Sunday, December 19, 2010

Black Fork Mountain Trail

I went out this beautiful Sunday afternoon (December 19th) looking to get in a nice long trail run.  It had been sometime since I had run the Black Fork Mountain Trail and I remember that it was very beautiful.  I also seem to remember it was pretty overgrown and tough but I thought I would give it a go.  The trail is about 12 miles round trip and I thought I could add in some extra miles at the end.

The trail is in beautiful shape for the first mile as it follows the Ouachita Trail.  Then after one mile from the parking area, the trail splits and begins to go up Black Fork Mtn along a nice ridge.

The views are great and the trail is still very nice and runnable although it is a pretty good climb. 

It does not take long however for the condition of the trail to deteriorate.  And the condition just gets worse after each passing mile.  I had to walk most of the trail and at times there was no trail at all.  You simply follow paint on the trees and try to be sure not to miss any.

As I kept climbing, the briars and bushes were really wacking at my legs.  My legs got really scratched up and I was getting frustrated.  I thought about turning around and getting more miles and better trail along the OT but now I was determined to get to the top and to the end of the trail.  I did remember an old chimney from a long ago homestead, rock wall and then the summit with a spectacular view.

What the heck were these people thinking trying to put a homestead up here?!

Along the way there was also an awesome rock glacier.  It was huge.  Probably the largest one in the entire Ouachita Forest. 

Finally I made it to the top and the view was awesome.  As I made my way back down, the briars continue to do their work on my legs.  More than few curse words were spoken but it does not matter when no one is around to hear them.  By the time I had returned to my truck, I had had enough.  It took over three hours to cover only 12 miles! 

But it was probably good to slow down and just enjoy the scenery more.  That run tops me out at 90 for the week.  The good news too is that the sciatic has not hurt and I have felt very good the last couple of days.

Maybe I will go back this winter and do some trail maintenance.

These pictures were taken from the web.

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