A Weekend around Taum Sauk State Park. Dec 11-13 2015

Fronkey (Trevor) wanted to hike for a weekend! I hadn't seen him in a long time, although we talk and message regularly, he has been off doing several outdoor projects. I thought it would be fun to invite the regular Missouri hiking group and plan a longer weekend in the woods. I came up with a dual loop. We would meet at the Bell Mountain trail head and shuttle everyone to the Goggins Mountain Trail Head in Taum Sauk State Park and then hike back to Bell Mountain.  Goggins Mountain loop (8 miles), 11 miles on the Ozark Trail connecting to Bell Mountain (6 miles). An easy two and half days and some great scenery. The participants would be myself, Fronkey, Gideon, Disco and Hoot. All was to plan, Fronkey drove up from Oklahoma (his new home base) on Thrusday night and we all met at the Hwy A trail head, except for Hoot that tied up with work in Texas. We shuttled around to the GMT on Friday morning and starting hiking.
The day was warm for Decemeber (60's) but with high humidity it was very foggy. I had not been on this loop before and it was a very nice trail going mostly UP! Six miles into the Goggins Mountain loop was the stopping point for day 1 and we set up our hammocks. Hoot was supposed to be about 4 hours behind us but we didn't hear from him all day until late when he said he was going to the Hwy A parking lot and would just meet us on top of Bell Mountain Saturday night.
We set up and sat around talking and having dinner. I brought some Pat's Backcountry Beer to mix up and enjoy, but it was an early night as it was foggy, breezy and when the sun goes away... dark!
The fog did blow away for a few hours but returned with even higher temperatures for Day 2.
We also recieved text messages from Hoot that there were some "gnarly" looking guys hanging out around the vehicles in the Hwy A parking lot. We decided, somewhat wrongly, that we would just hike back to the vehicles and then drive back to Hwy A, collect the cars and come over to Taum Sauk state park. We actually could have hiked the 9 miles to the Hwy A parking lot just as quickly as hiking backward and driving back... oh well.
After retrieving the cars we went to show the Johnson Shut In's to Fronkey, who had never been there, and then decided lunch and beer was in order before returning to Taum Sauk to hike on the Ozark Trail through The Scour for the final night. Fronkey's wife had to leave for a trip, so Fronkey came along and stayed in our camp until after dark and then left to start the long drive home in order not to leave his best mate Tala the dog alone for more than an entire night.
The third day started with some light rain, Hoot leaving early and Gideon, Disco, and myself walking out around 9 am.
It was a very unusual weekend, but still good to get out in the woods. I used the weekend to test some video work on the GoPro and the iPhone 6S for deciding which to take to Scotland. I had intended to also use the Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack I had just received but decided before the trip that the fit of the pack just wasn't for me.... more searching for the perfect fitting pack.

Video of this weekends hike

Gideon (Joe), Disco (Corey) above
Fronkey (Trevor), Hoot (Eric) below

You may also encounter redneck gnarly people

 Foggy and cool, day 1

Foggy and warming Day 2

Johnson Shut In's at Taum Sauk State Park

A break for BBQ and Beer at Baylee Joe's in Pilot Knob, Missouri
 Ribs, Homemade beans and bread along with a nice craft beer (TowHead)

 Back on the Trail up the Scour toward the Dam for the final night

Thanks Guys for a great weekend...

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