In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir-
Butterfield Loop in Devil's Den State Park, Ozarks, Arkansas
Who: Sarah (my sweet) Pasquel and your dear ugly
Mileage: 11.9 miles (part of the loop closed due to mud slides in area)
The Butterfield Trail is named for the Butterfield Overland Express stage coach route and offers a rugged overnight hike in the Ozark Plateau. It begins at Devils Den State Park and loops southward into the Ozark National Forest.
Sarah and I started the hike by parking our Prius up above the Park headquarters on the road leading into the park and actually started the hike at mile 4.5 from the original TH. We could not start at the TH by the campgrounds because a flood came in and carried a down tree that smashed the bridge that crossed over to the trail...
Today was hot, humid, and sweaty...the temps were in the mid 90's and you can feel it. There were bugs everywhere...at one point a tick bit me...and right before this trip, I watched a documentary on Lyme disease that now had me concerned. But oh well, nothing I can do about it now...
The Ozarks are hot and humid this time of year...so everything is green, overgrown, and thriving. There was plenty of poison ivy along the trail. It also kept you from seeing most of the views along the trail. However, there were times when a bluff opened up and it gave way to great vistas.
Sarah and I were flyin'...we knew we needed to get to my best friend's wedding rehearsal dinner the next day on time so we knew we had to skip the first designated camp sites at Rock Hole Camp and needed to book it to Junction camp 2.5 miles past Rock Hole. There were some roadblocks along the way...literally. Apparently the area was experiencing massive mudslides due to recent heavy rains and the the sides of the mountain revealed such...we would come up on hundreds of downed trees and no trail in sight. We would get through the trees (bushwacking) to find the ground split...and us standing several feet above our trail. First time I have ever seen this...really surreal...
After several bugs, spider webs, and sweat all over our face...we finally made it to Junction Camp. It's a clean, open site...right by the water. We were hot...really hot. Our clothes were drenched...so I did what I only knew what to do...get bucked naked and jump in the water!
It was really refreshing...especially after working as hard as we did in this weather. When the sun went down...the temps dropped to a comfortable 71 degrees...so it made for really comfy sleeping weather.
The next day, we needed to get out of there quickly...we finished the rest of the loop by arriving at headquarters and humping the road all the way back up to the car. This may have been the most difficult part of the trip...it felt like the road kept going forever. But as soon as we got in the car...I saw my first black bear in the wild. He was a little guy...don't think it was a cub...but he was small, skinny really. But what a treat...I felt very fortunate to see him! We left and headed to the rehearsal dinner!