Middle Fork May 19-21, 2007

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Middle Fork May 19-21, 2007

Postby JeffG » Sun May 27, 2007 10:34 pm

Well we had a plan when I met my buddies Jim and Gary on Saturday, May 19. We were heading out to do the Middle Fork and Karkaghne sections and where planning on doing both sections over the next 6 days.

We started out by dropping one vehicle at the 72 & P trail head and then made a quick stop at Brushy Creek Lodge to do a food drop and to arrange for camping (and showers) for night 3. After a quick lunch at the Bixby Store we hit the trail at Noon on one beautiful day.

Our goal for day one was to get to the Brooks Creek area to camp. This first portion of the trail is really one easy hike and is in wonderful condition. We got to our target area around 4 PM, which is not bad for some old geezers who have not backpacked for some time. One thing we did discovered though is the area near the Brooks Creek area does not have much to offer in the way of camping spots. So we continued on a little bit and found a good spot to camp at the top of the hill, we just had back track a little with the water jug.

Day 2 started out beautiful again and today our goal was to make it to the Little Creek area. But here is where the problems started, had nothing to do with the trail, but my stupid boots. I started getting hot spots on both feet and this was the first time I have ever had that problem in all the years I have hiked. When we got to Henderson Creek I took the time to work on those spots and I thought I did a good job on them.

I do have a question about the Henderson Creek area, right at the bridge there is a large area where a whole bunch of small trees where cut down and just left laying there, anyone know why they did that? It is not the prettiest things to look at.

When we got to Barton Fen we missed the sign telling us to cross the creek so we headed down toward the fen through a whole bunch of daisy’s which was really pretty. Once we came to a nice bog we realized we must have missed a turn so we back tracked and got back on the trail. Not long after getting on the trail again we startled a nice size Tom Turkey and watched as he took off up through the trees. It was an impressive sight to see that big bird fly through the trees with no problem.

This is the first time I have been to the Fen area since the AHS volunteer group built the trail and did the rock work and it was really good work and with all the rains and storms the last year it still is standing strong.

After lunch and additional work on my feet which were getting worse we made it to Little Creek and had another nice evening.

Day 3 started out like the others, clear and beautiful. My blistered feet and Gary’s knees caused us to start slowing down, but we reached the end of the Middle Fork by 11:00 AM, but we were not finished yet.

By this time we had decided that once we got to the Brushy Creek Lodge we would be calling it quits, so another 2 hours on the trail got us to Brushy, the teepees we were calling home for the night, and the showers.

The gang at Brushy Creek was very nice and went out of their way to see we had what we needed. After showering and resting for a while, Amy drove us to pick up my truck from the 32 & DD trail head, this was the only part we did not like, this service cost us $60 we were not planning on.

After we got the vehicles back to Brushy we fired up the grill and had some rib eye steaks and adult beverages (this was planned as part of our food drop) and after a night in the bunk (no mattress) in a teepee we called it a trip and went home.

One disappointment was the lack of people on the trail, especially Saturday. We did run into 2 mountain bikers, but that was it on day 1 and then on day 2 we met 4 day hikers going north and that was it.

The trail has some deadfall, but we really had no issue getting around them, some areas do need to be mowed, but again not a real problem.

One of my partners is a engineer and he actually kept count of our water crossing, he count 15 wet crossings, only one of those required us to put our water shoes on, 8 crossings where dry, and there where another 8 he called boggy, basically a muddy area. Overall we had a much easier time then Chris and Mellissa did last month.

As we went through the different portions of the trail I remembered being part of the work crews building them and passed on some stories to my partners.

Before this trip I had really only been on the Ozark Trail doing construction and maintenance and I am very happy that I can truly say “I hiked the Ozark Trail” like my bumper sticker says.

Overall the trip was great and the trail is gorgeous, thank you to everyone who helped build it and who maintains it today.
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Postby ChrisS » Mon May 28, 2007 3:27 pm

Nice job Jeff!

Sorry to hear about your feet. I know mine gave me trouble a couple hikes back. I've either gotten used to it or the new socks I have fixed the problem. Probably a bit of both.

Coming up on a section that you know you helped build is a wonderfull motivator. I know that I look forward to it every time. The middle fork is especially well built too. You all should be proud of the work that was done there.
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Postby John » Mon May 28, 2007 7:08 pm

I do have a question about the Henderson Creek area, right at the bridge there is a large area where a whole bunch of small trees where cut down and just left laying there, anyone know why they did that? It is not the prettiest things to look at.

Was it a thinning cut? Was it 50%-75% of trees about 12-15 years old? The Potosi District has been doing a lot of "timber stand improvement" or TSI in that area. It wasn't there 2-3 months ago when I visited last.
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Postby Craig Lanham » Tue May 29, 2007 12:40 pm

Sounds like a good time!
In every moment there is an opportunity.
Craig Lanham
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Postby JeffG » Tue May 29, 2007 4:56 pm

I guess it could have been thining. The trees were all about 6 in dia, at first I thought maybe thye were trying to make a glade, but tit is right at the creek
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