A Night Out On the Ozark Trail April 11-12 2021

It had been quite a while since I have gotten to do an overnight with Joe and Cory. In fact, like most of us it had been more than a year. I  have been out solo on some walks, but no overnights, so with all of us vaccinated and each feeling the need for a little "fresh air" Cory proposed we get out just for a short overnight. 

We have a particular campsite that we like on the Ozark Trail, It is a short 3 hour walk from a good safe parking area at Johnson Shut Ins Campground and it is normally used to access the Goggin's Mountain hiking loop. 

Meeting early Saturday morning and planning to come back Sunday around lunch time, we are off. 

Not having done an overnight in a while and with a nod to a bit of luxury, I packed everything including the kitchen sink. I brought a chair! But don't panic though it was still only 21 pounds with food and water!

We are off, It had rained hard overnight and the chance of some rain was possible, but clearing quickly, however it was cool and breezy as we started around 45 degrees. 

The woods still have not leafed out yet and this is the best time to walk as the views are nice and the bugs have not yet taken over.

Because of the rain, all the small creeks where now large. Nothing to get excited about, but we tried to keep our feet dry at least a few hours 

Small life taking hold again

Spring flowers along the trail 

You start out on the Goggin's Mountain loop but you come to a short connector trail that takes you onto the Ozark Trail

You connect to the Ozark trail at a great overlook, looking West.

You know you are on the Ozark Trail in Spring as the trail is the path of least resistance for the water to flow downhill. You can't lose the trail, just keep walking in the water! 

More Springtime color 

One of the great features of springtime on the Ozark Trail is all the small springs that create fantastic flows and waterfalls. These will be completely gone in a few months, but now they are beautiful and one of the best is along this section. 

We made it to our campsite at the Padfield Branch creek crossing at the site of the hold homestead and spring marked on the Ozark Trail Taum Sauk section map. 

Padfield Branch 

What is left of an old barn at the homestead site, It leans over more and more every year, just like me! 

For being a pretty good sized camping area, it never looks like it gets used much. After setting up, we started to process wood for our fire. We are careful to only use downed or dead wood and not any that would be obvious habitat 

I obviously didn't get the memo as the guys brought lots of beer. Fortunately for me they brought me some as well. 

Joe getting after some of the wood we collected 

More tree blossoms. I think this is a Dogwood, one of my favorite spring trees 

Part of bringing the kitchen sink was bringing my Firebox Nano wood stove. I planned on cooking a steak tonight and didn't know if we would have a fire, but also didn't want to mess with cooking it over an open fire. 

This is a fantastic piece of gear, easy to set up and use. The videos they make are also really good 

Well the filet turned out fantastic if I do say so myself, In fact one of the best I have made. Perfectly charred on the outside and medium rare on the inside, along with some cheesy mashed potatoes and one of the excellent beers brought by Cory and Joe, sitting in my camp chair, it is not exactly roughing it in the woods. 

We had the fire till well into the night.

The night was very pleasant in the hammock and slept in a bit till around 7 ish 

Another luxury for this overnight, I brought the Aeropress and some freshly ground Yemenis' coffee 

Today was totally clear with blue skies and rising temperatures. We got up and left camp around 8:30 am 

A beautiful day to walk in the woods. 

more springtime flowers 

Blue sky and still good views before the green canopy returns

Joe and Cory enjoying the views 

The Taum Sauk section runs through Missouri's granite mountains, so a good portion of this section has official cairns for keeping on the trail 

But is most parts are easy to follow, but the granite does get a lovely coating of lichen and mosses 

more springtime buds 

Not a cloud in the sky at the overlook this morning 

Bright sunshine 

Back to the cars and with no problems 

Post hike burgers and beer at the Iron Mule in Ironton MO. It has great food

Like I said, great burgers.

Thanks Cory and Joe. It was a great weekend 

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