Blair Creek, The First Six Miles

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Blair Creek, The First Six Miles

Postby GrantTheDad » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:32 am

People ask me, "Grant, why do you always invite forty people to go backpacking with you?" I invite forty people so I can end up with five or six...or like this weekend when I ended up with just me and my nine-year-old son, Mason. Since it was just going to be the two of us, I decided to check off those first six miles of Blair for my mileage log with a dayhike.

Friday we drove to the six mile trailhead and hiked out to where we couldn't see the car and set up a basecamp for the weekend. The day had been cloudy, but around 8pm the clouds rolled off, leaving a spectacular view of stars and the bright 1st quarter moon. The coyotes howling made it perfect. As morning broke, the clouds were back. Oh well, the night was beautiful.

Saturday morning we drove back to the northern trailhead. I stood there looking at the end of Karkaghne and smiled. It had been five years since I had stood on this spot. I reminded Mason of where we had been in September, at Harmon Springs. I paused a moment thinking about all the trail between here and there--86 continuous miles of good memories. We turned toward the Trail Not Yet Taken and started off.

The trail itself is in great shape and all the reviews I've read about the the difficulty of walking this must be old. The volunteers have done a great job with this part. A mile-and-a-half dip into a hollow avoids most of the houses, but it does spend most of its time next to the road. John talks about a reroute someday. Showing my son the old railroad grade was cool. I would like to find some pictures of when it was operational. Nature has a great way of reclaiming. All along the Ozark Trail there are examples of civilization abandoned and within a couple of generations not hardly being able to tell anyone was there.

I was intrigued by a couple of landmarks to the west on the map, so we left the trail at the three mile mark and followed Hwy P down into Big Creek Valley. This is a typical winding valley repeated all over this part of the state. We passed pastures where the cows followed us the length of the fence and stopped for lunch near an old cemetary. After Hwy P crossed back over Big Creek, we started looking closely at the bluffs to the west for the caves and natural bridge mentioned on the map. We stopped at the first house on the left (the one with all the dog pens) and the local pointed out the natural bridge up the bluff right across the creek from his house. After crossing the creek, we scrambled up to get some pictures of this unique natural feature.

After this we we ready to head for camp, so we made our way back up the valley, up to the ridge and back on the trail for the last three miles. Yeah, I know I could have bushwacked straight up a mile and been there, but I wasn't in a bushwacking mood. We did a total of 12 miles and felt like we had accomplished something.

Warning: Although most of Hwy P has a shoulder wide enough to drive a tractor on (with the tracks to prove it), there are some stretches with no shoulder forcing you to walk on the edge of the pavement. Hiker discretion is advised.

After spending a cool night at camp, we made the easy six miles back to the car on Sunday as the sun came out late morning to warm us up a little. I blew out a shoe toward the end of the first day and hiked the next day in the sandals I bring for water crossings and puttering around camp -- more comfortable than the shoes!

We ate lunch at Koy's Kitchen in Bunker and reminisced about the trail.
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:24 pm

Re: Blair Creek, The First Six Miles

Postby don.branson » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:06 am

Sounds like a nice weekend, and a great way to make some memories with your son.
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:33 pm
Location: St. Louis

Re: Blair Creek, The First Six Miles

Postby Ed Kindley » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:02 pm

Thanks for the glowing report. We had a sawyer crew on the first 6 miles of
the Blair Creek Section on Sat. Nov. 1st; you should have found only 1 BIG TWISTED
tree down in the first valley which we didn't get cut, unless there were blowdowns
since the 1st. Glad you had a successful hike with your son!
Ed Kindley
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 8:23 pm
Location: Wildwood MO

Re: Blair Creek, The First Six Miles

Postby GrantTheDad » Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:56 am

Yep, that's all we found--just the one. Thanks for your effort!
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:24 pm

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