KANSAS! You Got Some Awesomeness Going On!

KANSAS!  I have to apologize to you!  I grew up there until age 13, and then just got moved to Missouri.  I was moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma when I was 17, which is also quite close to you Kansas!  I honestly never knew you were so cool!!

I was looking for a place to just chill for what we Americans call Labor Day Weekend.    A little about Labor Day here! 

It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.”

My trusty All Trails app led me to Elk City State Park!  While I was going for a more laid back kind of weekend, there is ample opportunity ahead to get some serious hiking in!  Camping at this park was a very relaxing time.  The grounds are immaculate, with even the primitive sites having plush grass.

(Click the tent for a tent just like mine! [affiliate link])

Being the holiday weekend, the park was pretty full, with the usual chatters, laughter, bicycle riders, boats, campers, tents, etc.  With all the usual hustle and bustle of a camp ground, there was still a very relaxed and calm feeling about this place.  The layout  seemed to be well thought out, and the flow of movement around the park was easy breezy.  If you were not fortunate enough to get one of the many prime spots to camp, access to the great things about this park is still a few steps away.  We landed a spot right on the point, at Sunset Point.  WOW!  Does it live up to it’s name!

Being the holiday weekend, the park was pretty full, with the usual chatters, laughter, bicycle riders, boats, campers, tents, etc. With all the usual hustle and bustle of a camp ground, there was still a very relaxed and calm feeling about this place.  The layout  seemed to be well thought out, and the flow of movement around the park was easy breezy.  If you were not fortunate enough to get one of the many prime spots to camp, access to the great things about this park is still a few steps away.  We landed a spot right on the point, at Sunset Point.  WOW!  Does it live up to it’s name! 

Even Hendrix The Hiking Dog was impressed!!

Our awesome Teton tent looks pretty cool right here, too.  I set it up by myself for the first time.  Piece of cake! 

We would not be able to go on an adventure without squeezing in at least a little hike, so we took the 1 mile jaunt on the Green Thumb Nature Trail.  Don’t let the 1 mile thing fool ya though.  It is rated as moderate, and I think that I would agree with that, as there is some climbing involved, but not too much. 

The only negative I found on this trail, and I know nothing of making and maintaining hiking trails, so forgive my ignorance, if that is the case.  And I am oh so thankful that these trails are there!  When clearing the trails, the trees that are left on the trail are not trimmed what I would call “flush”, so there are a lot of places that have what I would see as hazardous points, if one would fall on them. 

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While I feel like I have missed out on a special place for a lot of years, I am definitely looking forward to more FUN there!

  Maybe we will tackle the 15 mile Elk River Hiking Trail in the near future! So many hikes, so little time!  

THE END!! 

P.S.  As always, LOTS of more great pics on our Facebook page  and we love followers on our TWITTER !

Back To The Basics ~~~~~ And It Is Easy Breezy!

Before we jump into the fun stuff, let me start with telling you about a store bought treat that I was using.  I had used, several times, Golden Rewards treats from Walmart, with what seemed to be success.  While buying another bag, and new flavor, (sweet potato wrapped in chicken), I decided to check, when I got home, if I could get products from the company to promote.  

Well, it took me a couple days to get to my research, and what I found were articles about dogs who had gotten sick from eating these specific treats.  Also, in this time frame, I had fed our pups 3 treats each.  When my husband and I went out for dinner and then came back, we found poor Hendrix in a kennel full of poo!  His tummy was very upset for a couple days.  After a not-so-fun clean up job, I grabbed the treats to throw them away.  On the way to the trash I read the back closer, and had not noticed before, (not sure why since I almost always check), they were made in China!  

So, back to the basics for treats at our house!  

While I try to choose more healthy ingredients for making the dogs treats, I don’t stress it too much.  For me, it just feels good knowing exactly what is in the treats, and that I know they are fresh.  You could use “better” flour options but this is what I had on hand.

4 Cups Flour

2 Eggs

3/4 Cup Applesauce

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

Mix all ingredients together with peanut butter being last!  I used a spoon for a little bit, and then I finished mixing it together with my hands! 

 

Roll out on a flat surface to 1/4 inch and use any cookie cutters  you have on hand. Dogs don’t care what they look like! LOL! 

I placed the treats on cookie sheets covered in parchment paper.  The treats don’t really expand, so you can put them pretty close together.  Bake in a 350 degree, preheated, oven for approximately 20 minutes.  They will be dry and starting to brown on the edges when done.  Completely cool on a wire rack before storing in a container that seals, or a zip lock bag.

