Bell Mountain to HWY 32
I’m a newbie to the Ozark Trail, but what a trail. Our party of three men and three boys hiked 13 miles on Saturday and 5 miles on Sunday. I came in from Des Moines, Iowa with my two boys on Friday. We met the rest of our party from St. Louis at the MF1 parking lot. The initial plan was to camp on Bell Mt. but the storm sent us down to lower ground. As was forecasted, Friday night brought lightning, rain and wind. By 10:00 PM the storms had passed and cooler temps moved in.
Saturday morning was a crisp clear day. We hit the north Bell trail head at about 9:15 AM. I assumed the trail would be wet but it was more like walking through a stream bed on both sides of the mountain. No worries for us since we had good water proof foot-ware. I was surprised that the mud was not an issue. In Iowa wet ground means sticky mud that accumulates on your shoes. On the Ozark Trail the mud did not stick at all.
We made it to the top of Bell and meet three guys who had rode out the Friday night storms at the top. They said it was a wild night. We continued down the Mountain and had lunch at BM4. We saw 15 people hiking up the trail on Saturday. I was happy with our decision to go down the mountain and not up. Hiking down allowed us to focus on the beauty of the trail and was easier on the boys.
The big event on Saturday was the stream crossing at Ottery Creek. The water was moving fast and was up to my knees and up to the boy’s thighs. We decide to take our shoes and socks off and space the adults evenly across the stream. Next, each boy crossed one at a time up-stream from us, while holding on to an adult. We crossed safely and the boys were completely stoked at what they had just done. Next trip, however, I’m packing water shoes for my tender feet.
After filtering some water at Ottery Creek we continued on to our camp site at TC11. We made camp and crashed after a good day of backpacking.
The trail between Ottery Creek and Council Bluff Lake is beautiful country. The damage done in the 2006 ice storm is still evident. Countless trees have fallen with roots torn from the ground. Dead fall along the tail is still an issue but not impassable. We used the fallen trees as convenient resting spots.
My miscalculation in time forced us to end our trip at HWY 32 on Sunday. I had an 8 hour trip home ahead of me and Sunday’s weather was looking like rain. We made the decision to send two guys via the road to retrieve the vehicle at MF1.
I will absolutely be back to the Ozark Trail. We had a great time and the locals that I meet were very friendly. The trip planning guide was priceless. I was able to plan our trip from Iowa without a hitch.