Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Devil's Den

It has finally cooled down here in Fayetteville, to the point that yesterday morning we woke up for labor day to a cool, clear day. The high was only in the low 70s, and we decided to take advantage of the great weather to go hiking at Devil's Den, one of Arkansas's fine state parks. Apparently there are some really cool caves there, but due to White-nose syndrome, they are currently closed. To be clear, that is White nose syndrome, not (as I first thought), white-NOISE syndrome, which doesn't sound any worse than listening to static for hours on end (some people might find that soothing). White nose syndrome is a fungal infection that affects the muzzle and wings of bats, causing them some potentially serious harm. Apparently the human ability to transmit the fungus is currently unclear (says the Wikipedia entry) but for the sake of everyone, human-bat contact in the caves is forbidden.

Despite the lack of caving, our hike was still lovely. Devil's Den is about 20 minutes from Fayetteville, on a road that is so hilly I would not want to drive it during any inclement weather.
We got there and had a small picnic before setting out on our 3-mile hike. Mostly forested, the hike wound up and around a cliff of yellow rock, hence the trail name (Yellow Rock Trail). Here's a picture from the forest-y portion:

And another picture from the lookout:

I must say, as beautiful as this is, the views don't compare to the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico, but I'll take what I can get. The one advantage of this hike was the gentler slope. It was still effortful, but I didn't feel completely winded at the end.

When we got back to town, we walked down to Dickson Street and enjoyed a late afternoon margarita and some potato skins. Not a bad work-free Labor Day, if I do say so myself!

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