Day Hiking the OT

Post a narrative about your trip on the Ozark Trail

Day Hiking the OT

Postby Floyd & Kathy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:06 pm

In the spring of 2011 we hiked the first 13 miles of the Courtois section of the Ozark Trail. It was a great hike and we knew we wanted to hike the rest of the trail. We didn't know how we could make it work with us living 3 hours from any part of the trail and with the need to plan around the work of our cattle farm. We contnued to hike many trails close to home but the desire to hike the OT was never far from our minds.

In 2014, the year we both turned 60, we decided if we were going to hike the trail we needed to just do it. We set a goal to hike to the western trailhead and also the Trace Creek and Taum Sauk sections. We decided to day hike as much of the trail as possible since day hiking is what we truly enjoy. Each trip we made took a lot of planning. We did our research using the Ozark Trail web site, the trail maps, and the National Forest maps. We planned out a couple of sections at a time and would spend a day checking out trailheads, parking places and campgrounds before the hiking trips were made.

Our trips usually consisted of 2 to 3 days of hiking and we hiked an averaged of 7 miles a day going north to south on the trail. We established base camps and we shuttled ourselves leaving our vehicles at trailheads and on forest roads where the trail crossed. Many miles were traveled on all types of roads to reach our parking places. Traveling these roads was an adventure of its own. We left vehicles in some very remote places but never had a problem with vandalism.

We camped at Huzzah Conservation Area, Bass Resort, Berryman, Hazel Creek, Council Bluff, Sutton Bluff, Himont Trailhead, Powder Mill, Peck Ranch, Big Spring National Park(before the flood), Big Spring RV park(after the flood). and Johnson Shut-Ins. We used the Alton Motel (old but clean) when we hiked the Eleven Point. We backpacked 18 miles of Taum Sauk in 2014 and in 2017 we did a day hike and a backpacking trip to complete the Taum Sauk Section. We used Franklin Floats (great people) out of Lesterville for our shuttles.

All our hikes were done in the fall, winter, and spring. We used the OT maps for guidance, no GPS. We had very little trouble following the trail including through Peck Ranch which we had read was difficult to follow. A few times we had to stop and look but were always able to find the trail. We estimate it took us around 40 days to complete the 9 countinuous sections of th trail. We don't know how many trips we actually made in the almost 4 years it took, but we made it to the western trailhead on Oct.31, 2017 and we finished hiking the final section of Taum Sauk on Nov. 28, 2017.

The trail consists of deep valleys and hollows, flowing rivers, waterfalls, springs, and dry creek beds, steep hills and mountains, massive boulders, moss covered rocks, caves, and shu-ins, flowering trees and spring flowers, and the brilliant colors of the forest in the fall. We walked on soft moss and pine needles, dry noisy leaves and slippery wet leaves, dirt and hard ground, and lots and lots of rocks of all sizes.

Each section of the trail is unique in its own way. Our favorite sections are: 1. Eleven Point with its hills and deep deep valleys which seem to go on forever. 2. Karkaghne, which we hiked when thousands and thousands of dogwoods were in full bloom. 3. Current River with Kelpzig Mill, Buzzaard Mountain Shut-Ins, and the view from Stegall Mountain. 4. Taum Sauk with Mina Sauk Falls and the 13 miles from Hwy N to Bell Mountain TH with vistas around every curve that went on for miles. Taum Sauk was difinitely the most difficult section with its very steep climbs and very rough rocky trail.

Our pace was slow, partly because one of us has a very short stride, and because we spent a lot of time stopping to enjoy and explore the surroundings and just enjoying the whole experience. Hiking this trail has been easy, it has been difficult but it has always been beautiful and unforgettable. We are so glad to have had this great adventure in our lives.

The verse from Job 37:14 was often in our minds as we hiked through God's beautiful creation: "Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God."

Floyd and Kathy, the hiking farmers
Floyd & Kathy
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Re: Day Hiking the OT

Postby steve l » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:33 pm

Nice write-up.
steve l
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Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:05 pm

Re: Day Hiking the OT

Postby Kutter » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:07 am

Very nice!
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Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:12 pm

Re: Day Hiking the OT

Postby Jim » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:48 am

GOTCHASUM!!! Nice work.
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:07 pm
Location: O'Fallon, MO

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