June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

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June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby jgoelleraka930 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:28 pm

My buddy Joe and I completed a 100 mile hike from the Western Trailhead to the Hwy P/72 Trailhead on Tuesday, June 24. We had to skip the section from Hwy 60 outside of Van Buren to Peck Ranch due to the closure of the ranch. The hike was hot and wet, but we had an amazing time and wouldn't have changed a thing.

Day 1:
We began our first day at the Western Trailhead at 9:00am. This seemed to be the hottest day and was pretty difficult. We had lunch at one of the streams near Bockman Spring so we could soak in the water to cool down. The roadwalk near the spring had also recently been cleared and was not a problem to navigate. Joe and I made it to Boom Hole on the Eleven Point in the afternoon sometime between 4 and 5. We swam and cleaned off to cool down in the river for a while, again to cool off mostly. We decided to make camp on the lookout over the river a mile past Boom Hole. Luckily we had done a "scouting" hike last month so we knew this was a great area and looked forward to utilize the picnic table for dinner. We had an unfortunate encounter with a copperhead on the loop road heading up to camp, but luckily we saw the snake on the road before we got too close. Joe and I made camp for the night and had to sleep with the covers over our backpacking tents due to the rain in the forecast. Day 1 was great but the overall trend was the heat. Total miles for day 1 was about 16.5-17 miles total. This section was pretty nice and the worst, overgrown areas from last month had been cleared.

Day 2:
Day two began with a steady rain, which put a damper on breakfast. Originally we had planned to enjoy a hot breakfast on the picnic table and enjoy the view the Eleven Point and adjacent mountains had to offer. We are not fond of having breakfast in the rain so we packed up, had a Cliff bar and hit the trail sometime between 8 and 9. Fortunately, the rain tapered off soon after we packed up camp so we didn't have to hike all day in the rain. We stopped at Greer Campground to fill up our water at the spigot because I will take advantage of any time I don't have to break out my filter to get water. Since Joe and I had already hiked the high route last month, we decided to take a chance to see the river and took the low route. Thankfully the areas by the river had been cleared and our gamble payed off. The low route was really nice and views of the river were great. It is amazing how much water Greer Spring adds to the river. We easily navigated this section of the trail and made lunch along the second crossing of Hurricane Creek. This was a nice place to stop; there is a small gravel bar and a cliff/cave-like area across the river. After lunch my buddy and I continued the hike and quickly reached the 3152 trailhead. So far the day has turned out well and luckily the rain had held off. Expecting heavy rains from what was left of Hurricane Bill, we discussed camping somewhere near the Sinking Creek tower area because we knew it was a nice place. Continuing on, the trail from 3152 trailhead to the Sinking Creek Tower area was easy to follow and clear on ridges, but was very overgrown and sometimes difficult to navigate in the lower hollows. The weeds were high, thick, buggy, and overly not too enjoyable. Summer hiking at its best... We were going to fill our water up at the Gold Mine Hollow Spring, but we never located the area described on the map. Joe and I continued onto the higher ridges near the Sinking Creek. We had enough service to get weather reports from home and were a little more than slightly worried with the forecast for the upcoming 24 hours. We were advised by our friends to stay on high ground for a while due to the remnants of Hurricane Bill bearing down on our location. Thankfully we didn't get the all of the forecasted rain in this area, but we did decide to spend Thursday and Friday nights in this location to hide from the rain and recover. We ended up hiking from there 22 miles to the Hwy 60 trailhead on Saturday morning.

Day 3:
We spent all of day 3 around the Sinking Creek area due to weather reports of heavy rain. Not a lot to report on this day other than it thankfully didn't rain nearly as much as we were expecting. O well, we used this day to recover for Day 4.

