Lower Courtois bike trip

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Lower Courtois bike trip

Postby Big Jim Mac » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:03 pm

Still trying to recover from a bike ride from Berryman Camp to Hazel Creek camp, didn't actually make the camp stopping just short at Sapp's Branch crossing. I have always gazed fondly south while traveling Highway 8, wondering where that stretch of the OT takes you. I have done the mile from Berryman to Highway 8 and always thought that was one of the funnest parts of the trail to run and ride. But never did venture any farther south than Lost Creek. Having some time to play and a faithful companion named Matt to join in, we decided to do this instead of Berryman Sept. 15. We got a nice cool day to start with some humidity thrown in. Crossed Highway 8 about 10 am, ventured through the creek which was about a foot deep and trudged through sand to the first big climb. Matt mentioned something about this section being steep. We both carry granny gears on our bikes and we needed every tooth. Somehow we made it to the top, rewarded by some nice pine woods and a rip snorting run downhill. I remember saying to Matt that the trail would demand payment for how fun that downhill run was. That proved prophetic as each down was met by a grueling climb. Along the way we crossed lovely streams, more of those tall pines and occasional logged sections that are growing back nicely. There are several road crossings, next time we will have a map in case we need to bail, although my look at the map after returning home shows they start heading east instead of north pretty soon. One of the nicest spots was a fern filled hollow with moss covered boulders and some monster pines. Not sure what this is called but we dubbed it Fern Valley. We crossed maybe 5 or 6 small downed trees, moved a few more but never had to bushwhack. In many parts someone has trimmed the grass, thank you! For some reason we thought Hazel Creek camp was 8 miles. After reaching Sapp Branch and not finding the camp, we decided we had had enough and headed back. We were probably still 2 miles from Hazel Creek. Sapp Branch is one of the most unusual creeks I've seen in Missouri. For as far as I could see, it runs over a solid slab of limestone. This is an incredibly beautiful section of the OT and well worth the strenuous climbs. Be warned to take plenty of water or a filter, I went through 100 ml of water and 12 ounces of Gatorade. Allow extra time too, we rode from 10 am to almost 4:30 pm with only brief stops to cover about 22 miles. Here's a few pics:

Fern Valley
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Typical sweet singletrack!
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Sapp's Branch -- looks like I am pondering nature, actually gasping for breath after 11 miles of riding...
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Big Jim Mac
 
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Re: Lower Courtois bike trip

Postby Jim » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:54 am

...double clutch
Last edited by Jim on Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jim
 
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Re: Lower Courtois bike trip

Postby Jim » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:54 am

Just a warm up for Trace Creek. ;)

Rode Trace Creek (North Trace) from the CB connector up about 7 miles last Sunday midday. Great Shape. Mowed, only a couple trees down and 99% were rideable. Water in the creeks for sure.

Hope to be walking the Current River section South to North late this coming week.

Don't forget to check out the new northern section of the Courtois Section. New trail settling in from last years construction outings. If you were at Bman then you saw the reroute staging for the weekend of 9-25. Super sweet contour trail with a few rock ledges and very rolling terrain.
Jim
 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:07 pm
Location: O'Fallon, MO

Re: Lower Courtois bike trip

Postby Big Jim Mac » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:49 pm

I did that Courtois section earlier this summer, nice stuff. Wish that part was open to bikes, it would be a great ride. I was also down on the lower Current section, didn't like that as much. Buckley and I are looking for the next big ride, what do you suggest? Maybe we will start at Hazel Creek this time, that's one way to make it there!
Big Jim Mac
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Jefferson City, MO

Re: Lower Courtois bike trip

Postby Jim » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:36 am

Have you had a chance to ride the new Courtois section from Bass to Berryman. I have only seen one small piece. I heard ... the grade was super steep and probably not the best for bikes. Guess we will find out in a few weeks.

Until then...maybe you two should check out the Between the Rivers section. I hear it's awesome.
Jim
 
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Re: Lower Courtois bike trip

Postby Big Jim Mac » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:14 pm

No, haven't been there but certainly on my list of things to do! Isn't between the Rivers closed to bikes?
Big Jim Mac
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Jefferson City, MO

Re: Lower Courtois bike trip

Postby Jim » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:18 pm

The picture is showing cyclist in the upper right
http://www.ozarktrail.com/betweenrivers.php

The Blair Creek, Current River and Taum Sauk sections are closed to bikes and horses due to ??? a variety of reasons. The Pioneer Forest, MDC, and DNR have a large impact on user access. Also note that Huzzah Conservation area is closed to bikes and horses as well. The section from Lower Narrows to just North of Huzzah Conservation area campground is really not suitable for anything other than hiking do to the very technical rocky ascent/descent to the Courtois Creek crossing. Other than that I am only aware of the "Fen" bypasses as off-limits. OH AND DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT BELL MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS....LOL It's Wilderness More car noise on top of Bell than at Berryman, not to mention the great view of the Great Wall of Ameren and their powerful light display. But hey it's wilderness.......
Jim
 
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