I took off after work today and headed over to Mount Magazine in Arkansas for the annual freeze-out campout held by the NWA Hiking Club. I arrived at the Campsite shortly before 8 pm. Made my introductions, set up my tent, and then joined in on the campfire with the rest of the group. About 9:30 we called it a night and retired to our tents. The weather got down into the 30s and I enjoyed a good nights sleep under my quilt.
The group was up about 7:00 this morning and we again gathered at the campfire, ate breakfast, and made plans for the days hiking. We started out by hiking the Bear Hollow Trail and the Benefield Loop Trails. This trail circled around a hollow on the east side of the mountain and provided numerous views of the surrounding area and several nice run off streams cascades. There were several good overlooks in the Benefield Loop section and the trail followed along a ridge line most of the way. This combination of trails totaled about 3.5 miles of hiking. After heading back to camp for lunch, we then made plans for an afternoon hike of the Mossback Ridge Trail and the Greenfield Trail. This trail was pretty wet from the recent rains and was generally a walk through the forest. The highlight of the trail was a small creek crossing right before reaching the visitors center. This netted us another 2.7 miles. Most of the group drove back to the campground from here while Beverly and I decided to walk the 2.7 miles back to the campground via the North Rim Trail. This was another great ridge line trail with numerous views, some great overlooks, and several run off streams to cross. We finished this trail about 4:00 and wandered into camp to claim our spots around the fire. About 6 of us decided to go to the Lodge for dinner and I enjoyed an Italian Buffet with some fantastic deserts. We returned to camp to enjoy the evenings campfire and a Dutch oven dump cake prepared by one of the families. Once again we called it a night about 9:30 and hit the tents to rest up for Sunday
Last night was not as cold and I awoke to a wonderful morning. I broke down camp and loaded up first thing and then gathered around the campfire. About 12 of us opted to go to the lodge for the breakfast buffet. After breakfast Beverly and I decided to check out the tower road and enjoyed a 3.5 mile hike down the road towards the towers. About 1/2 mile in we noticed a sign pointing to “Bear Gap”. Heading that direction we ended up discovering some unique ridges and several deep crevices. This was a unique area and the views of the cliffs were amazing. We continue down an old service road and eventually rejoined the main road near the towers. We returned back to our car walking down the road. We finished the morning back at the campground breaking down camp and then going our separate ways.
I had made plans to meet my son in nearby Paris AR for a late lunch. Eating options being limited in Paris, we found ourselves back at the lodge enjoying a hamburger and talking about how things are going with each of us. After an enjoyable lunch we headed home to close out the weekend.