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Topic: 8 hour drive from Chicago, 4 day / 3 night back packing< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2012, 7:33 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Looking to see if anyone has suggestions for the upcoming weekend Oct 5-8.  Was planning on Porkies, but with the way the weather looks (cold and rain/snow), I think I'll put that off until late Spring.

Stipulations: within 8 hours of Chicago, good back country hiking, place to walk in and have a base camp--allowing for day hikes from a centralized point, great views & wildlife.  Water sources are a must.  Seclusion, if possible.

Big Fork? LBL? Red River Gorge?  Haven't had the opportunity to visit these as of yet, looks like weather might be best out that way.  Thoughts?
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2012, 9:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Try the Charles C Deam Wilderness in Southern Indiana or Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.  Either should be around 6 hours from Chicago.

I hiked in the Deam late last October, it was awesome!  Cool days, chilly nights, and there are streams and a lake in the area.  Do an Internet search for "Patton Cave" for an unmarked adventure.

I've not hiked in Shawnee Nat'l Forest but I've found a lot of information about the area within these forums.

I believe Deer Season starts on Monday for bow, so keep that in mind and have some orange blaze on ya!

Tom
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 08 2012, 8:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No offense, but Deam is not worth the 5 hr drive from Chicago. Not even close.

Pictured Rocks would be a GREAT choice if there is a good weather window. A great base camp option would Chapel Beach for a few days, and then maybe a trip to Grand Island.

Big South Fork is another good option, though I'd peg the drive at 9 hours. You might be able score a night at Charit Creek Lodge. There are some nice loops nearby.

The Shawnee in southern IL will surprise you. Some good base camp options would Bell Smith Springs (NFS campground, so not quite secluded), Garden of the Gods (same, but likely pretty empty), Bay Lake (a long hike to Double-Branch Falls, Jackson Falls, and Peter Cave; shorter hike to Jackson Hollow) or the Lusk Creek Wildnerness (several loops)

You can also consider the Ozark Trail in Mo. The Taum Sauk section is quite scenic, and you can camp at Johnson Shut-ins to enjoy scenic walks on two different segments. I am also partial to the Middle Fork section.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2012, 2:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think the Red River Gorge might be about an hour over your time constraints, but it is well worth the drive.  Beautiful views, plenty of water available, challenging hiking...what more can one ask?  Where did you end up going?

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 4:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Oct. 08 2012, 8:32 pm)
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No offense, but Deam is not worth the 5 hr drive from Chicago. Not even close.

Pictured Rocks would be a GREAT choice if there is a good weather window. A great base camp option would Chapel Beach for a few days, and then maybe a trip to Grand Island.

Big South Fork is another good option, though I'd peg the drive at 9 hours. You might be able score a night at Charit Creek Lodge. There are some nice loops nearby.

The Shawnee in southern IL will surprise you. Some good base camp options would Bell Smith Springs (NFS campground, so not quite secluded), Garden of the Gods (same, but likely pretty empty), Bay Lake (a long hike to Double-Branch Falls, Jackson Falls, and Peter Cave; shorter hike to Jackson Hollow) or the Lusk Creek Wildnerness (several loops)

You can also consider the Ozark Trail in Mo. The Taum Sauk section is quite scenic, and you can camp at Johnson Shut-ins to enjoy scenic walks on two different segments. I am also partial to the Middle Fork section.

Hungry Jack, thanks for the options.  Looks like we are going to head to MO this Fall.  What sections do you recommend, if we have a base came in the Shut In's?  Also, is there a specific mile mark you can pinpoint on where to set up the base camp?

Thanks again!
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 12:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

By all means, check out the Ozark Trail Association web site at www.ozarktrail.com. The web site is outstanding for planning, and the organization is first class.

You will not be able to camp in the Shut-ins other than the state park camp ground, which has been relocated across the hiway since the big flood (really interesting story that has resulted in a new "attraction"--the scour path that resulted from a mountain top pumped storage reservoir collapsing and dumping 1 billion gallons of water down a steep canyon and into the Black River basin).

