It's almost December and I have the next year of hikes on my brain. Over the weekend, my better half and I went to the Ozark National Forest to get a hike in and get some fresh air. A few takeaways from this trip were:
- Planning ahead is essential. Basic concept that is easily overlooked. I didn't quite investigate the hiking terrain or comments about the particular hike we were going to do and it is just very clear that I should learn a bit more about spots on the schedule for 2017.
- Proper attire and footwear is the most important. Again, a basic concept that I overlooked because I did not investigate the trail enough. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was a paved path or at least a dirt path and that my street shoes would do the trick...no such luck.
- Having an offline map or physical map is highly recommended. I was fortunate enough to have the trail on my phone, so we could ensure we were on the correct path (as there were splits in the woods) going forward. In the future, I will probably use AllTrails or some other app or print a map if it is available online.
- Hydration is key to feeling good. I planned ahead with water, but didn't research the trail enough to know I should have taken it with us. All was well, luckily.
- I learned how to hike with my dog. Chewy the dog has been in the woods and on trails before, but never like this. He was a champ and let me know what he was okay with and what he was capable of handling. For a dog afraid of bridges and stairs, sometimes, he was certainly not afraid of cliff-like rock edges. Go figure.
- I've come to terms with the fact that I will be driving anywhere from 1-8 hours to go hiking and I may not spend an equal amount of time in the woods/on the trails.
Friday morning we decided to go somewhere for the weekend and get outside. We contemplated going to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Ozark National Forest, or maybe a park near San Antonio. We decided on the forest because we wanted cool weather and crisp air. I had read about a waterfall called Glory Hole Falls, I giggled too, and thought it looked quite neat. Of course, every photo I found was probably taken in the peak of spring water flow or something, so the reality was a bit different but equally beautiful. The trail is about 1.8 miles each way with a 430 ft elevation change. The air smelled of fall, the leaves were on the ground, it was sunny, and the temperature was hovering around 50 degrees. Here are a few photos:
Hopefully a few more "preview" hikes to come, as I schedule the first month.
Happy hiking! -Mike