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Hiking the Buffalo River Trail

8 Mar

I read more than my share of blogs, I keep close contact with good friends and thought I would share a few of my daily reads with you. This is one I read, follow and subscribe to. It’s done by close friends Neil and Jessica Kohler. They are former Springfieldians now living in Columbia where they go to school and work.

Hiking The Buffalo River Trail by Kohler Created!



A couple weeks ago a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to go backpacking that upcoming weekend. Considering it was the middle of January, I was a bit wary at the thought of waking up to subzero temperatures. This group of friends have been known to backpack in sub 32 degree temperatures, and even sleep without a tent when it is in the single digits! Not only was my gear not really up to the task of extreme temperatures, but my courage wasn’t either.

As luck would have it, that particular weekend a warm front came through, warmer than any we’d had all winter, and the day time temperatures were in the upper 50s! Jessica had to stay home with a mountain grad school homework, but she told me to go anyway. I’m glad I did, the hike was just the escape I needed from the long winter.


We hit the trail early Saturday morning. For those of you not familiar with the BRT, here is a quick overview of the trail. There is a lot of wildlife and amazing views on the hikes in Arkansas and I don’t think it gets as much credit where its due. A full 36 miles if you do it all, but this weekend we would be taking on a mere 15-17miles of the trail.

During the hike we tracked our progress with the multiple GPS devices among the crew. Here is a map of our hike to reference.
View Buffalo River Trail – Steel Creek to Boxley in a larger map

Even though hiking in January meant little foliage and tree cover, it allowed us to see amazingly clear views of the river and the hills around.



There were even a few surprises like this little sinkhole/cave we decided to check out.





As the miles rolled behind us, 9.1 the first day to be exact; it started getting a bit later in the day and we needed to look for a good place to camp, one hopefully with a water source nearby. We came atop one of the hills/mountains and found a flat peak, however the only water source was over 300 feet of elevation drop below us.

My brother Ben and our friend Nathan took on the task of trekking down the steep gorge and getting 2.5 gallons of water (heavy!) and then climbing back up. Kudos to them, I highly doubt I would of had the fortitude to do that after the full day of hiking.

Our camp:




I had canned soup and a hot dog for dinner. There were many different meals going on that evening. Some pastas, some rice dishes. If you have never heard of a JetBoil it is an extremely versatile cooking system that is lightweight and very efficient. Jessica and I used them on both our Colorado and Montana trips to cook many great dishes.

Nathan brought this awesome wind-up radio. I have to get one of these. It is great to get some tunes with the conversation around the camp fire sometimes. No batteries required. Wind it up for 60-120 seconds and get nearly an hour of radio. How cool is that?


The morning came a lot earlier than I would have liked. However I did sleep well thanks to our awesome sleeping pads. Ever since we purchased them I have not felt the ground ever again on our camping trips. To see all of our favorite gear, check out this post!

Coffee in 60 seconds with the JetBoil and Starbucks VIA is a life saver on early camping mornings.


I told you that they sleep without a tent. Crazy, but when you imagine the weight savings to your pack, it’s definitely tempting to try.


We packed up and headed back out, immediately coming across a great view. Here’s a shot of my brother Ben and I. Can you tell we’re related?



Another 7.3 miles to the end of our trek. Overall, I really liked the part of the trail we did. There were a lot of elevation changes that challenged me, but there was also a good amount of flat area where you did not have to stare at your feet and could enjoy looking around a little more.


I was certainly tired by the end of the second day, but it felt good to get exercise that challenged every one of my muscles. It’s a great workout when you are hiking with 30-40lbs or more on your back. Beats the gym any day!


End shot of our group.


This weekend I may be heading down to do another weekend of backpacking. Stay tuned!



Visit Neil and Jessica on…

MoDOT Property for Sale Online- Bidding began March 1-31, 2011

7 Mar

Acreage: 6.71 m/l

Location: Shannon County, Part of the NE 1/4 of the NE 1/4  of Section 25, Township 27 North, Range 6 West

Utilities: Phone and electric

Probable Use: Any legal use

Highest Bid: $7,500.00

Link to MoDot site

Number of bids: 1

(Monday, Mar. 7)


Pheasant for lunch, lucky me!

24 Feb

Rick Smith owner of Ozarks Quail Farms at the helm of the big Green Egg!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the better part of the day with Rick Smith, Owner of Ozarks Quail Farms in Republic. Much of it was hashing out old fishing stories about those big ones that got away or the covey we flushed near Miller back in the day. The end result to all these discussions was a great pheasant lunch he so kindly grilled for us. It had been quite awhile since I had any pheasant and it was awesome to say the least.

