Well believe it or not I have never been on the Big Piney Trail, even though at the moment my favorite beer comes from the Piney River Brewing Company , But I digress. I got the invitation from the KC boys that they were going to do the Piney River trail again this year. It seems that they had a slight mishap with navigation last year and also with some local toothless turkey hunters, I think there was at least no banjos!
So they wanted to try again and I suppose to add to the fun invited me and since Bob, Eric and I already have a history of "interesting" adventures together.
At the last minute Bob could not make it, and Jeremy (Ramen Shamen, who had been on the previous misadventure) and Eric's son Caleb joined also.
We met on a Friday afternoon and headed out. The forecast called for severe thunderstorms Friday night and into Saturday.
The Big Piney Trail is just 17 miles long divided into a southern and northern loops with a connector trail in the middle. It is normally something I could do in a day, but it is deceptively strenuous with lots of little ups and down and besides taking two nights makes it more fun in the woods.
The Trail has three access points. Roby Lake (which we started from), Paddy Creek Recreation area and a horse camp parking lot at about the mid way point.
This area is in mid-Missouri, about 25 miles south of Ft Leonard Wood and Waynesville, MO
Roby Lake is surrounded by open prairie land
The plan was to go about ten miles in today, go just 5 miles tomorrow and then just have 2.5 miles ish to get out on Sunday morning...
Half the Paddy Creek Wilderness sign greets you now as you enter the loop
Spring is surely on the way
Jeremy looking over one of the small spring crossing
The rock formations are really great in this area. Very similar to Elephant Rocks State Park with unique fracture lines
more spring flowers peeking out
Found what looked to be a deer pelvis along the trail.
Jeremy thought it would make a good Gladiator helmet and it did! Good Look...
Nice twisted tree trunk along the trail
More granite strewn along the trail
stock pond along the trail. a lot better places for water today fortunately
Probably because of the many notices about the trail being hard to stay on, there were new signs up all over the trail pointing the way... to be honest they still need some at a few trail junctions and some better wording would be nice... However if you can read a map and know what those contour lines mean you don't really have much issue
some nice pine forest areas
more spring time
We took advantage of hitting the paddy creek campground around 6 pm. and decided to take advantage of their facilities include picnic tables and real toilets
My hammock all pitched for the night.
It really stormed last night... lighting flashing and some of the hardest rain I have ever camped out in... I stayed warm and dry in the hammock under the tarp, but the rain did splash in on my underquilt, but I was using my 20 degree set, not knowing how cold it was likely to get and I am glad I did.
Day 2- packing up and breakfast time
Paddy Creek low water bridge, no water the day before, but plenty this morning.
you climb a bit coming out of the campsite to a really nice overlook of the creek
the rocks in this area look like building blocks. nice cave in the middle
Turkey tail fungus growing on a log
Day 2 had some good flat bits of trail
Bones of many different animals
more bones from a canine animal
back on the trail Jeremy photographing a large waterfall
An old homestead well, now long filled in
Homestead Chimney- all that is left of the house
Getting to camp on Day 2. it was only about 1 pm, but this was where everyone wanted to stop. It is a very pretty overview high on a ridge
nice view from the hammock-it started to rain just as I finished setting up the hammock, perfect timing. It only rained till about 7 pm, but it was cold and bit windy, so I stayed in the hammock for about 16 hours until 6 am the next morning ! very relaxing
Day 3 was just a 2.5 mile walk out, but more little water pour offs on the way out.
nice pine forest and flat trail mostly on the last bit of walking
A great couple of days in the woods, despite the rain. Paddy Creek area is definitely a lovely place to hike and camp. Raccoon tracks as we were leaving the wilderness boundary gate.
The crew successfully complete the 17 mile loop
L-R (Caleb, Craig, Jeremy, Eric) we missed you Bob.
Thanks guys for letting me tag along