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Richland Memories

Being old(er) really has it’s advantages. One of them is that I’ve got time off when everybody else is at work. That is a real asset when I feel like getting away by myself in the woods. That lets me take my trips on weekdays. Here in Arkansas though, it can’t be just any weekday. [...]

Being old(er) really has it’s advantages. One of them is that I’ve got time off when everybody else is at work. That is a real asset when I feel like getting away by myself in the woods. That lets me take my trips on weekdays.

Here in Arkansas though, it can’t be just any weekday. Timing is critical. The best time for a trip into the woods is in the fall, just after the first frost but just before deer season starts. Go into the woods before the frost and you become a meal for ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, and gnats. Go after the deer season starts and you just might get shot.

No matter the risk though, it is worth it.

…and I can never see that rock that is just slightly left of center in the above picture without remembering the first time I did go to Richland. It wasn’t fall. In fact, it was a hot Arkansas summer day. It was in the early 1970’s. A friend of mine made me a hand drawn map so I would know how to find this spot because it wasn’t on any map. I spent three glorious days swimming in that pool and stretched out on that rock. The water was sweet and good to drink. I had fish for supper every night. I didn’t see another soul or hear a single human made sound other than my own for the entire time.

The last time I was there it was on the map. There were “established campsites” with picnic tables, porta-potties, barbeque pits, screaming kids, and heathens riding ATV’s. I didn’t see any fish. I drank my water from a plastic bottle.

Filed under: Arkansas, USA

About the Author:

Gar Williams liquidated his former life, sold all his possessions that wouldn’t fit into a 46 liter backpack, and left it all behind at age 63. He is now traveling the world, and, in his words, is finally doing what he wants to do. Gar stops by at VagabondJourney.com from time to time to offer his wisdom and advice on the Senior Vagabond series. has written 65 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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  • Rob Wilson November 13, 2011, 10:01 am

    Some nice photos, dude. Those pictures capture your feelings and memories really well. Could feel myself catching fish, swimming, stretching out on that rock as the swimming suit slowly dried out…brought back some memories of my own. Progress ain’t necessarily progress, is it? What a contrast between then and now.
    Most young folks today cannot appreciate what was, only what is. They are stuck in the “now”, with little to no connection to the past, nor eyes to see what’s coming.
    All the best to you as you hit the road on your biggest life adventure ever. See what you can before progress drags it all under…..

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  • Gar November 13, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Thanks Rob. I’m lucky. I got to experience many things most people alive now will never have a chance to experience. I am grateful for that. On the other hand, I missed a lot of opportunities also.

    Lately I’ve been reading articles about the “Hippie Trail”, the journey people were taking back in the late sixties and early seventies when they would leave England on the “Magic Bus” and travel overland to India or South East Asia. Wish I had done that then but I can’t turn back time. What I can do is make sure I’m not on my death bed saying of all these missed opportunities, “I wish I had done that.” So, if the Universe cooperates just a little I’ll get some of them done.

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  • John in France November 14, 2011, 5:24 pm

    It is always a dilemma telling people about your “secret” spot. Surprisingly enough even in a heavily touristed country like France, there are plenty of these places, even in a city like Paris.

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    • Gar November 14, 2011, 9:02 pm

      Hi John, thanks for reading. Secret places get fewer ever year and, so, more precious. There are still many left in the US. It is just necessary to go further. The last time I found one was in Death Valley in California. Hopefully, someday I’ll get to France and see some of the places there.

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  • jenjenk November 14, 2011, 8:11 pm

    hmmm…i need to stop making fun of my friends l living in arkansas [as far as i’m concerned, the most humid point in the US]…this really is some gorgeous views! wow!!!

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    • Gar November 17, 2011, 12:48 pm

      Hi there. Thanks for reading. You are right about the humidity for sure. The trick is to get out there in late spring or early fall when the days are still nice but the humidity is low. Or, just make sure to go out everyday to build a tolerance.

      I’m leaving next month for Guatemala. Hoping for nice weather and low humidity there this time of year.

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