Earlier this year, I bought my very first, brand new car — a Subaru Forester. Even before my first oil change, I embarked on a solo road trip from Texas to Arkansas. I had a wonderful time traversing the Piney Woods of East Texas, the beautiful backroads of Southern Arkansas, and the many charted points along my journey—Hot Springs National Park, the City of Little Rock, and Crater of Diamonds State Park.
But the best part of my adventure was the two-hour drive down a 27 mile-long gravel road through Ouachita National Forest.
On the map, it was a thin, unmarked line running through the forest. By far, it was the most direct western route through Ouachita, giving me an opportunity to actually see the forest instead of going around it. So I took a left turn off of the main county road and started my expedition. Ten minutes into the drive, the smooth black pavement turned into thousands of tiny pebbles and small protruding boulders. I slowed down to 15 miles per hour. I could turn around and go back, or I can be daring and forge ahead.
I choose to be daring and try the road less traveled — because after all, I had a full tank of gas, sunshine in the sky, and my reliable new Forester to carry me through the precarious trail.
TWO and a half hours and 27 miles later—after navigating through peaks and valleys, unmarked forks in the road, low water crossings, and one very long, desolate and gorgeous mountain trail—I reached the other side. My little Subaru never failed me—it kept me safe, steady, and confident in my decision the entire way.
(This story was submitted to Subaru Drive magazine as part of their Summer Series)