Courtois Section - Highway 8 to Bass 9/22-9/24/17

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Courtois Section - Highway 8 to Bass 9/22-9/24/17

Postby Pat R. » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:41 pm

My buddy Jamie and I planned the hike over these dates a couple months ago. We had previously done Onondaga to Bass on a short overnight and wanted to hike the next section of trail. We had hoped it would be a little cooler but weren't going to change our plans. We parked our car at Bass and had them shuttle us to Highway 8. We got on trail about 11:30 on Friday the 22nd.

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With as dry as it has been we were both carrying a lot of water

Jamie leading the way up trail.

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We could not find the "small pool" listed as a water source on the maps between miles 33 and 34, the whole creek bed looked really dry. We had figured this would be the case with some of the water sources as dry as it was and continued heading North. The wildlife pond near mile 30 was the first sign of water we had seen anywhere on the trail. We were planning on camping near Beecher Spring and had plenty of water to make it there, but not being familiar with the spring we were uncertain if it was guaranteed to have water. With that in mind we both filled our dirty water bags with water from the pond as a last resort figuring we would filter and boil it if we had to. Neither of us was excited about the prospect of using that water.

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As we started down toward Beecher we ran into this guy in the middle of the trail.

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At first glance Jamie thought it was a hog nose but there was something about it that did not look right to me. It turns out we both had our first encounter with a rattlesnake in the wild in Missouri. We kept our distance and let him slither on off across the trail while I took a couple photos.

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Anybody know what type of rattle snake this is?

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We made it to Beecher Spring and were happy to find the clear and cold flowing water.

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We decided to camp there at the existing site at the spring so we could use as much water as we wanted that night and the next morning risking the chance of having visitors via the old road leading to the area during the night. You could tell there had been recent traffic on the road as the long grass was matted down, but we lucked out and no one showed up.

The downed tree made for a nice table.

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My Kelty Salida 2

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Favorite piece of gear I have ever bought.

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Jamie just used his sleeping bag and pad in a bivy sack for this trip. Last time we were out he was in a hammock.

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Nobody came down the road overnight but we had two or three groups come through on horseback before 6:30 am. The first one was multiple horses and woke me from a dead sleep as they came thundering down the trail. I was still in my tent and did not get a picture of them as they rode by and shouted a good morning to us. We had a lazy morning and both loaded as much water as we were able to carry after breakfast and got on trail around 10 a.m.

Taking a break on day two.

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We ran into a few mountain bikers on day two who thankfully took down all the spider webs for us, I had eaten plenty on day 1. The only other hiker we saw was southbound and we crossed paths just before we got to the Northern connection with the Berryman Loop and the Harmon Spring area.

Is there really a spring at Harmon, we never found it? Would love to know. We ended up filtering some water 50 or so yards upstream from where the trail crosses the creek out of a pool that looked like it was moving.

The second night we camped on the bank of the Courtois at an existing spot we happened across.

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Jamie wasn't very excited about filtering water out of the Courtois but it was the best option we had.

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The third day was just a short cruise into bass before noon but definitely some of the best views we had on this trip.

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We stopped for one last break before we made our way down to Bass.

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Overall we had a great trip and can't wait to get back out on the trail. With as dry as it has been there is definitely not a lot of water out there but we had planned for that and the heat so all came off without any problems.

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Pat R.
 
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:14 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Courtois Section - Highway 8 to Bass 9/22-9/24/17

Postby Mark J » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:46 pm

Timber rattlesnake: https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-natu ... attlesnake.

Nice pics, great report!
Mark J
 
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Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:34 pm

Re: Courtois Section - Highway 8 to Bass 9/22-9/24/17

Postby mike » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:34 am

Enjoyed the report and pics. Still too hot for me!
mike
 
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 3:37 pm
Location: Paragould, AR

Re: Courtois Section - Highway 8 to Bass 9/22-9/24/17

Postby Jim » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:06 pm

Those horses were on a 75 mie/100 mile race. I am sure that noise would have cost me some sleeping bag drying time. :lol:
Jim
 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:07 pm
Location: O'Fallon, MO


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