Ozark Trail Backpacking (1 / 13-16 / 2012)
Friday afternoon I got home from work, my bag was mostly packed but I had a list of things to do and to not forget. I swapped vehicles with Heath and moved some of our stuff around. I got everything loaded and a few things done for Heath and Izzy. I gobbled up a few cheese burgers and then Derrick came over, he changed and loaded up his gear and then we were on the road.
The first stop was Clinton. Once there we got gas and met up with Cody and his gear. We loaded him up got some burgers at Hardee’s and then continued the drive. It was a long drive to the 3152 trailhead but we took a little shortcut and saved some time. We were surprised at how easy it was to find the trailhead and a place to park.
Once there we got ready for the night, packed up the last of our gear and hit the trail.
It took us a few minutes to get our bearings and make sure we were going the right way then we clicked on the headlamps and hiked into the woods. It was probably the latest I have ever started a hike.
We had bright stars, most of a good bright moon and had no trouble following the trail. We were excited and could have hiked for hours but knew we needed sleep. It was a little tough to figure out where it was flat and not terribly rocky. We looked at a few spots before stopping here.
We found a fairly flat spot set up the tent and called it a night. I think it was around 15F Friday night and there were little bits of snow on the ground. As expected we were cold, at first we were warm from the hike and setup but the ground seemed to suck the heat from us.
We survived and in the morning Derrick and I got up first and got right after some hot coffee.
The sun, coffee and a little hike helped to thaw out our toes and got us feeling better. Cody slept in till 10 or so and we decided to wait a bit on breakfast and get moving.
Once backpacking we warmed up good even thought it was still pretty cold out.
Not too long later we came to our first creek (Hurricane Creek).
We worked our way up and down our side and could not find a good way across. We started to build a bridge but the current was strong and it would take us a lot of time to gather all the rock and logs.
So we decided to play it safe and walk across. We took off our boots.
Derrick and Cody wore sandals and I barefooted across.
The water was cold but we all made it across and only our feet were wet. While they were drying we had our breakfast.
We took some bagels, cut up hard boiled eggs and put them on there, then bacon and cheese. It was a really filling and really tasty meal. I was extra happy to get the bulky bagels out of my pack.
After eating we got our boots back on and hit the trail, the trail hit back hard right away by sending us up and up. Before long we could see the Eleven Point River that this section was named after.
We continued to climb and got warmer and warmer and had to start shedding clothes.
The trail was well marked but covered in lots of leaves and under the leaves were a lot of softball sized rocks that liked to roll or try to roll your ankles. We kept our eyes out for the rocks and the markers.
We switch-backed our way up and down and around the hills they call mountains. It did not take us long to start calling them mountains too. We hiked fast and took many breaks to catch our breath and let our legs recover.
We had a late lunch of granola, peanuts, and tortillas covered in peanut butter and filled with dehydrated fruit then rolled up.
Then we put the packs back on and kept going.
Near the end of the day we actually went down some.
The sun was getting low and we needed to camp, we really wanted something with water, that was flat and out of the wind.
We arrived at Greer Trailhead and it had campsites for $10 and a pick-nick area and even a real bathroom.
Instead of getting a campsite we continued on along the trail just past the pick-nick area.
We found the Eleven Point river, a nice flat sandbar covered in leaves and decided to camp there. The sun was going fast so we tossed up our tent and started a fire.
I’m not sure if it helped or not but we put down my poncho then a lot of leaves and then our tarp and the tent on top of it hoping to keep us a little warmer. We pumped water out of the river and got some dinner cooking.
We had a brockoli rice thing that we added dehydrated kielbasa, bacon and cheese to. It was pretty good. We sipped on a little wine and almost made it to 8pm before climbing into the cold tent. It was both a little warmer outside and we were a little better prepared and got more sleep. It was around 8:30 when we climbed out of the tent and there was a nice mist coming off the river.
Our fire was pretty dead but after a little digging around I found a coal and blew it back to life and got a big pot of coffee warming up.
Our eggs were frozen so we warmed them up and then made the same sandwiches, this time Derrick and I added peanut butter for extra protein.
We had hoped to make it a few miles further before camping the night before and decided to change our plans. 1 option was to push it real hard for the next 2 days and head up to see a lake before heading back toward the car. The other option was to take our time and go ahead and join the trail that would lead back to the car.
We had been on the upland route climbing the hills and we decided to go ahead and get on the river route and take our time getting back. After a nice long breafast we packed up and walked over to a boat ramp to pump our water and clean our dishes.
The water was real nice. I was developing some pretty good blisters and took the chance to clean my feet real well.
Once we were all ready, we loaded up and hit the trail.
We backtracked a bit then found the fork and we were off.
At first it seemed the river route would be just as vertical as the highlands.
But we were fresh and in no hurry so took time to look at a deer and some downed trees.
We followed both the OT and the grey diamonds along the trail.
The trail had left the river for a while but we started to see more and more of it through the trees.
At one pretty spot we stopped and broke out a big snack of cheese and jerky with raisins and peanuts.
Then we hiked on, closer and closer.
Until we were right beside the river again.
The trail really changed at this point, there was not much rock but some sandy and muddy spots and lots of bamboo.
We crossed a few small streams and kept a good eye on the map and decided to start looking for the perfect spot to camp early in the afternoon.
It did not take us long to find a nice soft, flat spot that was far from the trail and close to the water. It was early to call it a day but we didn’t have a lot of trail before the van so we focused our efforts on fun and fire.
and lunch. Cody built a little fire and got it going and we made some noodle tuna stuff to eat.
We set up the tent up and got settled.
We gathered more and more wood, we got rid of our boots and socks and ran around in sandals.
We drank all the wine we had and ate as much of the food as we could. The sun set and we had a chili mac backpacker meal for dinner.
It got a little cold but was not too bad that night. We got up kind of early and started packing up, eating breakfast and drinking coffee.
Derrick left the tent first and saw a bald eagle flying away. Shortly later he and I saw another fly by. Then we found one perched across the river from us, high in the trees.
A bit later another came and sat in the same tree and the first flew off. I never got a picture but we saw several. We got all of camp packed up and then started back. We had 3 creeks to cross right away.
I started out barefoot but eventually just got my boots wet and walked across since we were so close to the car. After the creeks we went up and down a few hills really quick.
Actually there was a lot of uphill but we were so close we pushed right along. It was as though we could smell something in the van.
something we needed.
ahh there it is.
That’s right the post trip beer. We finished the hike in a flash, shed our backs and opened our beers. They were cold and fresh and not from the river. They were great.
After the beers we enjoyed the padded seats and headed toward Springfield. The next thing we could smell was Lamberts. We smelled giant skillets in front of each of us with chicken fried steaks and mashed potatoes all covered in gravy.
(not one of our skillets)
We smelled unlimited amounts of thrown rolls, fried okra and potatoes and onions and big jugs of iced tea. We smelled terrible but it smelled awesome and tasted great too and no one asked us to leave.
After a late lunch we stopped by Cody’s house then headed back to Clinton and home. Once home we had a burger grill fest in process but I was too full to eat so just nursed a beer and told my adventures until it was time for bed.
Don’t continue if you don’t want to see yucky feet blisters.
I didn’t really talk a lot about it
but I got blisters
they started mid day on Saturday
Ordinarily I would have put some duck tape on them early and probably been fine
I had no duck tape
I was expecting no problems because I’ve worn these boots a ton
but not with my orthopedic insert
Here are my blisters from last night.
I warned you they were yucky right?