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Arkansas Trip May 29th - June 3rd
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Mt. Magazine and Caney Creek Trails
“I'm planning on taking my boys (13 and 11) on a trip to Arkansas from May 29th to June 3rd. I plan on doing the Mt. Magazine trail 14.2 miles one way (can be longer by hiking the Cove Lake Area). I plan to spend two nights on the trail. Hopefully a shuttle can be arranged to and from Cove Lake and Mt. Magazine. The third night I plan to either camp at Cove Lake or drive down to the Caney Creek Trail and camp somewhere near the trailhead overnight. I plan on doing this as a simi-loop by including the Buckeye trail and following Sugar Creek along hwy 38 for short while. This simi-loop to the Cassatot will be about 20 miles. I plan on spending three nights and three days hiking on the trail or two nights and three days hiking depending on weather etc. Afternoon on June 3rd I plan to be at Shady Lake Campground. A slack pack up the Tall Peak trail is possible if we have the energy. June 4th is pack up and drive home day. This is going to be a hiking with kids event. If anyone wants to join us for all or part you are welcome. I'm going to try and do some more planning but since this is a vacation for me and my boys dates and areas are flexible. Two years ago we did most of Eagle Rock Loop, we skipped part of the Athens Big Fork Trail. We were actually driven off Eagle Rock Vista by a severe lighting storm. I thought about doing the entire loop this time but decided to go some place different.”
“Be sure to bring plenty of chigger and tick repellant and poison ivy ointment.”
“I agree Owl the time of the year we are going everything is just jumping to make you itch. All those things attack me here in Louisiana as well, but it isn't nearly as pretty as your state. I'm glad you are only a short drive away.”
Out the door
“Heading out the door. A few of us gulf coasters are heading to slightly higher ground for a week. Hopefully it is a little cooler there. Five of us from the Louisiana Hiking Club will be there. Have a great week. This is my first time off from work all year. I'm ready for it!”
Caney Creek Wilderness Trip Report
“Finally a trip report. The day after I got back it was another 8 straight 12 hour shifts. This is the work year from hell. Lots of money in the bank but very few days in my boats and on the trail. But anyway here we go.
We left for Arkansas last Monday of May. We met up with Janie and her grandson Clayton at a Dairy Queen in Texarkana. They had driven up from Lake Charles, LA that morning. We drove on to the Caney Creek Wilderness area stopping off at the Cossatot River by the Hwy 246 bridge. It is a great place for a swim or put in for float trips. There is also a 14 mile river trail there with lots of parking and a composting toilet. We got back on the road towards the Caney Creek Trailhead. After about 20 miles of Forest Service roads we reached the trailhead. Upon opening my door I heard a strange hissing sound. It was my rear tire going flat! What a way to start a 4 day 3 night backpack. Then boom, boom, boom, thunder echoed in the mountains. A month of dust was about to be washed from the mountains. The five of us and Boudreaux (our dog) hiked along the Caney Creek Trail for almost 4 miles in the rain. It wasn't so bad it cooled things off. About 3 miles in the boys spotted a great established camp site. I encouraged them to make another mile and we found an even better campsite along the Caney just before dark. We ended up about ˝ mile short of the Katy Falls/Buckeye Mountain Trail. The rain had slacked and I told everyone to make camp quickly incase bad weather returned. We managed to start a fire and the boys fished the creek catching a few small throw back trout and bass. I cooked up a meal of beef stew and we all hit the sack. Later that night the thunderstorms returned but I slept most of the night pretty well after 9 hours on the road and 2 or 3 on the trail. The next morning we woke to cooler temperatures and wet tents. I cooked up a breakfast of pancakes and bacon while the boys caught more fish. Much to our disappointment Janie and Clayton decided to return to the cars because all of their gear was wet. I told them they should continue on with us, that the weather would get better. We told them goodbye and headed 6 miles down the trail to the Cassotot River. It was an easy hike down hill the whole way. After a stream side lunch we made it to the Cassotot River. Boy what a pretty waterway it is. Huge rocks and cool clear water. The boys swam, skipped rocks and fished having a great time in the Arkansas wilderness. We set up camp at an old overgrown