Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Klepzig Mill A Mid Summers Hike

I am inpatient, and on occasion put myself and others in situations; not bad situations I mean not really bad, but could have been avoided if only I slowed down a bit, took my time and thought things out. It was mid summer, and to say it was hot would be just stupid, it was summer. This was my first mistake.
We got started on the trail a little late and had to camp next to a small creek; we needed water and a clear place to set up a camp. The current river section of the Ozark trail is one of my favorite portions, not for its beautiful vistas on top of Ozark Mountains but for its unique shut-ins at Klepzig Mill, (Ill explain latter.) Most of the trail is heavily wooded and in the middle of summer heavily over grown. It was dark and the forest was even darker the clearing on a small rocky sand bar was lit by the moon and was an inviting place. We shoved small stones to one side to expose a sandy surface, digging out were our hips and shoulders would go we made our self’s ergonomic beds. There were four of us on this trip, and a couple of first timers, one was my son. Blake’s a fit little man broad shoulders and a strong chest, and he never seizes to impressed me, he never even complained, he was a trooper.
The next morning finding the trail proved to be difficult; before the others woke up I had scouted up and down the creek looking for the trail and where it picked back up. I retraced my steps, then turned 180 degrees and approached the creek again; still, the trail was no were to be found. Looking at the map the creek seemed to run along the side of the trail in a westerly direction and stayed nestled next to it for several miles. It was sticky; muggy even at eight o’clock in the morning so wading through the creek for a little while seemed like a good idea, my second mistake. After a hard day of hiking we arrived at a nice little campsite, small pine trees surrounding a few cut logs a fire ring built of rounded river stones and a brown aluminum folding chair, a nice touch I thought. We took our packs off and sat.
Tiny flesh colored bumps irritated the skin of my legs and ankles, Blake’s leg were also ravaged by bites. Bronson, my cousin seemed to have faired rather well. Jason the fourth person in are group, (a good friend of mine) was with furious anger clawing at his bites making groaning sounds tearing at his skin as if he was on some kind of acid trip gone bad. Jason’s legs were plagued with thousands of little bloody volcano’s of misery. He paused from the clawing and awkwardly look up to notice Blake and I staring in horror, he gazed at Blake then at me, growled and returned to his deformed limbs. “Poor Jason” I whispered, then lend into Blake and said “look away son, and act natural”.
Passed our camp the trail continued, this took you across Rocky Creek and through the shut-ins to Klipzig Mill. Large tan, chunks of granite with gray and pink ribbons that had pockets of tea colored water formed a playground of places to explore. One fall about five feet high had swift moving water; however the pockets were calm kiddy pools of fun. We lay in the cool water soaking are insect bites. Blake played in the pools for hours floating with a pair of goggle, inspecting the bottom for fish.
The hike back was uneventful though long and tough. We arrived at my car and jump in; our first stop, itch cream for our legs. I was hoping to show Jason how fun hiking could be, he has since never returned to the trail.

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