Using the Shut-ins campground, I think the best hiking will be east toward the aforementioned scour path and over to Proffit Mountain, which has some nice views.

From the Shut-ins camp trailhead, it is about 11 miles to the Devils Toolgate, and another mile to Mina Sauk Falls--Missouri's highest cascade. That is a long round trip (~22 miles), so you may want to drive to Taum Sauk State Park and use the trailhead there, which only requires about a 1 mile hike to reach the falls.

There are some nice views on the west side of Goggins Mountain, which is next to the Shut-ins camp and accessible via a loop trail.

Bell Mountain to the north of the camp also offers nice views on its loop trail. There is a trailhead for this loop at Ottery Creek off Hiway A.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 12:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I also like the John Roth / Middle Fork section, which is not far from the Shut-Ins area.  The middle third of this 25 mile section is pretty cool.

You might also check out Royal Gorge at the Ketcherside Conservation Area, which I hear is nice. It is adjacent to Taum Sauk Falls State Park.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 12:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Finally...if you want to examine other options for camping/ hiking nearby, consider Hawn State Park to the east about 40 miles. It is really, really nice with great hiking trails in the park. It is also an easy drive to Pickle Springs Natural Area and Hickory Canyons, which is small but really cool. I believe there is a nice brewery nearby in St. Genevieve too.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 1:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Sep. 05 2013, 12:01 pm)
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By all means, check out the Ozark Trail Association web site at www.ozarktrail.com. The web site is outstanding for planning, and the organization is first class.

You will not be able to camp in the Shut-ins other than the state park camp ground, which has been relocated across the hiway since the big flood (really interesting story that has resulted in a new "attraction"--the scour path that resulted from a mountain top pumped storage reservoir collapsing and dumping 1 billion gallons of water down a steep canyon and into the Black River basin).

Using the Shut-ins campground, I think the best hiking will be east toward the aforementioned scour path and over to Proffit Mountain, which has some nice views.

From the Shut-ins camp trailhead, it is about 11 miles to the Devils Toolgate, and another mile to Mina Sauk Falls--Missouri's highest cascade. That is a long round trip (~22 miles), so you may want to drive to Taum Sauk State Park and use the trailhead there, which only requires about a 1 mile hike to reach the falls.

There are some nice views on the west side of Goggins Mountain, which is next to the Shut-ins camp and accessible via a loop trail.

Bell Mountain to the north of the camp also offers nice views on its loop trail. There is a trailhead for this loop at Ottery Creek off Hiway A.

Thanks for all the excellent input!!!

Based on what your telling me, would it be better to start further northwest on the TS trail...so that we do not need to worry about just staying at the park campsite in the Shut-in's?  Are we going to get less foot traffic if we start further that direction?

Also, heard about a "great" swimming area along the TS trail, near the shut ins....are you aware of this?  If so, how do you rate it?
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 4:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I wish I had more beta for you re the swimming opportunities. Contact the OTA and check out their forums. Someone will help you.

As you know, you can camp anywhere within federal national forest provided you follow guidelines for staying at least 100 ft from the nearest road or tail and 200 ft from any water source. Thus a strategy I have employed in NFS lands is to use a topo, find a road that looks promising, and explore the options.

Much of the Taum Sauk Trail section passes through state land, not federal forest land. It is hard to tell where state land ends and federal land begins in this area. That said, here is what I found at the OTA regarding this section:
Campgrounds: Johnson's Shut-Ins, Taum Sauk. Primitive Camping is allowed 100' from the trail, except within two miles of of Johnson Shut-In's main parking lot. Please don't camp on glades

It appears that there is a state road AA and county road 115 accessible from Hiway 21/72 that will take you to an area about 1 mile south of Devil's tollgate. That might be promising. Make sure you avoid private property if you stay there.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 07 2013, 8:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you're headed to Missouri, be prepared for ticks. The last time I was there in the fall several years ago they were horrendous, though hopefully that's the exception not the norm.

