Sharing the Trails

Five Star Trails Poster 092917 Springfield Nat CenterDuring a phone visit with Kyle Kellams of KUAF, I mentioned how hiking and writing about trails go together for me. I couldn’t imagine doing one without the other. He said, “So, in addition to being a thru-hiker, you’re a ‘thru-writer.'” I thought, what a cool trail name that would be!

An extension to writing about trails is speaking about them. Writing Five Star Trails: The Ozarks has opened many opportunities to share. 

Last weekend, I presented to a group of 68 folks at Hobbs State Park, close to Beaver Lake in Rogers, Arkansas. The group was diverse and included several trail runners, a few experienced thru-hikers, many day hikers, and a 99-year old who’d hiked many miles. She asked a good question about water availability on the John Muir Trail.

This coming Friday at 7 p.m., I’ll be sharing at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. I catch myself wondering what questions they will have. Here are a few often asked.

  1. Have you seen a bear? Two in Arkansas, both moving away from me. Several out west.
  2. How heavy is your pack? Depends on the season. Getting lighter the older I get…
  3. Do you worry about snakes? I like seeing snakes but avoid stepping on or irritating them.
  4. How’s Hiker-dog? I enjoy giving updates on Hike-dog’s adventures.
  5. How do you do “number 2” out there? I added this question because it’s the one I used to want to ask of distance hikers, but never would. If I’m asked in a group setting, I’ll dodge the specifics by saying it depends on the type of environment and rules for the trail you’re hiking. A whole book has been written on this subject.

Looking forward to questions and conversations with other souls who love hiking and the outdoors! If you need a presenter for a group, I’ll jump at the chance to share. All I need is a darkened room for viewing photos and a power outlet. Contact me through the Feedback tab at the top of the page.

Warnock_HobbsTalk092417

Sharing with 68 folks at Hobbs State Park – “Pack this, not that: a few lessons from the JMT.”

Here’s a pdf of the flier if you’d like to print or forward and share for this Friday’s session.  Five Star Trails Poster 092917 Springfield Nat Center 

No Cookie Cutter Accommodations Please: If not a tent, then a B and B

Walnut Street Inn Bed & Breakfast

Walnut Street Inn Bed & Breakfast, built by Charles McCann in the 1890s at a cost of nearly $6,000

One of my hiking buddies always opts for a mom and pop restaurant over chains when possible. I’ve picked up this practice and have now applied this approach to selecting overnight accommodations. When not staying in a tent, I prefer a bed & breakfast over one of the chain hotels.

Becca and I recently made plans to celebrate our 36th anniversary, so something a little nicer than a tent was in order. We had never visited Springfield, Missouri and wanted to explore a little of the Missouri Ozarks.

Because of our wonderful experiences during repeated stays with Mike and Rhonda at Mountain Thyme B&B just outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas, we decided to look at the bed & breakfast options in Springfield. Pricing of bed & breakfasts are comparable to hotels, but the food, fellowship, and personal attention far exceed even the nicest of hotels.

Mountain Thyme

Mountain Thyme B&B, off Arkansas Highway 7, two miles from the Ouachita Trail

We were pleased to find Walnut Street Inn, located right downtown on historic Walnut Street. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and then explored Springfield by foot. A short drive put us in the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, with a variety of hiking trails.

We stayed in the Cottage, part of the Walnut Street Inn two doors down the street. A third building, The Carriage House, is located behind the Walnut Street Inn.

The Cottage B&B

The Cottage B&B

Here are a few photos from the Walnut Street Inn.

Walnut Street Inn

Walnut Street Inn

Inside the Walnut Street Inn

Inside the Walnut Street Inn

Outdoor dining area

Outdoor dining area

Antiques in the main house

Antiques in the main house

Porch columns in Victorian style

Porch columns in Victorian style

Detail of a window in the Walnut Street Inn

Detail of a window in the Walnut Street Inn

Walkway outside of our room

Walkway outside of our room

One benefit of staying in Springfield is hiking beautiful trails at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center and Lake Springfield. The Walnut Street Inn owner, Gary Blankenship, gave good driving directions to these areas. I would rise early and hike before breakfast, then have the day to explore the area with Becca. We walked several miles each day and had some wonderful meals together!

The Walnut Street Inn Bed and Breakfast – No cookie cutter accommodations, but a wonderful place to stay!

Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Springfield Conservation Nature Center