Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Every year March brings two wonderful things to my life, the Jayhawks playing in the NCAA tournament, and early Spring backpacking. This past weekend brought both. On Saturday we drove six hours south to the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas, where we have been hiking sections of the Ozark Highlands Trail over the past five years. To date we have logged about sixty miles on this trail with four Spring weekend trips. This year we repeated a favorite section of ours, through the Hurricane Creek Wildreness Area. We headed out on the trail late in the day, and found a trailside campground perched at the edge of a cliff about a mile hike into the forest.

Packs loaded and ready to go!

Evening on the trail.

Once we set up camp, we enjoyed a dinner of Black Bean Tamale Pie. While I'm sure the dehydrated goodness of a Backpackers Pantry meal would not be as good at home, after hauling ourselves and about 30 pounds of stuff up a steep hill, it was super tasty.

Enjoying a backcountry fire with Montana.

The view out across the Ozarks from our first camp.

Sunday morning at our site.

On the second day we hiked about five and a half miles to Hurricane Creek. A few trees were flowering in the forest, this photo makes the trail look deceptively flat...

We camped Sunday night along the creek, from which we were able to pump water, and wash off our tired feet in the cold, clear water. Hiking only five miles gave us lots of time to relax and enjoy exploring the creek and the surrounding area.

On Sunday afternoon we crossed the creek and hiked about a mile to a natural bridge atop a tall rock wall.

Me in my water/camp shoes getting ready to cross the creek again. Our tent is visible on the far side of the creek.

Looking out at the creek from inside the tent. Room with a view!

Monday morning was drizzly and gray, so we packed up camp pretty quickly. After breakfast and coffee we headed back out of the woods, passing a few little flowers trailside, and many small creeks before hitting the parking lot and the drive home.