Saity has gone hunting with her man human, so she will get to indulge when she gets back!  Hendrix and Bonnie ate their treat rations lickety split!! 

Happy treat making!!! 

The Devil Is In Heaven ~~~~ Devil’s Den State Park

Devil’s Den State Park – I have yet to find anything about hiking in Arkansas to be considered a negative, and our latest adventure was more of the same; awesome! I had been watching the weather all week, and was beyond excited about the coming break in the challenging heat.  With the help of trusty ole All Trails, I did a little research and found a hike that I had thought would be interesting, and chose Yellow Rock Trail, in Devil’s Den State Park!  My husband had mentioned that it might rain, but we both agreed we were more than okay with that, after how hot it had consistently been.  So, we added our Frogg Toggs into our packs, and off we went.  

When driving from Oklahoma to Arkansas, one can almost tell when they have crossed the state line simply by where the landscape significantly changes.  As rolling pastures gave way to tree covered hills, and then the hills growing steeper and steeper, so did my excitement grow. Clouds were rolling in, drizzle was beginning to fall, and it was music to my eyes, along with the falling temps on the external thermometer registering inside the truck.  

I knew as soon as we entered the park, that we had found a very special place; a beautiful, peaceful place.  Have you ever been in the Ozark Mountains?  If not, you should! Devil’s Den State Park is in an Ozark valley within the Ozark Mountains, covering 2,500 acres.  Creeks, crevices, caves, overlooks …… (caves are ‘temporarily’ closed due to attempts to control spread of White-nosed Syndrome in the bat population). 

Cabins, camp sites, hiking/biking trails, etc. Choose from day hikes to backpacking the 15 mile Butterfield Hiking Trail, which takes the backpacker through parts of the Ozark National Forest. (Requires a free back country permit from the visitors center.)  There is even a 1 mile creek hike, on the Lee Creek Trail.  

While the Butterfield Hiking Trail is on the near future bucket list, we only had the day to play, so the Yellow Rock Trail proved to be a perfect choice.  This trail is a very doable trail, for all levels of hikers. This trail is a 3 mile loop and is an original trail, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s.  Yellow Rock trail is a designated part of the National Trails System.  With immaculate upkeep, and paths, at times, double the normal size, hiking this trail is very enjoyable.  If an incredible view is what you are going for, this trail will not disappoint.  The bluffs over-looking Lee Creek Valley are…. cliche’ I know, but they really are breath taking.  Even Hendrix was quite impressed! 

There are a couple places to start this trail.  We started at the overlook, and feel that was the best option for us. 

BONE:  Be sure and stop at the visitor center prior to setting out, and collect maps, input, and use the restroom.  There is no restroom at the overlook trail head, but the views are fantastic from the get go! 

While the trail is a relatively easy trail, it is possible to miss the best part.  There is a part of the trail that leads down and out of the trail, onto the road.

While the views and terrain are fun and interesting, if you don’t make the short distance back up to the main trail, you will miss the best view!  Here is the map that I used, which I downloaded off of my All Trails app.  To me, it is in the shape of a rearing horse.  The overlook, where we started, begins at the ‘horse’s’ back hooves.  The tip of the horse’s nose is where you will find the awesome view!  Hiking down the horse’s front legs leads to fun terrain and the road.  When we came to the 1st Y, we went to the right, and hiked the under belly and down the front legs.  Then we went back up the front legs, up the chest to the nose and awesome view, then over it’s head, down the neck and back, and back down the hind legs, back to the trail head.   

We saw several dogs on the trails, so by all means, bring Fido to Devil’s Den State Park!  Keep in mind, if you choose to have your dog off leash, you are risking “getting in trouble”.  Either way, let me again encourage you: 

BONE:  Don’t let your dog intrude into other dog’s/human’s space.  I am always floored by what I consider to be a very rude intrusion.  While Hendrix is off leash more than on, I never let him approach another dog to “say hi”.  It is an unnecessary act, and could prove to be unsafe for all.  All of my dogs are required, whether on leash, or off, to leave all others, dogs or humans, alone.  They are almost always required to sit, and they are required to let others pass by, un-assaulted.  If you cannot recall/retrieve your dog on command, don’t let them off the leash.  Got some time?  Head on out to Devil’s Den State Park for some beautiful fun! 

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THE END!!

Rene Savage