Ozark Highlands Trail – Dockery’s Gap to White Rock Mtn

I hiked roughly the eastern half of OHT section 1 today – from Dockery’s Gap to the western Shore’s Lake spur.  The other mile or so east of that point (plus the western end of section 2) was hiked last year as part of the whole Shore’s Lake Loop.  I was alone with no shuttle so I had to hike back too, making it a 15 mile day – the longest I’ve done in quite a while.

FR 1007 headed north toward Dockery’s Gap is paved except for the last 2.5 miles and even that is in very good shape so the trail head should be accessible by any vehicle.  There is a parking area for 6 or 7 cars.

I started in the fog at dawn with a rather steep 500′ descent to (yet another) Hurricane Creek then a long climb of about 1000′ to Richason Mtn where the terrain remained relatively level.OHT 1.2013-12-04.001 OHT 1.2013-12-04.003I think it was just east of mile marker 15 that I encountered a large area of blow-down.  The trees have been cleared from the trail but the area is now becoming a huge briar and sumac thicket.  This will probably require a lot of maintenance for many years.OHT 1.2013-12-04.029A glimpse of the southern end of White Rock Mountain.  In better light, the lichen-covered bluff capping the mountain looks almost white.

OHT 1.2013-12-04.025I don’t see too many of these alive.  When it saw me it went bounding into the brush much faster than I imagined possible.  If only they crossed roads that quickly…OHT 1.2013-12-04.019The 500′ climb back to the trail head at the end of the day left me with a major case of Rubber Legs.  I’ll return to Richason Mtn at some point to find Mullers Spring and explore the upper part of Falling Rock Hollow.

All I’ve got left to hike in section 1 is from Dockery’s Gap west about 4 miles to the end of Jack Creek.  That will be a much easier hike!

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About Michael R

I enjoy hiking, landscaping with native plants, nature photography, dark chocolate, fine dining, good movies, and old jazz.
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2 Responses to Ozark Highlands Trail – Dockery’s Gap to White Rock Mtn

  1. Mike Kratt says:

    Mike, I’m evaluating the GoLite Jam 70 for through hiking purposes. I’m curious as to your experience with the pack at 25-30 pounds e.g., does the load placement more on the shoulders or hips? I also wear the Osprey Xenith for longer hikes and am concerned about shoulder/neck pain and fatigue with the GoLite. Your comments would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Michael R says:

      That much weight gets uncomfortable for me but I haven’t really analyzed why. The shoulder straps don’t have much padding so that could be part of it. I guess “torso collapse” is common in overloaded or improperly loaded frameless packs but I don’t know if that’s what I was experiencing. I didn’t spend much time thinking about it, I guess, since I didn’t really want to carry 30lbs anyway.

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