This past weekend, me and some friends went to the Shores Lake Rec Area for a hike.  We planned to hike 6.5 miles to the White Rock Rec Area, camp for the night, and hike 7 miles back to the Shores Lake Rec Area.  The hike was really fun.  The trail starts off pretty easy and follows a creek for much of the first part.  We came to a waterfall and stopped for a little bit.  While we were at the waterfall, we saw a boy scout troop heading in the opposite direction.  No big deal, except one of these guys was carrying a propane tank!  Not one of the bottles (although that would have been bad enough), he was carrying one of the tanks you would use for a grill!  

     So, after talking with them for a little bit, and trying to spread the lightweight backpacking gospel, we headed on.  There were some bumps where the trail would climb for a little bit, then go down for a bit.  Finally, we could see one of the buildings at the White Rock Rec Area, but it was about 1400 ft above us!  Then the climbing started.  We gained the elevation fast!  Needless to say the last couple of miles were tough.  After we made it to the top, we picked out a campsite for the night.  I got to pitch my new tarptent, and it did very well.  The wind blew pretty hard that night, but after guying out my tent, I barely noticed. 

     The next morning, we got up, broke camp, and headed out.  We planned on hiking the second half of the loop (7 mi) back to our cars.  This part of the trip was beautiful!  We hiked along a bluff overlooking a creek for a good chunk of the trial.  We crossed a creek once, went over a few more bumps, and through a small boulder field.  Then we were home.  Not a whole lot to say about this trip, because we did it pretty quick.  The seven miles on the second day only took about 2.5-3 hours.  We stopped twice (I think), and they were only 10 min stops.  
     All in all, great trail, and I'll probably be taking people back there again sometime soon. 

 
 

     As, promised, here is a (late...:D) trip report from the Caney Creek/Buckeye Trail (CCBT).  We parked our car at the Buckeye trailhead, and hiked down the dirt road to the Caney Creek trailhead.  The Caney Creek (CC) part of this hike was very nice.  CCT was pretty well maintained, and it was not hard to follow.  We had tons of chances to stop at various creek crossing (none of which were very deep) and other beautiful places.  There was plenty of water, and the terrain wasn't hard at all.  We camped right by a creek at what is one of the best campsites I've ever had.  The next morning, we realized that we had gone past the BT, because it wasn't marked very well at all (something that would be a theme for the BT).  We backtracked and found where we went wrong.  We began the climb up the BT and saw an off-the-trail waterfall.  It was awesome (although it wasn't Katy Falls).  The BT was not easy by any means.  The trail had not seen any work done on it in quite some time.  There were a few times when we had to split up and go in different directions to find where the trail went.  There were also briars, a lot of over growth, and no water.  We had a pretty rough time because we didn't have enough water for the difficulty of the terrain and the heat of the day.  After a ton of up and downs on the BT, we finally got back to the car.  It was a hard second day, but the trip was very awesome! 

 
 

     Me and some buddies are getting ready to go do the Caney Creek Trail.  We are going to loop it together with the Buckeye Mountain Trail.  It will end up being a 9.2 mile hike.  There will be rain, but we're going to go anyway.  Below is a map of the trail we'll be taking. 

We will be leaving Saturday morning, and getting back Sunday afternoon.  I am so pumped about this hike.  Everything I've been reading about this trail is so positive.  The only regret I have about doing this at this time is that it isn't leaf off.  The views won't be quite as nice as they would be if the leaves were gone, but I'm just excited to get out.  I'll get back on here and post a post-trip report. 

 
Big Piney Float 04/21/2008
 

     So, let me start off by apologizing for it having been a month since I've posted on here (to be honest, I doubt there are any regular readers, but just in case).  However, I did get a chance to float the Big Piney Creek yesterday.  We started at a very popular area called Long Pool, and finished at an area called Twin Bridges.  For someone like me who is a very inexperienced paddler, the Piney was a very fun and, at times, easy float. 

     One thing that struck me about this area was how much it had been impacted by the recent weather we have had here in Arkansas.  Even though I had never been to the Piney, it was very easy to see how the landscape had been changed by the heavy rain that we have had over the past month.  Below is a video off of YouTube that someone posted of the flooding.  Notice the bathroom in this video (the building) and how close the water is to flodding it.  When we were there, the water was at what could be called a normal level and it was at least 25ft away from the wall at the bathroom building. 

