On Saturday, November 2, about thirty hikers enjoyed a potluck dinner and visited around the campfire, continuing the traditional annual Hare Mountain Hike-In to the high point of the Ozark Highlands Trail. It never fails that I meet new hikers and enjoy catching up with old trail friends, too.
When I arrived, someone pointed out the walking stick on my walking stick. Just had to catch a photo of this little friend before moving him back to the leaves.
Some of my trail friends are aware of my obsession with spoons. As I walked up Hare Mountain from Morgan Fields Trailhead, I noticed a spoon in the middle of the trail. It reminded me of the one Bob found for me at Lynn Hollow (on the right in the picture below).
I picked up what I thought was probably someone’s serving spoon intended for the potluck later that evening. After arriving at the top of the mountain and visiting for a minute, I remembered the spoon and pulled it out, asking if anyone was missing a spoon. Norma was excited to see it and said it went with her casserole.
Miles won the heaviest dish award with his dutch oven cooking. The smell was amazing, and from all reports, his results were top notch.
Each year we’re seeing more young people coming up for the meal and camping for the night. Spread the word to watch for next year’s Hike-In about this same time. Sharing our love for the trail and our volunteer efforts was an encouragement to everyone. A few funny trail stories always crop up around the campfire. The group made a toast to several elder hiker friends who have passed on during the past few years.
After dinner, I walked back down to Morgan Fields Trailhead and slept in my truck camper with Hiker-dog. Temperatures were in the upper 20s Sunday morning, perfect for hitting the trail!
Hiker-dog was excited to do an early morning walk on the Dawna Robinson Spur Trail. We paused to check on the memorial marker by headlamp early in the walk. The Ozark Highlands Trail Association (OHTA) purchased the marker, and Bob Robinson installed it in 2012 after OHTA volunteers completed the trail. The marker is as beautiful today as the day it was put in place.
Toward the end of our hike, we paused at a favorite bluff.
Once back at the trailhead, we walked down to the Mulberry River where frost flowers lined the shore. They’re a special little treat for those who rise early on cold mornings in the Ozarks.
Because of our early start, we easily drove back home in time to get to church where I play drums during the music service. Playing drums and regular time on the trails helps alleviate my squirminess in the pew. As I drove, I thought of the beautiful cathedral I’d already visited during the early morning on the trail.