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Athens-Big Fork Trail, Ouachita Natl Forest, AR


WanderAR

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Took a quick out and back on the Athens-Big Fork Trail. This trail is an old mail route in the Ouachita National Forest in Southwestern Arkansas. No real color change happening but there was a cold snap so it was a great time to get outside. I didn't take a lot of photos but here are a few for your perusal:

Pre-dawn photo from Eagle Rock Vista. That must be Venus up there.

Same sunrise a bit later:

Ditto:

Unidentified fungus:

Dragonfly close-up:

Top of Brush Heap Mtn. looking West:

Top of Brush Heap Mtn. looking East:

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Wow, great pictures! I haven't been to the Ouachita's in quite some time...Beautiful place. Looks like I need to head back sooner rather than later.

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The Ouachita's are the closest hiking ops for me, and I'm still 4 hrs away. I've done sections of the Ouachita Trail, Caney Creek, and Eagle Rock Loop. I've only done the loop twice, both times solo. I have done weekend sections of it, Lil Missouri Trail, Viles Branch, Winding Stairs areas several times. I'd like to complete the OT in sections, then move on to the OHT. There's a lot of hiking to be had in AR, and while it's not as majestic as out west, it has a beauty all it's own. I could hike Caney Creek Wilderness endlessly and never get tired of it :)

Edited by Leigh
remove abbreviates for trails
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Thanks all! Aaron and Leigh, what trails have you been out on in the Ouachitas?

WanderAR,

It's been nearly 20 years, but if I'm not mistaken we headed East on a 2 night out and back from Highway 270 and Big Brush Creek on the Ouachita Trail... All my previous hiking before that trip had been in the relative flatlands of Texas, so after we drove up and hit the Ouachitas it was definitely quite the challenge and experience. A really great trail system and the views are hard to beat!

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Glad to see the out of state folks coming to AR for hiking. We do have some great trail systems. Leigh, you should also make the extra drive up into the Ozarks. Even with all the scenery around here, I still need to get out west and enjoy some real mountains.

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WA,

I actually started up there canoeing the Buffalo, then dayhiking a little, I didn't even know about the southern Ouachitas, except for some of the trails around Lake Ouachita where I'd kayaked some. It wasn't until I discovered BackpackingArkansas.com that I learned about ERL and Caney and the OT. I grew up in south TX and spent a lot of time in the hill country hiking, but life took me away from the outdoors for a few years.About 10 years ago I took up paddling, which consumed all of my free time, and then started getting out to hike more and that turned into a passion for backpacking....which I never dreamed I could do due to lumbar issues. Thank goodness for ul gear!

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