High Sierras and The Ozarks at Hobbs State Park on Sunday, Sept. 24

I’m looking forward to presenting the John Muir Trail and my book, The Ozarks, at Hobbs State Park! Please share with all who love the outdoors. A pdf is below the photo in case you’d like to print a flier. Five Star Trails Poster 092417 Hobbs State Park

Here’s a link to the Hobbs State Park description of the program. I’m honored to share in such a beautiful location!

Long Distance Hiking: Taking a Break or Getting Broken

Here’s a pdf of the flier if you’d like to print and share. Five Star Trails Poster 092417 Hobbs State Park 

Hiker-dog on the 2017 Arkansas Literary Festival Poster

final_online_AR_Gems_PosterI was pleased when Tanya, with Menasha Ridge Press, contacted me several months ago to say that my book would be included on the 2017 Arkansas Gems List poster. I never dreamed the poster would be so beautiful!

It pleased me to see Hiker-dog resting on a high bluff over the Current River in Missouri. On that fall day as we hiked the Ozark Trail, I couldn’t have imagined that the work giving us such pleasure would someday be shared with a full room at the Arkansas Literary Festival. Having this book appear on The 2017 Arkansas Gems List was icing on the cake! final_online_AR_Gems_Poster zoom
final_online_AR_Gems_Poster small cropI’m looking forward to sharing slideshows and trail talks at the following events. Please spread the word!

Sunday, September 24 at 2 p.m.  Hobbs State Park in Rogers, Arkansas –  I’ll be sharing strategies for completing the John Muir Trail and packing hints as well as photos. I’ll also share an over view of Five Star Trails: The Ozarks complete with photos and a few stories along the way. Book signing will follow.

Friday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m.  Springfield Conservation Nature Center in Springfield, Missouri  – I’ll be sharing the John Muir Trail and The Ozarks in words and photos. Book signing will follow.

Saturday, October 21 time TBA  Backpacking Arkansas Gathering at Shady Lake Campground in the Ouachita Mountains – Sharing strategies for completing the John Muir Trail, packing hints, and High Sierras photos. I’ll also share an overview of Five Star Trails: The Ozarks. Hiker-dog will attend this event that includes a variety of sessions and some time on the trails. Lots of cool door prizes at this event! Make a weekend of it at the beautiful Shady Lake Campground.

Arkansas’ Island in the Sky

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Cameron Bluff on Mount Magazine

Residents of the Ozarks hanker for higher elevations this time of year. I wish Arkansas had an 8,000-foot mountain, but it would be crowded with the whole state huddled at the top through July and August.

Fortunately, there is a place where you can sometimes escape the south’s summer heat and humidity. Mount Magazine, at 2,753 feet, is Arkansas’ island in the sky and offers a wide array of beautifully maintained hiking trails and facilities.

Years ago, I visited Mount Magazine and saw the remaining footprint of the 1940 WPA Lodge that burned in 1971. The huge stone wall that formed the terrace for that earlier lodge now stands below a massive new lodge, completed in 2006. All rooms feature views across the Blue Mountain Lake and valley. To learn more about the history of this area, check out Don Simons’ book, Mount Magazine (Images of America).

The lodge and surrounding cabins are beautiful as is the campground, located a short walk from Cameron Bluff. We traveled through driving rains in the River Valley to reach Cameron Bluff Campground, arriving in an eerie cloud atop Mount Magazine. The next day brought temperatures in the low 60s, heaven for the summer dayhiker!

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Sunset at Cameron Bluff

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Taking in the views from the North Rim Trail

Hiker-dog and I wanted to hike around the “island” and decided to do a longer variation on the hike I described in Fives Star Trails: The Ozarks. We accessed the trail by the High Point Trail and then added the full length of Mossy Bluff Trail, East Benefield, Bear Hollow, and Will Apple’s Road Trail.
IMG_1890rrWe completed the morning with the North Rim Trail to make a 12-mile loop, arriving back at our campsite ready for lunch and a nap.

Color provided visual highlights along the trail on this summer hike. A lone coneflower called caught my eye as we hiked Mossback Ridge Trail.
IMG_1982rrButterflies danced from bloom to bloom, sometimes landing long enough for a picture, despite my lack of a long lens. Mount Magazine and the nearby town of Paris hosted their 20th (and last) Butterfly Festival in 2016. Thankfully, the diverse butterfly population didn’t get the news release and still arrives on Mount Magazine to enjoy its unique blooms and cool temperatures.
IMG_2098rrIMG_2056rrA subtle collection of frog calls announced our approach to a small hidden pond located on the historical Benefield homestead. While Hiker-dog grabbed a drink, I captured a short sample of the pond’s soundscape.

Between the flowers, bluffline vistas, cool morning air, and wildlife, we ended our day filled with thankfulness for Mount Magazine, our gorgeous green island in the sky!

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The view from Sunrise Rock on the Bear Hollow Trail

A few more glimpses of color and beauty from our hike…

Evening Walk in the Marinoni

IMG_1270rrHiker-dog and I scouted a route into the Marinoni Scenic Area on Monday evening. Hiking late in the day offered views in a new light, but my concern was how long that light would last in this deep Ozark hollow. IMG_1268rrThe woods were alive with the sounds of flowing water. Briar Branch and the inlets on each side were flowing nicely. I recorded a few seconds of the waterfall as seen from the trail above.

I caught Hiker-dog in a rare pause at the base of one of my favorite bluffs. She was excited to see this area again and explore the ridges above and creek below the trail.IMG_1294rrA copperhead was enjoying the warmth next to a tall bluff. I wondered if this snake was alright at first because it was in an awkward pose, almost as if smelling the surroundings. It remained in this position while I took photos and then moved on. IMG_1264rrI enjoy seeing snakes in their natural environment, but I will admit that I watched my step a little more carefully after meeting my copperhead friend. Hiker-dog never came close to the snake. I’m sure they smelled each other’s presence. I’ve read that snakes will sometimes “dry bite” to defend themselves against mammals that aren’t a food source. Snakes prefer to save their venom for killing things that are good to eat, not dogs or people.IMG_1286rrrI set the camera on a rock in the middle of Briar Branch to record this view upstream as the sun drifted lower in the sky. We then explored the little cave next to the Paul Marinoni sign placed here many years ago by the Ozark Highlands Trail Association. IMG_1246rrWe scrambled uphill to have a close look at the Natural Bridge. During leaf-off, I’ve viewed this rock formation from the trail below, but it wasn’t visible with all of the spring growth. One of my favorite photos from an earlier hike caught the morning sun underneath the bridge. Today I realized the “bridge” was smaller than I thought. A unique little formation at the top of the bluff. IMG_1313rr

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Natural Bridge during a winter hike

Today’s hike was special because of the cool temperatures, flowing water, evening light, and good company provided by Hiker-dog and my calm copperhead. I didn’t need my headlamp but was glad to have it in my pack. Darkness came as we drove back toward home, thinking about all the beauty we’d seen on this trail.

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

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 I am a hiker and I gave this as a gift to another hiker. She has used the book and loves it.

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 first and second graders and have been pleased with their responses. Young children can be a tough crowd, but they’ve 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

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