On a hot day twenty-one TrailBlazers drove up a dogwood-lined Highway 123 in search of FR 1003 for our trailhead on the Ozark Highlands Trail. The fly in the ointment was that there is no sign for the road, our directions were a tad “approximate,” some more approximate than others, and the elusive trailhead was shy about revealing itself to strangers. To add insult to injury there was no cell reception! Two carloads finally found the trail head and took off hiking with their drivers heading back to Haw Creek. 

With no long-legged energizer bunnies in the lead, a bunch of wildflower enthusiasts ambled along and were treated to wildflowers galore. There were several dry creek crossings and a few rock-hoppers until we reached Big Water requiring bare feet as we had no water shoes. Who would have “thunk” it with the drought? About this time the rest of the troops had finally found the trailhead and hot-footed down the trail, seeing a bunch of feral hogs en route. They caught up with us at the wet crossing. The flat rocks were slippery and the rest of them were pointy and sharp. This was not welcome news to Billigene, but our birthday girl gallantly rose to the challenge! 

After reaching the other side we lunched by the creek and then continued trekking up and down a rocky trail on a very hot day until we reached Haw Creek Campground. There was water flowing over the low bridge, so our feet got a little damp crossing it except for Billigene. A gentleman of the old school in a pick-up gave our little lady a lift! Haw Creek Falls were beautiful and we finally managed to take our group picture. Some of us spent quality time cooling our hot feet in the water. Magda threw caution to the wind, following Hannah out on top of the rapid water on the top of the falls. Great day!

'Twas a week before Christmas, when along the Ozark Highland Trail not a creature was stirring, except 17 trailblazers and one dog's tail.

Stocking caps were dawned, gloves and hand-warmers too In hopes that the weather wouldn't turn our lips blue.

Down the mountain we trudged, slipping on leaves and rocks, Then crossed Hurricane Creek in our boots and socks.

As we climbed the mountain there was absolutely no clatter We were too pooped to talk and all wished it was flatter.
br> After lunch we moved on to find fallen trees in our way Climbed over and under, but deterred? I say nay! 

Seeing the shuttle drivers return was a beautiful sight. Merry Christmas to all, happy trails and goodnight!

Alina gives the following report: The hiking group met at Turner Bend Store about 10 am. Then we drove via White Rock Rd. to the trailhead. The incline of this road had several sharp curves with large, unusual rock formations covered with white moss. At the beginning of the hike most of us were chilly, and skies remained overcast all day. The first part of the walk was a smooth climb, with mostly oak trees spread loosely . The highlight of the day was crossing Fane Creek. After this point several of us terminated the hike not attempting to ascend the mountain ahead. 

The rest of the story from Linda: Hiking the path of the old steam engine tracks was very interesting terrain. We crossed several waterfall areas that would have been great Kodak moments if they had water. This first section of the woods was so clear of underbrush unlike parts of the second section that was filled with underbrush and briars. After six of the Trailblazers left us at Fane Creek it was a hard 1500 foot climb up to and across Whiting Mountain. The uphill seemed to go on and on like the energizer bunny, and some of us could have used new batteries. Nearing the end we went thru an area that had the biggest grape vines and lots and lots of them. As we went past the “Rock House” near the end of the trail no one was willing to make the incline up to visit. We tried our best to mimic the clown car at the rodeo and loaded up 14 Trailblazers and gear into Dewayne’s truck where he took us to Turner Bend to wait for the drivers to go back to the trailhead to get the rest of the vehicles. We closed down the store and it got dark out front.

Seventy-four TrailBlazers (more or less – it’s our story and we’re sticking to it!), both old and new, made tracks for Devil’s Den for our 9th Season Kickoff Picnic. Unlike our cold, wet washout last year, picture perfect weather was on the menu. We quickly divided into 4 hike groups: Devil’s Den, the Crevices, Yellow Rock, and Lee Creek. The hiking was great, but the water was a disappointment. Our picnic in the spring featured the best water show we had ever seen at the park; the creek, the falls, and the dam were overflowing with more water in May than we had ever seen before. 

