Having grown up in Arkansas, I learned to appreciate the beauty of my home state more and more each year. Outdoor recreation has been a fundamental part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I made some of my fondest memories on camping trips with my family and friends. Hiking, fishing, floating rivers and fellowshipping around the campfire are some of my favorite experiences to share with others. Being outside and immersing oneself in God’s beautiful creation provides us with the opportunity to disconnect from the digital world with which we are all guilty of becoming infatuated.
For a lot of people, it can be difficult to find time to get outside and be active, especially when nice, temperate days seem to be few and far between. Despite inclement weather, Arkansas is a special place when it comes to the outdoors. Unlike many other areas in the United States, Arkansas offers adventure all around. From right outside our doorstep to just a few hours’ drive, there are opportunities to hike, climb, hunt, fish or whatever it is that you like to do outside. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, just being outside and in nature is one of the greatest ways to recharge from all of the time we spend inside looking at screens.
For me, when I am having a good time outdoors, nothing else matters. Whatever I have going on in my life, whether it is good or bad, I forget about it, soak up the nature and the beauty of what God has created for us. Any extended amount of time that we get to spend outside is a blessing. It is the time we spend outside that often leads us to special moments of reflection and gratefulness, which then leads to a greater appreciation for the life we live. When we notice the opportunities we have around us to spend time outdoors, we realize that we essentially live in a massive playground. This earth that we have been given provides us with so much, and Arkansas is such an incredible place to experience these blessings. The Ouachita National Forest and Ozark National Forest are only a couple of hours west of Harding. White River is just to our east. Sugar Loaf Mountain is only a 30-minute drive from Searcy. Petit Jean State Park is less than 100 miles to the west as well. The beautiful Ozark Mountains are just to the north. We are surrounded by beauty. Take some time whenever you can to go outside and appreciate what God has given us.