Night On Bell Mountain- October 25-26 2014

The weather is changing the leaves are turning, nowhere better to go to see it all than Bell Mountain. Our favorite Missouri view point and the highest point in the State with a good view. Joe (Gideon) had put a call out for anyone interested in a quick overnight and myself, Hairbear (Brian), Fred hiked up to the top together and two new hangers to our group MGuns (Butch) and his wife (Dee Ann) joined us later in the day.

The parking lot was jammed with cars and the top of Bell Mountain was jammed with people as we would see later in the day.
 It is just 6 miles to the top and there are a few "Look Outs" along the way. We noticed right away that this area of Missouri had been especially dry, not much water and the colors were more muted.

Brian's dog Bonnie was along for this trip and she is an excellent trail dog.
 The Boys-(L to R)  Joe, Brian, Fred

This is probably the largest lizard I have seen while walking the trail in Missouri. This guy was about 8-9" long
 It was actually very warm- The temperatures got to be about 85 and very sunny. You actually worked up quite the sweat walking up today

Wildflowers still in bloom

 you could see the color in the trees

The trail is very rocky and as you move toward the middle you start to see the large outcroppings of Granite the mountain is made of.

Made it. the view from the top. The guys actually put on a good pace. Up in 2 hrs 15 min. There were so many groups up on the top we had to spend 15-20 minutes finding a spot to hang. We missed getting our favorite site by just 30 yards as a couple walked to it just before we did.

 Getting our hammocks set up- Gideon in his Darien UL from Dream Hammocks.
 Fred in the Danger Bird also from Dream Hammocks. Hairbear was in a DIY gathered end and I was using my Warbonet Ridgerunner Bridge Hammock again.

The view over the edge from my hammock
 After getting all set up ( we were so hot we were down to just shorts on Oct 25th!) it was time for the post hike afternoon nap. Leaving the parking lot at 11 am, we were up to the top by 1:15 pm, so it was great just to relax.

MGuns (Butch) and his wife (Dee Ann) arrived later and they had some unusual hammocks- Amok Draumr hammocks.
These are Norwegian Hammocks where the suspension is on the sides of the hammock.

Dee Ann had hers all done and then at night it was lite up like a Christmas tree.



The sun started to set behind Bell Mountain, the shadows started getting long and the colors started to "pop" with the more subdued lighting

Reds, Gold, Orange, Greens

 We had some very nice rocks to sit on and a good view to start dinner and chat

Above ( Joe, Dee Ann, Brian)
Below (Fred and Butch)

 The sun through the leaves made everything shine.

 We built and nice fire and there was good conversation until it was time to sleep. No tarps tonight as the sky was perfectly clear. Lots of shooting stars, the Milky Way, and satellites to view.
It is never hard to wake up in time for the morning sunrise. I was up and sitting on my rock ledge to watch the dawn

The full morning view

 After breakfast I had to back up and get going as I had a brunch appointment back home, so I made the trip down by myself as everyone else lingered on top for awhile longer

 the colors were much more dramatic in the morning with the angled light.

It was also much cooler this morning than yesterday so hiking downhill was not any trouble. I made the 6 miles down in 1 hour 45 minutes. Pausing just briefly to take pictures

 The colors in the trees were really showing through today

Part of the number of cars in the parking lot on Friday was the forest service doing some trail maintenance by putting up better signs at some of the trail junctions. You can see the new signs on the tree above the old signs for Bell Mountain and the Ozark Trail

Thanks much for a great overnight. Bell Mountain never disappoints.

1 comment:

  1. The scenes are absolutely beautiful! You couldn't ask for a better day then you had. I do miss the colors of fall. Sounds like a good time was had by all.


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