Day 4:
Today we got up at 2:30 and were on the trail by 3:15. Joe and I planned on having my cousin pick us up at the Hwy 60 tailhead at noon so we had to move. We decided to stash most of our supplies in the woods to cut down on weight. Although it was dark for the first 6 miles or so, the trail seemed relatively clear except for the areas in the bottoms around Cedar Bluff Creek, Mulligan Spring, and Spring Hollow. The trail from Sinking Creek to these springs was rocky, but relatively flat and easy to follow even in the dark. We filled up our water at Spring Hollow and continued our quickly paced hike. If someone wanted to camp near these streams, I would recommend the higher area just past Spring Hollow. The woods quickly open up and it is not overgrown in this area. Once the trail leaves the streams here, it mostly follows ridges, is open, and easy to follow. One area not necessarily labeled as a water source/crossing on the map (although I did notice it beforehand) is Barren Creek just before mile 11. Why this is not labeled as a water source on the map I have not idea. It was probably the largest of the stream crossings all day. Thankfully this area was cleared once we crossed the stream. We originally planned to camp at Devils Run before the rain and I was disappointed we didn't get the chance. This area is really nice, open, and I couldn't help but feel the history of the area walking on the tram line that follows the creek. There is also a camp just past the creek on the north side. Joe and I planned to make lunch here, but to stay on track for noon, we just snacked and continued on. From Devils Run, the trail ascends a hillside and again gets up to the ridges. There was a burn area on the ridge past the creek which really opens up the forest. We saw the first people since getting dropped off at the Hwy C crossing and this gave us something to laugh about for a while. Having spent the last few days in the woods, we got some looks. The last 8 miles of this section were nice and clear. We had to spend a little time by the old car a few miles before hwy 60. I found this really neat that there is absolutely no sign of a road and the car just looks like it was purposely placed along the trail. My cousin met us on the trail about a half mile in with two cold, greatly appreciated bottles of water; I had just finished off the last of my filtered water. Joe and I were proud to get to the parking lot right at noon having completed nearly 22 miles with light packs. It was all I could do to keep up with Joe all day; he made a great pacer to keep us on track for the noon deadline. That night we camped at Big Spring Campground.

Day 5:
Since Peck Ranch is closed, we had Joe's wife drop us off at Rocky Falls. The falls were relatively crowded compared to other areas we have been this week. Despite the recent rain, Rocky Creek was crystal clear and the falls were much higher and more dramatic than the pictures I have seen. It is really an awesome place. Today was the hottest day we have hiked and we got our latest start. However, this was probably the most enjoyable hike we had for the week. We quickly reached Klepzig Mill and spent some time there taking pictures and having a soak in the water. Next we were off to Indian Creek and again I had another soak in the cool water. Like the map states, there are about three crossings of Indian Creek in about a mile. Going south to north, the first two crossings were solid rock bottoms and the final crossing (just past a freshly cleared field) is a loose rock/gravel bottom. Also, the trail past this final crossing took a little time to find because there were several trees washed out in the area. We continued on the trail and I had yet another soak in the water just across from Blue Spring on the Current River. Unfortunately, the river was really murky and flowing quickly due to all of the recent rain. We also had to backtrack to "J" on the map and walk the road going north because the river was covering the trail just across from Blue Spring. Everything went well from here on out to the Hwy 106 crossing. Joe and I met a really nice man on the Hwy 106 bridge under comical circumstances. Since we had very few pictures of the two of us, I called out to the man from a long distance. He was walking the road for exercise and decided to take a look at the river from the bridge when I asked him to take our picture. He yelled back saying he didn't mind to take a few pics of us, so we got 4 really nice pictures on the Hwy 106 bridge. The man, whose name we learned is Paul, then proceeded to take us to the spigot at Powder Mill. After talking to Paul for a while, he took some more pictures of us with his camera, which he later emailed to me. He also called home for us to let them know we were okay because we didn't think we would have service in this area. Super nice guy! We filled up our water in the spigot, and headed up to Owls Bend to camp. We found a mostly level campsite on the hillside just past the first lookout on Owls Bend. We made our first and only campfire of the trip on this ridge in the preexisting fire ring. This was our best day of hiking and we fell asleep to the sound of owls on Owls Bend.

Day 6:
We set an alarm for 4:30 this morning to be on the trail by 5:30. Our original plans were to camp at the most northern intersect of Blair Creek today, near mile 8.5. We didn't hit the trail very long before we stopped for the second view on Owls Bend overlooking the Current River. This view is every bit as good as the view overlooking the Eleven Point River, the site we made camp on the first night. The trail from miles 26 to near mile 21 was mostly clear and enjoyable. There are some relatively steep climbs and the trail skirts just below the ridge tops in this area. From mile 21 (the first Blair Creek Crossing) until just past the Blair Creek crossing at mile 14 the trail is in mostly bottomlands, cuts through open fields, and follows old roads from time to time. Now, I'm sure this section would be enjoyable in the late fall, winter, or early spring but we did not enjoy ourselves at all on this stretch. Joe picked up his fare share of ticks and the horseflies were relentless, although we did do our part to thin out their population :wink: . For as good and enjoyable as the northern portion of the Current River Section was on day 5, this section of the Blair Creek was that bad on day 6. We both agreed we would not hike this section in the summer again. Another constant problem we had here was while walking the roads. Due to all of the recent rain, we had to traverse parts of the roads that were giant standing water mud puddles. At one point, Joe and I were up to our knees in muddy, dirty water. This wasn't the best thing for our feet, which had developed blisters many miles ago. We also found that this area was not well signed at all and the trail was lost on a couple occasions. The trail did get much more enjoyable past mile 14 because it leaves the bottoms and climbs up to a ridge. Due to the grueling day we had, we decided to camp near the springs at mile 10 on the map. There is also a great waterfall in this area and camping near the falls is possible. Once we set up camp, we had a great night. The springs cooled down this small hollow and was by far our coolest night of camping.

