End: Lake Fort Smith State Park (AR)
Daily Mileage: 172
Total Mileage: 172
Last summer was a busy one: we shopped for our house and bought it, we painted and cleaned and moved two households’ worth of stuff and people and cats, we planned and held a wedding and entertained its attendant houseguests, and by the time it was all over we were too tired for a honeymoon. We decided to wait; we figured we’d enjoy a trip more if we had more time to plan and look forward to it.
So we’ve carefully planned a winter backpacking trip to Canyonlands National park in Utah. We’ve researched the average weather, ordered guidebooks and maps, talked with friends and friends’ friends and even the park’s rangers about winter trail conditions and water availability. We’ve spent the last two months making lists and upgrading gear and reading Edward Abbey and looking forward to a trip to the arches in the desert.
But we’ve watched the extended forecast for Canyonlands with growing concern, and one final check of the forecast this morning confirmed it: it’s too cold and snowy. The trip to Utah is canceled until further notice, and we’ll go somewhere else instead. We’re disappointed but determined to have a good trip, and we’re headed west on Interstate 40 toward Albuquerque and then, hopefully, the Grand Canyon.
On shuffle, the iPod chooses a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” as the first song of our trip.
Tonight we stay at the newly reopened Lake Fort Smith State Park just north of Alma. Earlier in the week, Bryan’s coworkers had been appalled when they realized we planned to tent camp in state parks. But this place is marvelous, with clean bathrooms and hot showers and well-designed campsites. The visitors center even has a live turtle display. With all this luxury for $8.50, why pay for a hotel?
Aly enjoys geeky podcasts in the tent.
Day 1 – Day 2