Ozark Highlands in November
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Troy Pratten
(TJGator) - F

Locale: The Middle of Big 12-3+1 Country
Ozark Highlands in November on 09/06/2011 07:11:38 MDT Print View

My wife and I are planning a 3-4 day hike on the OHT the first week in November. We don't have the exact route decided on yet, but probably something incorporating the White Rock Mountain - Shores Lake Loop or the run from the Hwy 23 trailhead to the Lick Branch trailhead.

My main question regards hunting. In Florida, I always avoided hiking during hunting seasons, especially deer. However, if we want to do an OHT trip this fall--which we do--it's going to overlap the Special Youth Modern Gun Deer season by a day or two (it's Nov. 5-6) and of course Deer Archery Season, but we'll miss Deer Modern Gun by a few days.

Does anyone have any wisdom about doing the OHT--particularly these sections--in these seasons? Is it really busy with hunters everywhere in this area, or is it still a nice time with few reports? We want to catch the fall color in the Ozarks, and as long as we can throw on some blaze orange pack covers and stay safe and relatively isolated, we'll be happy.

Thanks.

Edited by TJGator on 09/06/2011 07:13:06 MDT.

Sara C
(Jon) - M

Locale: SE Missouri and NW Arkansas
Re: Ozark Highlands in November on 09/06/2011 08:49:01 MDT Print View

I try to avoid the first weekend of the main deer season, but other than that it just takes up too much of the prime hiking time to avoid it completely. I hiked some of the OHT east of White Rock at the end of November last year and did meet two hunters on the trail. They will probably be out there, but I don't think you'll see (or hear) a huge number of them. I've hiked the Ouachita Trail and the Buffalo River Trail during regular, youth, and post-Christmas deer season also, and have very rarely seen or heard any hunters. Wear orange and you should be fine 99.9% of the time.

Brad Burr
(bradjburr)

Locale: Kansas City Area
Re: Re: Ozark Highlands in November on 09/06/2011 11:22:45 MDT Print View

I agree. I've been on the OHT, OT, and the Buffalo River trails every year before the regular portion of deer season starts and have not seen any youth or archery hunters.

Those trails are popular enough in the fall that I would guess most hunters avoid setting up near them.

Troy Pratten
(TJGator) - F

Locale: The Middle of Big 12-3+1 Country
Thanks for the Advice on 09/12/2011 14:10:40 MDT Print View

Now that I'm locked in on dates I'm trying to narrow down exactly what route we want to take. We're looking to spend three nights on the trail, with the fourth day as short as possible to get back to the car early. Right now the major candidates are (1) Cherry Bend to Lick Branch and (2) going east-to-west, Hare Mtn. Trailhead to White Rock. Some of this will depend on what shuttle options are available, but I'd appreciate any comments anyone may have regarding these two possible trips.

I'd like to see as few people as possible, but I understand these are relatively popular sections. Other than that, my main concern is to hike as scenic an area as possible, and of course to pass enough water to keep us from having to load up too bad.

As for the difficulty, my wife and I did the Standing Indian loop along the AT a couple years ago and she passed with flying colors, although her feet got a bit torn up (breaking in new boots). So I'm not concerned too much about elevation, as long as it's nothing too crazy.

Edited by TJGator on 09/12/2011 15:13:49 MDT.

Sara C
(Jon) - M

Locale: SE Missouri and NW Arkansas
Re: Thanks for the Advice on 09/13/2011 09:30:39 MDT Print View

We did Lick Branch to White Rock in four days, with the fourth day fairly short. Either of the shorter routes should be no problem for 3+ days. The person who runs the campground and cabins at White Rock gave us a shuttle. The Turner Bend store also does shuttles.

It's definitely a lot of up and down, but we are not in great shape and I don't remember having any difficulty doing 10+ miles a day at our usual slow pace.

Edited by Jon on 09/13/2011 09:35:12 MDT.

Gerry Brucia
(taedawood) - MLife

Locale: Louisiana, USA
Re: Thanks for the Advice on 09/13/2011 16:03:02 MDT Print View

IMO, the Hare Mountain to White Rock Mountain is the more scenic route. Last October I hiked from Lake Ft. Smith State Park to Redding Campground and the least enjoyable part was the three mile approach to White Rock Mountain on the west side. At the time, it was all cutover and covered with 6' to 8' tall briars. It took me almost four hours to traverse the three miles and I was all scratched up with torn clothes. It hopefully has been cleared since then but frankly, it was the most miserable hiking experience of my life. But east of White Rock Mountain was beautiful.