Beating the Heat in the Ozarks

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We needed an overnighter, and I wanted to give my Four Wheel Camper Raven Shell a trial run, so Hiker-dog and I headed to White Rock Mountain, the highest location close to home at 2,260 feet. I was encouraged to see the temperature reading on my dashboard go down from 90 to 82 during our drive up.

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When we arrived, we selected a site with the help of Jeff, one of the caretakers. He knew level would work best with the pop-up truck camper and was spot-on with site number 2.

IMG_5465rrAfter a quick camp set up, it was time to walk the loop trail as the sun went lower in the sky. We began by walking the eastern side, enjoying the shade and remembering earlier hikes when we first saw the stone well…or spring. Water was flowing several feet below.

I kept Hiker-dog on her leash the whole loop, and she handled it well though I noticed her looking longingly at movement she would have liked to pursue. 

Berries and blooms are benefits from warm weather hiking, but ticks are the downside. I picked some blackberries for snacks and then two ticks before they had time to attach to my legs.

Part of the reason for our hike was to give a new hiking stick some trail provenance before I passed it on to a friend for his years of service to our church. As part of his last sermon, Pastor Bob gave his hiking staff on to our new pastor as a symbol of the confidence he had in the younger pastor’s ability. His kind gesture impressed me, but I thought he needed a new staff, so I contacted Mike Parks, an excellent carver and musician and asked him to do a stick for me. After receiving the new staff, Pastor Bob named it Elijah.

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Elijah’s first hike

It was a treat to sleep in the camper as the evening temperature came down to the upper 60s. The roof fan created a nice draft through the windows, and I realized this was going to be a useful rig in any but the hottest season. Hiker-dog slept in her crate next to the back of the truck and didn’t make a sound all night (one of her many good qualities). 

I woke to the sound of birdsongs. I realized the sun was coming up and sprang out of the camper and headed to the eastern side of the mountain with Hiker-dog. Breakfast would have to wait. We caught some views of sunrise and walked the trail for our morning exercise.

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IMG_5538rrThe morning light made Hiker-dog glow in the reddish morning sun as we took in the views from a shelter on the east side of the mountain. She was one happy dog, and so was I!

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I love backpacking, but on a trip where pack weight isn’t a concern, eggs and bacon are hard to beat. After breakfast with the morning’s beauty still fresh in our minds, we headed back home, rejuvenated by our quick summer camping trip.

Other favorites for summer hiking:
Mount Magazine, the high point of Arkansas at 2,753 feet.
Go west and get higher! New Mexico is a favorite state because it’s a shorter drive but any of the western states have jewels to explore during the summer. Even valley camping in New Mexico can easily be in the range of 5,000 feet and the dry air cools down quickly after sunset.

Please share your favorite summer backpacking, camping, or hiking locations. I’m always open to more options this time of year.

2 thoughts on “Beating the Heat in the Ozarks

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