Destination: Ouachita National Forest - Wolf Pen Gap.
Reason: DCL ATV Ride
Background: DCL is the Discoverer Clear Leader drillship owned by Transocean and my husband works on that rig. Some of his co-workers planned a trip to go on this annual ATV ride and we decided to make a vacation of it and invited some friends.
We started our adventure to Mena, Arkansas on Thursday morning at 4 a.m. and what a drive it was. Our friends Luke and Rachael met us at the house and then we drove over to Eric's house to pick up the trailer with his 4-wheeler and Jasen's dirt bike. Twelve hours later...we're almost to Arkansas and who knew if you missed one exit you could end up in Texas? So, we made a brief drive by of the Texas border and drove up the state line until we reached Hatfield, Arkansas. Population: 402, seriously. We rented a cabin at Cornerstone Mountain Retreat. This hidden gem is set back on 210 acres. I would highly recommend staying here for anyone looking to just get away from it all. The cabin has three sleeping spaces, hot tub, a beautiful lake with a canoe and paddle boat, and many ATV trails. Adam's friends drove in from Texas and Oklahoma to spend the weekend with us. We picked up the Polaris RZR and ATV's that night and didn't waste anytime before going to explore the property. I was so nervous as first and by the end of the night I was driving! We were also successful in finding mud in Arkansas. It was a great way to end the long day.
We knew Adam's co-workers rented some cabins right down the road from our cabin at Meadow Pines Luxury Cabins, so we rode the ATV's down the there to find everyone and then we explored their property, as they had 450 acres with trails. We visited some other cabins and rode their trails and finally made our way back to the house and rode around our property until dark. Eric's belt on his four wheeler ended up shredding and the closest one was two and a half hours away. Bummer. Things we were thankful for after the first day: Bandanas and goggles that the guys bought in town. The dust was insane and everywhere! After a long day of riding, we decided it was a hot tub type of night.
They all called Saturday "D" Day. We woke up and went straight to the Wolf Pen Gap trails....of course we had to take 20 miles of back roads to get there. What an experience. I was so nervous, excited and my adrenaline was rushing all day long. No cell phone reception, so we had a hard time finding the group of Adam's co-workers, but we ended up being okay with that because we were able to ride as fast as we wanted. The trails were so much fun. There was only one small hiccup when Fritz took his Polaris RZR a tad past it's balance level. It was tipping with four of them inside and Adam told me to get out and go help. Just as I'm reaching for the RZR, I slip because the mountain was so steep and I slide under the back of the ATV. Yep, so now it's almost rolling over and I'm underneath and not back to stand back up because it's so slippery. Adam saved the day by rushing to my rescue. Adam had on a Contour Video camera and we though he got everything on tape....but the lens cap was still on because it was so dusty out there. Luke and Rachael's RZR died at the highest point of the mountain for the second time that day and they were finally able to get it to start, but it wasn't an enjoyable experience with a broken ATV. They were such good sports and the owner didn't charge them for the entire day, as they still had to get it 20 miles back to the cabin.
I still can't believe it's a National Forest and you can ride the trails from dawn until dusk for FREE!! There was a map and signs to help you navigate around...of course we tried to go north and ended up all the way east. We didn't say we were good with directions. At one point on the ride, there were 19 ATV's/four wheelers together.
That night we went to eat with Adam's co-workers and sat around the campfire. After we came back to the cabin, the boys played on the ATV one last time and yep...they ended up putting it on it's side before the trip was over. No one was hurt, thank goodness. I knew they had to find it's tipping point before the trip was finished. Thank goodness it wasn't one of the rentals, but no damage was done. All in all a VERY successful four day vacation.
|Just starting our journey from Pensacola.|
|What I looked forward to every morning!|
|Adam and Cole together at the house.|
|Goodbye Cornerstone Mountain Resort!|