Temps got pretty cold at night, the lower twenties on Friday night and down to 12 degrees on Saturday night. I was a little underprepared for that, so I froze my butt off. We did, however, hear a lot of coyotes in the night. No owls this time, which is odd. We woke to crows murdering aplenty and saw three bald eagles, a couple of armadillos, signs of beavers working the trees along the stream and the tracks of both elk and what appears to be a mountain lion. The other guys also saw a shooting star that traveled the length of the sky. I'd already turned in for the night. I never last as long as the them around the fire. It lulls me too sleep to easily.
Friday night, steak, 'taters and beans around the fire.
I found some bluejay feathers down the hill around the canebrake from us. Our camp was situated in the middle of a stand of cedars and a canebrake of river cane (arundinaria gigantea). One of a couple of indigenous bamboos.
After breakfast, we headed out to check out the Parker-Hickman Homestead, a homestead occupied from the 1840s to the 1970s, when the National Park Service bought them out.
I'm looking forward to sketching some from the next bit of pics, so look for those in future posts. I could have sat down there all weekend with a pencil and paper.
Eventually, we made our way up to the Cherry Grove Cemetery. We passed through a lot of river cane and out through some open fields riddled with elk hoof prints and along a ridge overlooking the river before we came to it.
A honey locust tree is not a friendly tree.
Back to camp for the evening.
Up Sunday morning for breakfast and a walk towards Ozark Campground. We didn't go too far, but had some nice views and found some big cat tracks on the riverbanks.
Another great trip in the books. I've been heading to the outdoors with these guys for 16-17 years. It's hard to find friends that will suffer a bit for fun, evident in how we had the entire campground to ourselves yet again. Winter camping is the best - no noisy people, no vampirous bugs, no poisonous reptiles, just miles of open trail and scenery. Thanks again to Brian D. and Darren G.