Are you wondering WHO in the world are these crazy women, obviously bundled up to protect themselves from the freezing cold day during the first week of January? It is WHO, of course! That stands for Women Hiking the Ozarks.
WHO is an informal group of ladies who gather on Wednesdays to do a hike together somewhere in the Ozarks.
This area is actually composed of two parks---Twin Lakes Park and Keller Park. Parts of the park are connected, although there is some private property between the two, which accounts for their two separate entrances. There are softball fields within the complex, and a pavilion that can be reserved for special events.
Sturdy wood and metal signs throughout the area suggest ways to extend your walk, or shorten it, as indicated by this sign.
One part of the trail contains the Clysta Willet Interpretive Trail, which will lead you to a pond and wildflower meadow.
Visiting the park in the winter enables the hiker to get a better view of the contours of the land, as most vegetation has gone dormant for the season.
Many parts of the park have paved surfaces, making it suitable for wheelchairs and baby strollers. This photo shows a gazebo, and trail map to help a newcomer better navigate the area.
There are four smaller sections within the park called Woodland Trail, Wildflower Trail, Sycamore Trail, and Scott Trail.
Weather forecasters warn drivers to be careful of ice when driving on overpasses, because they could be icy. The same warning can apply for hikers on wooden bridges in freezing weather. This bridge surface was as slick as glass, so we were glad we had the hand rails to steady our crossing!
I give a "hats off" to whatever service club or city department maintains this trail, because they have done an excellent job to see to it that bridges are in good repair, and not rotting from the constant extreme weather exposure.
One of the area woodcarvers clubs took on the project of carving whimsical faces in some of the trees that were damaged during the destructive ice storm in Mountain Home a few years back.
Back in July, 2011, I published an article on my blog about the Laumoier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. It wasn't until today that I found out that there is a variation of a "sculpture park" right here close to where I live!
This lovely carving of an eagle has even been embellished with colored stains and varnish, to make it stand out against the gray bark of the tree.
The artist who worked on this tree trunk made excellent use of the bumps and bulges, to form the nose and ears of the animal faces that were carved in to the trunk.
I have visited this pond in the spring and summertime, and it is a great place to hear the sounds of nature---crickets, frogs, and chirping birds. The benches beside it make it an ideal place to spend some time in quiet meditation.
A great feature of visiting this park in the wintertime, is that the leaves are off the trees, and it is easier to spot these hidden "works of art" placed throughout the park for visitors to enjoy. We are so blessed to live in an area where there are so many places where we can walk. It reminds me of one of the memory verses for this session of my FBC First Place 4 Health class ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) that says "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD." (Psalm 89:15). If you would like to learn more about enjoying the Ozark outdoors with this group of ladies, visit www.Facebook.com, and type in Women Hiking the Ozarks (W.H.O.) for more information. There is also a similar co-ed group in the area that you can learn about, by visiting www.home.arkansasmasternaturalits.org . Regardless of which group you go with, or even if you go alone, get out and enjoy the Ozarks, and you will have MILES OF SMILES! Tricia