Posts tagged “ozark highlands trail

Ozark Highlands Trail Section 6 days 2 and 3

My intention was to get up at 530 for day two of my hike on Section 6 of the OHT. My alarm did not go off though, or if it did it didn’t wake me up. At shortly past 6am the light of dawn did the trick though and started moving around. To warm up in the morning I stuff my sleeping bag back into the compression bag even before getting out of the tent. This little ritual saves some time later on and gets my blood flowing. Once out of the tent I considered stirring a fire back up but since I had already overslept opted against it. I did not want to take time for it to die back out.

The falls I had camped by the night before were certainly a pretty sight. Haws Creek Falls is not too high but it is wide and very comforting. I downed a liter of water then got some pictures of the falls. I decided to wait until I got to the meeting spot with my friends before doing breakfast expecting that I would beat them there. I packed up camp and grabbed some peanut butter crackers then moved on down the trail.


Ozark Highlands Trail Section 6 Day 1

It had been over two months since I was last on a good trail and I picked up where I left off on New Year’s Eve at mile marker 99.5 on the OHT. I got out of work at noon on a Friday and pointed my truck down Hwy 16, down 7 and then up 123 at Pelsor. The weather was really beautiful and I couldn’t ask for better at this time of year. I enjoy the drive out through this part of the country. Everything seems so spread out and far from the next thing. There is a little church here or there but beyond that even gas stations are hard to come by after a bit. Meanwhile the drive twists and turns, rises and lowers over the hills and scenic beauty of the Ozarks. It always makes me smile when in the middle of seemingly nowhere I run across a quilt or craft store, with advertising billboards and all. Of course this is way out here in the boondocks. No grocery. No gas. No schools. But hallelujah we have a craft store and how would we survive without it.


I pulled onto the dirt roads that led to 99.5 on the OHT around 4pm. A note to those using the guidebook out there. This road is marked on the guidebook and most other maps as FR 1003 I believe. This is no longer accurate. I think the correct road number is 5447. Even if that is wrong though it has two entrances, an east and west entrance, with a little island in between them where some drilling trucks were parked when I drove through. It is easy to find but not if you’re looking for 1003.


OHT Sections Sections 4 and 5: Lick Branch to Big Piney (almost) – Days 3 & 4

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.


OHT Sections Sections 4 and 5: Lick Branch to Big Piney – Day 2

I overslept a bit the following morning. In an effort to save my cell phone battery I did not use it as an alarm clock but used my wrist watch. Unfortunately, the alarm was set for PM rather than AM so my intended 6am wake-up call did not happen until around 730am. I did not concern myself with stoking the fire back up but instead had a cup of coffee made from the jet boil. I filled up my water bottles at the waterfall, made a breakfast of almonds, restuffed my pack then moved on down the trail. The Arbaugh Trailhead was indeed just around the corner less than a quarter mile but there was no sign of life there and I was glad I had not pushed on the night before. The scene outside the tent of my settled camp site was even more serene that I had expected.


OHT Sections Sections 4 and 5: Lick Branch to Big Piney – Day 1

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…)

Ozark Highlands Trail Section 3 Photo Gallery

New photo gallery from our hike on Section 3 of the Ozark Highlands Trail now posted.



Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail Section 3 Cherry Bend to Lick Branch – Day 2

We woke up pretty early for day two. My tent is orange so when the light dawns it always at first seems brighter and later than it really is. We had some coffee around the fire then packed up for the trip. I pulled my first aid kit out and secured a knee brace/wrap for my ailing knee. It was not hurting that bad in the morning but I figured better safe than sorry. Hud managed to catch the sunrise with the camera. We had hoped the cold morning air and rising sunlight would produce a fog over the valley that Spy Rock overlooks for the sake of some good pictures but no such luck.


Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail Section 3 Cherry Bend to Lick Branch – Day 1

This was by far my favorite section of the Ozark Highlands Trail to date. The scenery was excellent throughout and we hit it at a perfect time of the year as the leaves off in the upper elevations gave access to tremendous views of remaining colors over the lower elevations. It is a strenuous trail but of the first three sections I have hiked so far this one was easily the least taxing physically. There are a couple of deep descents throughout the course but only a handful of ascents and those are measuring no more than 500ft and usually not even that much.


Ozark Highlands Trail Section 2: Day Two

I woke up pretty early on day two. It was cold out and very nice in the tent and sleeping bag and as the light had not quite dawned I hung out a while longer in there. Eventually I mustered up the diligence to get dressed and jump out into the clean cool air. It took a while to get the fire going that morning as there had been a heavy dew. I had to find some paper out of my backpack for kindling.


Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail Section One – Day 2 – Lake Fort Smith to White Rock Mountain

We didn’t oversleep on Day 2 as much as we were just slow to get around. Dawn broke over the camp and Joseph had been up most of the night shivering and trying to figure out ways to get warm. One by one we each got up and made our way to the fire. At just about the time the coffee pot was done percolating no one thought to stand by it for monitoring and the water boiled over causing the pot to fall into the fire. So of course we had to get another pot going and wait for that. In all of our enjoyment of the fresh morning air and campfire coffee we ended up not getting off until around 1130, surprising even ourselves by our slowness. We marched up the creek we had camped near until we found some water deep enough to fill our bottles up, then onward we went.

Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail Section One – Day 1 – Lake Fort Smith to White Rock Mountain

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.


Gearing Up – Ozark Highlands Trail Section 1 Prep

The Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) runs at a minimum at 165 miles but can probably be counted a lot longer than that as it has various spurs that include some of the prettiest areas of the state of Arkansas. Depending on weather conditions the trail holds loads of swimming holes and waterfalls plus a lot of bluffs, rock walls and caverns, as well as overlook vistas in the heights of the Ozarks. Fall and autumn are some of the most popular times to hike the trail due to the pallet of colors that covers the Ozarks during late October and November. Winter is good too as the absence of leaves in the canopy presents a wealth of views for miles and miles at some points. A lot of the terrain is pretty wild meaning heavy chiggers, snakes, and brush in the summer not to mention low water supplies. (more…)

The Ozark Highlands Trail – A Journey Begins

So a whole season of hiking is in front of me. I have reached the point where day hikes are not enough and I am running short on 20 milers to stretch across a weekend excursion. When I first got into hiking I saw the Ozark Highland’s Trail and looked at it as the granddaddy of hikes in Arkansas. It stretches from between 160-180 miles depending on who you talk to. It covers some of the prettiest areas of the state of Arkansas. It’s incredibly private and yet because of its daunting mileage seems to be avoided to some degree by a lot of hikers. If I had 2-3 weeks I thought, that’s what I would want to do. Two to three weeks is not very likely to free up in my schedule though and even if it did I don’t know how I could justify that size of journey against other priorities.