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Two Blokes Lost In The Ozarks

Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,303
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
Ozark national forest this past spring was awesome…running streams, waterfalls, brilliant colors, delicious trails and cool air. The kind of stuff that can just plain ruin otherwise decent folks in a short while. Well, if spring was that good then fall should be worth a trip back. And so it was…

The first few days of November seemed like a great time to catch some serious fall foliage. We ( JT and I ) tried our best to get the usual swarthy suspects to come along for their fair share of abuse but ended up loading the bikes and gear for a two blokes adventure. Those left behind offered up pitifully anemic excuses such as maintaining gainful employment, marital stability and questionable medical insurance policies. :doh: :nana:

Base camp for the adventure was the Redding campground – about 15 miles west of Oark. ( yes, the place with the well-deserved reputation for larrupin pie and ice cream ). Redding is on the banks of the Mulberry river. It’s a beautiful bit of Arkansas and we had the entire place to our very own. So quiet we could actually hear the leaves falling. Cool huh? :thumb:

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Next morning it’s a bit chilly and we hit the *trails early. OK…it was near freezing and I couldn’t feel my hands after the first couple hundred yards. This was one of those fall trips where you start out in the morning wearing everything you can put on – while maybe still able to feel the throttle - and then gradually shed layers as the day goes on and terrain demands. At some point that afternoon, after a spirited hill climb, I was advised shedding one more layer would involve criminal charges. Go figure… :shrug:

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* We should all recognize that “trails” in this context typically means paths between rocks, trees, vines and more rocks that are just wide enough to squeeze through handlebars. We’ll use “trail” here in its most creative interpretation. As in pig, goat, gopher, etc. :eek2:


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Day 1 – Explore North East

We headed east toward Oark and worked an area north toward Fallsville and then west back to camp. The streams are really low this season. Seems Texas may have turned the corner on the big drought but not so much in Arkansas.

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We spent most of the day exploring trails that either show up on some kind of map or those that just appear among the woods and point in promising directions. Ideally some of these might “go through” and help connect known trails that currently aren’t accessible or seem to dead end.

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Never know who you might run into out here… :mrgreen:

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Day 2 – Explore North West

Little warmer and we hit the trails early within a few short miles from camp. Today was go west young man exploration time. Our direction would take us back toward the Mill Creek area for some unfinished business. BUT…not before revisiting an old friend we call “Gnarliest Hill.” :wary:

It’s sometimes amazing how different the same trail can be from one season to the next. In the spring, this hill was rough, twisty and steep. Since the recent hurricane there are downed trees and erosion all over this part of Arkansas. Gnarliest hill was tough last time. Now, it’s an experience that gives a whole new perspective on technical riding. These videos are the first few yards of the climb. This was the toughest part of the hill last spring. Now, it’s the easiest part…really. This thing goes on and on. It seems like you’ll never find the top and it keeps beating on you all the way. Several switchbacks that let you check the rear tire and guaranteed to have basketball sized rocks just around the corner. If you think the Lagares videos look like fun then come put some trax down on this thing. :deal:

[ame="http://youtu.be/BCn71RUh_SY"]http://youtu.be/BCn71RUh_SY[/ame]

[ame="http://youtu.be/a77DHQTM8ws"]http://youtu.be/a77DHQTM8ws[/ame]


But, back to unfinished business. Last trip we rode the northern half of Mill Creek and had a great time doing it.

That was until JT wheeled over to the side of the trail and discovered he had lost all traces of rear brakes. End of Mill Creek. We returned to ride the southern half and the inner loop. The park folks must have just finished grooming the trails. Every erosion dike was shaped to a high – sharp point. A person could get sea sick rocking over dozens of these things. They’re not really much good for flying like this. The northern part is fun stuff. Southern part/inner loop…eh. Bit too civilized. :yawn:

JT had a line on a trail called Frog Falls that he wanted to check out. This was reported as rough tough and real stuff by some riders that got into trouble trying to make it through. I don’t know when they were there and as mentioned, trails change with the seasons. There’s supposed to be a plane parked somewhere in the woods along this trail…not crashed…just there. We looked back and forth but saw no hint of aircraft. The trail sees little use from the looks of things.

