Prepping for the Ozark Trail

We’ve been planning a practice hike all summer but it had been difficult to find time. This weekend we finally managed to find time and the weather cooperated! What was first predicted as rain gradually grew into a partly sunny 80 degree day so we knew we had to take advantage of our luck.

After cooking dinner Friday night we loaded our packs with all the gear we planned on bringing with us for the Ozark Trail. Sans food weight though. We think our 4 liters of water made up for the missing food weight. Kirk’s pack was 23.7 pounds and Kaila’s was 22.8 pounds. Our alarm set for 5am and we were ready to go. It was surprisingly easy to wake up in the morning and we had programmed the coffee pot the night before to help entice us.

Our plan was to hike 20 miles Saturday to give us a feel for how long that would take and what our bodies would cope with. The unpaved loop that we have easy access to was listed as being 6.5 miles. Unfortunately it is an equestrian trail and doesn’t seem to see many horses. There were some sections that could have used much more maintenance. It rained overnight so the ground was nice and damp for us and that quickly saturated our shoes to the point we both felt like we had ponds in our shoes. After walking through countless spiderwebs (Kirk leads since Kaila would die) we hopped onto the paved trail that ran parallel. We were both mildly uncomfortable with our full packs and trekking poles on a paved path with so many people but the other option was spiders and branches hitting us in the face (or in Kaila’s case tearing up her legs).

We originally planned on 3 laps but the last few miles of our first lap were exposed and the heat of the day was getting to both of us. We decided to not push our luck and rest in the shade, eat cheesecake, and drink beer. Taking our packs off was a relief. Kirk managed to get heat blisters on his hips and Kaila somehow carried all of her weight on her shoulders even with constant tightening of her hipbelt. We sat in the shade and watched cars pull in for the dog park drinking our beers. It was a great end to the hike.

After discussing how best to train for 20 mile days on the Ozark Trail we decided that we should dial it back a bit. Right now our plan is to head up to the park every Saturday and hike as much as we feel capable of (somewhere between 7-12 miles probably) and then go kayaking. Oh yeah, we bought a kayak! Which we are super thrilled about. REI Garage Sales are fantastic and we try to go to every single one even when we don’t have something specific to find. The kayak was a complete fluke. We’ve been talking about getting into kayaking for a month or two and Kirk was finally able to experience it at the local marina a few weeks ago. It was a hit and we decided we’d get one when we moved to a place that had more opportunities for water sports. Then we went to the Garage Sale and they had the exact one we had decided on in the “wrong” color. It was nearly 1/3 of the original price! We couldn’t pass it up.

Our summer weekends suddenly got fairly full and we are stoked for it!

Also, Kirk got a new camera that he tested out during our hike! It’s a Canon G1X Mark III. This will be what we take most of our pictures with from now on, at least in regards to outdoor activities.

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