The Natural State really lives up to its name. We have no shortage of stunning views and opportunities for immersion in the outdoors. I recently had the chance to take a brief evening trip up to a place I’ve enjoyed many times over the years.
Petit Jean Mountain is a highly unique geographic feature of the Arkansas landscape. My little car had a few Casey Junior “I-Think-I-Can” moments as it chugged its way up the twisting road (even though I wasn’t pulling several cars full of elephants…it’s a steep highway and the horses under the hood probably would have been terribly winded trying to hike it, much less approach the speed limit…but I digress…).
I’m always impressed with the views from atop Petit Jean. Even a cloudy or hazy or BLAZING HOT day is worth the trip. (For the record, it was a hazy, BLAZING HOT day.) I’ll admit, while I knew I was unprepared to do any serious hiking, I was also unprepared just to simply walk around in the heat. It was a last-minute decision to actually make the little road trip, and I ran off without my water bottle. By the time I made it to the lodge, I parked and went directly towards the vending machines. As luck would have it, the machine spent a lot of time spinning its wheels only to tell me that everything was sold out. Fortunately, it refunded my paper money–in the form of quarters and nickels–and I went into the lodge to buy a bottle of ice cold water with change (my apologies to the clerk).
Of course, with it being the summer tourist season, I wasn’t the only person sightseeing–far from it. When I reached the overlook, a few other cars pulled into the parking lot, including a family of awestruck adults and two very bored small children. I can only assume that the kids were suffering from acute electronics withdrawal…a common syndrome these days.
The parents were gazing down across the breathtaking landscape, taking in the view. The kids were less than impressed.
The conversation cracked me up.
Kid No. 1: “Why did Petit Jean wanna come all the way up here?”
Mom: Silence…snaps photo of river.
Kid No. 2: “Moooooom! Why did Petit Jean want to come all the way up here?”
Mom: “I don’t know. Maybe she liked it here.”
Kid No. 1: “What are we doing all the way up here?”
Dad: “We’re looking at all this nature.”
I suppressed my laughter, spent a few more minutes looking at “all this nature,” and rolled back down the mountain, becoming a mere speck on the landscape to the spectators on top of Petit Jean.
(A boring little speck, I’m sure…)