I woke up to a brilliant sunset day 3 of the hike. I can’t say that I was truly refreshed from my night’s sleep but my body had relaxed a bit and I was eager for a new day of hiking not least of all because I would have company joining me on this day. By the time I woke up my son Hud was already on the way toward me packed into a truck with Ben and Steve. We had about twenty miles ahead of us to start and finish section five from Ozone to Big Piney. In fact, we would be starting a little further into the trail at Forest Road 1405 that intersects with the OHT about 3 miles past the Ozone Rec Area Trailhead.
The weather has been beautiful around here and what with Christmas wish list items being found under the tree it was time for another hike, and this time a hike like no other. I looked at the sections that lay immediately ahead of me and saw that section 4 of the Ozark Highlands is one of the longest on the trail at almost 30 miles from Lick Branch to Ozone. I did the math and figured at a good pace that was a two day hike for me, packed full of fast walking with 15 miles per day. I talked to some friends and they were interested in meeting me for section 5 at Ozone so I figured why not really go for it and add on another 20 miles with an aim of 50 miles total in four days. (more…)
The weather is turning cool and with that the colors of the Ozarks are starting to sparkle in the leaves so this past Friday was a good time to hit section 2 of the Ozark Highlands Trail. Most of the guys who did section 1 with me wanted to do this one but schedules did not work out so I was on my own. That was ok. I was kind of in the mood for a nice solo hike. The section 1 hike was my first group hike except for those I have done with my son. About halfway through the section 2 trail I realized I had been spoiled a bit. I have taken a liking to the group aspect. It’s not just the conversation but the hike itself is more efficient with the right group of guys. The pace is more consistent and the requirement for caution and safety can be lightened just a bit as you rely on each other to cover your back. On your own you have to give a lot more consideration to every decision, realizing that one bad move can have significant ramifications out there in the highlands miles away from anyone else.
When it comes to outdoor recreation and good family fun, Mountain Home, Arkansas is usually best known for its fishing, swimming and golf courses. But with a wealth of rich settings including lakes, bluffs, and not to mention the Ozark Mountains, there are some terrific hikes out there as well. No outdoorsman or nature lover should miss out on taking advantage of the opportunities to hike into the Ozarks if you are in this area.
To begin with it is safe to say that this was the most strenuous hike I have been on to date, especially day 2 of the hike. Prior to this experience,e the Centerpoint Trail return trip out at the Buffalo River was at the top of this list but now falls to a distant second. As I look on the topo maps for the sections still to go on the OHT, I think this is a trend ahead for me.