If the weather is good I highly recommend the 4-day 3-nite grand loop in the Porkies. I do it counter-clockwise from LOC overlook. Head west on Big Carp to spend nite 1 on Lake Superior between Big Carp & Little Carp. Head up little Carp for nite 2 at Mirror Lake. Take Government Peak trail to Escarpment, filling up on water before climbing the Escarpemt for nite 3 up on the east end with a view. Day 4 is the incredibly scenic hike along the Escarpment back to LOC overlook. If you have enough time, be sure to check out the Presque Isle waterfalls at the west end of the park.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 07 2013, 12:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I second Hungry Jack's recommendations!  I like and have hiked at both mentioned areas.  Hawn is one of my favorite places to day hike; it's a very scenic park.

Glad to see they named a section of the OT after John Roth.  I knew and hiked many a trail with John when I lived in Missouri.  I remember when he was starting up the OTA and he use to call me with all kinds of questions and thoughts.  John was so into getting the OTA started and improving trails in the Ozarks.  I still remember when I was working nights and John would call me at 1 am when I got home from work to talk about the outdoors and the trail.  Missouri was lucky to have a guy like John in the vanguard.

Enjoy your trip...!

Happy Trails,

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 09 2013, 11:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I echo Sven's comments about John Roth. He was a great leader and a real visionary for the Ozark Trail. I met him on several trail building outings, and he was always a pleasure to be around.

I feel a strange sense of loss when I think about John. I have so much respect and admiration for what he has done for the Ozarks and hiking. He died far too soon.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 09 2013, 1:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sounds like he was a great adventurist.  Thank you all for your input as well.

So, depending on the weather, hoping to either go to the Porkies and tour the Grand Loop, or get on the T.S. trail in MO.

With the weather seeming to be above average it looks like for the week, even the UP seems to warmer than I was expecting for the 2nd weekend in Sept.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 09 2013, 3:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The UP in September is typically a very good bet--dry weather, mild days, cool nights, bugs gone. I once got hit with snow/hail/ice in early October at Pictured Rocks, but it was 60 degrees and sunny 2 days later.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 09 2013, 5:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's the issue, it's a hit or miss.  Looking at the 2nd weekend of Oct. Won't be able to make a decision until the day/night before we leave on where we go.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2013, 9:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Anyone have any suggestions on type of hiking shoes/boots which you recommend for the TS section of the Ozark Trail?  Looks to be all types of terrain, very hilly.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 15 2013, 12:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(backpackbman @ Sep. 05 2013, 1:57 pm)
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[quote=Hungry Jack,Sep. 05 2013, 12:01 pm]
Also, heard about a "great" swimming area along the TS trail, near the shut ins....are you aware of this?  If so, how do you rate it?

Check swimmingholes.org

I've had decent luck finding places on their index
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 18 2013, 3:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(backpackbman @ Sep. 12 2013, 9:10 am)
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Anyone have any suggestions on type of hiking shoes/boots which you recommend for the TS section of the Ozark Trail?  Looks to be all types of terrain, very hilly.

Most of it is packed dirt and sand, but a few sections are really rocky, especially around Proffit Mountain. But trail shoes should be fine.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 12:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Sep. 18 2013, 3:13 pm)
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(backpackbman @ Sep. 12 2013, 9:10 am)
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Anyone have any suggestions on type of hiking shoes/boots which you recommend for the TS section of the Ozark Trail?  Looks to be all types of terrain, very hilly.

Most of it is packed dirt and sand, but a few sections are really rocky, especially around Proffit Mountain. But trail shoes should be fine.

Thanks!  I haven't purchased trail shoes in a few years.  Any recommendations in the TNF, Merrell, or Columbia lines?
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 1:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Merrel shoes are nice and light and airy.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 22 2013, 4:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(backpackbman @ Sep. 19 2013, 12:23 pm)
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(Hungry Jack @ Sep. 18 2013, 3:13 pm)
QUOTE

(backpackbman @ Sep. 12 2013, 9:10 am)
QUOTE
Anyone have any suggestions on type of hiking shoes/boots which you recommend for the TS section of the Ozark Trail?  Looks to be all types of terrain, very hilly.

