First time poster/ OT Hiker

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First time poster/ OT Hiker

Postby Makinwaves » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:33 pm

Hello all,

I've been browsing the OT website, maps and Forum and I think I have a fairly decent plan but I value the experience of people who have "been there, done that." I've only got 1 night and 2 days so I'm planning on catching a shuttle from Ozark Outdoors this Saturday morning to Bass Resort and hiking back to my car. I plan on stopping to hammock camp at the designated spot near Bat Cave Saturday night and finishing the hike Sunday morning. It should be about 12.4 miles total so splitting it in half should make it fairly relaxed. I hear there's bears in the area so I got Bear spray and a bear vault for my food. Does this sound like a viable plan? Any advice, suggestions, warnings...?

About me since I'm new here... I'm a 51 year old guy who caught the hiking bug last year when presented with an opportunity to hike in Zion National Park after a work trip to Vegas with a co-worker who is an experienced hiker. We did 16 miles with Angel's Landing included. I fell in love with it and have been collecting gear and hiking/camping every month since then, even through the winter. Along with several short hikes in the Loess Hills of western Iowa I did a week on the Centennial Trail in South Dakota this June. Next month I'm going back to Zion to do some of the trails we didn't get to. Next May/June I'm going back to finish the Centennial. I'd like to do the entire Ozark trail eventually.

I hope to hear from some of you.
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Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:34 pm

Re: First time poster/ OT Hiker

Postby runners_low » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:39 pm

Hello Makingwaves

I'm not the experienced hiker to advise you, being similarly new to backpacking myself. I do want to welcome you to the forum however.

I don''t believe there are any bears on the northern trail and they would be extremely rare, though they have been sighted, in southern Missouri. My brother-in-law saw one at Sam A Baker Park years ago. An occasional cougar has been spotted in SW Missouri but they were believed to be roaming males rather than local residents. There are lots of wild hogs on the OT and OHT. The Bell Mountain area is covered with rutting from pigs.

I would not carry a bear vault. Hanging your bag should be sufficient and that is mainly to discourage small animals.

If you are looking for an another overnight hike you should consider Bell Mountain Loop. The loop exits the OT to the east. When you reach the loop section, going east, take the right trail and you will shortly come to one of the nicest overlook/camping spots anywhere on the trail. You could camp there and finish the loop, counter clockwise, on day 2. A must do, and a great time to go. It is a short overnight but you could go south a ways on the OT if you wanted more miles, then return to Bell Mountain to camp. We went last fall and it was gorgeous.

Another short hike I would recommend is the Buffalo River Trail at Ponca, Arkansas. That area is one of the most remote and rugged anywhere around. It is a kayaking and canoeing favorite in spring and in wet weather and the trail is equally special. If you want to see the beauty of the area check out Patrick Caple's (no trail required) videos on Youtube. He has some great footage including drone video.

The OT website has some nice features to aid hikers. Go to the thru-hiker section under the trail tab to access valuable trail details and for GPS info. On the detail listing click on the mile number on the left and you can access google map and satellite pictures of the location. YouTube has some nice trail video for the Curtois section. Check out Spiffyguy and XCCrow among others. Almost like being there.

Something that may interest you is the OT/OHT connection plans. Eventually the trails will be connected and we will have close to 500 miles of continuous trail. Several disconnected sections already exist, and only need connection trails. Examples are the OT West, David's Trail on Lake Norfork, and the Ozark Highlands East (Sylamre) section. This is a great time to become involved with the OT. I just joined and plan to get involved as I will be retiring soon. Lots of weekend projects also.

Perhaps more info that you want but you will see I am excited about hiking, as it sounds you are.

Sounds like a great hike give us a report when completed.

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Re: First time poster/ OT Hiker

Postby Makinwaves » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:19 am

Thanks for the advice!
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Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:34 pm

Re: First time poster/ OT Hiker

Postby bikehikefish » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:24 pm

Welcome to backpacking and to this forum.

Be sure to spray your clothing with permethrin to keep the ticks off, it is much more effective than deet.

That is a nice section of trail from Bass to Ozark Outdoors. Be sure to take the short side hike down to the Scotia Furnace ruins, which is maybe a quarter mile down hill off the trail when you get to the water filled remnant of the old iron mine. There is an unmarked trail that follows the gully down the hill towards the shooting range.
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Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:12 pm
Location: Richmond Heights MO

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