By Jim Mc Inroe...Ham Bone
April 21 thru 24, 2004
Current River Recon for October’ 2004 Ozark Trail Hike
There should be a rule about going hiking in Missouri during the month of April. You see that is the time of year Missouri gets a lot of rain, some years we get a lot more than other years and this year we got a lot of rain.
The hike started out very well. Four Old Goats (Papa Bear, Grid Line, Hitch Hiker and Ham Bone) all met at he Triangle Café just north of Caledonia Missouri on Highway 21 for breakfast. It is a nice place to meet and down some breakfast but the servings a very large so bring your appetite.
After breakfast we drove to the trailhead on highway 60 just west of Van Buren, Missouri and left a vehicle then drove the other vehicle to Owls Bend campground on highway 106 on the Current River to start our hike. We started around 11:30 a. m. and the sun was shining, birds were singing and all in all it was an excellent day for a hike. Our first nights camp was Klepzig Mill, a historical site on Rocky Creek seven miles south of Owls Bend. The first night it rained well with some lightning. You can look at the itinerary and maps for this section on this web site to see some of the sites that are encountered along this section of the Ozark Trail.
We arrives at the mill around four and started to make camp when Ham Bone realized that he had forgotten his tent poles, Grid Line had only brought is foot print and rain fly to cut weight and the fore cast called for rain, lots of rain. Have you ever had one of those days??? Well they made the best of the situation, after all if life hands you a lemon make lemonade.
The second night we sort of did a stealth camping thing and camped in Peck Ranch Wildlife Area. There was some question about should we or shouldn’t we. The map for this section is over eleven years old and that is the only reference to no camping on the Ranch. There were no signs saying not to camp at the property boundaries on either side. Anyway we camped on the Ranch. Later while talking to a DNR person I learned that they did not want you to camp on the ranch. I suggested that they post their desire at the property boundaries for all to see. While stealth camping that night the storms rumbled all night. It rain, lightning strikes were plentiful and thunder was loud; made a person sleeping in a tent among trees very uncomfortable. I guess the no camping gods got some revenge.
The third night we camped on the ridge just above Minks Spring. That night it rained all night and into the next day. We broke camp in the rain; if you hike I am sure you are familiar with wet stuff. Anyway as we hiked out and reached Pike Creek it was no longer a creek, it was reaching Mississippi River stage, not crossable. We followed the old St. Louis and San Francisco rail bed first to the east, not a good direction, then to the west until we found a power line then a gravel road and yes another swollen creek. Finally a gentleman came along with a big diesel truck and crossed the creek, picked us up and ferried us not only across the creek but also to the trailhead and our vehicle. There are some very nice people out there and we would like to thank them again for help we four Old Goats.
Once back at Owls Bend we encountered yet another swollen creek blocking our route to the second vehicle. We had lunch in Eminence Missouri while waiting for the creek to go down but we could see it was going to be a while. Sitting there waiting the Park Ranger, who is normally not there, came across the swollen creek in his 4x4 Chevy Blazer. I ask him if he thought I could cross in my truck and he said I could but stay in the center of the low water bridge. I did as he said and we were able to retrieve the second vehicle and head home.
All in all it was a good trip despite all the rain. We learned how to put a tent up without poles, how to wade in deep water and lets not forget the wet feet. We would probably do it again; then again we are Old Goats.
See you on the trail!!!
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