Middle Fork 4-14-07 - 4-15-07

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Middle Fork 4-14-07 - 4-15-07

Postby ChrisS » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:54 pm

What an interesting weekend! Between dodging overflowing creeks, several chickens, a bull, and a massive wide load while trying to shuttle our car to the other end of the trail, I was convinced this was going to be an eventful trip. My thoughts were reinforced when someone stopped just as we were finally getting started and asked us to be on the look out for a plane crash. Despite all that, Mojo and Melissa’s first overnighter got started around 10am on Saturday morning.

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First I must say that the Middle Fork has to be some of the best trail I’ve ever laid a boot on. The tread is solid, and the area is magnificent. Even with all the rain, the trail was only slightly muddy in a couple places. There were some trees down near the beginning, but they were mainly just step-overs.

Coming down from 49 we encountered our first creek crossing. I hadn’t even really accounted for it since it is barely on the map. With all the rain though, the “barely get the soles of your boots wet” ditches were all out ripping creeks. Needless to say by the end of our hike both Melissa and I were downright pros at changing into our creek shoes.

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After this initial crossing I did have some concern about crossing the main Henderson Creek branch. My concerns were validated when we approached the creek, it was definatly going to be over knee deep and really swift. I was just calculating how I was going to convince my already wet, way too energetic dog to let me carry him through it when the best looking foot bridge I have ever seen came into sight. It really is all about the little things when you are out here.

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With the rain letting up, and the major water concern behind us, things finally felt like they were coming together. In the next section we met Carl and Beth Vesper out working on their section of trail. I am really hoping I got their names right, I’m relying on Melissa’s memory on this since I was too busy trying to keep my dog from licking them to death to remember their names. I do apologize for this, but death by licking really isn’t the way you want to go, especially when his breath smells like lamb and rice.

We did take this chance to take our first look at our new section. Thanks for the heads up about it Robert, we think it is the best section of trail on the OT! Course so was our last one… Ok, maybe it’s tied for first. We did manage to get some lopping and clearing done, even though it didn’t need much of either. Even Mojo cleared some trip hazards!

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At gunstock hollow it was time to decide what we were going to do. We were 7 miles into a 14 mile, WET, hike. We were both pretty tired, and the next likely spot for a campsite was 3 miles away at little creek. We decided we wanted a short day on Sunday, so we would push on.

We finally made camp at about 4:00 pm. Tired, wet, and cold. I managed to chop up some decent wood while Melissa gathered some almost dry twigs. My 2 little fire sticks managed to get some what of a fire going. It never would really take off, but it was enough to huddle up next to. Mojo didn’t really like it since it was pretty smoky, but we convinced him to sit in our laps to warm up periodically.

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Two man tents really do mean just 2 people, not 2 people and a dog. We did manage to squeeze him in there though, and he was a nice little space heater when the temps really started to drop. The rain held off though, so other than a few paws to the face as Mojo would resituate himself, it was a relatively uneventful night.

The next morning I managed to get ANOTHER fire going. Count em up, that makes two. Neither of them induced by any type of flammable liquid, that’s a record for me… Ok, ok I DID have some fire starter sticks, but the wood was really wet! Just let me bask in my mastery of fire for a little while…….Ok, I’m over it.

Since we only had 4 miles out, we stayed around camp and just enjoyed the morning. The sun was peeking through the trees and the water was finally going down. We managed get back on the trail about 9:00 for a 2 hour hike to the car (which I was kind of doubting would still be there after I just pulled off to the side of a gravel road.) We did have to make one small detour that involved following a gravel road to make use of the low water bridge over Strother Creek. The place where the trail crossed was really ugly due to the water still being up pretty high.

Overall it was a great hike. I was betting on this being great trail due to its location and relatively young age. I was not disappointed. Hopefully we will be able to squeeze in another overnighter before it gets too hot this year.

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ChrisS
 
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Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:07 am
Location: Washington, MO

Postby mel » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:27 pm

I must admit, I thought we were in trouble Sat. morning when every turn down a gravel road was met with an overflowing, angry creek. And our attempts to find a way through seemed to lead us directly onto the set of the movie Deliverance. I swear I heard banjos.....

But, the hike was amazing. I don't know if, when we are building trail or maintaining it, if we really realize the magnitude of the gift we are giving humanity as a whole. The opportunity to descend, or ascend as the case may be, into the heart of nature's beauty is a gift unmatched by anything man made. I am so grateful to those who had the vision for this trail, especially this Middle Fork section.

The serenity, the variety, the beauty....I could go on and on. I so enjoyed our overnighter through the middle fork, and parts of the reasons are hard for me even to verbalize. There's something about being out there that can't really be captured by words.

The experience really revitalized me and it also gave me a deeper appreciation for the accomplishment and vision of the Ozark Trail Association. What we are providing is special. We are special.

Thanks to all who make this trail and organization what it is. I am proud to be a part of it!

mel
mel
 
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Trip report

Postby Kathie » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:26 am

Thanks Chris for a wonderful, informative, first person narative of the trail. The pictures also add to your report. Bless you Melissa for hanging in there...rain and all!
Kathie
 
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Location: Cape Girardeau MO

Postby mel » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:16 pm

rain and all, it was a great trip. We're planning a longer one for memorial day. Can't wait.

mel
mel
 
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Postby ChrisS » Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:26 am

Really it wasn't too rainy. It misted on us for the first couple hours, and there might have been 2 or 3 5 min "rains" but nothing really drenching. However judging by the size of the waterways, there was no doubt they got a ton of rain the day/night before.
ChrisS
 
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Postby busybeth » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:59 pm

:D Yes, you remembered our names correctly. And no, we were never in fear of being licked to death by Mojo. Glad you had a great overnight on the trail.

Carl and I had a very nice day hike -- surprisingly nice since we began the day expecting to spend it drenched. As it turned out, the day was beautiful. The water was higher than we've ever seen it on this section of trail, with stream beds I'd previously only seen dry practically roaring with water. Bright green moss all along the trail made up for the still-brown trees. It makes me itchy to get out and do more this season!

Happy Trails!
Beth & Carl
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Postby mel » Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:55 pm

Yay! I'm glad the names were right. It sure was cool to meet other OTAers on the trail!

mel
mel
 
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Location: Washington Mo

Postby ChrisS » Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:29 am

It was great meeting you all out on the trail!
ChrisS
 
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Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:07 am
Location: Washington, MO

Great TR

Postby Hungry Jack » Wed May 09, 2007 8:38 am

Chris, your TR brings back great memories of the overnighter my Dad and I did on the Middle Fork last October. I am sure we worked together on some of those trail outings in 2004 and 2005. We started at DD, but I think the best section is west of 49 all the way to J. Like you said, the tread is excellent and the section is reallly well-designed. Only one paved road in 25 miles!
Proud contributor to the Middle Fork Section
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