Middle Fork TR - October 2006

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Middle Fork TR - October 2006

Postby Hungry Jack » Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:05 pm

My father (73 years young) and I completed a delightful overnight trip on the recently-completed Middle Fork section of the Ozark Trail in Missouri. Our route took us from the Hiway 32 / Route DD trailhead on the northern end to the Brushy Creek resort just south of the Route J trailhead near the hamlet of Oates. Total distance travelled was roughly 27 miles.

The Middle Fork is named for the Middle Fork of the Black River, whose many feeder creeks this very hilly and scenic trail traverses. Our favorite section was the portion of the trail that runs west and then south from Highway 49. This section includes crossings for Henderson, Neals, Gunstock, and Little Creeks. Thanks to recent rains, these creeks announced themselves with gurgling fanfare as we approached each crossing, and the gentle climbs up to the forested ridges between each valley offered excellent views of blends of gold, orange, yellow, red and evergreen forest.

I was particularly impressed with Gunstock Hollow, whose shady depths offered a beautiful campsite on a relatively rate flat spit of pine bottom between two creeks. We had made a nice camp high up on a ridge above Barton Fen the night before, but this spot was idyllic. Other notable spots include a dramatic 15-ft cascade in a limestone bench near the bottom of Wolfpen Hollow (roughly 1.5 miles east of forest road 72) and a smaller waterfall nearby.

This trip held special meaning because my father I had spent several outings working on building the trail over the past three years. At the risk of sounding boastful, I will say the trail offers some of the best tread I have ever walked upon. All the credit goes to John Roth and the rest of the Ozark Trail Association.

If you have a chance, spend some time on this trail. You won't regret it.
Proud contributor to the Middle Fork Section
Hungry Jack
 
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Postby ChrisS » Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:42 am

Sounds like a great trip! My wife and I are going to do an overnight on the middle fork sometime in April so it is good to know you guys had a good hike.
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Middle Fork hike

Postby smkybr » Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:09 pm

April 4th and 5th my wife and I hiked the Middle Fork section and had an excellent trek. Weather was very interesting. Daytime highs of about 40 and night lows of 28. North wind 15 to 25. Two days prior we were enjoying the mid 80's... Could this be our "blackberry winter" or is it yet to come? Recent rains have filled all creeks and springs. Be prepared for mid-calf deep creek crossings at Neal's Creek and County Road 836 below the pond tailings. We parked our second vehicle on Highway J right-of-way at Oates because the creek crossing at the trail head was rather soft with sand and fine gravel and looked like a good place to get stuck.
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