I’m pleased to share an inspiring accounting of an Ozark Highlands Trail thru-hike. Hiker-dog and I were out for an overnighter from Cherry Bend to Lick Branch. We met exactly one backpacker over those two days, but he was a special encounter.
After my short visit with Ethan Gehl AKA Sochi, I was several minutes down the trail before it dawned on me what he meant by yoyo on the OHT. He had already been to Woolum at mile 164 and was returning to his beginning point at Lake Fort Smith State Park. I would later learn that he finished his hike that day with fifty-five miles. To my old fella knees, fifteen miles is a long day and fifty-five unimaginable.
Below, he begins by telling of an earlier OHT attempt that didn’t accomplish what he intended, but he returned strong in October of 2020. Some great photos accompany his post. We’ll look forward to seeing Sochi in the Ozarks again in the future. Sounds like he’s smitten by the same beauty that attracts us to this region.
That one time back in 2016 when I tried to set an FKT (Fastest Known Time) with literally no physical training or logistical plan. “That sounds like fun,” I thought. And it (sorta) was. Finished 126 (of 164) miles in 53 hours before the chafe, blisters, and sheer exhaustion bested me. Not what I’d hoped, but still a personal best. Then I came back a couple times in the following months to close out my section hike and do a little scouting for my next speed attempt. Somewhere during that process, I fell in love with this trail. I’ve since completed a 2020 yoyo hike and still have plans to speed hike it in its entirety at some point. Something about it keeps drawing me back in. Continue reading… Sochi OHT 2020 YoYo