Mount Magazine Trail to Lift the Spirits

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It had been too long since I walked the Mount Magazine Trail from Cove Lake to the top of the mountain.  Saturday’s day hike was a great chance to practice “social distancing” in the woods.  With the concerns over CORVID-19, a hiking trail is the perfect place to get some exercise and safe conversation with others.  We only encountered one couple hiking on the trail.

Becca and I camped at Cove Lake in the truck.  All was quiet in the campground, and temperatures were cool, perfect for sleeping.  I fired up the small propane heater for a few minutes on Saturday morning while preparing eggs, bacon, and potatoes for breakfast.  I wanted plenty of energy on this 10-mile hike that would test the progress of my right knee.

Becca drove the truck to the top of the mountain to meet me in about seven hours.  Steve, Roger, and I began what would be a demanding climb but in perfect weather conditions.  Water wasn’t going to be a concern. Every intermittent stream was flowing.

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We saw several big pine trees next to the trail. Steve slowed down so I could get a photo showing the size of this tree.

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When we arrive at Rock Creek, we spent a few minutes finding places to cross safely. I sat next to the creek and then tromped through in my hiking shoes. The cold water felt good!

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I spent a few minutes after lunch enjoying the large canopy of a pine as bright sunshine warmed my skin. Crisp air and sunlight poured new energy into my body as I sat staring at the sky.

IMG_3528rrSmall flashes of color whispered that we’re on the front end of spring.

Reflections on a wildlife pond caught my attention.IMG_3587rr

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IMG_3661rrSometimes little things next to the trail remind you of the complexity and symmetry in nature.

The final three miles of this hike to Cameron Bluff is one of the great climbs in Arkansas. When you get to the stone steps, you know you’re close to the top!

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As the minutes go by, you begin to wonder if someone’s adding more steps on the far end. It’s a heart-pounding climb!

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Top of the steps

Finally, the stairs twist and lead to the road that follows Cameron Bluff. An overlook is nearby and well worth a few extra steps. A short, and thankfully, level walk brings you to the campground. From the campground, it’s a quick trip to the high point of Arkansas at 2,753 feet. I include the Signal Hill (Highpoint) Trail and others in Five Star Trails: The Ozarks.

I always enjoy seeing the historic water fountain at the campground. The fountain is no longer in use, but reminds me of earlier camping trips before the mountain became a state park.

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I need to do this Cove Lake to Mount Magazine hike again soon. It gives a great physical workout while lifting the spirits, too!

4 thoughts on “Mount Magazine Trail to Lift the Spirits

  1. It made me smile to see your pics & read your narrative. I couldn’t find a hiking buddy yesterday so had to settle for a 2-hr walk in the hills of my neighborhood followed by weed pulling. It was nice to see so many people out in their yards working or playing w/dogs & kids. Enjoy the woods!

  2. Thanks for the memories. I raised my two children on three acres one mile north of Cove Lake. We hiked, bicycled, hunted, gardened, raised chickens and rabbits and went swimming on the side of Mount Magazine and Cove Lake. My children would get up extra early so they could catch the school bus as it made the circuit on the rural dirt roads on the north side of the mountain. They loved watching the sunrise and the wildlife on the ride.

    It would take me about an hour to bicycle from our home to the top of Mount Magazine, but only twenty minutes to ride back down. I wrote stories for the Ft Smith newspaper and a couple magazines about the Mount Magazine area and the people living there. One time a private plane crashed into the mountain and a rescue team had to carry the bodies several miles to the nearest road.

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