This is a favorite loop trail in Northwest Arkansas and the beginning of the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT). When Mike asked about doing this section, I immediately thought of the recent rains and coming colder temperatures and said, “Yes!” I didn’t realize that Mike hadn’t done this path, so I had fun watching him discover new trail.
It was 31 degrees at the trailhead and sleet mixed with light snow was falling. This was unusual for early April in Arkansas.
Mike commented that he thought I needed more clothing. Thinking I’d warm up in a few minutes, I’d left a down vest in my pack. The cold felt good, especially when I thought of how much I would wish for these temperatures in a couple of months.
The Shepherd Spring Loop was one of the first trails I wrote about for Five Star Trails: The Ozarks. I remember how Hiker-dog and I enjoyed walking this trail and how excited I was to share it with others.
Mike asked about Shepherd Spring and if it was close to the trail. I said I’d let him know if he walked past it.
Mike got the joke when he reached the spring which was flowing nicely. Hiker-dog took a long drink from the spring.
The second chimney came into view and conjured up thoughts about the families that once lived here sharing the nearby spring. I could almost picture children running through the woods and climbing into the spring to cool off.
We decided to check water levels where the OHT crosses Frog Bayou. It could be easily crossed at this point, but conditions can change quickly.
As we returned to the loop trail, Mike noticed a side stream flowing nearby. I couldn’t resist stopping for a photo as I enjoyed the soft sounds of flowing water.
I’m always amazed by big rocks. The upper bench part of this loop has no shortage of large boulders.
From the top of this flat rock overlook, you can see the inlet of Jack Creek and view the valley that holds the OHT where it continues on toward the east for a couple of hundred miles.
This 6-mile hike was just what the doctor ordered for both of us. We stopped at the Dairy Dream to pick up a couple of Mountainburgers. This was my first Mountainburger, and it was delicious!
Mike commented that we’re lucky to have so much beauty and so much to do in our part of the state. There are always new trails to explore and new sandwiches to enjoy afterward!
It was a great day. Always fun to hike with The Legendary Jim Warnock. MM