Of course, we had our usual wiener roast with all the fixings, and our members outdid themselves with munchies, side dishes, and desserts galore. We didn’t do enough hiking to justify what we ate, but we enjoyed it! Dust off your hiking boots and join us on future hikes so we can trot off the calories. Alas, no group picture today, but there are lots of small group pics at the pavilion.

Thirty-three TrailBlazers, one canine (Harpo) and one cockatiel (Golda) took the scenic drive over to Paris to do some hiking on Mt. Magazine. As we drove up the mountain it was foggy with occasional clearings with sunlight, but by the time we reached the Visitors Center it was downright foggy – déjà vu all over again!. It was windy, gray and humid, but the temps were actually mild. We had planned to do a hike involving a shuttle, but proving that old dogs can learn new tricks, we shifted gears and did something different. There wasn’t much point in hiking to Cameron Bluff if the view was going to be enveloped in a cloud! 

Heading out from the Visitors Center, Becky lead us up Mossback Ridge to the Signal Hill Trail to the highest point in Arkansas where we duly memorialized this achievement with another group picture in the fog. Along the way we did see signs of fall color and a few lingering wildflowers. Next we hiked down to the lodge to eat lunch either outside or in the restaurant. From the terrace there was no view at all on arrival, but there were a couple of brief lifts of the fog allowing for some hazy pictures. The lodge and its gardens are a neat place to explore. Not considered to be service animals, Golda and Harpo were banished to the terrace – no punishment at all! Afterwards we hiked back to the cars, and by this time the fog had lifted, so we were treated to some neat views at the overlooks. It turned out to be a good day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012, a chilly start but a great day to explore the Rim Trail on Mt. Nebo near Dardanelle. We had thirteen TrailBlazers on the hike. We made our way down Highway 22 to Dardanelle then to the top of the mountain via Highway 155. We started our hike at the Swimming Pool area and hiked in a clockwise direction around the top of the mountain. On the south side of the mountain we met some old friends who were also hiking the rim. Two of them are Takahik members. We saw some color but not nearly as much as we expected. Some of us made a side trip to go to the waterfall. Unfortunately, there was no waterfall, only a drip. On down the trail, we explored the old rock foundation where a hotel was to have been built many years ago. Had it been built, it would have been quite large. Lunch time was at scenic Sunset Point. After a brief rest we continued on to the Visitor Center and a visit to their nice new restrooms. Back on the trail, we hiked past Nebo Steps and on around the east side of the mountain to Cave Springs. We ended the hike back at the swimming pool. The day was just perfect for hiking. This was the first time on Mt. Nebo for 4 or 5 of the group. They seemed to be impressed with the beauty of the area. Perfect day, fun people, fun time. What more could you ask for? 

Thank you to Gene for leading and providing commentary and to Steve for the photos.

On a beautiful warm and sunny October day, not hot and muggy like last week, two dozen TrailBlazers made the scenic drive to Mt. Nebo to trek the rim trail around the top of the mountain. Our very own Nebo Dude, temporarily forsaken by Nebo Lady in favor of War Eagle, was our enthusiastic leader on his favorite mountain, a sort of home away from home. 

After enjoying the view from the Visitors Center we hiked in the direction of Sunrise Point and had to pussyfoot up and down over the stony trail with its rocky staircases. Along the way we enjoyed some fall color, drank in the scenic views, saw some wildflowers, checked out the cave, and even saw a hang glider soaring near the rim. A large, brand-new home is now located close to the campground. Crossing the road we picked up the trail again and were treated to some colorful beautyberry along the trail. An army moves on its stomach, so Nebo Dude found us a great lunch sight – the yard of his neat mountain retreat on Sunrise Point. 

After lunch we had an up close and personal view of a big yellow hang glider sitting on the edge of the rim just as we were picking up the trail again. We were treated to more scenic views as we circled the mountain. Fortunately we had no difficulty with the bridge troll who did not manage to bilk us of our hard-earned money as we trekked on to Sunset Point where there is another panoramic view. After that we had a short hike back to the Visitors Center. Great day with some great company!