Overcoming Obesity

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The SPARK Outdoor Adventure

I am a member of the SPARK Done Girl Team, about a month ago, I got word that there would be a Mini Convention held at Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas. I have been living on a SPARK high since I joined in January so naturally, I couldn't wait to go. I was a little unsure if I should go by myself, I was laid off from work in November, I don't have a huge budget and well... meeting complete strangers in the woods... sounds like a good beginning to a horror movie. I pick up the phone and call my BFF, she is in! Yippee We decide to drive from TX to AR.

Our big travel day finally arrives, I head off to Wally World to pick up all of our camping supplies, food, you know, all the good stuff. When she picks me up, we load down the SUV and my brother realizes, we are headed to the woods with complete strangers. He offers to send us off into the woods with one of his BIG guns to be on the safe side, we decided to stick with the power of two and well, the mace in our purse! We hit the open road, we have a 5.5 mile drive ahead of us. Liz and I have been best friends for at least 18 years so needless to say our ride was great! We need no music to keep us entertained, we chit-chat up on the latest going on with the two of us, laugh, share old and new memories, there is just never a dull moment with the two of us. After about 3.5 hours, we stop at a Subway in a small country town in Oklahoma, we decided to go inside to eat. For a small town, this place was packed. We order and find a nice seat, as we eat, were chatting away, laughing and enjoying each others company, before you know it, we hear someone clearing their throat very loudly... we look up and an employee is standing by the door, all of the chairs except our table are on the table tops, the floor has been swept and mopped and the employee is standing at the door with a stern look. "Are you closed," I asked, "Yea, 20 minutes ago!" We quickly gather our things and head for a refill, the taps have already been taken off the fountain machine, no refills tonight, oh my.... us girls were so busy laughing and giggling we didn't even realize we shut the Subway down, after another good giggle, were out the door and on the road again.

We finally make it through Oklahoma and enter Arkansas, we are getting so close. Along the way, we find several places we want to stop on the way home and act like tourist. EXIT 45, that's us! We head off the highway and the road begins to curve and turn, there are deers everywhere. We finally arrive at 1:00AM, it's pitch dark outside, we hear water running nearby, we thing there might be a waterfall. The BIG gun my brother offered, seemed like a real good idea about right now. As we go for the mace in our purse, there is creek, a door opens; there is a very small light and then we hear it, lots of laughter... whew, it's the girls and we feel a little more comfortable. Neither one of us can wait until morning, we are so ready to explore and see the beautiful scenery in daylight. The girls help us take our things up the cabin and show us to our room. WOW, the cabin is gorgeous. After putting our things away, we introduce ourselves to the girls. Everyone is having a great time and we join the fun. We throw on some music and dance the rest of the night away.

In the morning, we enjoyed coffee and a nice high protein breakfast (hey, this is my kind of girls) and we are so read to hit the trails! Some of the girls were still sleeping and getting ready so my BFF and I decide to take a little adventure, we let the girls know we would be back in a bit, grab a water and a bag of pistachio's and head out to find the running water we heard last night. Being picture happy, we snap a picture of the two of us

and our adventure begins... I say adventure because oh boy, it's a good one!

We come to a beautiful bridge

We climb on rocks and find walking sticks

I break my stick jumping off that rock and we both decide, no more Wonder Woman stunts, this terrain is a little dangerous and if it weren't for the stick and the tree, I could have been in trouble!

Our breathe is taken away when we come across the beautiful waterfall

More rocks

The water is a beautiful blue green color

We see a bridge in the distance and decide to head that way (not the obvious one up front, the one in the back... he he he)

We make it to the bridge and cross the road

Out of nowhere, there is color, one beautiful flower just growing on the side of mountain

We come across a 3 Mile Trail: Yellow Rock; we decide, We CAN DO IT!

As we begin our journey, there are so many breath taking sights

A very cool tree


Trickling Water

We begin to notice that everyone on the trail has some major hiking equipment, huge backpacks loaded with gear, flashlights, swiss army knives, matches, food, camel back water packs, hiking boots, layers of clothes... we finally ask someone and they said that was the recommended gear for this trail. All that for 3 miles??? Um our little "Go Green" Reusable Target bag (which was somehow named Retro by this point), two water bottles and pistachios might not be enough for this trail. He then tells us that they initially were going to hike a 15 mile trail but decided to take a shorter route. Okay, that's good, maybe we will be okay and little ol' Retro is all we need. Of course, we are allready about 3 hours into this, I know we have snapped a few pictures but can this 3 mile hike really take that long?

We finally reach Yellow Rock, we feel like we are on top of the world

We realize, it has been hours, we need to get back to our cabin, the girls are probably worried. We hit the trails again and come across several more cool things along the way

Finally, we see more humans, it has been a while and in the distance we see some type of covered awning, we must finally be at the end! We cheer in glee and say "Finally, were done!" The people walking by tell us that it is not over, we have to turn around and go back, "WHAT, is that some kind of joke?" "No, its not a joke, your only half way done, you gotta go back" I ask how many miles we walked and he said maybe a mile or a mile and a half. There is no way, we have been walking for 4 hours! The guy assures us, thats it, turn around and go back he says. We explained that we took the Yellow Rock trail, he tells us that we are no longer on that trail and on there way they went. OH MY! What trail are we on?