     It was pretty seeing this video and then going and safely floating the same body of water.  There were huge oak trees that were completely uprooted, and thrown about.  On the way to the water, we saw a grill (one of the campground ones) that had been pulled up out of the ground, cement block and all.  It was pretty awesome to see the power of all that water.  However, it was also beautiful because of the clarity of the creek.  You could very easily see the bottom in most spots.  The water was a deep bluegreen color, and was almost as awesome as the tree damage was.  On one hand it was sad to see some of those old trees completely uprooted, but on the other hand it was really cool to see how nature has a way of maintaining itself. 

 
 

     This weekend, me and some friends went to a waterfall in northwest Arkansas.  It was an awesome trip filled with unexpected adventure, beautiful views, and a lot of snow (for Arkansas).  We started out by going to an area around Nail, AR to hike a trail that was said to have three waterfalls.  When we pulled off of the road, we realized that we had pulled onto a slippery slope.  We barried up the 4x4 truck in the snow and slid 4 feet down he hillside.  After we got one of the locals to help us get out, we had lost two hours of daylight.  We scrapped the first trail and went on to the second one.  It was called "The Glory Hole Trail".  The trail was a path that lead down to a stream, and then you just followed the stream down to the fall.  This trail was very awe-inspiring. 

This is just one of the hundreds of pictures that I took on the trail.  This stream ran the length of the trail, and it is what created the Glory Hole.  We walked down the trail and passed all kinds of awesome views.  There were small rock caves, large rock formations, waterfalls, and of course the creek.  Finally we got to the end of the trail and saw the Glory Hole. 


     This is a picture of me standing next to the fall.  You can see the water puring through the roof.  This water is flowing from the stream in the earlier picture.  Our trip was really one to remember, and I can't wait to go back and see how it looks during the spring. 

 
 

     About a week and a half ago, me and some buddies went to the Little Blakely Loop area of Lake Ouchita.  It was a very good hike and a little more challenging that we had expected.  It was wet because of some rain that we had just gotten in Arkansas, but the hike was still very relaxing.  Despite some slippery spots, the rain didn't change the hike portion of our trip.  We went out on a peninsula and then came back (just made an oval shape on the peninsula).  The hike was harder then we had thought it was going to be because the come back part of the oval was on the steep side of the hill and there was a lot of up and downing.  We finally made camp near a creek in a flat semi-grassy area about 150 yds off of the trail.  (Wecamped here because we couldn't find the place that Tim Ernst had suggested to camp in his book.)  The place was an awesome place to camp.  We had plenty of wood (some was even dry) and the ground was suprisingly absent of rocks.  It was a little chilly so I set up my Marmot Eos 1P and put some hand warmers in my sleeping bag "system" (which consisted of a Western Mountaineering Highlight with a  Marmot Trails used as a liner bag).  Needless to say my night was a little to warm.  After the usual around the fire banter and the recap of the day's events, we all went to bed for the night.  When we got up next morning, we awoke to the area being complely clouded by this foggy mist.  (One of my friends was to scared to go out of his tent.)  After we marveled at the beautiful morning, we made breakfast, broke camp, and went on our way.  The second day of hiking proved to be much shorter, but still enjoyable.  We made it back to our cars and went to Oaklawn for a day of betting on horse races. 

