we have been there literally dozens of times, but don't really do it in the summer so it did look completely different all leafed out. The temps were in the high 60's to start.
Forgive me if some of the photos are the same ones as I have taken many times on this loop, but I like coming here, so here goes
We hit the trail right at 8 am. This is also part of the Taum Sauk section of the Ozark Trail and there as been this very useful plaque up at the beginning of the trail for quite some time. I like these very much.
The first section tops out at this overlook, which didn't have much of a view with all the summer time trees, but it marks the end of the first uphill push from the parking lot. This is obviously facing west as the sun is rising on the other side of Bell Mountain
Lots of really great small flowers hidden in the grass along the trail today
sun streaming through the trees.
A large section of exposed granite is always a nice place to take a break
End of section 2 is at the Ozark Trail Bell Mountain split. the Ozark Trail continues south while the Bell Mountain trail breaks east
this is my photo this time as more spiders were just mouth high all morning strung across the trail
this is a Micrathena gracilis from the orb weaver family. They look like they have sea shells on their bodies
Joe kept a very brisk pace taking his hill training seriously. We averaged about 3 miles per hours for the whole 12 miles.
High Point marker on top of Bell Mountain. For those that have never been able to find it... it is under where the old fire lookout tower used to be
Not much of a view today from the top of Bell Mountain, but lots of very nice clouds
Snack at the top was a cheese, onion and potato pasty from London Calling in Springfield Mo.
Our usual spot on the top of Bell looks pretty used. Someone has broken off the excellent rock bench on the right and the fire ring has been damaged
A bit further along the rim there was a bigger opening to get some views of the valleys below.
I spotted the biggest lizard I have ever seen sunning himself on a rock. He changed color to try and blend in to the granite he was sitting on.
Loop completed and heading back out. Joe and I back on the Ozark Trail portion of the trail
a mile and half from the parking lot, or the same from the end, this spring has always had water in it every time I have been here, except today it was bone dry. This is usually the only reliable source of water except for Joe's Creek at the bottom of the loop hike, which did have water in it today.
12 miles in about 5.5 hours. Not bad, but we need more time to really get ready for 60 miles in Glacier at the beginning of September, but with any luck we will both be ready.