His wife, and partner Deb, had wrapped the birds in bacon and stuffed them with onions and a slice or two of mandarian oranges. Seasoned just right I have to tell you they were incredible.

Rick checks the temperture of the birds. He told me it's important to let those birds reach 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

I asked Rick if the pheasant were available to purchase already processed and I am sad to say no they aren’t. He raises them strictly for hunting preserves and he did say that the birds were for sale in a few local markets over last summer but they are gone and he probably won’t be processing again for some time.

So if you were one of the lucky ones that bought some of those you know what I am talking about when I say “They were awesome!” You can follow Rick’s blog or visit his site he’ll be glad to hear from you, drop him a note. Thanks Rick for putting on the feedbag!

News From The Quail Farm

21 Feb

Good Weekend on the Farm
It was a good weekend for us on the ole quail farm. Saturday was a beautiful warm day. Our son Shaun came out and tilled a lot of ground for new blueberries, raspberries and wildflowers for the bees. The bees were very active and we noticed they were coming in with their legs loaded with red pollen. Debbie was preparing lunch for her quilt circle. Shaun’s wife Leslie, her sister, mother and another friend are making quilts to donate to the mid wife that delivered our granddaughter Cedar. She does about 50 births a year and many have lots of needs. They thought giving those babies a heritage quilt would be a great ministry of help. It does me good to see the ladies sewing together and enjoying the country life. While they sewed Shaun & I caught the remaining pheasants and one of my dog training customers came and bought them. We just have a couple hundred quail left and they are ready to deliver in a couple weeks. I took orders this week for about 1,000 more fall delivery quail. This is so rewarding to live this simple life and fellowship with those that want to take care of themselves and give to others, too. My good friend Mark and I are planning a day sometime this week to fire up the Green Egg smoker and cook some pheasant for lunch. We might even make a short trip down Route 66 for some pics to post on our; Missouri Route66 site. We have been good friends for many years and it’s always a lot of laughs we we hang out. Watch for the results of our pheasant feast, hopefully.

Rick Smith

Follow the Quail Farmer on his blog!

Outdoorsman’s Spring Swap Meet

19 Feb

March 19 in Brighton, MO

The Grizzled Old Veteran Outdoorsman’s Spring Swap Meet is set for Saturday, March 19, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will have it where we had the fall swap meet, at the big gymnasium of the Brighton Assembly of God Church, 17 miles north of Springfield, just off Highway 13.

It is free to the public and there are 40 tables available to anyone who wants to sell outdoor-oriented treasures,like fishing lures, camping gear, art, canned goods, baked goods, and the like. You can even bring canoes or boats to set up out in the parking lot.

The church will be offering breakfast & lunch to raise money for the youth of the church.

Someone will win a free fishing trip to Canada before the day is over. Tinker Helseth, the guide and outfitter from Lake of the Woods in Northwest Ontario, will be there in person. Call to reserve a table, or write. See all the details at Larry Dablemont’s Website.

How I snuck up on a raccoon and lived to tell about it.

18 Feb

I am pretty proud of this shot. How many guys can say they snuck up on a coon and shot it’s picture? I probably wouldn’t have if the wind wasn’t blowing 40 MPH. This guy was going through a hole in the fence and had his head down in a spring between the rocks trying to get a crawdad. Once he caught wind of me he backed out and found the first big tree available, he wasn’t at all happy and I was lucky enough to be across the creek from him. He might have been a trussle.

Quality of Some Ozarks Rivers, Streams “Impaired”

17 Feb

(Branson, MO) — Governor Jay Nixon will stop in the Ozarks Thursday on the heels of a discouraging water quality study of area rivers and streams.

The Ozarks Water Watch Foundation has released its third annual “Status of the Watershed.”

The report is based on surveys of water quality in selected rivers and streams which flow into Beaver, Table Rock, Taneycomo, and Bull Shoals Lakes. It finds that every site sampled is classified as “impaired,” and assigns them a “C” grade.

David Casaletto, President of the Foundation, says the greatest source of problems comes from excessive nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as sediment washed by runoff into rivers and streams.

On Thursday, Governor Nixon and Department of Natural Resources Director Sara Parker Pauley will stop at Ameren’s Bagnell Dam Scenic Overlook at Lake of the Ozarks.

At 11 am, they will announce the awarding of $740,000 grant to Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance. Then at 1:15 pm, the two will stop at Table Rock Lake State Park marina to announce the awarding of $550,000 grant to Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc.

“Status of the Watershed” report.

Springfield News-Leader Report