Speed hike Eagle Rock loop

10:35 p.m. on February 28, 2012 (EST)
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So for the second time i am going to be heading out to eagle rock in the ouchitta national forest in Arkansas. i did this loop about 3 months ago in a 3 day 2 night trip. its 26.8 miles long. This time im going to try to complete the loop in less than24 hrs. i really dont think it will be that hard. Im going to eventually try to day hike it.

For thoes not familiar(like most of you) the eagle rock loop is quite a challenge with 2 major river crossings of the Little Missouri River and climbing 6 1500ft+ elevation gain mountains in a short 7 miles.  The mountains can prove to be quite the challenge even though they are small (biggest is I think Brushheap Mountain at 1800 something).

Unfortunately this place is now known not for its trail but for the "Albert Pike Campground". THe campground came into national spotlight about 2 years ago when a freak flash flood caused the "little mo" river to rise rapidly washing away a number of RVs and a boyscout group. There were a number of deaths and the campground remains closed to this day. You may remember hearing about this. The Trail Head is open however.

Anyway I will have a full trip report when I get back. My birthday is friday so im trying to spend friday night on top of brushheap mountain. Last time I was there I got flanked by 2 coyotes but right now its bear season out there so ima keep an eye out for them.

-MG

11:36 p.m. on February 28, 2012 (EST)
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Have fun. Be safe. Look forward to the TR.

4:48 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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Great trail! One of my favorites. Should be able to do that with out too much trouble. I've done it and I'm also 60. My problem is that I like to camp at the pools at winding stair and soak in the view, or park my rear end at Eagle Rock vista and gaze! Enjoy!

4:58 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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Looking forward to the report Mike!

8:33 a.m. on March 1, 2012 (EST)
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Guyz said:

Great trail! One of my favorites.  You should be able to do that with out too much trouble. I've done it and I'm almost 60. My problem is that I like to camp at the pools at winding stair and soak in the view, or park my rear end at Eagle Rock vista and gaze! Enjoy!

 

8:46 a.m. on March 1, 2012 (EST)
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Boy those pain meds must be good.  I thought I was just editing.  I don't know how I double posted that?

7:00 p.m. on March 7, 2012 (EST)
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I didnt die for the record. haha. just a bit too busy to post the photos and TR.  I also have a gear review to go with it. I impulse bought a new Arc'teryx pack before the trip and would like to review it.

 

-MJG.

11:46 p.m. on March 8, 2012 (EST)
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Well here is my trip report:

For starters, my good friend Ed who came with me slowed me down greatly. For a triathele he is no backpacker.  We ended up getting passed by a few 50+ year old guys.  Whats worse he had a 22pd pack at 35L, water and all, and the guys who passed us were wearing 60L+ Ospery packs.  He is also 23, so sad... hahaha

_____________________________________________

We left New Orleans at about 8 pm and drove to Shreveport LA where I know some folks and crashed at their place for the night

Day 1: March 2nd


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We got the Jeep to the trail head about 1030am after driving 3 hours from Shreveport and noticed that the camp ground was actually quite busy. There were about 4 trucks parked on the other side of the river and about 8 people in the river fly fishing.


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It was a great day with a light wind blowing and clear blue skies with  temps around the lower 60's. You couldnt have asked for a better day for backpacking. We decided to do the loop in the clock wise direction so that we could make it to Brush Heap mountain for the night.  Almost immedieatly on the trail I noticed some wild ajuga.


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As March 2nd was my birthday and Ed had very little hiking experience I decided to take it easy and let him take point for the day. (first bad decision) Going in the clock wise direction from the Albert Pike Campground you encounter a small wet crossing within the first 1/4 mile and I told my friend "hey, your on point, you make the call on how we cross". Well rather than quickly removing our boots he spent about 20 min looking for a suitable crossing. It was rather funny so I endured it. He found a tree that had laid down across the stream and decided to shimmy across.


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After much time being spent taking in the scenery and the antics of my friend we made it to the first crossing of the little mo river. Once again he spent way too much time debating on the best method of crossing. By the time we reached the second crossing before the "Winding stairs" section I took over and forced Ed to do a wet crossing of the river.


