Day two of our Beaver Lake Trip greeted us bright and early at 6 a.m. We packed up some grub and hopped in the car to head out. Of course despite our early departure, true to road trip style we had to stop at approximately 2 1/2 Walmart's (which are luckily spread out less than 1 mile from each other in Arkansas) to find a bike lock for the tandem and also the comfort of some aloe vera for my scorched skin after a day on Quincy's Aunt and Uncles boat. After gathering what we needed and driving a little bit longer we made it into Hobbs State Park to the Hidden Diversity Multi-use trail.
Arkansas wasn't a place I had visited up until the last few years and as 1/2 mountain girl 1/2 midwest girl i'm always surprised by how the trees line the roads like big leafy walls, the lake water is so clear, and the nature everywhere is unreal. We were both so in our element stepping onto the trails, starting at Bashore Ridge Loop we initially paced together as we always do and then broke off into our own runs meeting up naturally. These trails really hit every delicious trail running note for both of us. They were such a great balance of flow, lows and longer climbs than we are used to. And the best part about running with Quincy is he clears all the spiderwebs for me like the sweet gentleman he is.
We met up halfway through the loop at the bottom of a climb for a few pictures and to check out the view of Beaver Lake and made our way back up the climb finding our own paces again. After finishing that loop we took a quick break, and made our way onto the Dutton hollow loop to run more. We wrapped it up with just short of 7 miles and we were ravenous.
Good thing for friends that know what's makes for good post trail grub. We heard from a good handful of friends that Pedalers Pub in Bentonville was good. If you have a chance to go to Bentonville definitely stop by and have a huge ceramic vat of Spinach Artichoke dip for us. It was seriously the best we ever had, and we talked about it for days after. Luckily it was 30 minutes away from Hobbs State Park so we were able to let our stomachs settle before riding again. **Pro tip, they offer a 10% discount if you come in after a group ride which they graciously gave us since we were headed to ride
Albert was able to meet us at the trail to join us for our second activity of the day which always adds a great element to the fun. Having Albert around is settling, he always has a solid plan, always comes prepared with his cooler and extra tools, and he is so considerate and helpful to other riders (us included).
This time we started on the Little Clifty trail, which is across the street from the trails we ran earlier in the morning. The trails are close and plentiful in this state and it did not take but a minute to be on the most primo trails i've ever been on. Being on the back of a tandem is not something that is easy to explain or write about, which sort of makes this blog a challenge. But in short it's riding a bike on trails you have no idea how to manage (at least I sure don't. I'm horrible on a bike!), and at the mercy of the person in front of you that is controlling every single thing about the bike. It is terrifying and exhilarating. The trails we did on the tandem were quite a bit different than the trails that were right across the street, the climbs were tough. We only had to bail once about 2/3 of the way up a gnarly rocky climb. Had it not been loose we both agreed we would have made it without issue despite it being so long and relenting. The plan was to do closer to 15 miles of trails but after so many climbs and also fast welcomed decents my legs were begging for a break. This ride was the first ride we've taken on trails outside of our home trails at Santa Fe lake, and it was a true test to our prior practice in skills and our endurance. Also a huge wake up call that we have a ways to go before we are where we want to be and big ego boost that we handled a lot of moments on the trail with surprisingly little verbal communication with some finesse we didn't know we had. We finished with big smiles on faces, and it was so nice to forget about some of our looming adult responsibilities (i.e. painting the exterior of our house, bills, work, errands etc; etc;)
On the way back we decided it was going to be a chill night, so we ate some supper with the group after showering up and headed out to the dock to relax and go for a dip in the lake.
I woke up on my 31st birthday feeling loved and grateful to live a life that allows us to celebrate another year older, or even just surviving renovations, bills and life with adventures that allow us to submerge ourselves in nature, and meet kind people with the same love for the outdoors. It's even better that so many of those adventures get to be shared with each other, and with family.