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.
Saturday I day-hiked with the Ozark Society Highlands Chapter from the Redding/Spy Rock spur east to the Indian Creek access point on AR-215. Sunday I hiked by myself from Lick Branch east to the Indian Creek access spur and then back. I had plenty of daylight left so I drove up to the Morgan Fields trail head and hiked south to the Redding/Spy Rock spur and back.
Some of the scenery was familiar, some not. One thing in common with my first visit to the area 5 years ago was the very dry conditions. Herrod’s and Indian Creek were dry. A couple waterfalls had a tiny trickle, most were dry. There was some flowing water to be found in Briar Branch below the Marinoni area. These conditions make life tough for backpackers. Lately I’ve been camping at Forest Service facilities and day hiking so I don’t have to be concerned with finding water.
Several counties are under burn bans but you’d never know it by watching people out in the woods burning everything they can get hold of. A couple weeks ago a fire burned about 400 acres in the Mountain Creek area west of Hare Mountain. Friday an abandoned camp fire started a wildfire in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness and has now closed the area around Hawksbill Crag. On their way to the trail head Saturday some of the Ozark Society people spotted a new fire along East Fly Gap Road and called it in. During our hike we extinguished a camp fire that had been left burning at Herrods Creek. While driving back down Morgan Mountain Road Sunday evening I passed two camp fires that had been abandoned by hunters. When will people start giving a crap?