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.
I parked at the Big Brushy Recreation Area and headed east, up along the ridge of Blowout Mountain, down across Fiddler Creek, up along the ridge of the Rock Row mountains, down to Rainy Creek, then back. There is a new shelter on the west side of Fiddler Creek. Completed in Mar ’14, it’s of the new & improved design that features a “patio”. Very nice.
I finished the first leg of the trip and was back at the parking area just before noon Sunday so I decided to head west on the Brushy Creek Trail to the point where it intersected the Ouachita Trail and then follow the OT back east. I’ve now hiked all of the OT east of mile 91.4.
The Brushy Creek Trail was well-blazed and pretty clear of debris so it is being maintained. There are numerous creek crossings and for me they were all wet ones. On a future visit to the area, I’ll explore the Brushy Mountain, Mountain Top, and Rockhouse trails so they can be properly mapped.
Temperatures warmed Friday night and through Saturday into the upper 50’s. I had a couple hours of off-and-on light rain in the morning, and then fog until Saturday afternoon. Sunday was overcast and cool with a bit of wintry weather starting in the late afternoon. The last forecast I saw didn’t hint that it was even a possibility so the sleet & snow was a pretty nasty surprise.