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But as you can see he did not follow my advice on how to use his trekking poles. Luckily the Little Mo isnt that intense of a river to cross and he managed to not soak all his stuff.

The winding stairs section is really one of the best spots along the trail. There is a very popular section with a deep pool that is frequented during the summer months. Unfortunately one of the very nice camp sites that overlooks a very impressive rock wall and the pools has been vandalized with spray painting graffiti so I often avoid this spot for over night stays.


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Ed really like the area here and spent a good bit of time looking for a way to cross but the water had cut through the soft rock and made the only crossing spots here very dangerous. He eventually gave up and we continued. By this time it was already 3:30pm and I wanted to be at camp for 5 so that I could complete my camp chores and enjoy the sunset with my whiskey on my birthday from the mountain tops. We were unable to make it to our intended destination of Brush Heap Mountain on the first day and ended up spending the night at Eagle Rock instead. No real complaints. There  is a much nicer site at Eagle Rock but the view from Brush Heap is the most impressive on the trail, In my opinion. The wind began to pick up heaivly at elevation and caused me to eventually pitch my rain fly and anchor down my tent. The wind also caused me some problems at night. It got down to about 25 that night and I was in my Mountain Hardware Lamina 20 bag that is a few years old. It didnt cut it. I gave Ed my Marmot 0 degree Lithium bag and he actually was over heating.

__________________________________________________

March 3rd.

We got out on the trail again about 930 am. The seciton of trail we were covering this day was the mountain section with 5 small 1500' gain hills. Within an hour we made it to the climb up brush heap. It was very nice, the temp was in in the 50s and the wind had died down substantially.


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The mountain side was covered in small little purple flowers making a great scene. I just wish my lady friend was there with her awesome photography skills. I really cant capture these kinds of things just right.



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The thing I love about this place is that the elevation is not that high (At this point we were only at 2200' according to my cheap altimeter) but the "baby montanias" are very rocky with numerous outcroppings. The hill sides are very exposed.

Once we made it back down Brush Heap and to the trail we encountered a large group of hikers with about 12 members all coming to the base of brush heap for a lunch time snack. They were traveling in the opposite direction of us so we were not worried about having others trailing us. Once we reached the next mountain/hill we encountered the 2 50+ year old gentlemen. They stopped for lunch at that spot and let us get a head start never thinking they would catch up to us young un's. Well..... they did....
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You might just be able to make out Ed in that one. He was struggling pretty bad on the up hill and was getting thoroughly dusted by yours truly. We were hoping to make it to a place I have named "Crawfish Bottoms" back along the Little Mo' river. I named the place "crawfish Bottoms" because when I went there in November I counted over 120 crawfish in a small fork of the river.

We never made it to Crawfish Bottoms as Ed was too tired after the 5 climbs. Instead we stayed at the foot of the Little Mo' Falls.I completely forgot to take a picture of the falls but eh, its something to do next time.

That night was much more brutal then the night before. My two thermometers agreed that at about 3 am it was 14degrees.

_______________________________

March 4th

Im never a fan of having a long day of hiking and driving on my last day of a trip so I try to start as early as possible. Due to the temp in the morning I had to fight Ed out of his sleeping bag that he was oh so cozy in. He commented very early on he had felt me shivering in my poor little lamina 20 all night. I wish I had made him suffer for holding me back all day and stole back my Lithium 850fill bag!!!

WE got on the trail by 830am and it was still only 19degrees. We eventually made it to crawfish bottoms and enjoyed the rocks there.


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Along the river on the way back to the car I noticed a number of bulbs (flowers) that were starting to make their way out of the soil for spring. As we went along I found a few daffodils that had an early start.


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We made it back to the trail head for about 11am and got on the road for the long drive home. Overall it was a good trip, I just wish Ed would have been able to keep up with my desired pace. I did invite him at the last min for company though, so I really can't complain or feel cheated too much. Ill just have to go back and do it by myself.

