Monday, November 28, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Hike: Spy Rock, 8.8 Miles

Wearing orange so hunters don't shoot us.
 On Friday, we took our now annual post-Thanksgiving hike. We started doing this as a tradition back in Texas, as a way to avoid shopping or sitting at home doing homework. This year, we chose an 8.8 mile loop hike in the Ozark National Forest that took us through a (planted) pine grove, up the side of a ridge, and eventually to the top of the tallest hill/mountain in the area.

Because most of the leaves were off the oaks, we had some great views out over the surrounding countryside as we climbed. Although it was primarily an uphill sort of hike on the way out, it wasn't really that bad, and I speak as someone who really hates hiking uphill.

There were some great natural features, like this big boulder and moss and lichen (which I am saving for another day). 

And peeking through the trees is a view of Spy Rock - the midpoint/destination of the hike.

Hmm. I was calling this Spy Mountain when I was telling people about it, but clearly, I was incorrect. The sign from the trail proves it.

This was the view at the top. What you can't feel is the wind. Hold on to your hats!

It was a good day for a hike - not too cold, but not too hot. And it was only really windy at the exposed top of Spy Rock.

Miikka had a grand time on the hike. Yes, he made it all 8.8 miles without any trouble. And even better, he was allowed to go almost the entire way off-leash. The dog who, in the neighborhood, can't even be let out in the front yard off-leash, went at least 8 miles without wandering away or running off into the woods. He just stayed on the trail, between Benjamin and I, the whole way. Once, at a Y in the trail, he did want to go down the opposite fork, but was eventually convinced to come with us instead. And even then, he didn't just cut through the grass to reach us - he trotted back to the Y, staying on the trail. He was on the leash at the top of the mountain, while we ate lunch, because I don't particularly trust him not to go over the edge, and a couple of times when we got close to logging roads where we heard the occasional 4-wheeler (the only other people we saw the entire hike). Otherwise, totally free. What a good hiker!

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