Current River- Peck Ranch to Klepzig Mill

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Current River- Peck Ranch to Klepzig Mill

Postby aroth87 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:59 pm

I hiked from the north fence of Peck Ranch to almost Klepzig Mill on Saturday, Nov 8 with two friends. We rolled into camp at Powder Mill Friday night, and after some dinner, made camp. We were a little lazy so we just tossed out our bags near the fire for a great, clear, brisk night under the stars. In the morning we shook off the cold, ate a little breakfast, and jumped in the car to head to Peck Ranch.

At Peck Ranch, a sign informed us that the trail through Peck Ranch was closed due to a deer hunt going on that weekend. That explained the Jeep whose cargo rack had blood all over it. We decided that since it was only about a half mile to the fence we would take our chances. We passed a man with a bow on the way to the fence and he informed us of his concern for our lack of blaze orange. We made it to the fence soon enough and were on our way, though we remained wary for a few more miles. The views coming up Stegall and the view from the top were great. Though most of the fall colors were gone it was still a great sight to behold. We stopped at the top and took some pictures, but it was quite windy and we started getting chilled so we hastened onward, knowing our next stop would be Rocky Falls. As we came down Stegall we encountered the "bridge," and being invincible college students, took our chances again crossing it. We all made it across and it gave us something to talk about for a little while. The trail got very rocky after that point and remained that way for the remainder of the hike. When we came to the cutoff for Rocky Falls we observed the post which said "Klepzig Mill- 1 mile." I was almost certain the guidebook had it closer to 2 miles but figured the sign, which was very large, probably wouldn't have been approved if it quoted the wrong distance. Since the map we had didn't have Klepzig Mill marked we put our trust in the sign. We hiked down to Rocky Falls where we proceeded to take pictures, climb around the falls, take more pictures, have a snack, and use the facilities. We ended up spending a little over an hour there because we thought we were all but at Klepzig Mill, which was where we were planning on turning around.

We got back on the trail towards Klepzig Mill. After crossing Hwy NN and coming to Rocky Creek and some shut ins, we figured we had to be close to the Mill. After all we had gone a mile since the post. We played around in the shut ins, climbing on the rocks and taking pictures. The other two decided to be adventurous and walk down the creek until they got to the Mill, while I stuck to the trail. I traveled along the trail until it turned away from the creek. We had killed a lot of time between Rocky Falls and the shut ins so I decided to abandon the search for the Mill and turn back before we ran out of time. After I tracked the other two down we headed back to the shut ins where we ate lunch. He headed back the way we came and double checked the sign post, which did indeed say 1 mile. As I said, its a pretty sizable post, so it may be that they didn't want to drag a new, correct sign out to replace it. We also braved the "bridge" again and scurried through the blustery glades on top of Stegall. As we neared Peck Ranch we again became wary of our surroundings. The woods were filled with smoke from some fire, which we never saw. Near the fence we observed the blaze orange hat of a hunter in a deer stand from across a large open field. We passed through the fence and headed back up the road to our car. As it turns out there is a sizable hill which none of us had any recollection of from our hike in. It was not a welcome surprise. Just before we got to the car we ran into another hunter, this one about our age, with a rifle (could have been a muzzle loader, I didn't look closely) who asked us if we had been hiking. We confirmed his observation and made one of our own; we wouldn't want to drag a dead deer up that we hill we just encountered.

We had a really great trip and I got a really good nap on the way back to Rolla. None of us had hiked this section before and we all agreed that it is one of our favorites. I would put it right up there with Bell Mt and the Taum Sauk on my list. It would be a pretty good hike if it just had Stegall Mt or Rocky Falls, but with both plus Rocky Creek it becomes an incredible hike. Its got a whole bunch of scenery packed into an 8 mile stretch of trail.

Oh, and we were less than a mile from Klepzig Mill when we turned around.

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"we see the future in leaping flames, making plans in their enchantment which in the brash light of day seem foolhardy" -Sigurd Olson
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Re: Current River- Peck Ranch to Klepzig Mill

Postby hikesalot » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:53 pm

Glad you made it back alive. I admire your determination for going on across the deer killing zone and taking the hike up and over fantastic Stegall Mtn. and back but I sure would feel a whole lot better knowing that the next time you'll display some blaze orange just to be on the safe side. They say that bow hunters aren't likely to mistake you for a deer but with the range and "shoot if it ain't orange" attitude of some gun hunters you might just consider yourselves lucky. Great report and I hope you make it to Klepzig Mill the next time. Maybe you will want to start there and go up Stegall Mtn. from Rocky Falls and then back down Terrapin Hollow to Rocky Falls. Ask John Roth for a GPS topo of that hike route. It's a great hike plus you could mix it up with some OT on Stegall as well.
Scott C.
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