Taum Sauk/Trace Creek 10-20-07 - 10-22-07

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Taum Sauk/Trace Creek 10-20-07 - 10-22-07

Postby ChrisS » Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:23 pm

Trip Report
Ozark Trail
Highway N to Highway DD

When I was in the beginning stages of a 2 night backpacking trip I said to my self…”Self, to hell with the heat, lets hike when it’s nice and cool out! The 3rd weekend in Oct should do it. Lots of color in the trees, beds of soft leaves to sleep on, brisk days for hiking…perfect!” Oh if only it was that perfect.

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Starting out on Saturday Morning we caught the shuttle from the DD parking lot to the temporary Hwy A drop off. It was a nice cool morning, but the forecast was calling for highs in the 80’s. Yuk… I had also intentionally weighted down my pack some, starting weight was 39.2 lbs before water. Mojo (my dog!) started out with about 6 lbs. I figured if mine got too heavy, I’d just swap packs with him…

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At about 9am on Saturday we finally hit the trail. The climb up Goggins Mountain was a hell of a wake up call for legs that hadn’t packed since May. It always amazes me how quickly you start to feel it out there, and then, just as quickly, you fall into the rhythm of just putting one foot in front of the other.

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After a few miles, we were rewarded by our first glade. It was a about lunch time (and I was ready for a break!) so we located a nice rock to eat (nap!) on. We also took some time to marvel in the views of this glade, as well as explore it some. It was somewhere about here that I noticed most of the trees were still green. Leaves were turning and falling, but not at the rate that they should be. As I thought about this for awhile, the reason stuck me, “Damn, we are standing in the sun and its 80 degrees out here!” I don’t think I stopped sweating the rest of the trip…

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After a 7 mile hike over Goggins Mountain, we found a very nice spot down by Padfield branch. It was in between the branch and a small spring branch. Preloaded with wood and a fire ring! Yays! It was pretty early (3:00) when we made it to camp, but I was already rippin tired. Maybe the lack of sleep that week finally caught up to me. I rolled out the Thermarest and caught a nice nap right there. After the nap, we had some time to filter water, take a nice bath, cook dinner, and pretty much go back to sleep. Pretty sure it was 7:30 or 8 when I crawled in the tent.

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The next morning, I woke up in a pool of sweat (told you I never stopped). It only got down to 60 both nights, just not cold enough for a sound night sleep out in the woods. We broke camp late (10:00) and proceeded to hike over Bell Mountain. More glades, more sun, more heat, at least the wind was blowing! We managed to make it to Ottery Creek about 1:00 for a break and some lunch. I think I ate too much… Or filtered too much water… because the climb up the hill from Ottery was hell. I swear I was dragging 3 sleds and a drunken elephant (I don’t know where he came from) up that god forsaken hill.

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Now we had planned on making it to Peter cave hollow then trying to find a spot to camp. There wasn’t much there (it was pretty grown up) and since it was only like 2:30, we pushed on for the next spot. This was apparently a funny joke on us. 4 miles later we found a pseudo abandoned road just before panther branch and just dropped our stuff right there. Looks like a camp site to me! We did meet some nice mountain bikers along the way though, as well as some very nice equestrians (the horses didn’t really like us, which was odd, because the mountain bikes were calm as could be…). They gave us a couple bottles of water (we made Mojo carry them) though, which really came in handy since we didn’t camp on the water. I did hike down to panther branch and fill up Sunday night, but it was nice to have some extra water volume available.

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Ya know, there is just something about a long days hike, followed by a damn good meal. I had even brought a dessert I found in a backpackers cookbook .We pretty much just ate ourselves silly and passed out. It was too hot that night as well, but I think I was just too tired and too full to care.

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The hike out the next day was indeed short. We broke camp early, and then hiked down to Panther branch to eat some breakfast and filter a tad of water. We then began the hike back to our car. We were done by 11:00am, plenty of time to make it to Potosi for some burgers!

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Overall it was a good trip. The area was amazing in its rugged beauty, but really gave us a challenge with all the loose rock, as well as the heat. The new shuttle service and trip planner made it almost too easy to plan the trip. All we had to do was drive down there by 7:45 in the morning. No shuttling cars, no manually figuring out distances between points, great stuff.

Till next time!
Chris

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ChrisS
 
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Taum Sauk/Trace Creek

Postby hikesalot » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:51 pm

Great report & pics Chris! Thanks for posting them.
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Postby aroth87 » Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:29 pm

Did you stay at the little campsite right next to the creek at Padfield? If so that's where John, Mark, and I stayed when we did the clean up trip a while back. Was the fire ring about right distance from a tree that you could sit down and have your feet right next to it ? :) Speaking of which, those boots look quite familiar. Are they Merrell Pulse's? :)
One more question and I'll leave you alone. How was the signage between Hwy N and the Bell Mt cutoff? I put up quite a few signs through there. I hope they were of some help.
Looks like you had a great time despite the heat.

Adam
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Postby ChrisS » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:16 pm

Thanks!

Thats the campsite. There was a pile of wood there too. Did you guys do that? I'm glad it was there though. I had my machete with me, but there wasn't much dead stuff around that was less than 6inchs around or so.

They are Pulse II's yeah. I've had them only about 2 years I think, but they have taken quite a beating between trail work, hiking, and deer hunting.

The signage from N to A was great. I didn't post all my pics, but I'd say I have an OT sign in about 50% of them. You guys did great work cleaning all that up.
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Postby aroth87 » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:43 pm

We didn't leave the pile of wood but we did move the fire ring over so it wasn't so close to the tree.
Glad the signage was good to you. It was my first time putting up signs and John told me to use my best judgment. It kind of felt like I was going overboard a time or two but I figured it couldn't hurt.

Adam

Edit: Mark may have left the pile of fire wood. He left us part way through the second day with the intention of camping back at the site that night. I believe he bailed due to weather though. Its possible the pile was his work.
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Postby laforbes » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:10 am

Chirs,

I LOVED your story and pictures! Sitting here at my desk laughing out loud. People probaby think I'm nuts.

Linda
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Postby ChrisS » Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:36 am

glad I could provide some entertainment!

I do that at my desk all the time. People don't even look at me weird anymore. Guess they just think I cackle to myself all day.
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Postby Hungry Jack » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:43 pm

Chris,

I really enjoyed your trip report with the pics, but how in the devil do you end up with a 39-pd pack for a 2-day trip in warm weather with reliable water sources?
Proud contributor to the Middle Fork Section
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Postby ChrisS » Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:37 am

My typical pack weight when Melissa hikes with me is about 30lbs, and my solo weight is usually around 35. Most of my hikes are short enough that I like to load up on conveniences for the evening and to tax my legs during the day for the exercise. If I was doing a hike that really meant I had to get "from someplace to someplace" I would probably lighten up some.
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Postby John » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:50 am

Those bottles of wine are heavy.
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Postby ChrisS » Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:10 am

hah!
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