Saturday, May 26th, 2018
Lake Fort Smith State Park – Ozark Highlands Trail – near Fort Smith, AR
sunny, clear, hot, low 90s
Ian, Court, Biff, Finn
We reached Lake Fort Smith State Park in the early afternoon and I had no idea until we got there that this was the western terminus of the Ozark Highlands Trail. I had seen the OHT mentioned in various hiking forums, but this was a pretty cool surprise.
From the Ozark Highlands Trail Association page:
The OHTA builds and maintains the growing Ozark Highlands Trail across northwest Arkansas from Lake Fort Smith State Park to Lake Norfork where it will connect to the Ozark Trail of Missouri. About 230 miles of trail are built as of 2017, not including about 15 miles of trail route in the Lower Buffalo Wilderness.
We started down the trail with the dogs, not sure of how far we would go. It started off hot and exposed, but quickly dove down into the shaded forest along the lake shore.
The trail was well marked and we soon got to a seasonal waterfall, but sadly, no water.
We went a little bit further, but then noticed a tick crawling on Finn’s coat. And then another. And then another. We decided it was time to head back and it was getting pretty hot anyway, even under the canopy of trees. The tick key I bought last year ended up coming in handy. We spent the remainder of the night at the hotel, and parts of the next couple of days, picking ticks off both the dogs. Most were tiny and had embedded themselves in the pup’s paws. Not something we are very used to in Texas.
I was glad to have visited my third long trail terminus (adding to the PCT and AT southern terminuses) even though we only got to go about a mile in.
The next day we would start the journey home, stopping at Hot Springs National Park and several Ouchita National Forest sites along the way, which will be documented in next post.