When we reach the top of the peak and get to the covered awning, we sit down and eat our pistachios.

From the outlook, we notice the bridge we walked across earlier that morning

It's a little overcast and we notice buzzards are circling in, we check out pulse, we are both still breathing and very much alive and decide we better try to find our way out of the mountains before it gets dark.

Liz and I agree, no more pictures until we are out of here. We are worried about the girls and hope they send the park rangers if we don't make it to the cabin soon. We are pretty hungry, Liz's fingers are looking pretty good about right now. Oh man, I knew I should have gotten a few of those matches from that fellow on the trail. Wait a minute, I was a boy scout leader before, I should be able to make fire with a rock and a stick. Seriously, if worse came to worse, we will eat the injured. I notice she is looking at me the same way, oh no, neither one of us can do that... we both agree, we will do our best to get out of there and we will not eat each other.

About another hour later, we run into a couple, YEA... people are such a good sign! We ask them how do we get out of here, I was a little disappointed in the cold and patronizing "follow the trail" response. I quickly explain we have been following the trail for 5 hours and getting a little worried, our trail was only supposed to be 3 miles and someone already told us we were not on yellow rock anymore. The guy asks if I want to see a map, UM HELLO... Does the Map say YOU ARE HERE?!?!?! Of course it does not, so the map doesn't do much for us and besides, he couldn't tell us where he was on the map. The lovely chap then suggested we follow the reflective diamonds on the tree's. Of course, we have been following the reflective tree's. So far we have seen white one, red ones, yellow ones, and some with horseshoe's on it. I explained that sometimes, there is a fork in the road so you have to choose, left or right. By now, I realize he is not of any help. I thank him for his help (he did offer the map) and we decide to go to the right.

A couple of things are beginning to look familiar, woo-hoo, I think we are really on our way out of here! Six hours later as we are exiting the trail, across the ravine we see the Girls... I run out of the trail and holler for them... they are just as excited to see us as we are to see them!

We meet at the bridge

Take one more set of steps

Take a group picture

Head back to the cabin

We cooked a great dinner, we enjoyed each others company, cleaned up and headed to town for sight seeing. Turns out we were in HOG Country, AR Razorbacks are a big thing in Fayettville

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast together, one last time. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers and took a few last pictures. At check out, Liz and I spoke to the Park Rangers about our hike, we told them some of the landmarks we saw and they explained we actually did a 8-9 milke hike. OH MY GOSH, are you kidding me?!?!? I thought my legs felt great but oh boy, when I heard that, THEY HURT, They hurt like Hell! Of course, the girls got one last good lauch out of that one and we said our goodbyes.

Two girls hit the road and four of us hiked another trail, went to town, ate lunch and then we went our separate ways. On our way home, we didn't stop as many times as we hoped but we did manage to stop at the New Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma, who knew you couldn't take pictures in a casino, I guess it's a good thing I still own my camera, I was pretty sure we were going to be tackled when they saw us taking pictures! Man, what a way to end a fabulous weekend, getting arrested for taking pictures of a casino, LOL! Thank goodness the girls at the front desk didn't report us. We were both beet red because of the to do everyone made about the camera. Needless to say there is never a dull moment when your on a road trip with your BFF!

Liz is not a member of SPARK but I am working on it, we both can't wait to do it again! I had a great time and meet some really wonderful ladies. If you ever get the chance to go to a convention, do it, you will have some life long memories and meet wonderful SPARKERS!


  1. Great pics!! So cool! Looks like you had some mean fun!!

  2. Stef! That is so wonderful that you go to a convention and it sounds like a TON of fun. And can I just say to, how amazing you look?? You look wonderful!! Keep up that great work!

  3. CJ, it was so much fun!

    Kim - it was incredible, thank you for your comment, I am feeling great!

  4. What a fantastic journey!! Good for you!!

  5. Awesome Adventure! glad you didn't get lost in the woods!!!!!!

  6. That sounds like an awesome adventure you had. Way to go on that 8 - 9 mile hike. Glad you found your way back home.

  7. You guys look so beautiful! I love all of the pics. Breathtaking! Congrats on taking such a wonderful journey! I hope I will "just do it" one day and embark on a journey of my own some where. Way to spread some Spark! :)

  8. Man, that sounds awesome!! Wish I could have been there!! :)

  9. I just signed up today and OMG, you blog has been incredibly wonderful. I love the recipies and knowing that mine isn't a hopeless cause. I'm at 220 right now and am so uncomfortable I can't breath, all of my clothes are too tight, so just keep writing what you have been and I will get there!