Exploring Northwest Arkansas: Razorback Country

July 15, 2016

Rejuvenated from sleep, we woke ready for our day, which would consist of touring the University of Arkansas Law School, hiking and catching a movie to wind down.


University of Arkansas School of Law

When we arrived at the University of Arkansas School of Law, we met with Ms. Kalesha McGraw, the Assistant Director of Admissions, and she welcomed us to the school before taking us to the student lounge for a quick overview of the law school. We learned about the admissions process, the class schedules and sizes, and the student life in Fayetteville. We also learned about notable (former) faculty such as Bill and Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton becomes elected, University of Arkansas -Fayetteville will be the first law school to have more than one faculty member become President of the United States. The rest of the Q&A section with Ms. McGraw consisted of questions that ranged from the cost and the admissions process to the actual courses and the structure of the classes.

After our informative Q&A session, we walked upstairs to observe Professor Day’s Professional Responsibility class. This is a required course and helps students prepare for the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). This exam is a prerequisite for taking the Bar Exam and tests law students’ knowledge on ethics. During the summer fewer students are on campus, but classes are still in session. The topic of discussion for class today was on conflicts an attorney may face during their practice. Throughout the class, the Professor explained conflicts using cases where ethical issues arose. To explain a complicated scenario, the Professor and students even role played a scene which presented the situation in an interesting and clear way. We enjoyed the class and our Professor’s informative teaching methods!

Following class, we took a quick tour around the building visiting places like the courtroom and the library. The law school was even nice enough to provide lunch for us! Satisfied, we stopped to admire the Jesus Moroles sculptures in the courtyard…

University of Arkansas School of Law, Jesus Moroles, Fayetteville, LEAP Ambassadors
LEAP Ambassadors at University of Arkansas School of Law, Jesus Moroles’ Sculptures

…and the front of the school on our way out.

Front of U of A Law, With Additional Moroles Sculptures
Front of U of A Law, With Additional Moroles Sculptures

Many thanks to Ms. McGraw and the University of Arkansas- Fayetteville Law School for their hospitality!

After a morning filled with learning and a long trip, some of us decided to take a mental and physical break.  Others, however, soldiered on, readying ourselves for a brief bit of shopping and a hike in Devil’s Den State Park.

Before driving down highway 170 into Devil’s Den State Park, we stopped to peak into some shops in town. Once everyone was satisfied with what they had purchased, we began our journey to Devil’s Den. As our second hike of the trip, the first being the climb up Pinnacle Mt. near Little Rock, we felt prepared and pumped up for the rugged expedition that we were about to take part of. With the sun falling on the horizon, the weather was a prime condition to explore inside the woods.


Devil’s Den

This 2,500 acre state park offers myriad outdoor activities, from rafting to camping to hiking.  We chose the latter, embarking on the Devil’s Den Self-Guided trail, which is 1.5 miles round-trip.

As we began on our trail we descended down masonry steps. Such modifications to the trails and other man made structures within the state park were once Civilian Conservation Corps projects from the Great Depression. The engineering talent of these laborers is clear when taking these steps and observing how strong they still are, even after almost a century of its construction! The traces of useful man made structures became fewer as we went deeper into the woods.

Ahead of us stood trails traced through the rocky cliffs with trees filtering the sun and casting a serene shadow over the whole scene. Then, the trail neared a river, waters sonorously rushing through and echoing through the woods. This sound at times kept us focused, as we knew that as long as we kept the river at our left shoulders we were going the right way. Along the trail, at times encountering uneven, slippery and rocky ground, we found caves in which the temperature inside would lower presumably by ten-twenty degrees.

Devil's Den State Park, LEAP Ambassadors, Caverns
LEAP Ambassadors in One of Devil’s Dens’ Caverns

The trail also goes by the more descriptive name of “Double Falls” Hike, so named because of two falls that appear about halfway through the trail.  For us, though, the trail could have been named “Triple Falls,” because, hearing water of the main trail, we made tracks over a hill to find a small waterfall.

To get there, we had to cross a log bridge…

Devils_Den_Log_Bridge_Beatriz_Web

…but this only added to the excitement of our discovery.

Having safely traversed the fallen-tree bridge, we frolicked in the waterfalls…

Devils_Den_Small_Waterfall_2_Web

…okay, frolicked may be too strong of a word.  But we did have fun.

We found additional falls further along our hike.

Waterfalls, Devil's Den State Park, LEAP Ambasadors
Waterfalls in Devil’s Den State Park

Only a few feet beyond these falls was another waterfall, equally as delightful.

LEAP Ambassadors, Devil's Den State Park, Waterfalls
Waterfalls at Devil’s Den State Park

From our trek we had worked our selves into perspiration and slight exhaustion. The refreshing, cool water of these natural showers, however, were just the perfect manna we needed to continue on our journey through Devil’s Den.

From the falls, the hike wends it way downhill, which offers another striking view of the falls.

Devils_Den_Waterfall_5_Web

And this perspective provided additional photo ops.

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We even found another log bridge on which to climb.

Tree Bridge, Devil's Den State Park, LEAP Ambassadors
LEAP Ambassadors Enjoy Devil’s Den State Park

As we completed the 1 1/2 mile hike, ducking our heads to evade pesky spider webs threaded from tree to tree…

Devils_Den_Spider_Web

…we contemplated our accomplishments. We had finished another hike on our trip! With tiring limbs and sweaty backs, we climbed the van with a sense of victory and ready to relax and catch a movie.

But, first, we made two more stops.  We picked up food from Hammontree’s, an excellent grilled cheese specialty restaurant in Fayetteville.  We also made our way to Mt. Sequoyah, the highest spot in Fayetteville, where we watched the sunset.

LEAP Ambassadors, Mt. Sequoyah, NW Arkansas
LEAP Ambassadors at Mt. Sequoya

It was, we thought, a fitting end to a wonderful trip.


Movies and Winding Down

Once we had freshened up at the hotel, we climbed back into the van and drove to a near by movie theater to watch the remake of Ivan Reitman’s hit movie, Ghostbusters. Even though the original film is about 30 years old, most of us had previously watched it and waited in anticipation through the previews to see how similar this remake would be to our beloved original.

We found many differences between the new film and the original Ghost Busters film, an obvious one being that women instead of men were playing the lead roles. Most of us focused more attention to the fact that Paul Feig’s film also includes multiple nods to Reitman’s original and Sigourney Weaver, Dan Akroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and even Bill Murray make appearances. After an hour and forty-seven minutes filled with laughs that echoed in the theater (mostly Megan’s), we were ready to turn in for the night to prepare for our long journey home tomorrow morning.

 

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to news stories, having contributed more than 50 pieces in the past year. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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