A Stroll Through the Bayou…in Arkansas

I’ve gone my whole life without ever setting foot, driving through, or really knowing anything about Arkansas.  It turns out that the south western bit of Arkansas is a lot like the two states it borders: Texas and Louisiana.  Sort of a hybrid really…pine forests with swampy bits rather than the dense pine forests of Texas or the swamps of Louisiana.

Our walk (I can’t call it a hike because it was short enough to not bring our packs) took us through the woods around Millwood Lake in Millwood State Park.  The path was mostly submerged.  If you’re not into waterproof shoes – this hike might make you reconsider.

As I am already a waterproof mid-height hiking boot wearing kind of guy I was able to take it in stride.

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The trail itself is just over 4 miles long.  I would say that at least a third of it was flooded yesterday, and it rained today.  Maybe bring floaties.

The biggest treat about this hike was the tremendous number of animals we saw.

Literally hundreds of frogs.  Every time you stepped frogs would go jumping out of your way.  One particular frog would make a sound incredibly similar to a dog’s squeaky toy before disappearing into the murky water.  Never got a good look at him but his call kept me looking.

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This type of frog was by far the most numerous.  I’m fairly sure he is a Coastal Plains Leopard Frog.  They breed in temporary wetlands, so that would explain their presence.

Tons of skinks were to be found too.  One type was most prevalent, but also the most difficult to take a picture of, just too fast.  If I had to hazard a guess I’d say it was the five lined skink, but apparently identification of this one can be a bit tricky.

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This is another tricky ID – although an easy photo!  He sat there patiently while I took my pictures and remained there after we left.  I’m guessing Broad Headed Skink…but I’m not terribly certain.

We kept a lookout for alligators, which the park apparently is home to, but saw none.  Although, here is a sneak peak from Louisiana!

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The other critters we encountered included no fewer than 6 deer, 4 snakes, crawfish, and many many caterpillars that had a pressing desire to crawl on me.

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I have to thank this big green fellow, as he helped me spot an unwelcome tick climbing up my pants.  It should go without saying that these woods have em, along with the official plant of the Southeast: poison ivy.  And I have a theory about why we didn’t see any gators: the mosquitoes ate them.  Just a hunch.

That said its a small price to pay for a beautiful hike in the woods with more wildlife than you can (or should) shake a stick at.

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