View Full Version : Ouachita Trail Section Hike

2005-05-09, 12:47
This past weekend me and two others set out to hike the Hwy. 9 to Hwy 7 section of the OT. It's about 32 miles in length. We made it about nine miles in to Brown Creek the first night and camped there. The next day we went up on top of Flatside Pinnacle which is an awesome place to hang out. You can actually drive to Flatside using dirt roads for a day hike or picnic with the fam. We then went down the mountain to a creek crossing. We filled up with water and headed out again. After about ten miles the second day, it was about this time when I really started sucking wind.

At about 2:00 pm, out of shape, no appetite, and apparently dehydrated, I made it to a trail head on road #132. I couldn't go any further. I was getting tunnel vision, having heavy breathing, and hadn't peed all day. I sat with the gear while the other two stripped to bare minimum gear and went another 13 miles on the trail to get the car. (One guy is an adventure racer and the other one might as well be.) I offered to camp there while they finished the trek w/o me, but apparently I didn't look too good.

So, I sat there for five hours drinking water and relaxing while the other two flew down the trail. When they got back around 7:30 pm, they told me they saw three black bears - two adults and a younger one. The two adults were hanging out on the trail and the other was up in a tree. It must have been older than a cub because the two adults ran off when they saw my partners.

This was my first backpacking trip on the OT and my first backpacking experience in about five years. In retrospect, I was trying a water filter for the first time and carried only two 20 oz water bottles. This wasn't enough for me 'cause I was trying to keep up with the other two the entire time and it was pushing me to the limit. I'm about to order a 100 oz bladder to stick in my pack.

Well, at least I got to try out some new gear - homemade gravity water filter, Pepsi can stove, homemade wind/rain jacket. But, I think I need to start running again if I'm going back in the woods with those guys.

The trail was neatly maintained to the creek crossing, but after that it was quite overgrown in comparison. I've heard that the OT doesn't get much use, and it showed on about the last half of the trail (according to the other two guys, of course).


2005-05-09, 14:37
Cain, glad to hear you made a sensible choice and took care of yourself. Hiking is hard work on a rough trail like the OT. At least the weather this time of year is just beatiful. Hope you are feeling well. I am betting you learned enough this weekend to write a book. See you down the trail.

2005-05-09, 15:49
You were smart to call the halt rather than pushing until you collapsed. Those blackies would have probably eaten you if you laid still long enough!

Rather than running, why not put your boots on and start logging miles around the neighborhood? I walk a lot which is a big help when hoofing it up and down the OT. Besides, walking is easier on your knees.

I, too, need copious amounts of water when hiking. I usually carry too much but I worry about not having enough. On the trail, at least for me, 'water = energy.'

2005-05-10, 10:30
Actually, I ran on and off for several years until my son was born two years ago. But, you're right - running is hard on the knees. I got us a Kelty child carrier backpack a couple of months ago. I could probably stand putting that to some more use.

When I got back to the office on Monday, I was telling some folks about the trip and one guy told me about his wife getting dehydrated while they were hiking in the Grand Canyon. She had to be airlifted out. He said she was almost to the point where she was delirious. He was concerned that she might walk off into the wilderness from camp going who knows where.

I just ordered a 3-liter bladder for my pack so hopefully this won't happen again.

2005-05-11, 01:22
Cain, my buddy got dehydrated two summers ago, when we were stuck on a steep hillside in the Olympic mountains out here west...Very hot day, 90+, very short hike. We lost an old abandoned trail trying to find a tiny lake to fish. Took us 8 hours to get out, maybe one mile, my buddy cramping up very bad, couldn't get up. I had to lift him up at least twenty times and keep going together, using my altimeter to find our lauch point. (No GPS here, too steep) Taugh us both a lesson. He, to hydrate his body to the max, before leaving the car. And me, to carry a bit more water with on the trail, even if a short hike. You never know what will happen...

Hey JimTanker, you still out there? I recall, over beer you said you wanted to try this lake sometime...