Peck Ranch to Powder Mill, Apr 13-14, 2013

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Peck Ranch to Powder Mill, Apr 13-14, 2013

Postby aroth87 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:51 pm

I organized an overnight hike from Peck Ranch to Powder Mill for April 13-14, 2013. 16 people and 2 dog participated in the hike. We met at Powder Mill and camped there Friday night. On Saturday we shook the frost off the tents and packed up before splitting into two crews. In order to minimize the impact of such a large group the two crews hiked in opposite directions on the trail, my crew shuttled to Peck Ranch while the other crew started at Powder Mill. We passed off the shuttle keys at Rocky Falls so the other crew could get back. That aspect was very smooth. The week leading up to the hike was a little more hectic as I had to coordinate with the Park Service to get a shuttle around the prescribed burn that got pushed back to that Saturday and impacted a couple miles of our route.

By the time we left Peck Ranch the temperatures had warmed considerably and it wasn't too long before we stopped to shed layers. We were graced with wonderful weather most of the day. It was about 60 degrees and just a few clouds in the sky. We spent a fair amount of time on top of Stegall Mt enjoying the weather and snacking before descending Stegall Mt. Coming down the hill we met a nice couple from Poplar Bluff who were out for a day hike. We decided to wait to eat lunch at Rocky Falls and dropped our packs at turnoff before heading down the connector. For some on the crew it was their first time at Rocky Falls and I think we were all happy to have taken the side trip there. After lunch some folks climbed up to view to Falls from the top while others lazed in the sun. Before long the other crew showed up. They also dropped their packs at the turnoff and we took the opportunity to take a group photo. My crew headed back to the trail soon after only to find an abundance of ticks (I picked four off myself) and a large rock stuffed in the top of my pack. We took a few extra minutes to hang the other crew leaders' packs in a tree with some extra rope we had.

After the pranks were over we headed towards Hwy NN where the shuttle was waiting for us. We ended up waiting there for about an hour for the fire to burn back from the road enough to safely drive through. It was quite to the site to see Mill Mt completely obscured by smoke. The shuttle dropped us off at Klepzig Mill which had a haze of smoke hanging about it. We spent some time taking pictures and exploring the shut-ins before crossing Rocky Creek below the Mill. At the crossing there was a small rattlesnake (or maybe a copperhead, its in my pictures if someone wants to correct me) which we had to watch out for since we took off boots and rolled up pant legs to cross the knee-high water. After carefully negotiating the slippery rocks on the bottom of the creek we dried our feet and filled water bottles. With the south wind the smell of smoke was strong on the north side of Rocky Creek and we weren't sure where we'd be able to find a campsite that would give us a reprieve from it. We ended up hiking another two miles to the back side of Barnett Mt where we found a small fire ring along Indian Creek. Just before getting to camp we encountered one of the many hounds that roam the Ozarks. He ended up begging a little bit of food, staying the night with us, and tagging along most of the next day too. After a long day and a warm dinner is wasn't long before folks headed off to bed. We hung our food just in case and put the fire out around 9:30PM.

It was about 40 degrees in the morning and it didn't take us long to pack up camp and get on the trail to warm up. We crossed Indian Creek a few more times, hiked through a large meadow, and ended with a beautiful hike through a profusion of wildflowers along the Current River. We couldn't have asked for better conditions for the hike and I think everyone had a good time. For a lot of people it was their first time on the section, which is one of my favorites. For one person it was their first ever backpacking trip. I can't imagine a better place in Missouri for a first hike!

I've posted photos from the trip on the OTA Flickr account.

I initially capped the sign up for the event at 10 people but the response was so good that I found two more crew leaders for a second crew. This seems like something that is of interest to a fair number of people so I'm going to see if I can fit another trip in this fall. If we are able to get it together information and sign up will be on the OTA Events page.

Adam
My Photos

"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: Peck Ranch to Powder Mill, Apr 13-14, 2013

Postby mike » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:33 am

Adam,

Great trip report and photos. Larry and I hiked the Middle Fork section the same weekend and we were wondering if the group hike would be on or not because of the burn. Big difference in the amount of "green" on the Current River section compared to the Middle Fork. MF section was still "brown".

Mike
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Re: Peck Ranch to Powder Mill, Apr 13-14, 2013

Postby JackW » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:05 pm

Great trip indeed. If you haven't hiked this section of trail, I highly recommend it!
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