 
Weekend Quickie 11/24/2007
 

     A few weekends ago I got the chance to go on a backpacking trip with a few of my friends (Kyle D., Weaver, Hayden, Adam (Dump), Corey, and myself (Kyle P.) for simplicity), and let me say it was an awesome trip. 
     I was in charge of planning the trip, and this was a feat in itself.  It was the opening day of modern gun season, and as anyone who lives in Arkansas knows, this is a holiday in the South.  Through some research and a quick survey of what Kyle D. (my roommate) wanted to see on the hike, I decided to go to an area of the Ozark National Forest.  We went to an area that Mr. Tim Ernst had described in one of his books.   This place was called the Spainhour falls, although the namesake of the trail wasn’t our destination.  We were in search of a couple of falls that Mr. Ernst had found and named after his dogs. 
     We left early, and got to our destination about 11 o’clock with everyone ready to get out of the car and get on the trail.  As expected, the dog in our group spent the day sprinting ahead of us and running back to make sure we were still coming.  The hike was along a dirt road, and this kind of worried me.  I feared for us meeting an angry hunter who’s opening day had been ruined by a few knuckleheads trekking through the woods.  Thankfully we only passed a couple of old-timers heading out of the woods, and they were nice enough to even stop and chat for a second.  As we headed on we marveled at the beauty of the Ozark Forrest, and made many (maybe too many) stops at different pools and springs.   Once we had crossed the creek the allotted number of times, we took to the woods and began to bushwhack up the creek bed.  This was the toughest and most rewarding part of the hike.  We hiked about a half a mile up the creek bed and found a shelf above the creek to stop and take a much needed break.  This break we used to enjoy some hot food and a little rest.  I also go to try one of my newest alcohol stoves.  Once we hit the trail again we came to the most beautiful part of the trip.  As we turned the corner, we saw the waterfall we had been in search of.  While there was very little water flowing out of the fall, it was still the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time.  I have been backpacking for awhile, but for some reason, this sight touched something deep in my soul.  As I looked up the wet, black rock face where the water usually flowed from, I saw the deep green of the moss as the hung down almost straining to grasp the forest floor.  The contrast of the dark black rock mixed with the deep green hue of the moss made the sight something that seemed almost fake, it was so perfect.  Adding to the beauty was the streams and drips of water that trickled off the moss tips and hit the pool below.  Unable to resist, I climbed up and drank the water that had been purified by nature on its journey down from atop the mountain (I’m an Arkansasan, it was a mountain).  After the beauty had been completely taken in, we left in search of a campsite, as night was quickly approaching.  After realizing the terrain passed the waterfall went up sharply (and trying to climb it for a second) we turned around and began to look for a flat place to camp.  We ended up deciding on an area near where we had taken the break earlier in the day. 
     Once the campsite decision had been made, we began the time-honored tradition of gathering wood.  Since it was so dry where we were, this was an easy task.  When we has gathered a sizeable pile of wood someone yelled “now get five times that” (a hardy Survivorman reference).  The weather proved very conducive to getting a fire started, because no fire starter was needed, only the small flame of a lighter.  With the fire started and night coming on, we moved our focus to dinner and conversation.  For the next few hours the woods were filled with the voices of men talking about everything from women, to sports, and finally to the beauty of God’s creation that had been witnessed on the day’s hike. 
     After good food and better conversation, we all headed to bed, and the funniest part of the trip.  About 3 o’clock I awoke from my warm and cozy sleep to hear the pitter-patter of rain drops on my tent’s rain fly.  Luckily I had opted to put it on to keep in some of my body heat (even though the night wasn’t as cold as I had expected).  The funny part of this story was that Hayden and Corey had chosen not to bring a tent.  Because of this decision, they were sleeping next to the fire and were the first to realize that it was raining.  They spent the rest of the night in a constant state of daze near the fire and needless to say had a miserable night. 
     The next morning, the usual duties of breaking camp were added to the daunting task of drying clothes that were left outside either by mistake or lack of options.  After everything was dry (including Corey and Hayden) we headed back down the creek bed to follow it back to the trail.  As we walked back, the hike, as I have found to be the norm, seemed shorter.  I don’t know if it is because I’m ready to get back to civilization or if it is because I know what to expect, but it always seems shorter. 
     Once back to the cars and on the road home, we made the mandatory stop to the “mom-and-pop” café to talk about the memories of the trip and the personal likes and dislikes of the hike itself. 
     Upon looking back, this was one of the most rewarding trips I have ever taken backpacking.  Not only was the Ozark National Forest beautiful in fall, but I got to introduce some people to the world of backpacking and reacquaint some of my friends to their forgotten hobby. 

 
Welcome! 10/21/2007
 

This is my first attempt at a backpacking website, and I'm sure there will be a lot of amending that will go on.  I envisioned this as a place where people will be able to talk about DIY (do it yourself) backpacking projects.  Let me know what I can do to make it better.  Enjoy!