Trip Report Western Taum Sauk (HwyN to Padfield Branch)

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Trip Report Western Taum Sauk (HwyN to Padfield Branch)

Postby hamhouke » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:00 pm

Started from Hwy N at 9am on Friday 7/3. There is a large tree down right next to the road and the trail sign. This was only our first clue as to how bad the trail was damaged. For the next 4 ½ hours we climbed over, around, and through every size tree imaginable. Most of the time the trail could not even be seen. Several times we lost the trail completely and had to backtrack to once again locate it. OTA assurance markers are 95% gone. A few trees still have them which is how we knew we were still headed the right away.

As Anthony described it, it looks like a logging company came in and cut down every tree over 6 inches in diameter and then left them laying down.

Now with that being said, we did not make it all the way to Padfield Branch. We were not able to even come close. At 1:30 PM we had to stop about ½ a mile in at coordinate N37 32.039 W90 52.255 due to safety reasons…we were running low on water and we were not covering any ground. Had one of us gotten injured, we would not have been able to get help. The extreme physical exertion and heat increased our water consumption rate to twice what we had anticipated. It wasn't so much of a hike, as a climbing trip through a horizontal forest. Our feet rarely hit soil. Most of the time we were climbing over, through, and along tree trunks and treetops.

As for root balls, there are at least 10 down in the ½ mile we got through. It was hard to get a count on the trees down and root balls when we could not even tell where the trail was most of the time. An estimate for downfall would have to be in the hundreds. We don’t have any idea how bad it is once you turn towards Googins Mountain since no one has made it this far.

Until this trail is cleared, there is no point attempting this hike. The trailhead was signed "Closed, do not enter". They are absolutely right. Had we not been asked to go asses the trail for the OTA officially, we would have turned back immediately. As it was, and determined as we were, we had to give up after 4 1/2 hours and only half a mile.
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