Friday (Christmas day) I had all the Christmas festivities behind me, so a couple of friends and I headed to the Ouachitas for a bit of trail running. Burning off a few calories is a good thing. Burning them off here gave us a chance to preview the area for the upcoming
Ouachita Switchbacks 50K/25 that happens January 16.Michelle, Clint, and I parked at the Pashubee trailhead, which is also a campground with all the amenities--except electric hookups, Oh, and no water. And no outhouses--but there are lots of trees. ;-)
Michelle points out our destination. All three of us are doing the 25K in the race, so I wanted to do the other side of the course to see what it looked like. Kiamichi River--here we come. Wet water crossings are the best.
So after a group selfie--we were off.
It's fair to say this trail is technical in places. Within the first .4 miles, we three dry creek bed crossings, and one with a little water.
No problem crossing at this one, although there are several crossings (the Kiamichi River I bet for sure) that it's be best to just plow in and deal with wet feet. Better than slipping and falling, although that would make for lively conversation.
Lots of rocks covered with leaves. What looks like an easy leaf covered trail is really a trap. Lurking beneath the leaves are well placed rocks placed since the beginning of time waiting to stub your toe, and better yet, send you directly to the ground via a face plant. It was risky running a decent pace. I call it trails by braille. We did our best to kick most of the leaves off the trail.
And then there are rocks to big to hide under leaves. Rock gardens come in all different sizes. There are healthy.
There are also sections like this on the Ouachita Trail/ I did a portion on the OT in Arkansas a few years back that was a solid mile of this except it was also nearly straight up.
Clint and I took a goat-hike onto this rock for a better view of the valley below.
I took the opportunity to strike a Captain Morgan pose.
We abbreviated our out-and back, climbing 1140 feet on the initial climb and 1445 for the trip. We logged right at 7 miles.
On December 25th, I added my final tick to my tick-o-meter count--raising my total to 117 for the year.
I am excited to go back next month to go from Pashubee to Winding Stair and back--taking on all the rocks, leaves, climbs, and water crossings. And I now--more than ever--want to do an end-to-end fast-pack hike.