Cold Camping in the Ozarks - December 2019

wngrog

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@WharfRat said he had some use-it-or-lose-it
Vacation a few weeks ago and wanted to go
Camping. I was in the same boat and we decided to hit the road last week. We were watching the weather to see where we were going, but in the end the Ozarks won out. It was going to be cold in every direction so we picked the spot we really wanted to go to.

LarryB took off a day early so he can chime in on his day in the field without us, but I hit the road at 7:15 on Wednesday

I made it 1/2 mile when I realized something was amiss.

 

wngrog

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I called tech support (@FJ60Cam ) and he figured with that red Air Fuel Ratio at 35.6 that my O2 sensor was dead.
Being that I was meeting a VIP that morning for the trip, I ran back home and stole the O2 out of my FJ60 and was northbound and down by 8

It’s so damn loud in the Warthog I had to pull over when Red called to ask some questions so I took some obligatory Delta photos

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Crossing the bridge on fire

 

wngrog

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The VIP turned out to be my ole buddy @Bossman
He had sent me a message just the week before asking about some camping spots. I told him LarryB and I were going and he jumped on board
As a special treat he brought along his 1988 BJ74.
We scooped up LarryB and turned north into the Ozarks about 2 pm. I knew our destination but the tracks along the way were mostly new to me. We got on gravel about 3 pm and backroaded all the way to Richland Creek which was our first crossing.
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We hiked up to the Nars for some sunset views
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Then we ran into a beautiful herd of Elk. They ran right in front of me. Beautiful.
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We nosed into the sand bar at Woolum at dusk. I immediately started a fire and LarryB and Bossman cooked up the vittles
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wngrog

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We did not mess with breakfast in the low 20s.
That said, I really have been wanting to cross the Buffalo and see what the Woolum Camp was like in case I ever came up here and the water was too high to cross.

So we dove in to see


It’s a nice big camping area with pit toilets. The sign there says camping is allowed on the river there.

LarryB took the lead in the way back and stayed in the road (Searcy Road 14) and this Crossing was just a bit deeper

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Bossman took on a bit of water
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This way was DEEP

 

wngrog

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We back tracked down across Richland Creek.


Some of the trails were a repeat at first but we managed to make our way to fresh tracks after a few miles.
We also saw the entire herd of elk that morning. Possibly as many as 100. Truly magnificent

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wngrog

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It was warming up nicely as we made our way to a trail Dave told me about.
We broke for late breakfast early lunch and had a charcuterie platter from Bossman and a skottle of leftover NY Strip. Best use ever for that chrome



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After that we drove trails all afternoon with the plan to get to camp along the Big Piney sometime around 4
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wngrog

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The trail into the Piney I found from the west started off real easy until we got close to the creek.
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Once there, a storm had passed through and there were about 10 bypasses around fallen trees that were sized for Jeeps or side by sides, not cantankerous Hogs with roof top tents.
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We made the creek but could not see the ramp but my FS overlay on GAIA showed it was there so I recon’ed it by fire. I just drove over for a look see



I made it up but opened up my fender a bit from some bad body work

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LarryB was right on my tail. Never scared that guy....

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Followed by Bossman with this fine piece of driving

 

wngrog

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We were pretty whipped at this point. I think the GPS logged us at about 120 miles off road since 8 am.

as you can see from my tracks, I literally crossed the creek and pulled into my camp spot
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LarryB cooked up some of his special fried pork chops and Bossman covered us with some of the best skillet potatoes ever.
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we washed it all down with fresh cobbler from the Dutch oven.
I cut some extra firewood before LarryB put
Me to work peeling apples.
The rapids, bourbon and Bossmans home made moonshine had us all in our racks by 8:30
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wngrog

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The next morning we skipped breakfast again and hit the road. The trail out turned out to be a real bear.

The west side mess was nothing compared to the east side mess we got hit with

These deviations show the story

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I nearly got stuck in the mud twice. I hit a few trees and we had to cut low trees Not to ruin my tent.

Then Bossman got stuck and I got to break out my winch

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wngrog

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We made our way out finally. The loggers are working this area so hopefully they will cut to the creek on both sides and open this trail back up for good.

Once we hit the road LarryB helped himself to a diesel hose while I aired up. I broke my window crank trying to get the pic of it hanging there but you can see the grin and the hose discarded on the ground.
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Bossman took off when we stopped a second time so he would not be at the scene of two crimes.
We passed him near Pine Bluff
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We covered some tracks. Old and new. Love me some Ozarks
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LarryB and I stopped at Pickens Store for some great grub
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We crossed back into Mississippi and I was home by 3 on Friday. Great times. You gotta go.

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I don’t know how Nolan can make suck a big deal of me replacing my fuel cap...

I had the week off so after doing a little food prep I was itching to hit the road.
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Tuesday morning I pulled out of Jackson as the sun was rising and stopped for a few phots along the way.
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I reached the Ouachita National Forest by lunch and started working my way West to East.
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After finding a spot to settle in for the night I seasoned a steak & fried up some potatoes in the the Skottle.
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The next morning I broke camp and made my way north to rendezvous with Nolan & Bossman.
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As I topped off my tank I was surprised to see Nolan had picked up a Dodge Charger in the convoy.
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Nolan convinced the Arkansas State Trooper his patrol car didn’t have the required ground clearance so we waved goodbye and moved north to the Ozark National Forest.
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