Eighteen TrailBlazers, including Jack from England, were more than ready to get the lead out on the old bone-jarring Butterfield wagon trail at Devil’s Den. After our traditional Christmas break when we tend to overindulge, two hikes were canceled while Arkansas was masquerading as Alaska, so this was our first hike of the year. It seemed chilly and damp at our rendezvous in Van Buren, but the skies got lighter as we headed north, and there was even a little bit of sunshine peeking through the clouds as we started hiking. 

It came as no surprise that the trail was muddy and slick, with icy patches here and there, but temps were great for trekking. In many places we had to carefully pick our way, and some of us spent a lot of time watching our boots! Becky safely led her flock down the trail to the falls and then we did a little exploring in the canyon that is nearby. When we reached the neat area with the fire ring, we discovered that some careless hikers had left pots, cans, cutlery and junk in the pit. Becky and Ruth Ann whipped out some bags and cleaned up the mess. Good job! Where would women be without our bags? 

We continued down into Quail Valley and finally found an icy trail leading to Blackburn Creek where we traditionally eat lunch. It was a neat spot, and the weather was actually quite mild in spite of cloudy skies. Everyone enjoyed getting out as we had been suffering with a severe bout of cabin fever. The rain held off until we were driving home, so it worked out to be a great day.