Ozark Highlands Trail – Sylamore Section

This 31.6-mile trail, disconnected from the rest of the OHT west of Richland Creek, had been on the to-do list for a long time and is now checked-off – mostly – after a 4.5 day trip over the Thanksgiving weekend.

I say “mostly” because I skipped the western-most 3.5 miles this trip because I’ll be back in the area next weekend and will finish it then.  The Ozark Highlands Trail Association is having a meeting at the Moccasin Springs trail head 12/3/16 @ 9:00 AM followed by a short hike of about 4 miles east from the Spring Creek trail head (and then a bushwhack up to shuttle cars on Rand Road).

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Ozark Highlands Trail – Morgan Fields to Lick Branch

The area between Morgan Fields and the Indian Creek spur was the only part of the OHT that I had hiked only once before, and that was on my very first OHT hike 5 years ago, so I was way overdue for a return trip.  I’ve now hiked the entire OHT twice, and much of it 3 or more times.

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Buffalo River Trail work – Fall 2016 wrapup

At the high point, we had more than 20 people for our fall 2016 Buffalo River Trail work session based at Tyler Bend.  The crew was able to lop brush and clear trees from most of the 35+ miles of trail that is open between Wollum and AR-14.

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Buffalo River Trail work – Fall 2016 kickoff

The Fall 2016 trail building session in the middle Buffalo River area is set for October 18-29 (maybe the 30th too?).  We will be camping at Tyler Bend (hot showers and flush toilets!).  Look for our headquarters – the big white wall tent – in either the main campground or the group campground.  I’m not sure precisely where we’ll be but that tent is hard to miss.  Our workday usually starts around 8:30 AM so be there before then.

The private property situation that has blocked us for a couple years is still not resolved so the focus will be on improving other parts of the trail.

The Park Service provides free camping, potable water, and tools.  Bring your own gloves, water containers, food, cooking and camping gear.  Whatever your abilities, we’ll find something for you to do – for a day, a weekend, or longer.

October 13 update: We’ll be camped in the main campground (the “peanut loop”) near the bathrooms, not in the group campground.

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Another wonderful week in the Winds

I thought last year’s trip to Wyoming’s Wind River Range was probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing but two of the participants wanted to go back this summer so RC, TC, and I did just that.

This year’s trip was mostly on the west side of the range and a bit further north than last year, mostly in the Bridger Wilderness but partially in the Popo Agie Wilderness.  The trip outline: from the Big Sandy Opening trail head go north past Dad’s, Marm’s, Skull, and Mae’s Lakes, then northeast over Hailey Pass and around Grave Lake, south to Washakie Lake, west over Washakie Pass (the high point at 11600′) and toward Skull Lake, then retrace our path south to the trail head.  This is described as the Baptiste Lake Loop in Backpacking Wyoming.  Part of this lollipop is on the Continental Divide Trail so I’ve knocked off a few more miles of that.

We had great weather, no camp fires due to a burn ban, and a new moon.  That all added up to excellent star gazing conditions.  I spotted 3 of the 4 constellations I can identify!

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Ouachita & Womble Trail maps

I have finally completed a major update of my maps for the Ouachita Trail.  All of the map data is now fresh and I’ve added many secondary trails like Black Fork Mountain, Queen Wilhelmena State Park, Big Brushy Recreation Area, and Lake Sylvia.  Still on the to-do list are more secondary trails and better marking of nearby roads.

8-12-16 update: I’ve also finally completed a big update for the Womble Trail maps.

I hope you find these useful.

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Ouachita Trail – AR298 to AR7 (section 7)

This was my first time hiking straight through section 7.  My previous trips were out-and-back with a one-nighter from AR-7 and a day hike from AR298, both turning around at Ouachita Pinnacle.

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Buffalo River Trail building – Spring 2016 wrapup

A group of 13 students from the University of Illinois came to Tyler Bend to spend their spring break week (Mar 20-26) helping us.  Unfortunately, the Park Service informed us only 3 days before we were to start that we would not be allowed to work on new trail in the gap between Red Bluff & South Maumee Roads.  Instead, we all spent 3 days in the Ponca Wilderness area learning to use cross cut saws to clear downed trees from some of the trails there.

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OHT section 4 (part 2) – Arbaugh Road to Ozone

Another one-night trip organized by the OHTA, this time on the eastern half of section 4 of the Ozark Highlands Trail from Arbaugh Road to the Ozone trail head.  We did the western half about a month ago.  The main features are Lewis Prong, Waterfall Hollow, Hignite Hollow, Boomer Branch, and the Mulberry River.  Lewis Prong and the Mulberry both required wading.  This was a trip that will probably be talked about for years to come.

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Buffalo River Trail building – Spring 2016 kickoff

Mark your calendars!  The Spring 2016 trail building session in the middle Buffalo River area is set to begin March 19 and run through April 2.  We will be camping at Tyler Bend (hot showers and flush toilets!).  Look for the big white wall tent on the west side of the main campground – not the group campground.  With any luck we will be resuming work to close the gap in the area between Red Bluff Road and South Maumee Road.

The Park Service provides free camping, potable water, and tools.  Bring your own gloves, water containers, food, cooking and camping gear.  Whatever your abilities, we’ll find something for you to do – for a day, a weekend, or longer.

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