Most of it is packed dirt and sand, but a few sections are really rocky, especially around Proffit Mountain. But trail shoes should be fine.

Thanks!  I haven't purchased trail shoes in a few years.  Any recommendations in the TNF, Merrell, or Columbia lines?

All decent brands. Go with what fits best. The Columbias should be less expensive, but are made well enough for this terrain. It is not exactly the Rockies.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 8:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We're new here and I'm just reading the post for the Ozark Trail.  Two places we like to camp is where you cross the Black River just down river of JS area. You can take a hour and take the blue trail into JS and see what it has to see. And at the Devils Tollgate there's a nice place to camp along the creek. If I don't have to work that weekend we maybe down there somewhere. If your looking check out the area around the Bass River camp ground. You can park there and get a ride from them out to a trailhead to hike back.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2013, 1:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RandyPenny @ Oct. 01 2013, 8:27 pm)
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We're new here and I'm just reading the post for the Ozark Trail.  Two places we like to camp is where you cross the Black River just down river of JS area. You can take a hour and take the blue trail into JS and see what it has to see. And at the Devils Tollgate there's a nice place to camp along the creek. If I don't have to work that weekend we maybe down there somewhere. If your looking check out the area around the Bass River camp ground. You can park there and get a ride from them out to a trailhead to hike back.

Thanks RandyPenny.  We see there are storms expected Saturday/Sundy....which is a little bit of worry.  Going to see what the weather report has to say on thursday.

If we wanted to do 20-25 miles of the TS section, what would be your starting TH, if we were to end up at Bass.

Who do we schedule the drop at the trail head with?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2013, 1:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

re: assessing storms for trip. I find this URL useful, quantifies expected precip. amounts.

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2013, 4:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Eric H @ Oct. 07 2013, 1:09 pm)
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re: assessing storms for trip. I find this URL useful, quantifies expected precip. amounts.

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml

Nice. Has this been pretty accurate then in your opinion?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 07 2013, 9:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Consider the Quehanna Trail in western PA.  Lots of water, beautiful streams, great camping, isolated, big rocks, some views, gorges, vast meadows, rhododendrons, wild elk.  For a basecamp, go to the northeast section of the trail, where miles of side trails offer countless dayhikes.  

http://midatlantichikes.com/qt-ne.htm

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestr....natrail

Have fun.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 08 2013, 12:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Accurate? I don't carry a rain gauge but I'd say I've always found it time well spent to check their forecast.

Particularly useful is the timing aspect -- that starting 3.5 days out they give you expected amounts of precip. within 6 hours modules. (as of this moment that calibration rolls out to midnight Friday).

If I'm contemplating a 3-day trip, and 2" of rain is coming it is one thing if it is coming overnight (with tent set up), another thing if it is coming midday on a day I need to put in some miles.

Your results may vary. :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 08 2013, 4:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jmitch @ Oct. 07 2013, 9:09 pm)
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Consider the Quehanna Trail in western PA.  Lots of water, beautiful streams, great camping, isolated, big rocks, some views, gorges, vast meadows, rhododendrons, wild elk.  For a basecamp, go to the northeast section of the trail, where miles of side trails offer countless dayhikes.  

http://midatlantichikes.com/qt-ne.htm

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestr....natrail

Have fun.

jmitch - i've heard great things about western PA.  Unfortunately time is limited for this trip....so I'm staying semi-local.  If you have any other posts about that area, I would love to read 'em!
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(Eric H @ Oct. 08 2013, 12:04 pm)
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Accurate? I don't carry a rain gauge but I'd say I've always found it time well spent to check their forecast.

Particularly useful is the timing aspect -- that starting 3.5 days out they give you expected amounts of precip. within 6 hours modules. (as of this moment that calibration rolls out to midnight Friday).

If I'm contemplating a 3-day trip, and 2" of rain is coming it is one thing if it is coming overnight (with tent set up), another thing if it is coming midday on a day I need to put in some miles.

Your results may vary. :D

Understood.  Well this is a neat tool anyhow. thanks!
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