-MJG









10:12 a.m. on March 9, 2012 (EST)
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NICE REPORT! love the blooming bulbs.

6:48 p.m. on March 9, 2012 (EST)
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Great Report Mike! I've been looking forward to such since you joined the party, nice.....

Thanks for sharing and letting us come along...

6:55 p.m. on March 9, 2012 (EST)
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Very nice tr. I could spend days at a time just sitting by a stream like that just listening to the water flowing and the breeze blowing through the trees.

6:56 p.m. on March 9, 2012 (EST)
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Great TR! Thanks for sharing.

Rule of thumb: Always give the friends the sub-par gear! hahaha

10:56 a.m. on March 10, 2012 (EST)
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Nice trip report Mumblefords,

I enjoyed the photos and candid narrative of your trip.

You said on March 3rd there were 5 small 1500 ft  gain hills, was 1500 ft the total gain or did you mean it was a total of 7500 ft. ?

Those were definitely some cool night temps and I think it was nice of you to loan the better bag to your friend and probably helped make the trip more bearable for him after the daily exertion (?).

Do you happen to know the name of the purple flowers you mentioned?

Although difficult, I have learned over the years to try to pre-qualify people who wish to tag along (or invite me to tag along with them) when I do not already know their experience or skill level.

If they have no gear and I must loan them gear to use, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect them to come to my house and help pack their stuff, if they don't seem willing to do so, that's a red flag for me.

Or, if I have to get the food together because they don't know how or what is needed, and they don't offer to pay half or help pack it so they can learn, that too is an indicator.

Of course you have to make it known up front you expect them to help prepare for the trip, newbies don't always realize how much work can go into trip planning.

I think short day hikes are a good way to get to know people and decide if they are someone who is compatible with you to take on longer overnight trips.

Mike G.

4:02 p.m. on March 10, 2012 (EST)
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Great trip and report, Mumblefords. 

I think we've all had the experience of taking someone along who makes the trip much longer and more work than it should be. I try to remember that it is probably giving them a really good experience, difficulties included. 

trouthunter said:

If they have no gear and I must loan them gear to use, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect them to come to my house and help pack their stuff, if they don't seem willing to do so, that's a red flag for me.

Or, if I have to get the food together because they don't know how or what is needed, and they don't offer to pay half or help pack it so they can learn, that too is an indicator.

Of course you have to make it known up front you expect them to help prepare for the trip, newbies don't always realize how much work can go into trip planning.

 Really wonderful advice, Trout. 

8:02 p.m. on March 10, 2012 (EST)
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Those six crossings are only about 500 ft gain per crossing. Hurricane knob (saddle), McKinley mountain, Brier Creek mountain, Leader mountain, Brush Heap mountain (saddle), Eagle Rock vista (unnamed mountain).

8:59 p.m. on March 10, 2012 (EST)
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trouthunter said:


Although difficult, I have learned over the years to try to pre-qualify people who wish to tag along (or invite me to tag along with them) when I do not already know their experience or skill level.

......

I think short day hikes are a good way to get to know people and decide if they are someone who is compatible with you to take on longer overnight trips.

Mike G.

 I hike with my bro a lot. He is much faster than me and when I first started getting out there, he would stick with me. He always had a rule: you have to carry all your own stuff. If you cannot carry what you need you have no business being there. This was often an observation he would make watching young people hiking and the guy is laden down with all HER water, extra cloths, camera etc. Seems he was biter about a girl friend who would badger him on hikes to carry her stuff. FORMER girl friend.

Now I am fine and go at my pace and he leaves me in the dust and I catch up later. We are able to communicate if we need to. At least so far.

11:20 a.m. on March 11, 2012 (EDT)
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jshannon said:

Those six crossings are only about 500 ft gain per crossing. Hurricane knob (saddle), McKinley mountain, Brier Creek mountain, Leader mountain, Brush Heap mountain (saddle), Eagle Rock vista (unnamed mountain).

 Yeah I miss typed that the max elevations are about 1500- 1800ft. You bottom out on each one at about 800- 1000ft so its only about 500-700 ft of gain on each of the hills.

-MJG

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