Deep Greens and a Healing Spring

Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green

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Alley Mill, Missouri

My wife and I spent three days exploring springs in the Ozarks of Missouri. Alley Mill Spring was one of my first springs to visit two falls ago*. Revisiting this week reminded me of the rich grays of limestone and wood mixed with blues and deep greens.

The unifying and ever-present element that connects each scene for me is the color green. Sitting still to drink in the greens on mossy rocks and swirling under the water heals my soul and quiets my spirit.

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Cascades below Alley Spring

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Looking across the deep spring vent toward Alley Mill

After my first visit to Alley Mill, I immediately changed my travel plans and camped close by so I could visit the next morning and avoid the crowds. Hiker-dog and I walked the trails and included a description in Five Star Trails: The Ozarks, (my two-year labor of love).

A Special Guest on My Home Trail

The goal of this morning’s hike on the Lake Alma Trail was to pick up a couple of trashy spots I’d noticed on my last couple of walks. I never expected to be greeted by a bald eagle as Hiker-dog and I began at the west end of the dam.

I rarely attempt photos of birds, especially in flight, but I couldn’t resist.  Watching this bird was an early morning thrill.

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Even my “home trail” holds surprises and visual treasure if I pay attention and watch for the beauty.

Everything you need to know for day hiking

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Hiker-dog is always ready for a day hike.

It’s a treat to post for the Menasha Ridge Press Blog. As publisher of trail guides, including The Ozarks, they feature their own authors.

I enjoyed listing the basics of day hiking all in one post. Please share with those who want to get started. Hiker-dog thinks I need to write a post entitled, “Everything You Need to Know for Hiking With Dogs.” Maybe after I’ve had more experience.

Follow this link to the post: Everything You Need to Know for Day Hiking

“Selfie” from Atop Mt. Whitney

WordPress Photo Challenge: Atop

IMG_4911rrAfter 21 days on the John Muir Trail, we climbed to the top of Mount Whitney. I have an aversion to selfies but felt compelled to capture this visual souvenir.

These feet brought me here, so they were deserving of recognition atop this beautiful fourteener. My face only hitched a ride. In route, my face exhibited expressions of exhaustion, worry, a little fear, and occasional pain. Prior to this point on the trail, these feet planted themselves over 2,100,000 times without a whimper or complaint.

Take a break my trusted friends, and pose for your well-deserved selfie!

The Ozarks – more feedback from readers

dyer-lfs-0117r“Enjoyed the great outdoors at Lake Fort Smith yesterday using our copy of Jim Warnock’s book, The Ozarks! We’re already planning future hikes with it too! 10/10 would recommend purchasing it! All we needed was our own Hiker-dog!”  – Trey, Delaney and Darian

Wish these kids could have seen the smile on my face when I receive their message and photo. My biggest kick comes from seeing my book on the trail. Knowing it’s relevant to these energetic young people is a bonus. Below are comments for The Ozarks posted on Amazon.com. I’m thankful that hikers are liking my two-year labor of love!

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Seeing The Ozarks at Pack Rat in Fayetteville was a thrill!

Ozarks Dax bookstore

Former student, Dax, found The Ozarks in Hot Springs

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-amThe best trail book I’ve ever read. That’s comparing others written for Northern CA to Maine, and everything in-between. This guide not only offers suggestions for day hikes, but how get there, what to expect on the trail, side-trails to hit or skip, how far to civilization to stock up on supplies, and noteworthy places to stop and gawk when on the road from here to there.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am This is a very helpful book for anyone interested in hiking in the Ozarks. Whether you are a beginner or an avid hiker there is an Ozark trail here for you. We are especially interested in the Mulberry and Buffalo rivers and were happy to see that several of the trails are in those areas. Looking forward to seeing how many of these we can mark off our list in the upcoming year…

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am I enjoy hiking and found Jim Warnock’s guidebook an excellent source for planning and making decisions about trails in the Ozarks. I have hiked some of the trails he described, but the additional information is greatly appreciated. I plan to continue making great use of the book for future adventures. Mr. Warnock displays great insights into enjoyable hiking adventures and it is certainly very evident he speaks from vast experiences in the great outdoors. I certainly appreciate his work on this publication and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in the beauty of the outdoors.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am Invaluable resource for nature lovers who would like to experience the great beauty of the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks. Hikers will find the detailed information particularly helpful.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am Excellent read. Planning already.

Visit my author page on Amazon to see reviews and my book signing schedule.

