Thru-Hiker-Dog Completes the Ozark Highlands Trail

Saturday, March 31, was our day to walk the few miles needed by Hiker-dog to complete the 180-mile Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT). Of course, the OHT keeps growing, but the first 165 miles qualify for thru-hiker bragging rights. Hiker-dog has walked or run every inch of the first 180 miles of the OHT from Lake Fort Smith State Park to Tyler Bend.

We planned to walk from Fane Creek to the Rock House close to Hwy 23 as an out-and-back for a 10-mile hike. The sounds of water and gentle winds added background music to our day.

We met only one hiker. Ian was doing an out-and-back from the opposite direction, so we enjoyed two short visits in passing.

Wildflowers were a visual highlight today. Mayapples were leafing out, but no blooms yet. There were more flower varieties than I could photograph and still make timely progress on our 10 miles

 

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It was fun to see the Rock House again and remember how thankful I was for this shelter one cold and rainy winter evening after a long hike from Spirits Creek. Today the Rock House only provided shelter from sunny skies. Temperatures climbed from the 40s to the 60s as the day progressed.

A small spring in the back corner of the Rock House usually has water.

We enjoyed exploring the Rock House for a few minutes. A gentleman who lives on Fane Creek wrote to me a couple of months ago to share his, and relatives’, childhood memories of the Rock House.

After getting back to Fane Creek, we took a break at the campsite and alongside the water. I’m looking forward to putting a thru-hike patch on Hiker-dog’s pack. She has no idea that she’s covered 180 miles, but she knows the simple joys of physical movement and exploring the Ozarks with total abandon.

Hiker-dog enjoying a cold beverage after completing the OHT

To learn more about Hiker-dog, check out her resume: Hiker-dog resume 0318

Jim Warnock
ozarkmountainhiker@gmail.com
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