Thursday, January 7, 2010

Woolly Hollow Hike

On New Year's Day, we set out on our first hike of 2010. It was a spontaneous decision - the sun was out, our colds were in retreat, and Benjamin needed to get out of the house to avoid going stir crazy. Because we hadn't really planned to go away for the day, we needed a hike that wasn't too far away from home. And because I was still suffering from my head cold, I didn't want to have to do a lot of up and down hiking, which ruled out Pinnacle Mountain. We have been to Woolly Hollow before, right after we moved to Arkansas, but we never did the 3.5 mile loop around the lake. It is about an hour's drive away from Maumelle, up north, outside of Greenbrier. It is a state park, and is named after an early settler family, the Woollys. Our Tim Ernst guidebook says that the woods are lovely in the spring, with many patches of wildflowers. No wildflowers in January, but the woods were still lovely. The abundant sunshine didn't hurt one bit.

We had a tag-along guest on the hike - a stray dog we nicknamed Ralph. Another hiker who was leaving as we started the hike said that he had followed her on the trail around the lake, and that he was friendly. After some initial sniffing, Miikka decided that Ralph was far less interesting than the trail. They played a bit when we stopped to take pictures, but otherwise, Miikka pretty much ignored him. That was something of a relief, because a distracted Miikka is almost impossible to walk. When I told Ralph to stay behind me and out of the way, he did. He was very well-mannered and friendly.

Since he didn't have a collar, we assumed that he was a stray, or a dumped pet. I began to worry that I would have to take him home, because despite the sun, it was cold, and I hate seeing animals suffer. He was in good shape, however, and seemed only to want to go for a walk with us. As soon as we got to the end of the trail, he ran off to find someone new to go hiking with. I can only hope that the park employees were looking after him, or that he was someone's pet who just happened to be good at losing collars.

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