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  1. #1
    rhjanes's Avatar
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    Eagle Rock Loop Arkansas, September 19 - 21, 2013

    Caveman, Lance, GoSpidey, Easttex and I left from DFW for the mountains of Arkansas around 8:30. We arrived at Albert Pike parking area (closed since the life-taking flood of 2010) around 3. We either ignored the TomTom GPS or it didn’t know how to find the East Parking area on the ERL near the Winding Stairs area. We finally found it around 4. Caveman, having hiked the trail once already, led us into the woods. And we promptly got as lost as we had been by his TomTom GPS. Once we found the trail, we headed into the Winding Stair area. We were able to hike three hours on the Winding Stairs area and the Viles Branch trail and found a nice camp site next to a flowing creek just at sundown (7:15). We set up hammocks, filtered water and ate the meal Caveman had packed in for us. I think he knew his TomTom and himself would get us lost finding the trail and this was his make-up to us. We talked around GoSpidey’s candle until around 10 PM and turned in with a bit over 6 miles of the 26.8 miles hiked. The predicted rain began in earnest at 11:20 PM. We awoke at dawn on Friday to steady rain and 75 degrees. We all ate a bit, packed up and were hiking by 8:25. Within a mile, we intersected the next trail. Caveman said something like “turn right, we have six mountains to climb in the next 8.4 miles”. Within 4 steps, the Athens-Big Fork trail took us up at a 30 to 40 percent grade. We reached the top of the first mountain in the rain, and walked out to the overlook and took some photographs. Onward into the fog and rain we went. By 4 PM, we’d all reached the northern point on the trail. We found Caveman sound asleep in his hammock, while his friend Lance sat on a camp chair, hunkered down in the rain under a hat and poncho. GoSpidey, Easttex and myself stopped long enough to wake Caveman up, eat a snack and for the group to decide to hike the 4 miles to the parking/camping area at Little Missouri Falls, on the Little Missouri trail. The four of us (Caveman went back to sleep) arrived and filtered water, used the privy, and some ate dinner. Out of the woods came the call of “COOKIE COOOOON” and we knew the Caveman had awaken and hiked out to us. We decided to hike on at least another mile to find a good campsite for hammocks. While we hiked on, the rain finally quit and we were able to set up camp without rain. We all collapsed by 9 PM. But over Friday night, more rain fell, but by 4 AM we were awakened by the full moon shining at us. Saturday dawned cool and fantastically clear, around 55 degrees. We hit the trail with 6 miles to get us back to Albert Pike and then on to the truck. We lost the trail at Albert Pike; it was hard to spot at a road crossing due to high weeds. We reached Albert Pike by 10:30 AM, having hiked along a rock wall with two mountain springs flowing out of it. Except GoSpidey didn’t show up for a time. Caveman dropped his pack and hiked back in, giving the “COOKIE COOOON” yell until GoSpidey answered……from the other side of the river! I’d also almost been deceived by a double blaze that looked like a turn. GoSpidey took the turn, forded the river and was attempting to find the trail when Caveman hollered for him. Once we were all back together, we had one hill and two miles to go to get back to the truck. With sore feet, aching backs, throbbing thighs and caves, we reached the truck at noon. We headed back to civilization, after finding “real FOOD” first (can we call Mickey-D's real food???).
    Good Times
    Last edited by rhjanes; 09-23-2013 at 16:11.
    Call me Junior

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    "Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes." - sargevining on HF

  2. #2
    rhjanes's Avatar
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    More photos.
    and in the "centipede" photo, look at her/his 11 O'Clock and notice the black widow. the centipede was about 6 inches long and as large around as your thumb.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Call me Junior

    Pirating Corporate Takeover without the paperwork
    "For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away" Bryan Adams....
    "Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes." - sargevining on HF

  3. #3
    Senior Member Caveman's Avatar
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    It was a great trip. I'll go through and post a few pics when I get to the house. Good times!
    If you ain't havin' fun, you're doin' it wrong

  4. #4
    Senior Member ^shane^'s Avatar
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    Great trip! It's easy to get lost the first and second time you do the loop. I've done the loop 8 or 10 times now and still have doubt myself in spots. Glad you guys had fun. Perfect little getaway.
    "One of the best things you can do in this world is take a nap in the woods." ~ Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

    "While it may be a lot of work, the view is best from the summit." ~ an anonymous staff member of Philmont Scout Ranch

    Enjoy the day
    Shane

  5. #5
    sargevining's Avatar
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    Hmmmmmmmmmmm

    Everytime somebody gets lost, Caveman is around.

    I'm starting to feel better about my navigation.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Caveman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sargevining View Post
    Hmmmmmmmmmmm

    Everytime somebody gets lost, Caveman is around.

    I'm starting to feel better about my navigation.
    The difference is.... I never claimed to know where I was going!
    If you ain't havin' fun, you're doin' it wrong

  7. #7
    sargevining's Avatar
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    I'm just thinkin there may be more than one paradox-----

  8. #8
    rhjanes's Avatar
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    Here's how current Caveman's TomTom is. We got into Dallas on I30. TomTom was pointing to 635/LBJ. Yeah RIGHT! We hit the GBT toll way and I hung it northbound. TomTom went into full panic mode! We were driving in Lake Ray Hubbard! ABORT ABORT!!!! Holy Water Logged Batman!
    Call me Junior

    Pirating Corporate Takeover without the paperwork
    "For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away" Bryan Adams....
    "Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes." - sargevining on HF

  9. #9
    Senior Member sjarvis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhjanes View Post
    and in the "centipede" photo, look at her/his 11 O'Clock and notice the black widow. the centipede was about 6 inches long and as large around as your thumb.
    Welcome to Arkansas in the Summertime! Y'all see any big snakes? I nearly stepped on a 3-foot copperhead at a Webelos campout a couple of weeks ago. Just another reason I sleep in a hammock. With a bugnet. Sprayed with permethrin.

    Glad y'all had a good trip! You should come a little further north and hike the Ozark Highlands Trail or Buffalo River trails next time. Arkansas is full of great hiking (check out Tim Ernst's guidebooks: http://timernst.com/guidebooks.html).
    "We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it; we go to smooth it." -- Nessmuk

    Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 102, Fayetteville, Arkansas

  10. #10
    rhjanes's Avatar
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    I didn't see any snakes. Deer were spotted. Most wildlife avoided us. Two of us in hiking kilts, a guy called Spidey, Lance taking 3.5 steps for every 5 of ours....the calls of COOOKIE COOOOON!! bouncing off the mountains....

    Caveman, Snaggleroot, Gimpy and I'm sure others have hiked some of them. I've done canoe trips on the length of the Buffalo, hiking on some of the trails (Day hikes). Tim's books are great, I was reading some about the ERL and others in his works.
    Call me Junior

    Pirating Corporate Takeover without the paperwork
    "For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away" Bryan Adams....
    "Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes." - sargevining on HF

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