15 of 40: round top mountain
The Round Top Mountain trail is just south of Jasper where we planned to have dinner. It had the potential to be a 3.5 mile hike, but since we started on this trail late afternoon and knew the children would be vocal about dinner expectations sooner than later we created our own 2 mile hike. There are many well-marked paths that criss-cross so it was easy to make short a venture of this area.
Although a mountain trail, it wasn't a hike-to-the-peak experience. There was an initial steep, rocky incline and then a gradual ascent. In fact Jesse announced we were at the top when shrouded in woods, and here I thought we would have a view! The pictures that do show the beautiful view were taken on the side of the mountain.
This trail was more overgrown than the King's Bluff trail so much so that Jesse had frequent checks throughout the hike. (Usually we just checked each other afterwards.) At times it felt like we were wading through greenery (because we were), and simple offering ourselves to the ticks! This sounds dramatic and really only a few were found. For some people I think this sounds awful, but it's just par for the course if you're going to hike. I sound very sensible about this now, but a few years ago I wasn't as calm (but if my children are going to be calm about ticks then I have to be calm about ticks).
By the end of this day we had hiked almost 6 miles, tired out the children and were ready for dinner. The city of Jasper is pretty cute and it's main street has a good number of restaurant options. We chose the Ozark Cafe which is a popular diner. These small town restaurants are always nostalgic for me as when traveling to my grandmother's in Arkansas (northeast area) we would eat at places like this. They're just easy places to eat because it's good food, kind service, a hodge podge of people eating and you can come as you are (which helps when you've been hiking all day).