Gift from the Ozarks: A Children’s Story

I wrote this picture book for a class of first graders and was pleased with their response. Young children can be a tough crowd, but they liked it! I used photos and part of the story from a thru-hike of the Ozark Highlands Trail that Bob and I did a couple of years ago. Click on the title page above to open a pdf of the little book.

Follow the next links to read a more detailed account of our trip on the Ozark Highlands Trail.

  1. Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat: The Ozark Highlands Trail
  2. Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat, Continued-Fairview to Tyler Bend and a New Hiking Partner

WordPress Photo Challenge: Gifts from “A Road Taken” in the High Sierras

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Sky pilot flowers

The road taken was 210 miles of the John Muir Trail last July. Each step gave fresh glimpses of beauty.

While struggling up a mountain ridge, a burst of aroma passed over me from sky pilot flowers on a granite face next to the trail.

This sweet breeze renewed my strength and quickened my step. The memory of those surprising sky pilots were pressed deep into my memory so that they still overtake me at unexpected times as unexpected gifts.

WordPress Photo Challenge: The Road Taken

Sharing the Trails at Devil’s Den State Park

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Small falls upstream from Marinoni Falls on the OHT

I’m looking forward to sharing a thru-hike of the Ozark Highlands Trail in photos and stories on Saturday, February 25, at 3:45. The program will be in the pavilion at Devil’s Den State Park. I’ll also share some photos from Five Star Trails: The Ozarks. If you’re in the area, come out and make a day…or weekend of it. Great camping and trails at Devil’s Den!

Five Star Trails Poster 022517 Trail Symposium

Microsoft Word - 2017 Arkansas Trails Symposium Schedule

My Little Piece of the OHT

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Jack Creek at the east end of my adopted section.

Today we hiked about eight miles out and back to check my adopted section of the Ozark Highlands Trail. It runs four miles following the creek drainage from Dockery Gap Trailhead west to the campsite on Jack Creek.

img_9367rrI was surprised to see a brand new trailhead kiosk. At some time in the past, I emailed a request for a kiosk here since the Dockery Gap Trailhead served as the main entrance point during construction of the Lake Fort Smith State Park. I hope it lasts and is left alone.

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While we’re on the subject of signage, the new mile markers look good, showing miles from both directions. I like the OHT logo, too!

Temperatures were in the low 60s, unusual for this time of year. We (Hiker-dog and I) saw a total of 8 hikers during the day. I met a couple of backpackers from Oklahoma finishing up as we started out. They gave me a good report on trail conditions. Another backpacker crossed the road heading east as I arrived and three more hikers were coming out of the Jack Creek drainage as I was going down.

Close to the Jack Creek campsite, we met a couple from Michigan, hiking from Lake Fort Smith State Park to Big Piney. I enjoyed visiting with them, and they seemed to enjoy Hiker-dog’s enthusiastic attention. I was impressed that they traveled from Michigan specifically to do the OHT. They looked prepared and were hiking strong, so I have no doubt that they’ll have a good trip.

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Kyle and Mary from Michigan

Crossing one of the drainages I was reminded of the power of nature. A set of large boulders I’ve passed many times had been rearranged by flooded creeks sometime since my last visit.

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This lone patch of Daffodils hinted at earlier residents a short distance from the trail. I’d never noticed domesticated flowers on my section of the OHT before.

img_9379rrThe always-reliable, “Rusty Spring” was flowing as usual. Hiker-dog passed it by, so I followed her example and fought the urge to take a sip.

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Jack Creek at the west end of my adopted section.

As I filtered water from Jack Creek, Hiker-dog took a dip and then went upstream to introduce herself to the couple from Michigan. I came along later and met them.

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Ecstasy!

On this warm day, Hiker-dog went for water often. She takes great delight in lowering herself into a pool of water, shaking off and then dipping again.

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The shake.

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A cool dog…

After her cooling swim, Hiker is ready to run. I didn’t jump into the creek, but the water was refreshing to drink. I looked forward to walking the four miles back to the trailhead, enjoying a freshly cleared trail from our trip out. Far from being a chore, maintaining my little piece of the OHT is a joy!

If you’re in the area, come to the Arkansas Trails Symposium at Devil’s Den State Park on February 25. I’ll share my Ozark Highlands Trail thru-hike in photos and stories at 3:45 p.m. and have Five Star Trails: The Ozarks on hand for signing afterward.

Microsoft Word - 2017 Arkansas Trails Symposium Schedule