Marmot Fortress 2P tent

Another new tent, this Marmot Fortress 2P is intended (by me) for “front country” use – a.k.a. car camping.  I’ve used a Marmot Early Light 2P for several years in this role.  It was my first backpacking tent but I quickly realized it was way too big and heavy for that.  The Early Light’s fatal flaw is that it has 2 transparent windows in the fly.  After 7 years the adhesive failed and the windows started detaching and leaking.  I reglued them but have no confidence it will hold so I think it’s time to retire that one.

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Leave No Trace

Today I joined the ranks of Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educators. I graduated with 8 others from a 5-day course conducted at the Steel Creek area of Buffalo National River (BNR) by 2 trainers from the Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics.  The cost of this training is typically in the $650-900 range but a grant from the Walton Family Foundation covered all our costs so that is greatly appreciated by all.

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No more advertising!

Since starting this web site almost 7 (!) years ago, I’ve used WordPress’ free service
where they run ads to offset at least some of their cost.  For about 15 years I’ve used Privoxy to eliminate most advertising and tracking stuff while browsing.  I recently saw what my site looks like to the rest of the world  – without Privoxy – and was a bit shocked at how intrusive the ads could be.

I’ve now upgraded to a paid-for service level that eliminates the advertising. I’m sorry it took so long.

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OHT Stack Rock Reroute

Construction of a 1-mile reroute around the May ’17 landslide near mile 152 of the Ozark Highlands Trail is nearly complete – close enough that a detour is no longer needed.

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Tarptent Notch

The Tarptent Notch has been at the top of my “If I Had To Buy A Tent Today” list for several years but there is nothing really wrong with my 6-year-old Big Agnes Copper Spur so it has been hard to justify the expense.  Fortunately, the urge to splurge finally overcame fiscal responsibility and I now have a brand new Notch.

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OHTA Lopsterfest ’17

A group of 6 maintainers of the Ozark Highlands Trail gathered at the Woolum Rec Area on the Buffalo River for Lopsterfest ’17 – good fun, good food, custom t-shirts, and a chance to give our loppers a good workout.

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Upper Buffalo Wilderness

It’s hard to believe it has been four years since my first visit.  This weekend I finally made it back to the Upper Buffalo Wilderness for a 2-night backpacking trip with a friend from Kansas City (RC).

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Weed-Whacking Weekend at Williams Woods

The Williams Woods Nature Preserve is a 557-acre chunk of land owned by the Ozark Highlands Trail Association and located a bit northeast of St Paul in Madison County Arkansas.  The land was bequeathed to OHTA in 1993 by Alpha Williams, who lived there most of her life and wanted to ensure it was preserved rather than exploited.  OHTA has secured a conservation easement and now has the property for sale.

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Ozark Highlands Trail maps

It’s taken way too long but I’ve finally finished a set of maps for the Ozark Highlands Trail.  They are in a 17-page PDF that is intended for printing on 11″ x 17″ paper (or viewed on-screen).  Notable features:

  • Free download!  Can be printed by The UPS Store or many big-box office supply stores.
  • Non-Forest Service property is highlighted to help you avoid trespassing if you wander off-trail.
  • Many well-known waterfalls in the vicinity of the trail are marked.
  • 1:24000 scale and 40′ contour lines like the USGS quad maps.  Higher resolution and more detail than the fancy folding maps sold by the OHTA.
  • Up to date.  The new mile marker locations are shown (between April ’16 and August ’17 the OHTA replaced all mile markers with new ones in different locations).  Map #16 even shows the proposed re-route around the May ’17 Stack Rock landslide.
  • Boundaries for Wilderness and Special Interest Areas.
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Some renovation at the Big Piney trail head

For years there been a problem lurking at the Ozark Highlands Trail’s Big Piney (aka Fort Douglas) trail head: a perennially-wet area that usually left hikers trudging through mud at the beginning or end of their trip.

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