This spring I’ll be flying to Little Rock, Arkansas to hike the 230-mile Ouachita Trail. This has been on my to-do list for a long time. Its best season (I think) is early spring, but that is also when all weathers are possible. Because I could get dramatic weather, I didn’t want to hike it until I had enough time so I could hunker down in one of the 20+ shelters along the trail if needed.
Yeah, shelters! It’s going to be so cushy!
The Ouachita Trail is special to me because I have never been to Oklahoma or Arkansas. There aren’t many states I haven’t been to, so I’m excited to see these two states – and two wilderness areas, too! This trail was very important to a dear, lost friend, and I think it will be healthy for me to hike it and process that loss.
After the Ouachita Trail, I will take a train to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where I plan to finish the Allegheny Trail – while it likely won’t be a thruhike, I’ll probably end up hiking about 285 of 311 miles. I hiked the southern part of this trail a decade ago as part of the Great Eastern Trail hike, and I may not re-hike all those miles.
Ever since 2013, I thought I would return to the Allegheny Trail “next year.” “Next year” never comes for me with the Allegheny Trail, so it’s THIS year. Finally! The Allegheny Trail is a magical place. I so enjoyed the southern part that I even dragged my mom up to see Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory, long ago and far away.
People are always a huge part of any trip. I’m grateful that my friend Julie/Brew Dog from Texas will join me for a piece of the Ouachita Trail and my friend Sourdough who lives in Georgia will join me for part of the Allegheny Trail. Even gistrailblazer is meeting me at the terminus when I finish. There might even be a Great Eastern Trail Association board meeting thrown in there somewhere. I cannot wait to see them all. It has been too long.