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The Ozarks are Wooping us!

Lost AGAIN! Two days in a row!

This time we followed a ‘short cut.’ That should have been our first clue.

The road wound in a northern arch up around Devil’s Well then back down to Timber. We were hoping to cut straight across from Aker’s Ferry to Timber. Hence the ‘short cut.’

Had it not been for this decision to go cross country, we would have missed a cool sight. Devil’s Well is a small hole in the ground that goes straight down to an underground reservoir. You can actually view the reservoir from above ground- not down in a cavern. Very rare. The park had built stairs down to the hole, so we took a short side trip to go see it- then continued on our short cut.

The directions were “follow the trail off the back side of the pond that follows the creek back to an old abandoned house. Take the four wheeler trail east. Then use your compass and just keep going east. There’s all kinds of  trails out there that will take you to Timber.”

Use of the compass… that should have been our second clue.

We never found the abandoned house…. clue number three?

So we took a trail that went east. It was really steep but eventually dumped us out on a dirt road. We took it until it was going due north. We were pretty sure we knew which road it was on the map and it was not beneficial, so we took the next trail east as instructed.

That one was even steeper! Wow- we really are in some mountains now.

It brought us down to a creek- that we saw a huge snapping turtle in!- and then guess what?

It dead ended at the river!

Yep- the same Current river as yesterday. It is a strikingly beautiful river, but it was in our way!

We found another trail that went east. We thought we had seen steep- but this reminded us of the trail in Utah that was extremely steep with no switchbacks! (See ‘stairway to Heaven’ blog… I think that’s what I named it.) Apparently the four wheelers enjoy the challenge or something.

It dead ended at the top of a round top mountain with no way down… except the way we just came up.

That was sucky for the pack horses. That’s really hard on them carrying dead weight on such steep terrain. We felt bad knowing it was wreaking havoc on the horses and worst of all, we were making almost no miles for all the work.

We took the only option left- the trail up the creek. It seems that there are indeed lots of trails out here- but they mostly go north/south following the valleys or the ridges- just like most of the trails in the country. This one did eventually turn into a dirt road that took us out about a mile above Timber, but all that work had only gained us 7 eastward miles for a day of grueling calorie burning.

Don’t get me wrong, we knew the area we were in, we just couldn’t figure out how to get to where we wanted to go. It was fun for a while- we do after all have everything with us we need to camp, but it got old climbing all those mountains for no gain.

We were quite relieved to figure out where we were, and even  more relieved when Jeff offered us an unused house to sleep in and the large yard of Timber Lodge to graze our horses on. He even brought us fresh food and hay for the horses too! I had almost forgotten how much we don’t miss eating our dehydrated food when camping!

In the morning, Tiska and Chance were sore on their withers from all the steep downhills, so we made the conservative choice to stay a day and let them all recuperate. It was the toughest day they’d had since the day we climbed to 12,000 feet in the Rockies. Unfortunately, that meant we gave up our last sunshine day for the rest of the forecast, but alas, it is spring after all. We are just going to have to get used to riding in the rain. Tomorrow’s as good a day as any to ‘get our feet wet’, so they say!



2 comments

  1. Welcome to the Shawnee. You visited with my son yesterday on Dutchman Lake Matt. the barefoot farrier. Come back sometime and we will give you a tour of the Shawnee. It is one of the most beatiful places on earth.

  2. Ah, yes: what I call ‘back-woods’ directions! If you already know which trail “leads to an abandoned house”, you know which trail to take. But that begs the question of whether you need directions at all. I work with computers, and this is what we call an “N-pass alorithm” meaning that you might have to make “N” attempts to find the correct solution (route).

    There are parts of the country where “going forward, sequential thinking (step-by-step)” is apparently not common practice. Do not be surprised if you find more of this farther east.

    The “scenic route” is nice sometimes, but frustrating when there are milestones and goals to reach. I hope the horses got enough rest!


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