Every year I like to have a personal outdoor challenge.
Some of you may have read about my past adventures; kayaking the entire Current River/Eleven Point River (in the State of Missouri) and all of the Jack’s Fork River.
This year some friends and I are training for the amazing Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike, so I decided it would be adventurous (and good training) to hike the entire 230-mile spine/backbone of the Ozark Trail.
Although I have completed a few portions of the trail back in my younger, Boy Scout, days, I hadn’t really been on many sections of the trail.
Most of my hikes now are on the mountains in Colorado and involve chasing elk with my bow.
The Ozark Trail is truly an incredible asset for our state; and it is essentially in my backyard.
My goal is to “section hike” all eight sections this winter/spring and early summer (if necessary). Each section is anywhere from 22-47 miles total; but most are approximately 30 miles total.
My plan is to hike 16-18 miles on a Saturday, then camp on the trail and finish the remaining 12-14 miles on Sunday.
From Poplar Bluff, where I live, I knew ahead of time there would be considerable challenges logistically.
Lucky for me, my wife (of almost 34 years) Debbie is a great sport when it comes to my outdoor hobbies and shuttling. She spoils me; a LOT.
On the more northern sections (e.g. Courtois Section), I know I will have to potentially spend the night on Friday night somewhere close to the trail.
Because of the short days in the winter and the length of the hikes, my plan is to get on the trail right at daylight each day.
I have several of my fellow board members of the local Poplar Bluff Trails Coalition, along with many of my hunting buddies, who I shared my itinerary with for all eight sections and invited them for any or all hikes.
My original plan was to “pencil in” the dates for each section and play it by ear, depending on the weather; while also working around my other winter/spring hobby of bowfishing.
The other caveat I had was that I would not start until after bow season.