Friday, January 27, 2012

Shakeout Hike on the OHT

Sunrise over Haw Creek Falls

The last week of January, there was a week of perfect weather, and so we planned a shakeout hike on the Ozark Highland Trail (OHT), a 42 miler, from Ozone to Fairview Campgrounds.  With a nice shuttle ride from Mark Hodges at Hagarville Grocery, we left the car at Fairview, and began at Ozone.  We averaged around 10 miles per day, and saw some of the prettiest scenery I've ever seen in Arkansas.  We only saw one other person the entire 4 days we were on the trail.  All of our gear performed as expected, and we were warm, and ate well.  We still made note of a few things we needed to change before the BIG hike in March, but for the most part, felt we were well prepared.  All of Keith's thorough research had definitely paid off.  This trail was much steeper than I had anticipated, and it was probably one of the most difficult things I'ver ever done.  We were both carrying about 28 lbs on our backs, including food and 2 liters of water each.  I know that the Appalachian Trail (AT) will be even steeper, with much longer climbs and downhills, so I know this is just a small sample of what we have to look forward to.

It had rained hard two days before this hike, and so the creeks were all full, and waterfalls were flowing well.  Unfortunately, because of the high water levels, Hurricane Creek was not crossable, and we had to climb back up out of the valley we had just climbed down to!  That was a tough day.  Day 2 of this hike was especially nice, as we passed through a couple of valleys that had numerous waterfalls and gorgeous aqua pools.  Because of the high water, the low water bridge to Haw Creek Falls Campground was flooded, and we had it all to ourselves.  That night it reached 23 degrees, and when the sun rose over the Falls in the morning, the mist rising from the falls made an amazing picture. 

The main thing I made note of on this hike was that I needed a half-size bigger boots (ouch)!

Slot Rock on the OHT


One-lane bridge over Big Piney


Unknown said...

Beautiful photos! Good luck on the hike of a lifetime!

Kathleen Davis said...

Such a wonderful beginning for your adventure. I enjoyed reading about your preparation, and love the pictures!
-Kathleen Davis