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Hot Springs / Ouachita Trail, AR

With Hot Springs

Oct 28 - Nov 5, 2017 -- $1275 ★★


For over 200 years, people have come to Hot Springs, AR to bathe in its legendary healing waters to relax and treat illnesses. Many people still drink the hot waters, believing them to be theraputic and delicious. (Note: the Hot Springs no longer run wild and we will soak in them in one of the local bathhouses. What to expect at the bathhouse)


We will hike almost 50 miles along the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, a beautiful and seldom hiked trail that goes between Little Rock, AR and Talimena, OK. The trail is inhabited by deer, wild turkeys, barred owls, hummingbirds, and if we're lucky, bald eagles and bears. But mostly, there are walking sticks, armadillos and interesting spiders such as tarantulas.


This itinerary is the same as the 2013 itinerary except in reverse just to switch things up. Our journey will begin at Highway 298 on the border of the Ouachita National Forest. If you have joined us on one of our previous trips, Highway 298 is where the prior trips ended. We will visit 5 shelters (we'll stay in or near all of them) and go all the way to Lake Sylvia where the hiking portion of the trip ends. From there, we'll shuttle to the Hot Springs for a relaxing soak in the legendary mineral waters of Hot Springs.


It's Fall in Arkansas and we'll see Fall Foliage, so why not join us, soak in the hot springs, see a part of the country few ever see, and get in shape in anticipation of the holiday season?



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures to be ideal -- in the 60s or 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 30s and 40s. However, be prepared for the possibility of overnight temperatures as low as the 20s and the possibility of rain or even snow. It poured one day on the 2014 trip, but we were fortunate to arrive at our shelter just as the rain started and stay inside until the next morning when it cleared up.

View historic weather for this area.



Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Chris Frey


Cost

$1275 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Little Rock, AR (LIT), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities.


Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 7 days of trail meals, ground transportation, fees, permits, communal hot springs mineral bath (private services such as massage or private bath are extra), insurance, and 2 awesome guides.



Difficulty

Much of the terrain on the Ouachita Trail is mellow and well graded, but there are sections where contours can be steep. The most dramatic ascents/descents are about 700' which can be a challenge but are not long-lasting. The daily mileage is about 7.5 miles most days, with a 9+ mile day thrown in, bookended by two 4-5 mile days.


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Itinerary
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Important Note
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Itinerary


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fly or drive into Little Rock (LIT). The best arrival time is between 12PM - 3PM, but if you can save a significant amount of money by arriving a little before or after, you should do so.


Take free airport shuttle to Comfort Inn & Suites Airport (AR099), 4301 East Roosevelt Rd., Little Rock, AR, 72206, (501) 376-2466


Equipment shakedown. We go through your pack and examine everything you brought.


Go to Ozark Outdoor Supply 5514 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, AR to pick up any equipment participants forgot or still need. Open until 6PM


Trail mix distribution


"Before" body composition measurements taken


Go out for opening dinner, review trip orientation. Dinner not included in trip cost.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Second set of "before" measurements taken


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.


Free hotel breakfast


Shuttle to Route 298, elevation 800'


Begin hiking at Route 298, elevation 800'


There is no reliable water at Blue Mountain Shelter, so carry 8 liters today.


Hike 4.4 miles to Blue Mountain Shelter, elevation 1500'


Camp at Blue Mountain Shelter, elevation 1500'


Miles today: 4.4. Total miles: 4.4


Possible bailout: Route 298


Monday, October 30, 2017

Hike 4.6 miles to Ouachita Pinnacle, highest point on the hike with great views, elevation 2000'


Hike 3.0 miles to Big Bear Shelter, elevation 1300'


Camp at Big Bear Shelter, elevation 1300'


Miles today: 7.6. Total miles: 12.0


Possible bailout: Forest Road 107


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hike 7.6 miles to Moonshine Shelter, elevation 1400'


Camp at Moonshine Shelter, elevation 1400'


Miles today: 7.6. Total miles: 19.6


Possible bailout: Forest Road 122 or Route 7


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hike 2.0 miles to Route 7, the only paved road we'll pass, elevation 1000'


Hike 5.0 miles to Sugar Creek, elevation 1050'


Fill water here as there will be no water at tonight's shelter.


Hike 2.0 miles to Oak Mountain Shelter, elevation 1750'


Camp at Oak Mountain Shelter, elevation 1750'


Miles today: 9.0. Total miles: 28.6


Possible bailout: Highway 7


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hike 1.4 miles to the Flatside Wilderness, elevation 1600'


Hike 6.2 miles to Crystal Prong, elevation 1200'


Dispersed camp near Crystal Prong practicing Leave No Trace, elevation 1200'


Miles today: 7.6. Total miles: 36.2


Possible bailout: Forest Road 132


Friday, November 3, 2017

Hike 4,2 miles to the Flatside Pinnacle and Flatside Wilderness, elevation 1500’


Great views of Forked Mountain from Flatside Pinnacle


Hike 3.3 miles to Brown Creek Shelter, elevation 950'


There is no water at the shelter. The next water is 0.6 miles further at Brown Creek


Camp at Brown Creek Shelter, elevation 950'


Miles today: 7.5. Total miles: 43.7


Possible bailout: Forest Road 805 or 94


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hike 4.9 miles to Lake Sylvia, Route 324, elevation 800'


End of hiking


The shuttle comes to pick us up


Go for a mineral bath at Quapaw Historic Bathhouse, for a relaxing soak in the communal bath area (included). Other services such as massage and private baths available at your own expense.


Shuttle to Comfort Inn & Suites Airport (AR099), 4301 East Roosevelt Rd., Little Rock, AR, 72206, (501) 376-2466


"After" measurements taken


Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Free breakfast in Hotel


Free Airport Shuttle


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