Friday, June 5, 2015

Goggins Mountain

On Monday and Tuesday I did the Goggins Mountain Loop at Johnson's Shut-Ins SP and part of the Taum Sauk section of the Ozark Trail. 
Ozark Trail is in red, Goggins Mtn blue, and my track is purple.

For Missouri in June, the weather was cool - just the way I like it!

Goggins Mountain wasn't too steep, but I could definitely tell I was going uphill. The trail is also open to equestrian use, so there was lots of uh...evidence that horses had been there.

A pack of wild hogs ran across my path about 4-5 miles into the Goggins Mountain trail. There are no pictures of that because I was far too scared to think of taking a picture!! My first encounter with potentially dangerous wildlife! But I guess they either heard (or smelled) me coming and were in the process of scattering. I just stood still for a minute until I couldn't hear them anymore and then continued on. Throughout both trails I saw evidence of them (lots of dug up earth), but didn't see them again.

This trip was my first time using hiking poles. I'm undecided as to whether I like them or not. :/  I like the idea of extra stability, but sometimes they just seemed to get in the way. What do you guys think? Do you like hiking poles? Why or why not?

The view at the crossroads of the Ozark Trail and Goggins Mountain. So pretty!
This picture makes my feet almost look small and cute! Hahaha They are anything but!
I was optimistically planning on three 10-mile days and continuing on the OT to the Bell Mountain loop. I've never done that many miles with a heavy pack, so I had to adjust and decided to make it a two day, 16.8 mile trip instead. I definitely need to work on lightening up my pack so that 10 miles/day isn't as exhausting! Carrying less food is the first adjustment - I came home with pounds of food!

Small pond

There was a nice little primitive campsite at Padfield Branch where I stopped for the night. Enough flat ground for several tents and a firepit. I got to try out my new (used) tent - the Eureka Solitaire and I loved it. Just a smidge roomier than my old tent. It rained a little overnight, but I stayed nice and dry. And I was surprised at how warm I was in the tent, even with temps dropping into the 50s.

Someone left their shoe behind!

water source near the campsite

The OT was so overgrown in places! Thankfully the trail is still well marked so I didn't lose my way (I guess I should also thank my GPS app! So useful!)

This is the trail. Seriously. :/

These cairns were super helpful in finding the trail over the rocky terrain. Good job OTA!

Unfortunately, I lost my Steripen while on the Ozark Trail. :(  It was hooked onto an outer loop of my pack and the loop broke. I tried to find it as I backtracked, but was not successful. I'd already been thinking of switching to a Sawyer Mini, but I'm still bummed to lose the Steripen! So if anyone finds a Steripen on miles 6-9 of the Taum Sauk section, let me know!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Washington State Park

Earlier this year I made an excel spreadsheet (I'm a total nerd!) of all the trails in Missouri that I wanted to try out this year. I have my favorites and I'm getting tired of doing them over and over again. I want to try new ones!

On May 19, I decided to finally try out Washington State Park. I'd always avoided this one - I think I got it confused with Route 66 State Park, which is close to Washington, MO and which has paved trails (not my thing!). I was so wrong about this park - it's a great one!

I did two trails - Opossum Track and 1,000 Steps. They were both short (2.5 miles and 1.5 miles respectively), but were so steep and rugged! 


Looking up at the treetops

All the trailheads are near enough to each other that it's easy to do one right after the other.

Pretty flowers!

1,000 Steps has a neat little shelter about a half mile in that has a nice overlook. It overlooks farmland, but it's still pretty.

I had originally planned on doing the third trail - Rockywood Trail - while I was there, but about a half mile from the end of the second trail, I slipped and banged my arm pretty hard on a rock. :/  My first major hiking fall! It freaked me out enough that I decided to just go home instead of continue on. Got x-rays after I got home and showered and thankfully not broken! But 2 weeks later and it still hurts!

Have any of you ever had any major falls while hiking? Were you alone or with others?