and read after falling while Tyler fished some more), I dropped it and hit my face with it. Thankfully, no shiner!

After that adventurous stop….we ventured to Shady Lake Recreation Area to see another water fall. The initial fall was barely a trickle, but we got to see another cascade. Tyler got up close with it (I was a bit shaken from my fall and didn’t feel so adventurous).

I stayed on solid ground while he went rock jumping in the water.

He ended up at the trickle of the falls.

After this stop, we saw some signs for other recreation areas and went down gravel roads exploring. There are MANY ATV trails around the area, but thankfully in his truck, we could drive those roads, too.

We tried going up to Tall Peak Tower, but the road was closed and we didn’t have service to look up how to hike to it. Maybe next time!

On the way back down near Caney Creek Rec Area, we saw another small falls along the mountain. So pretty!

Then driving back, we saw ANOTHER recreation area- Big Brushey- and stopped. There was a pedestrian bridge over the Cossatot River that was beautiful, then we spotted a hiking trail that we followed through the woods to the river bank.

On this mile or so hike, you could really see how deep and clear the water was. And how much it turned. This S curve was intense. I can’t imagine it on a day with high water.

When we got to the bank, we did a little more venturing around the area.

And then back over the Cossatot at sunset. So pretty!

We stopped at the Lighthouse Drive-In for dinner. Burgers and shakes were SO good after all that hiking!

The next morning, we took it slow- having coffee in the hot tub before packing up. Then we had Mexican food in Mena on our way home.

It was a fantastic trip together. I love exploring with Tyler and seeing the beautiful sights of our state.

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