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  1. #1
    ObdewlaX's Avatar
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    Quick Trip To Arkansas

    I decided to take a few days off this past week and did a quick trip to the Ouachita Nat'l Forest and hiked the Eagle Rock Loop. I went with a buddy who had never been backpacking or hammocked, who wanted to give it a try. And it wouldn't be near as much fun if I didn't take my trusty companion, Indy.

    We got to the trailhead at 2:30pm and spent the next 2 days completing the Loop. I think my buddy had a good time and the weather really cooperated too with afternoon temps in the mid 70's and overnight lows from 43 deg & the low 50's, with clear skies and lots of stars.

    I like the ERL because it's a really pretty place and trail, plus, it's the closest challenging trail to Dallas. However, in the 20 years I've been hiking the ERL, I've never seen it so crowded. Over 2 days and 29 miles, I'm guessing we saw over 50 to 60 people or more. There's been plenty of times in years past I've been out there by myself or encountered only a handful of people, but this was staggering. It almost made it unenjoyable to a degree. I know this is becoming more of a normal occurrence on trails with people getting outside more because of the Covid, but dang. And of course, not everybody practices the 'leave no trace' mantra judging from all the trash and left behinds I spotted. I'll pick up a plastic bottle or two and paper trash but a tent, sleeping bag & air mattress? Seriously? Very aggravating.

    Okay, rant over.

    On our 2nd day, we had finished hiking up Brush Heap Mountain & we'd pretty much run out of gas, so my thought was to make camp at East Saline Creek. When we got there, there were already 6 tents set up and crammed into a really small area, with a solo hiker & a couple hunting for spots to throw up their tents. The one guy gave up & hiked on but the couple were bound & determined to find a spot. They finally wound up camping right next to the creek and if it had rained, they might've been in trouble at some point during the night.

    That's the great thing about being in the hammock, all you need are trees. We wound up crossing the creek & had the whole place to ourselves and were far enough away from tent city, we had some privacy. Booyah! It was a nice night too with clear skies & like the night before, I didn't put up the tarp.

    All in all, it was a good trip but not sure when I may go back if the overcrowding continues, maybe when it gets colder. That usually means less people and no bugs!

    Day 1 - The Little Missouri Trail


    Spider!


    BIG Spider!!


    Peaceful


    Night 1 Campsite

    https://www.relive.cc/view/vxOQn7w3k26

    Day 2 - The Little Missouri & Athens Big Fork Trail


    Morning Mist


    On Top of the World

    https://www.relive.cc/view/vYvEZrVoZwO

    Day 3 - Athens Big Fork/Viles Branch/Winding Stairs


    Eagle Rock Vista Pano


    Little Missouri River at Viles Branch Trail


    Trail Cat!!

    https://www.relive.cc/view/vdvmQyWP4xv

    I forgot to turn off the app on the last video... we hiked a little over 8 miles getting back to the car, not 14 as it shows on the video. My bad.
    Last edited by ObdewlaX; 11-10-2020 at 21:40.

  2. #2
    GilligansWorld's Avatar
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    Holy s**t batman?!!

    What kinda spider gets that big there

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  3. #3
    ObdewlaX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilligansWorld View Post
    Holy s**t batman?!!

    What kinda spider gets that big there
    LOL. I had to look him up... it's a Dark Fishing Spider. That one was hanging out at his little home at the base of the tree I hung my hat on when we got to camp. About an hour later, I looked over and he had made his way onto my hat. There were lots of tiny baby ones too but I could only see them when I had my headlamp turned on. There was something on their face or head that reflected the light and you could see them crawling around. Kinda creepy if you have arachnophobia.

  4. #4
    Crazytown3's Avatar
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    Beautiful scenery! But OMG........ the spiders!

    Kind of cool about the cat. I've never seen a "trail cat" before.

  5. #5
    ObdewlaX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazytown3 View Post
    Beautiful scenery! But OMG........ the spiders!

    Kind of cool about the cat. I've never seen a "trail cat" before.
    LOL... me either. When I quizzed her about it, she actually thought the cat would walk the trail with her like a dog! And as you can see, the cat had other plans. Proof positive that cats are smarter than some of their owners.

  6. #6
    Senior Member soul embrace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ObdewlaX View Post
    There was something on their face or head that reflected the light and you could see them crawling around. Kinda creepy if you have arachnophobia.

    their eyes will reflect the light
    There's magic in the woods,
    if you know where to look for it.
    -Pete's Dragon

  7. #7
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    Spiders don't bother me, I usually find them quite OH GOD LOOK AT THAT THING.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rweb82's Avatar
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    What a nice looking trip! I'm actually going to ERL the first week of December with my buddies. Hopefully the crowds will have died down a bit- as the weather should be cooler by then.

  9. #9
    ObdewlaX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rweb82 View Post
    What a nice looking trip! I'm actually going to ERL the first week of December with my buddies. Hopefully the crowds will have died down a bit- as the weather should be cooler by then.
    Right on... December is a great time to do the ERL, other than swimming at Winding Stairs if it's cold!

    I took a dip with my dog on this trip and it was c-c-c-c-c-cold!!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member rweb82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ObdewlaX View Post
    Right on... December is a great time to do the ERL, other than swimming at Winding Stairs if it's cold!

    I took a dip with my dog on this trip and it was c-c-c-c-c-cold!!!
    I bet! I'm probably not going to do any swimming...hopefully a lot of relaxing though

    We did the North Sylamore Creek trail last December, and the weather was perfect. Hopefully we'll luck out again this year.

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