Friday, February 28, 2014

Souvenirs

by Katie


I go hiking once a week, usually on Wednesdays. Wednesdays have always been my "do-nothing" day, a day where I don't do any housework, errands, socializing, nothing whatsoever related to being a stay-at-home momma. In fact, Wednesdays have been re-named "Adventure Day" and my husband and kids know that I will not text back or call back when I'm out hiking and exploring. The only criteria to Adventure Day is that I make it back by 3:00 to pick up my son from school. But that's the only rule.

I love getting away from my daily routine, to get outside and see this beautiful state that we moved to nine years ago. Before, we lived in the Washington, DC metro area, in northern Virginia actually, and the closest countryside was a good three hour drive west. One way. Once you got past all the townhouses and strip malls, you were really too exhausted to go hiking, and if you did have the energy to hike, you only had about 30 minutes to do so before piling back into the car and driving the three hours back, fighting traffic the closer you got  home.

Not much fun.

But after moving to Arkansas and smack dab in the middle of the Ozark Mountains, there's no excuse not to take advantage of all the hiking trails that are abundant in the area. I keep a list of places I want to explore on our pantry door, and I'm slowly crossing them off.  It's something I look forward to every week.




Something that I do when I'm out hiking is pay close attention to the rocks that lay scattered about. Most of my hikes involve rivers and creeks, so rocks and pebbles are plentiful. Arkansas rocks are very smooth, smooth from being washed over by the waters of the Buffalo River, the War Eagle River, Lee's Creek, the White River. And they're very round and mostly flat. They make great skipping rocks; in fact, I make it a point to skip a rock for each of my children when I find a good spot along the water's edge. This little rock above is from my latest hike to War Eagle River, just 30 minutes east of where we live.


When I find unique rocks, unique in that they have beautiful colors or just feel really nice in my hand, I bring them home as souvenirs from that day's hike. These rocks are from the King's River (top), the Buffalo River (middle) and the White River. The last one was actually given to me by one of my daughter's friends because he knew I liked rocks and keep them scattered about my office. It's one of my favorites because it's in the shape of a heart.


My son found this one from the King's River hike that we all went on last month. It sits on my desk next to my monitor.



I don't bring every rock home with me. Other hikers before me leave tower-like formations behind for others to enjoy, maybe even add more rocks to the the structure. But the beauty of Arkansas rocks just speak to me, I don't know what it is, but they somehow bring back my childhood and a sense of comfort.

And they make great paperweights.

So tell me, what do you like to collect? What do you bring back from your adventures?

(and don't worry: i always tell my husband where it is i plan to hike, text him once i get to my destination and once again before i leave for home and i always, always take my phone with me.) 



15 comments:

Peggy said...

Your post brought back memories. I never thought I'd ever travel to Europe but when I had a chance to go to Denmark I picked up a rock by the sea and brought it home. I did the same when I was at the Mediterranean Sea a few years later. I love the simplicity of the shapes. Once I passed by a place while traveling and they sold those rock sculptures. Just rocks piled up in different ways. This summer I want to add those to my garden.

heyjudephotography said...

Beautiful photos Katie. I love that you have an Adventure Day. I used to do that when I worked part time and it really was a relaxing addition to my week. The color on some of those rocks are stunning! Whenever I'm out in nature for a photo shoot, or and adventure, I seem to come home with dried seed pods, dried tulip tree fruits, and tiny baby pine cones...of course all the while thinking what great photo props they will make!

Carol said...

It's so funny that you think you're the only one......and then.....I have rocks and feathers, and seed pods, etc all over the place. I wouldn't say they are a collection, but they bring me happiness, memories, and they do make great props. Either I am more normal than I thought, or we are all just as crazy as we feared! LOL!

Susan said...

Such a great time to get out and explore…and what a beautiful place you have! If I had a dollar for every rock and sea shell I pick up and bring home, I would be a millionaire! The problem I have is that I want the BIG rocks, but my husband usually put the quietus on those lol! Your photos are gorgeous and its great that you take time for yourself, something everyone should do. Thanks for sharing!

kelly said...

you know, rarely do i ever bring anything home from my adventures. except maybe a t-shirt. and i think i need to change that. this is great katie!! thanks for taking us along. :)

terriporter said...

Love all your beautiful rocks and they bring back memories of my boys when they were small and how they were always bringing rocks home that they thought were "cool". I still have a few special ones around but being a desert girl, I love to bring home sea shells from trips to the beach. I can walk along the shore for hours with my eyes seeking them out as I go. Love that you have an "Adventure Day", so important for moms (and the rest of us!) to take some time for themselves and I do try to get out at least once a week to explore. Like Carol, a lot of the things I bring home are for the purpose of acting as photo props! Your photos make me feel like I just went on a beautiful hike with you!

Viv@within the Frame said...

Love the heart shaped rock what a beautiful colour ....

Linda/patchwork said...

I love rocks, and have been bringing them home from trips, for many years. They used to be big rocks. We even moved most, when we moved to the Hill Country, and use them in the garden. Today, I bring home smaller ones.
I have good memories of each one.
Your rocks are beautiful. And, the photos, gorgeous!

Dotti said...

Oh, such lovely rocks! I'm not a rock collector myself but my granddaughter has filled her pockets with rocks since she was old enough to walk and we just chuckled about it. Now I see that she's part of a larger group! And, yes, echoing Terri: it is so important for us to carve out time to do something we love just for ourselves. It makes us better wives, partners, moms, sisters ... you name it ... wer're better for it. Good for you, Katie!

Kim Stevens said...

I used to have a set day, but it has to change weekly right now...and yes, I bring home lots of souvenirs and in fact I have a treasure bowl, with my favorite shells, whole and broken in that bowl...and I can remember when I picked up each one of them. I'm so looking forward to some beach time soon. And ... I love your rocks!!

susan said...

love this post katie! especially love how you set aside a specific day each week for yourself. that's a perfect definition of 'self-care' and well…i just admire that you do this for yourself. thank you for sharing your 'private' time with all of us. that is so special! xoxo

Barb said...

I mostly bring memories, a few photos, and occasionally a small rock. Getting out for an adventure day is like a renewal for your spirit!

leigh said...

I think I need to make a visit and go on an adventure with you!

Cathy H. said...

Wonderful post! You have showcased our beautiful Arkansas very well! I, too, love to hike the trails around where I live. I have quite a collection of rocks, many given to me by my grandsons because they know Gramma loves rocks! I hike by myself all the time and like you leave messages and times of where I am. I've never once felt uncomfortable or uneasy being alone and I always come back so refreshed!

Sarah Huizenga said...

Having a day to yourself to explore is so wonderful. Once the snow goes away and the weather warms up I will get back to my Creative Inspiration Fridays. All your rock photos were great.

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