Thirty-three to 43 TrailBlazers, (we can’t count them if we can’t see them!), headed to Queen Wilhelmina SP dressed and ready for the predicted 60-70-degree temps – dream on! If the forecasters were off the mark last week, today they totally bombed and will need a beach towel to wipe the egg off their faces. The first clue was big gray clouds en route to Mena. As we drove up to the park, we were blanketed by heavy fog, so it was chilly, windy, and rainy on the trail with about 120% humidity. It was not a good hair day; the ladies who had their heads covered suffered from hat hair and the rest looked like they had just stepped out of the shower and hadn’t bothered to dry their hair. Our cameras and glasses could have benefited from windshield wipers! 

With Wilson in command a motley crew looking like street people or unibombers hit the Ouachita Trail dressed in whatever they could scrounge up for the unexpected conditions. We started our 5-mile trek outside the park where we were potential cannon fodder for hunters, but fortunately we seemed to be the only people foolish enough to brave the elements. Most of us have been here before and know the beauty of the area, but today we were greeted with panoramic fog rather than scenic vistas. At one point several hikers ditched the trail for the road. Denying that this was a shortcut, they said it was to avoid the treacherous wet rocks and leaves on the trail, so we will believe them.

Fall color had already peaked, and many trees were bare, but we did see touches of color on a few trees that had not yet undressed for winter, making a neat silhouette against the fog. Fortunately the FogBlazers managed to enjoy themselves and have a few laughs on the trail. This weather is rare, so we hope our newcomers will come back!