Monday, June 10, 2013

Petit Jean State Park

My first trip with a group other than my family was a ski trip to the mountains in Colorado when I was a freshman in high school. That was when I learned how important the people traveling together are one of the most important aspects of any trip. With a bad group its going to be miserable; with a good group even the worst locations can be fun. Life is just so much better with people. So is camping.

A month ago I went camping and blogged about Lake Frierson State Park. This past weekend, I camped with a friend at my favorite state park - Petit Jean. Located about an hour and a half from Little Rock, Petit Jean State Park offers many spectacular views. Of course, it is also one of the parks where I have to face one of my greatest fears -- heights. There are multiple overlooks on the mountain, looking out in almost any direction. Some are very safe, some are very dangerous.

Saturday morning my friend and I set off on the Boy Scout Trail, a 12-mile trail that is estimated to take eight hours. It crosses many of the other trails at the park and winds through various landscapes. At one point, we were sitting on rocks that dropped off into the canyon below. There were no rails or anything, just one step away from death -- well not for me. I chose to stay back. We only made it on six miles of the trail and completed those miles in nine hours. We were still exhausted.

Most of the hiking trails aren't that strenuous and most hikers are able to hike any of the trails with the exception of maybe the BSA trail. Visitors can also enjoy the Mather Lodge Restaurant which overlooks the canyon or fishing on the lake. Also, in addition to camping, the park has cabins. One downfall to the park is no swimming is allowed in the lake or creeks, only in a swimming pool at the lodge. Most of the campsites have running water and electricity. And a huge plus -- they aren't all on top of each other.

Petit Jean remains by far one of my favorite parks and locations in Arkansas.

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