We considered going for a proper hike on Monday, since the weather was so nice, but decided that we had too much to get done at home to allow us to take so long on an excursion. Instead, we headed up to the Bell Slough - a wildlife management area between Maumelle and Conway.
It's purpose is to provide a resting area for waterfowl and other birds as they migrate. (Although hunting is allow in the area, so I am not sure how restful it really is). It also has a nice trail that loops around for approximately 3 miles through oak trees and other typical Arkansas forest terrain.
Miikka loves hiking here - there is always so much to smell. He was practically quivering with excitement when we got out of the car and headed for the trail at a run, towing me along behind. When we hike, we have an established order - Benjamin first, followed by Miikka, with me bringing up the rear. Sometimes Miikka tries to take the lead, but he is so often distracted or side-tracked by an interesting smell, and he stops so suddenly that he causes pile-ups. If Benjamin takes the leash, Miikka is worried that I am not right behind him. So: Benjamin, Miikka, Hope.
There were some wildflowers blooming along the path, although it hasn't rained for a few weeks.
The best part of Bell Slough is that even though it is right next to the freeway, and is in easy driving distance of Conway and Little Rock, there are almost never too many people (and by too many, I mean anyone other than us). It is easy to slip into nature for a little while, breathe in the clean air, and relax. This trip, we saw two other people, but only from a distance. Perfect.