site after swimming for hours and cooked up a meal of lasagna. MountainHouse lasagna is some good stuff the boys and I scrapped the bag. We bedded down and in the3 morning after more pancakes and bacon we hit the trail to backtrack 7 miles towards Katy Falls. After lunch on the trail we made it back to the Katy Falls/Buckeye Mountain Trail. It was an immediate uphill climb to the protest of the boys. We made it to Katy Falls shortly and found a fantastic campsite just beyound the falls on the other side of Katy Creek on the base of Katy Mountain. After setting up camp the boys and I went for a dip in the frigid water of Katy Falls. It was a great way to cool off and wash away the grime of the trail. That night we had a great meal, Tony Chachere’s chicken jambalaya. Dropping the 8oz. Jambo mix and 12 ounce Tyson chicken pack definitely lightened my load. We ate every grain of rice in the pot. We bedded down for a slightly cooler night than the previous two after a breezy glorious afternoon of relaxing in the hammock. The next morning after breakfast we packed up and headed for the Buckeye Mountain Trail and return loop to the car. The first climb was up Hanna Mountain. It was fairly steep climb and soon we were looking down at Katy Mountain and our camp the night before. The views were worth the climb. The trail was dry and we had to carry all the water we needed till the return to the car 7 miles away. After peaking Hannah Mountain we crossed a ridgeback to Buckeye Mountain with more great views of the Quachitas. We had luch on the trail and we caught up with 1 of only 2 hikers we had seen in 4 days of hiking the trail. He was from Kansas City and it was his first backpacking trip. He was a nice guy and we hiked a while with him. I told him to give us a holler at thebackpacker.com if he wanted to hike with a group and that I would be posting a trip report. We hike ahead of him on the way down from Buckeye Mountain. We finally spotted a small dripping spring about a mile from the end of the trail. We drank some unfiltered since it was coming right out of the side of the mountain dripping off the rocks. Soon we were at the Buckeye Mountain Trailhead and FSR 38. In a little over a mile down the hill we would reach the car. We reached Bertha our van and I immediately started changing the tire to the spare. We loaded up and headed out of the wilderness to the Cassatot River at the Hwy 246 bridge. We swam and played for about an hour then loaded up and headed to Mena, Arkansas to find a tire. We had the tire replaced and had lunch in Mena. I find Mena to be a lovely town and wouldn’t mind living there. We then drove on to Queen Wilhelmina State Park. We checked into the campground, set up the tents and started a fire as it began to lightly rain. It turned much cooler after the rain and we woke up to temps in the 40's. Not bad for the first week of June. After breakfast we geared up for a long dayhike westward on the Quachita Trail, which runs right through the park. About 1.5 miles down the trail Travis, (AKA ForestDump, now AKA RattlerJumper ) jumped about 3 feet high and yelled snake. He ran beyound the snake with the dog. I told him to hold the dog back while we try to pass by the 3 foot timber rattler. He was angry and not budging from the trail so we let him keep it. After we passed him safely I took his picture. We returned to our hike with me in the lead this time, checking closely for those whom we share the trail with. Soon we made it to the old Pioneer Cemetary and visited for a while. After a break we continued on to the Oklahoma border. After about 6 miles of hiking we found a great lunch spot on the Oklahoma side. It was a great spring day to be in the mountains. We backtracked to the state park and walked the surrounding trails as well as more of the Quachita trail eastward. Total dayhike for the day was at least 15 miles and we were ready for a shower and a meal. We cleaned up and went to the lodge for a great southern meal. Another cool night then Saturday morning we packed up and headed home via Oklahoma on the Talimena Scenic Drive. The mountains of Southeastern Oklahoma seemed a little drier than those on the Arkansas side giving them a western look. We turned south leaving the Quachitas after a week of fun and stopped for a break at Broken Bow Lake. It is a very pretty lake surrounded by hills. From there it was back to the hot and humid flatlands of Louisiana. Total trip mileage was roughly 40 miles.
Monday 4 miles
Tuesday 6 miles
Wednesday 7 miles
Thursday 7 miles
Friday 15 miles (dayhiking)
last edited: 6/13/06 12:36:46 PM”
“Kewl Beans, Bateaux!
I'll look at the pixs tonight.”
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