Hare Mountain Hike-In and a Cathedral Walk

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Some of those who hiked in enjoying food and fellowship

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.

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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).

Spoons

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The lost spoon

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.

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Norma with her found spoon

Miles won the heaviest dish award with his dutch oven cooking. The smell was amazing, and from all reports, his results were top notch.

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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.

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One of many views from the OHT on Hare Mountain

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!

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Hiker-dog on Dawna Robinson Spur 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.

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Indian Creek Spur Trail In memory of Dawna Robinson

Toward the end of our hike, we paused at a favorite bluff.

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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.

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One of many frost flowers next to the Mulberry River

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.

Gear Obsession: Spoons

Spoons

Several years ago, I was on the Ozark Highlands Trail and damaged my plastic spoon while cooking (similar to #4 above). It still worked but the melted part caught my teeth with every bite. The next evening we made camp at Lynn Hollow close to Arbaugh Trailhead. A trail buddy, Bob, noticed something shiny sticking out of the sand next to the creek. There was a metal spoon that accompanied me the remainder of the trip (#6 above). I retired it after that trip due to its weight (1.5 oz.), but I’ve kept it as a souvenir from that trip. This “spoon story” crept into “The Trails Provide,” in Do South Magazine. 

I failed to pack a spoon once when I was on Arkansas’ Ouachita Trail. I managed to drink soup the first night out and used a stick to stir while cooking. On the next day, I stopped at a shelter on the trail and opened the storage box intending to read a few journal entries while taking a break. There sat a Wendy’s Restaurant spoon (.1 oz.) still in its plastic wrap. I used that spoon for several trips (similar to #1 above).

Because of these experiences, I’ve developed an obsession with spoons. I recently found a bamboo spoon and was fascinated with its lightweight and good natural feel. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold much and will probably not come into regular use. The titanium spoon (#5), a gift from my wife, is my main spoon but, for some reason, I always like to carry a backup.

If you have a gear obsession, I’d like to hear about it.

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Creek crossing on Missouri’s Ozark Trail

To read more about packing, check out How to Prepare for Multi-Day Backpacking Trips.

The Trails Provide, Published in Do South Magazine

Here’s a link to the story I wrote for Do South Magazine, one of my favorite regional magazines. Thanks for reading!

 

THE TRAILS PROVIDE

WORDS AND IMAGES: JIM WARNOCK

Published in Do South Magazine September, 2019

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“Oh my!” Kathy yelled with a panicked crack in her voice. Scott and Kathy were part of a group at mile sixty-four of the Ozark Highlands Trail when the unthinkable happened. The left sole of Kathy’s shoe came apart, bringing her to an abrupt halt. We huddled around like paramedics taping a wound…..

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