The Little Blakely Loops are about 18 miles of interconnected loops on a peninsula at the eastern end of Lake Ouachita, in the national forest north of the State Park. My previous visit was a wet and foggy New Year’s weekend but this time I had a clear sky, sunshine, some autumn color, and a fully-charged camera.
My main objective was to hike the trails that I missed last time, and just enjoy the scenery and great weather too. I accomplished both, and even have a complete map of the trail system now as a result. The south trails have some nice lake views.
As I was going around the Glades Loop something crawled up my shoulder and as it touched my neck I flicked it away, but then saw out of the corner of my eye that it wasn’t just a little bug that fell to the ground.
Yeah, I had a frickin tarantula crawling on me. I had set my pack down a couple minutes earlier to get a snack and it apparently decided to hitch a ride. This is at least the third one I’ve seen, but my first in the Ouachitas, and the closest encounter so far. Every time I get the notion to swap the tent for a simple tarp and ground cloth, I think about stuff like this.