Buffalo River Trail

May 28 2021

Buffalo River Trail (BRT)

13.8 miles

The Buffalo River is a 37.1 trail with roughly 6,200 feet of elevation gain and loss. It runs west/east and is north of the Ozark Highlands Trail. I’m going to guess and say that as the crow flies, right now I’m about 30 miles from the Ozone campground I stayed at while on that trail.

I decided somewhat at the spur of the moment to hike this trail, mostly due to the weather forecast, which is called for mostly clear skies, low temps (low 70s/high 40s) and so here I am. I’ve been wanting to hike this trail for some time and temps like this in late May are rare in this part of the country so I decided to take advantage despite the holiday weekend. I walked past a campground and it was packed. Glad I have my little spot near Steel creek. Although during leaf off time I’d like to camp there; it’s right next to the river and the big limestone cliffs, very scenic.

It’s been a long day, with the getting up super early and the drive, then the hike. But as always when I’m in my tent, it’s the best kind of tired.

May 29 2021


23.3 miles

This trail is very scenic. Sure there’s lots of green tunnel type of hiking but the geology is pretty awesome. I got a number of views of the river and the limestone cliffs that make it that cool greenish blue color. stopped and looked at two old backcountry cemeteries. Also, I stopped by the Hickman homestead, and the door to the cabin was open and I got to check it out. I spent a good amount of time today thinking about who lived in this place and what their lives were like. I can only guess.

I saw a few backpackers, which was a change from the OHT.

I reached this spot at Pruitt trailhead, but everything, the bathrooms, the picnic area, and the water is closed because of road construction on Hwy 7. Which suits me well because I’m camping here in the picnic area. It’s perfect! Grassy, nice picnic table, and I got water from the river. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think anyone will tell me to leave, considering it’s a holiday weekend.

So this is technically the end of the trail, but only the half way point for me. I’m doing a yo-yo thru hike, which means I hike the trail from one end to the other, then go back the way I came, to finish where I started.

I’m so glad I left half a bag of Fritos in the car. I’ll be so stoked to eat those when I’m done!

Buffalo River

May 30 2021


21.8 miles

I was hiking just a few minutes before 6am today and I had a pretty nice morning. The sky was clear and the green tunnel treated me nicely. Since it’s a holiday weekend, there are more people, and more people means more garbage. I picked up quite a bit of trash on trail that was not there the day before.

I passed two groups of youth group backpackers; I hope they have a positive experience in the woods and I’m glad that they did not see the garbage I picked up. I used to get mad when I saw garbage in the woods but now I just pick it up when I see it and that’s that. Getting righteous about it doesn’t keep people from littering.

Anyway, it was a perfect day to be hiking, with low temps and a nice breeze with plenty of sunshine. I made miles easily and cruised along. There were lots of people in the river; the Buffalo River is world famous for kayaking and such. From my little campsite up on a ridge far above the river I could hear the shouts and whoops from the floaters, having a good time.

Yeah that’s cactus and moss growing side by side.
No huntin thanks
Brandon wants to be a homesteader now

May 31 2021


15.3 miles

I woke up in a kind of funk and did my best to dispel it. Coffee helps. And stroopwafels for breakfast. Once I got hiking I talked it out to the trail; I talk out loud to the trail as if I were talking to a therapist or a close friend. It’s something I’ve done since I started hiking again when I got sober. After about two hours or so I came to a realization and everything I had been worrying about fell into place. I could see it happening, and the relief I felt was a tangible physical feeling and I stopped and thanked the trail for listening to me and for giving me the opportunity to make sense of the complexities in my life. It’s had to make sense of things that defy sensibility and so many times I have found peace and contentment on the trail simply by talking things out.

Before I knew it I was a few miles from the trailhead and the car. When I got there I changed my clothes, ate Fritos, dumped my gear in the trunk and drove home.

Overall I had a good time hiking the BRT and the geology of the area was for sure the highlight of the hike. I really loved the old cemeteries and the beauty of those quiet places. I’d love to come back during leaf off time and have better views of the cliffs and the river.

Shoes are toast