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  1. #1
    Registered User Surefoot92's Avatar
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    Default Ozark Highlands Trail - Dec 2019 or early 2020

    Am considering a thru-hike this winter. Dec 2019 or early 2020. Moderate pace averaging 10-12 miles/day. Would love a hiking companion. I'm a 62 yo female. Flexible on dates.

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    can you post the best links to info about this trail. I don't have any knowledge of this trail yet. How long is it?

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    It's a great trail! I hiked it in 2015. I highly recommend the Ozark Highlands Trail Guide by Tim Ernst. The guide is a a bit dated but it worked very well for me. There are quite a number of creek crossings without bridges. So hope for sunny skies.

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    I bought Guthook's digital guide for Arkansas Trails today and googled the Ozark trails as well. https://www.pariaoutdoorproducts.com/blogs/affordable-backpacking-gear-blog/hike-of-the-week-ozark-highlands-trail is one blog about OHT. https://www.pariaoutdoorproducts.com/blogs/affordable-backpacking-gear-blog/hike-of-the-week-ozark-highlands-trail is a nice overview. I'm thinking of doing the 165 mile stretch in the Boston Mountains: Lake Fort Smith to Richland Creek. I haven't done a lot of research yet for the trail. However, it's long been on my bucket list.

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    Registered User Surefoot92's Avatar
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    Oops. Pasted the same link twice. Here's the other: https://ozarkhighlandstrail.com/trail/


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    Registered User Surefoot92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blue View Post
    It's a great trail! I hiked it in 2015. I highly recommend the Ozark Highlands Trail Guide by Tim Ernst. The guide is a a bit dated but it worked very well for me. There are quite a number of creek crossings without bridges. So hope for sunny skies.
    What time of year did you hike it? I'll check out the Guide you recommend and would definitely pick up maps in addition to Guthook's digital maps. Thanks.

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    I hiked it from March 26 to April 7. If I recall correctly I hiked 180 miles. I went from Lake Fort Smith to Tyler Bend in Buffalo National River. I didn't realize they had a Guthook app now. You should be fine with that. The father-in-law of Tim Ernst was my shuttle driver. It's a fine trail that many hikers seem to overlook.

  8. #8

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    I might be able to join for 6 to 12 days in Jan? Are there shuttle services or public bus to help get from start to finish?

  9. #9

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    A bit more daylight later in Jan, but migjt be colder! I have backpacked in weather down to 14 degrees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surefoot92 View Post
    What time of year did you hike it? I'll check out the Guide you recommend and would definitely pick up maps in addition to Guthook's digital maps. Thanks.
    The FREE Ernst maps are fine enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surefoot92 View Post
    Am considering a thru-hike this winter. Dec 2019 or early 2020. Moderate pace averaging 10-12 miles/day. Would love a hiking companion. I'm a 62 yo female. Flexible on dates.
    As Captain said get the Ernst guide. In it are months that are descriptive of OHT conditions. Ernst really nails the trail descriptions. After doing one thru EABO and other sections at other times I'd stay away during the heat of summer and focus on the months Ernst states are best to thru the OHT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ednotmilkman View Post
    can you post the best links to info about this trail. I don't have any knowledge of this trail yet. How long is it?
    The trail length is dependent on what sections are linked. For myself, I rather enjoyed adding in the Buffalo River off trail bushwhack section(it's easier than might be thought with a guide that describes the route!) and doing the Sylamore Crk section. However, most tend to shorten their OHT thrus to the shortest distance possible. FWIW, there was a good OHT side hike article on Trail Groove involving The Castle that I missed but regretted it. Adding the BRT to the hike and/or float trip added immensely to my OHT experiences. Other rivers are crossed but perhaps not suitable to experience unless one has cold water paddling chops. Cold creek crossings would be the norm in Dec. You'll be alone in that month so wise to gain a second.

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    Registered User Surefoot92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ednotmilkman View Post
    I might be able to join for 6 to 12 days in Jan? Are there shuttle services or public bus to help get from start to finish?
    Hey, just wanted to let you know I'm still considering this. I've asked a friend and her husband if they are interested in joining me and they might be in March. Still waiting to hear from them with any certainty. In the meantime I'll order the Ernst Guide and check on shuttles and transports from one end to the other. If they decide not to hike with me in March, then I'm still interested in January or any other time that you or someone can go with me. Becky (and thanks to everyone else for your suggestions and tips regarding this trail.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ednotmilkman View Post
    I might be able to join for 6 to 12 days in Jan? Are there shuttle services or public bus to help get from start to finish?
    After doing JMT and Superior Tr thrus I stacked the OHT next. I Ghound/Jefferson Lines into Fort Smith from Minneapolis/St Paul. The AK Hound Station is on the outskirts of downtown at a truck stop. Trailways may also service Ft Smith and be more downtown convenient. Took UBER to the downtown USPO where I picked up a mailed resupply box. Some unexpected surprises such as a National Cemetery, train /trolley line, historical sites and the flooding/ebbing Arkansas River were experienced, the same Arkansas River I experienced yakking in Salida CO on a CT thru. There's a decent sized homeless pop in Ft Smith and took up with a few trusted ones on the river for two days. Took UBER and did a short hitch to Lake Ft Smith and the OHT's western terminus. I did something crazy out of the box at the end by going to GSMNP via Ghound for a LASH of GSMNP and the BMT.

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    I may be interested in January

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    I'm still hopeful for Jan too, but might join anytime. I say the more the merrier. Having more vehicles might make shuttle from start to end easier too.

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    Following up on my original post, it seems most responders are interested in January. However, after studying the Trail Guide and Guthook, as well as talking in person with another hiker who thru-hiked this trail about a decade ago, I've decided that, for me, the optimal time to hike the trail in 2020 is March. I'd actually like to hike it in June but I already have other plans for a different journey in 2020 from May to Sept, so I am planning around that time frame.

    So if anyone wants to consider a March thru-hike of the AHT, please let me know. Hopefully some of you who want to go in January will get together and go. If you do, please share your experience with the rest of us.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surefoot92 View Post
    Following up on my original post, it seems most responders are interested in January. However, after studying the Trail Guide and Guthook, as well as talking in person with another hiker who thru-hiked this trail about a decade ago, I've decided that, for me, the optimal time to hike the trail in 2020 is March. I'd actually like to hike it in June but I already have other plans for a different journey in 2020 from May to Sept, so I am planning around that time frame.

    So if anyone wants to consider a March thru-hike of the AHT, please let me know. Hopefully some of you who want to go in January will get together and go. If you do, please share your experience with the rest of us.
    I believe you will find the March weather preferable to June. May be out there myself the week of March 8, just need to wait and see how things develop.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  19. #19

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    I'm not gonna hike this trail solo this year, but can be flexible if i can join one or more of you in Jan or later. I'm fully capable of planning a solo hike; I'd just rather tag along letting you plan the dates, mileage and shuttles. I will drive my Mazda hatchback to help shuttle.

  20. #20
    Registered User MikeD's Avatar
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    I would be interested in a January or February hike. It looks like I can fly into Fort Smith but would need to find a way to and from the trail. I am limited on time, I am thinking of either doing half the distance from Lake Fort Smith to Woolum Ford in 6 or 7 days, or doing it all in 10. I know very little about this trail and need to figure out shuttles, low temps, resupply, ect. Its looks like a beautiful trail.

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