Some great colors as afternoon shadows stretched over the hills. Truth is, this thing has all the elements of a first rate darn good ride. It may be my new favorite Arkansas trail. :rider:

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And finally, FROG FALLS. Should be spectacular in wetter seasons.

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Following the creek.
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DAY 3 - Socialization

Well, the plank of sweet misery (stock KTM seat) had taken its toll on my scrawny backside. Yes simply walking was getting to be a real challenge. I hear getting old ain’t for sissies…more on that later.

And besides, we had a group of commiserates in Clarksville who needed the benefit of our enlightenment. :loco:

Saturday started off as fundamentals of mechanical malfeasance with the Trinity River Gang. One DRZ had melted its wiring harness from stem to stern, another had some unknown maladies and a certain other bike had so much crudola in the carb that it wouldn’t play at all. We won’t name names but you may recognize some suspect from post office images.

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Got rolling and hit some FS roads and trails between Clarksville and Oark. We did a wee bit of bushwacking on a trail from the previous day.

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Shadows grew long and it was time to go load it up. :tears:

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Great group of folks to ride with and I'm grateful they let me tag along. Fall weather for this entire trip was made to order…even had a good tail wind to help push us back home. Great trip. Looking forward to the next one!

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Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,755
Location
Huntsville
Wow. Haven't seen colors like that up there in a long time! Sure wish I could have gone with you. The kids had a great time doing dirt bike lessons though!
 

Vinny

Forum Supporter
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
2,043
Location
Austin, Tx
Those colors are amazing ! I'm extremely upset that I had to miss that trip.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,303
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
Wish y'all could have made it. We noticed the better colors seem to start around 1900' elevation. Higher we went, the better the colors. Clear blue skies and gentle afternoon sun made for some fine viewing. What these picture sadly fall apart on are the distant mountain sides. They just don't show the brilliant golds and reds dotting the hills and valleys. Bet somebody who knows how to operate a camera could have made some poster quality images. There was some good material to work with.
 

JT

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
1,578
Location
Elgin
The only way this trip could have been better is if more of our friends could have come with us.

I usually don't take many photos, mine always pale when next to the others. But, I did get a few worth posting.

First, the campsite. We stayed at this campground on the last trip in May and it was full and a little noisy. This time it was empty when we arrived. Almost like primitive forest camping, but with hot showers and electric hookup. :)

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Note the dutch oven by the fire. RG is a master camp cook. He made one of his famous peach cobblers and since there were only two of us, we had to eat it all. :eat3:

First morning, almost ready to ride,

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Here's RG hopping logs, blazing a trail,

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A dead end trail forced us to explore what we had to name, the Llama Loop. They were almost a surprised as we were.

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My favorite restaurant, the world famous Oark Cafe and General Store. Well it's famous in our world.

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A few pics of the trip to Frog Falls,

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Imagine the history here,

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The low this morning was 43, a little warmer by noon,

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Saturday, we packed the trailer, drove into Clarksville and met up some of Jim Griftner's Gang out of Dallas. Eight of us started up FS1400b, cut east to what we call Chicken Hill trail and turned north,

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We then ran up FS1425b to cross the mighty Mulberry river, all eight inches of it.

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Iceman Jack playing in the water,

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That's about all I have.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
593
Location
Austin
Nice photos and trip report you guys. That area is definitely on my destination bucket list albeit all on pavement.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
750
Location
Keep me anywhere south of Mason Dixon!
Great report! Thanks for sharing! Wish I had made a fall color trip this year before they are all gone.

Hey did you happen to bring a GPS? If so I'd like to get some tracks if you wanna share - we were up that way last spring - I got to ride FlyGap but didn't have any good info on the rest of the riding areas around Redding.
 

JT

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
1,578
Location
Elgin
Great report! Thanks for sharing! Wish I had made a fall color trip this year before they are all gone.

Hey did you happen to bring a GPS? If so I'd like to get some tracks if you wanna share - we were up that way last spring - I got to ride FlyGap but didn't have any good info on the rest of the riding areas around Redding.
PM sent.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2009
Messages
1,945
Location
La Porte, TX
Man, that looks like a blast! Glad you guys had a good time, and came back safe. I'm itching to get back up there for sure.
 
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