Middle Fork in the Snow

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Middle Fork in the Snow

Postby MoTreks » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:54 pm

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I hiked 8 miles of the Middle Fork section of the OT on Saturday (2/28/15) from Hwy 49 to Hwy 32 DD parking. Earlier in the month I hiked the Karkaghne and the Middle Fork up to Hwy 49 (ran out of time on that trip). I wanted to finish the Middle Fork (OK technically I still have about a mile to hike up to the intersection with Trace).

There was about 4-6 inches of snow on the trail with a starting air temperature of 18 degrees and a real feel of 9 degrees. I hit the trail around 8:30 and was off at 3:30. The snow really slowed me down. It was the crusty type that let you break through on ever step (often at odd angles). Pretty had on ankles and knees.

It snowed most of the day (ended up driving back to Rolla that evening in about 4 inches of new snow – passed 3 cars in the ditch on Hwy 32). It was an absolutely beautiful day. I did not run into anyone on the trail and no human tracks in the snow. The trail (what I could see of it) was in great shape. Of course the highlight of this section is the small water fall at Wolf Pen Hollow. I actually walked past it and when I hit the water crossing, I knew I had gone too far. I pondered if I should take the time to walk back and find it. I am glad I did. I have some pictures and a video that I need to get up on my blog. One of these days I will figure out how to post a picture and/or video in this forum.

I worked on getting my pack weight down for this trip. Even though it was a day hike, I wanted to carry everything with me as if it was an overnight trip. I used my GoLite Jam pack rather than my Osprey. I really have not used it in the past due to a concern that the pack would not be comfortable. I got the total weight down to around 21 pounds with 2.5 lbs of food and 1 liter of water. I was very pleased with the pack. I really did not feel the weight at all. No problems with weight on my shoulders and the hip belt worked great.

I also thought I would pass on my layering system for this day hike. My base layer was a Terramar climasense 3 half-zip. I then had a mid-weight fleece half-zip. On top of that I wore a RAB strata jacket (polar Tec) and my hard shell was my Arcteryx Squamish hoody. After about an hour, I was out of the RAB strata jacket and hiked the rest of the day with only 3 layers (never got much above 20 degrees) with snow falling most of the day. Oh, I did wear a Mountain Hardware micro-fleece hat and smart wool gloves.

I cannot speak highly enough about the Arcteryx jacket. It is on sale now at REI and Backcountry.com. It is not waterproof but repelled the snow that melted on the jacket. I had no condensation inside during this trip. The jacket was very breathable and blocked the wind. This layering system would handle temperatures from single digits to the 50s. On my last trip the temperature started in the teens on day one and ended up in the 60’s on day four. I used a smartwool short sleeve T on that trip when it warmed up.

I am planning a two day hike the Trace later this month and Taum Sauk in April. I may have a short hiatus due to torn cartilage in my right knee (going to find out about that this week).

Wolf Pen Hollow Waterfall.JPG
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GoLite Jam Pack.JPG
GoLite Jam Pack.JPG (66.45 KiB) Viewed 1565 times
MoTreks
 
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Re: Middle Fork in the Snow

Postby mike » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:57 am

Nothing like hiking in the snow!
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Location: Paragould, AR

Re: Middle Fork in the Snow

Postby MoTreks » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:48 am

I would prefer a soft powder but you are right about hiking in the snow. As a kid I would take off on snowy days with a canvas Boy Scout pack, my scout mess kit and a can of pork and bean soup. I loved building a fire in the snow and heating up my soup. I still like making the fires but a can of soup is too heavy. I take dehydrated tortilla soup now.
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