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Living the Good Life

My time in Arkansas has passed, and you might have noticed that I didn't post very much about places I went or things I did. Well, that's because I didn't do much. Not because there isn't stuff to do, but more because I felt so damn comfortable and at-home in my adorable Hot Springs rental and in the area. The house itself was perfect, exactly what I would want if I ever bought a house. Two bedrooms, a separate dining room, a separate office space, a nice deck off the back, a carport, a dog run, and good landscaping. The neighborhood was quiet and friendly, the main downtown drag was just an easy mile walk away and the trails of the national park were one block from my front door. The town has plenty of amenities, since it's a tourist town, and the surrounding Diamond Lakes region offers endless hikes, all less than an hour away. I fell really quickly into a normal life there.

Some other reasons contributed to my failure to explore as much. My visitors came in the first two weeks when the snowstorm hit, so I wasn't able to do much when I had people here to adventure with. My dog reached a critical point in his old age at which he really didn't want to do anything at all, not even go for a slow walk in our neighborhood. I was happy to stay home and spend quality time with him. And I started a new short story workshop, so I've been typing away madly at something other than this blog so I can get back to publishing my work this year. 

And, really, I was just feeling a bit of travel burnout. I've been on the road since the beginning of October 2020, moving every weekend, exploring, hiking, checking out new places, going on new hikes, driving a thousand miles from one state to another. I needed to be "normal" for a little bit and just stay at home. Hot Springs was the perfect place to do that. 

Despite how much I enjoyed my time and felt right at home, I wouldn't live in Hot Springs. It's a bit too small for my taste to stay longer than the five weeks I did, and Little Rock, despite having a population twice that of Boulder, doesn't seem to have much going on, even in non-COVID times. That impression was confirmed by some locals I talked to. But I'm feeling a pull toward Arkansas. It's nickname is the Natural State, and wow is it ever. Lakes and hikes and mountains and trails and landscapes and natural beauty everywhere. 

So I do want to come back, but in a different season and to the northwest Ozarks region. Most of what popped up in my Only in Your State daily newsletter was in the northwest of the state. So many great hikes that were a little too far away for me from Hot Springs. I imagine that if I liked the Ouachita forest area so much, I'll like the Ozarks ever better. Something tells me I could fit in here and it's a good place to be. And I'm not the only one

river in a forest

woman and dog near frozen, snow-covered lake

downtown Little Rock

mineral water river in a forest

lake surrounded by forest

dog on a deck in the sun

woman and dog