Ouachita Trail – Rainy Creek to Brushy Creek Mountain

Wintry weather predicted for the weekend made it look like I would be spending some time at home, but by Friday afternoon the forecast had improved enough for me to get out for a couple days – enough time to complete section 5 and a bit of section 4 of the Ouachita Trail.

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Ouachita Trail – Pinnacle Mountain State Park to AR 9

I took a break from my westward section hike of the Ouachita Trail to go back and do the east end – Pinnacle Mountain State Park to AR 9 (miles 222.5 to 191.8) and once again, I did it both ways for a 61.4 mile total.

A big problem with the east end, and the biggest reason I’ve put it off, is that only the western 0.7 miles of this 30.7-mile stretch is in the National Forest.  The rest is on property owned or controlled by logging companies, Central Arkansas Water, and the state park.  There are restrictions on where you can camp and that made the logistics kinda complicated. In addition, the trail starts becoming very “urban” east of AR 10.

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Ouachita Trail – AR 27 to Rainy Creek, plus a wee walk on the Womble

My westward march on the Ouachita Trail continues with the completion of the eastern half of section 5 – between AR 27 and Rainy Creek.  Features of this section include Curtis, McGill, Chalybeate, Big Round Top, Owens, Rocky Creek, and Suck Mountains, plus Smith, Muddy, Story, Harris, and Rainy Creeks.  Suck Mountain didn’t, but certainly would if I were trying to pitch a tent up there.  I parked at the AR27 trail head and went west to Rainy Creek, then back.  I was expecting it to rain much of Sunday so I planned this as a two-day trip.

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Shores Lake & White Rock Mountain Loop

I hiked the Shores Lake & White Rock Mountain Loop on a Sierra Club outing with a group of people from the Kansas City area.  It was my second time doing the whole loop but the weather was nice & clear this time so the views from the top were even better than last.  There was also more water in the creeks, making for better scenery.

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Buffalo River Trail building – Spring 2015 kickoff

Work will soon resume on the 15-mile stretch of the Buffalo River Trail between Tyler Bend and South Maumee Road.  The current estimate is that only 2.4 miles remain to be built in 8 small areas, but I don’t yet know whether we can work in those areas or whether we will have to find work elsewhere.

The trail building camp will be set up in the Tyler Bend group campground March 14 through April 5 2015.  Look for the big white canvas wall tent – our headquarters.  As usual, everyone is welcome to contribute whatever effort you can for a day, a weekend, or longer.  The National Park Service provides tools and free camping.  The campground has potable water, flush toilets, and showers.

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Ouachita Trail – AR 298 to AR 27

I couldn’t have asked for better weather to complete section 6 of the Ouachita Trail – a 17.1-mile stretch from AR 27 to AR 298 (miles 121.7 to 138.8 [and back to 121.7 for shuttle-less me]).  I expected to see lots of other people out taking advantage of the sunny 65-degree days but there was just one day hiker.

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Wildcat Mountain Trails

Officially open to mountain bikers and hikers, the Wildcat Mountain trails are a nice place to spend a day or even a weekend in the Ouachitas.  Situated west of AR9 and a couple miles south of Lake Sylvia, the trail is mostly on old logging roads which are visible on USGS topo maps.  My aim was to explore the outer perimeter as shown on the USFS map and then see what else I could find.

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East Fork Wilderness

The East Fork Wilderness is about 11000 acres of Ozarky goodness located less than an hour NE of Russellville on the east side of AR 27.  It’s been on my to-do list for a long while and a friend and I were able to spend a day there exploring a small part of it.East Fork Wilderness.2015-01-03.001The name comes from the East Fork of the Illinois Bayou – one of the big rivers of the area.  It becomes a kayaker magnet after big rains, and I guess we had that as all the creeks & rivers were flowing fast and furious.  The wilderness encompasses much of the headwaters area of the East Fork and features some steep and dramatic scenery.

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Little Blakely Loops

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 a bit north of the State Park.  A friend and I spent New Year’s Day and following one exploring much of the area.

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Ouachita Trail – Ouachita Pinnacle to AR 298

I hiked the 8.2 mile segment from Ouachita Pinnacle to AR 298.  I wasn’t on the trail long before heavy fog moved in and then 2-3 hours of light rain.  I intended to spend some time at the top looking for more photogenic views than I had on the last trip, but the fog prevented that.

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