Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chilly Getaway


There was a lot going on at Historic Washington State Park over the weekend. They were holding the annual event called Civil War Days and there were outdoor dramas, reenactments and battle scenes galore. One of the things people like to do is to fire canons. Needless to say, we experienced some noise. I am talking about window-rattling noise. So, we decided to have a little getaway up to De Gray, a one-hour drive up I-30 from Washington.

We had a great breakfast in Caddo Valley and then made our way up to the lodge where we spent some time just sitting in the car looking at the color. The hickory trees have become a molten gold and the sumac is deep red, redder than I remember it ever being. And, of course, the sassafras and gum leaves are as unpredictable as they are beautiful.

Then we started our leisurely stroll on the concrete walking trail behind the lodge, but soon decided to try the woods hike that meanders through the hardwoods. While we were deep in the forest, my wife talked about how as a child she and her friends and siblings wandered the woods around Smackover. “That was our playground,” she said. I recounted some woods experiences of my childhood and youth. We discussed how we would get lost sometimes, but just kept walking until we ran into a road or path. These always led somewhere. At that point I remembered that my cell phone had a compass in it, so we made sure we knew which direction we were headed. I found it accurate, since it indicated east was where the sun was that morning.

We walked more than a mile through the woods before we circled back to the lodge where we occupied a couple of soft chairs and enjoyed the rustic d├ęcor of the spacious lobby. We laughed about the fact that we were so bundled up and several others were out exercising in shorts and tee shirts. A little chill in the air sends me for winter clothes every time. I even light the heater in our living room when it dips below 50 outside.

There was an eccentric oceanography professor at my college in south Florida who wore a wool hat, overcoat and gloves when it was in the 60s. We used to chuckle about that, but now I suppose we are thought of as just as odd. I do not like to be cold.

I am told we lose a lot of heat through our heads. At one time, I had a headful of thick hair. Now, however, I need a manmade accouterment to keep from losing all that heat, so I have a variety of hats. At De Gray, I had on my Indiana Jones hat that I bought from a shop in Hot Springs a couple of decades ago. I got some looks up there, probably because of that hat. At least I did not wear my beret.

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