Day 7:
We slept in for our last day of hiking to recover because we didn't know what to expect on the trail today. Day 7 proved to be a great day of hiking. Ironically, the trail follows an old logging tram line starting at mile 9.5 and goes all the way to mile 2. I say ironically because we would have paid for a nice piece of trail yesterday. The trail the rest of the way was great; most parts are about 3 feet wide, free of rocks, and clear. Camping near this last Blair Creek crossing would be possible as it is mostly clear and flat. The creek, however, is much smaller in this more norther section of the OT. We quickly made it to the CR 235 crossing and found the OT just past the road. We followed the old tram line to mile 2 then the trail turns west and heads back down to bottoms. We made it to the Hwy P/72 parking lot at about 1:30 to 2. The parking lot does not have a trailhead sign or marker, but it is accurately described on the map with the trail across the road. The hike today was great and we thoroughly enjoyed ending our week on a great stretch of trail. Both Joe and I had a great but very difficult week.

Here is a link to some pictures of our hike: https://sites.google.com/site/jacobsbac ... to-gallery
Last edited by jgoelleraka930 on Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby Homespun » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:11 am

Sounds like an impressive hike, I gather you all are younger than I, I wouldn't hike 20+ miles per day. The skin on my feet is the weakest link, blisters will get me before anything else does. Will get out my maps and revisit this account.
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby jgoelleraka930 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:42 pm

I normally wouldn't do 20+ mile days either but my marathon running buddy loves to talk me into torturous adventures. We tried our best to prevent blisters, like using injinji liner toe socks and good wool hiking socks, but they couldn't be prevented with all of the moisture. I really only had to endure one on my right heel but Joe had a few.
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby slosh » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:26 am

Great report. Thanks for sharing. Brings back memories (I did that same section last year).
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby Homespun » Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:37 am

I thought of a couple questions, is the Southern 100 miles more rustic or more rugged than the Trace Creek section? This is a section I've done. And, Peck Ranch is closed for Elk calving as I understand it, is this through June and not July?
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby mike » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:17 am

Enjoyed reading your report, sounds like you guys had a good time. Thanks for sharing.

Mike
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby DirtRoadRunner » Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:02 pm

Great writeup and trip. You all are very tough for hiking that in a Missouri summer! Good to know some of the trail has been cleared. I hope to get to some of those southern sections this upcoming fall/winter/spring.
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby jgoelleraka930 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:09 pm

Homespun, the southern sections of the OT aren't used nearly as much as the northern sections. We hiked for a week and only saw two day hikers near Rocky Falls on the Current River Section. Granted it was hot but there were a couple days that were nice. Overall, most of the bottoms and hollows were overgrown and the ridges were relatively clear and easy to follow. From what we have experienced, from the Hwy P/72 Trailhead to Onondaga Cave State Park (northern 100 miles) are more maintained due to the OT 100 ultra marathon that is ran yearly. I will note, we have not yet completed the Courtois Creek Section but plan to soon. As far as difficulty, the sections vary but I recall the Trace Creek Section being on the easier side. The section most comparable to Trace Creek would be from the Sinking Creek Tower area to Hwy 60 on the Between the Rivers Section.

Peck Ranch opened on July 2 according to their MDC webpage.
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby Homespun » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:58 am

Thank you, elevation change, rocky ground, and vegetation make for rugged and it sounds like vegetation might be thicker down South. I kinda guessed Trace Creek might be on the easier side but then again I guessed there isn't too much difference from section to section, (on the other hand). I might add on reading the account more closely at home, high water would also be more rugged.
Last edited by Homespun on Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby Cmiller2 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:56 pm

Excellent report, thanks for sharing it.
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Re: June 17-23 100 Mile Hike

Postby jgoelleraka930 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:35 pm

I just got around to putting some pictures on a website. Here is the link: https://sites.google.com/site/jacobsbac ... to-gallery
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