View Full Version : Eagle Rock Loop, AR: Feb 4-6

The Solemates
01-31-2005, 10:32
Well, since Lady Solemate will be in Indonesia giving aid to the Tsunami victims, I am going to do a solo trip of the Eagle Rock Loop near Hot Springs Natl Park, Arkansas this weekend. SGT Rock has a description here: http://hikinghq.net/tj/tj_eagle_rock_loop.html

Looking forward to it. Anyone in the area is welcome. My black-and-tan will be with me. Will post pictures upon my return.

SGT Rock
01-31-2005, 10:35
Have a great time. Make sure you plan a night at Winding Staircase in your plan!

The Solemates
02-04-2005, 13:53
I sure hope it doesnt rain on Sunday like its supposed to. Let ya know when I get back...Im gone.

The Solemates
02-07-2005, 11:06
Well I had quite an adventure along the Eagle Rock Loop this weekend. It was a whole lot of fun, and boy do I have some interesting stories to tell. Pictures are on my photo page. I guess the easiest thing to do is to put in all in a timeline, so here goes....

Friday, 4 Feb
1715 Left my house to head to AR
2130 Arrived at trailhead after stopping for supper and gas along the way. Camped at trailhead campground.
2230 Bedtime

Saturday, 5 Feb
0615 Up at first light. Cooked breakfast. Drove 5 min to trailhead parking lot to leave car.
0730 Begin hiking.
0740 After only a quarter-mile, the blazes stopped.
0745 Big climb first thing. Absolutely awesome viewpoints atop a very rocky ridge.
0800 Trail disappears. I retrace my steps backtracking for an entire mile, but the trail never turned. I was mad and thought the whole trail was going to be this poorly blazed and not well travelled, but in actuality the rest of the trail was very well blazed...all but this 1.5 mile section in the beginning. I did not start at the "normal" TH access point, so maybe this is why. But Im glad I started where I did or else I wouldnt have got the amazing views I did. So, I cut down through the woods trail-less, hoping to intersect a logging road that paralleled the trail.
0815 Found logging road. Continued down it until I found where the trail crossed. On the trail again...
0900 Encounter a couple camping by a creek. Their 2 Irish Setters chased after Siler, my coonhound. Siler didnt pay them much attention, surprisingly.
0945 Encountered a group of 5 men carrying 50lb loads and dressed in jeans and army fatigues. To each his own.
1000 ***** First of many (I think there were somewhere around 20 total) MAJOR Little Missouri River crossings. A major river crossing in my mind consists of me having to take my boots off and wade in fast moving water. After seeing there is no possible way around without taking off my boots, I do the usual. Take them off, put my socks in my boots, and give them a sling across the river to the other side so I dont have to carry them across. This way I have my hands to balance. Throw the first boot across. It makes it fine. Now, I have done this many times before and have never had problems, even though I realize it is probably dumb, risking my boots floating down the river. Well, you can guess what happened next. My second boot didnt make it. Down the river it goes. Crap! I hurry across the very rocky river bottom, cutting and bruising my feet in the process. Upon reaching the other side I run down riverside (cutting my feet even more...it was VERY rocky) to catch up with my boot. It finally comes to rest in a large pool on the opposite bank. All I could think about was hiking 6 miles back out without a right-foot boot. I take off my pants and decide to go fetch it. In my haste, I misjudge the depth of the river (and the fast current), but I walk in butt nekkid except for my Tee-Shirt. The water is soon over my head now and I have to swim to fight the current. My Tee-Shirt is now soaked, the air temp is about 45F, and the water is so cold I thought certain parts of me were going to freeze off. Finally, I reach the other side, grab my boot, which amazingly the sock was still inside, and turn around to find Siler floating down the river because he tried to follow me and got swept away. Anyways, we both eventually make it back to my backpack, dry off with my little tiny bandana, and head down the trail, wet feet and all, trying to warm up.
1030 Another major river crossing...you've got the be kidding. I just stomp through with my boots on because they were already soaked anyways.
1035 I reach Winding Stairs, a very nice area, snap a few pictures, and cross the river...again.
1045 3rd major river crossing...more stomping. Siler decides to chase 3 does and doesnt return for 10 minutes. I just keep walking.
1115 I see another doe. Thankfully, Siler doesnt see her. He's too busy sniffing some other animal's poop.
1130 After another river crossing, I stop for lunch at the junction of two trails.
1215 Head up, up, up Athens-Big Fork Trail that reminds me very much of the GA AT. Continue on this trail, which is a lot more strenuous than I was expecting.
1330 Break for 5 minutes at a FS road.
1445 Break for 10 minutes and to pump water at a creek. Encounter 2 teenage guys from Tyler, TX, out doing the same loop I am, but in the opposite direction. They were taking 4 days to do it.
1530 Another major river crossing.
1615 Stop for the day and a campsite along the river. 17 miles over the course of the day. I do the usual chores, read, and generally laze around. Siler rests for an hour, then runs around sniffing the rest of the night til bed.
2130 Bedtime.

Sunday, 6 Feb
0630 I wake up to rain.
0745 I finally conclude that the rain is not going to stop and I get up.
0830 Commence hiking in the rain.
0845 The biggest river crossing yet. I get soaked, Siler thinks he is going to die, and lets me know by pitching a major fit. I finally coach him across.
0915 Another river crossing for good times sake.
0945 The temperature has actually dropped, I am completely soaked to the bone, and so I stop at another TH along the way. I wait for 10 minutes inside a pit toilet so I can get shelter from the rain. It was a dumb idea to stop because now my body temperature has dropped and I think of hypothermia....gotta keep hiking!
1015 It takes nearly 30 minutes for me to get warm again. Put my head down and hike fast towards the car.
1045 Another river crossing.
1120 Last river crossing. This one up to my thighs almost. Siler pitches another fit, but finally swims across.
1200 I reach the car at another 10 miles on the day to finish the 27-mile loop hike. Go to the campground (heated!) bathhouse to change into warm clothes.
1215 Head for home. A very fun trip, although a bit adventurous.

SGT Rock
02-07-2005, 11:21
I couldn't figure out which trail head you used based on your description. I do remember some bad spots where trail blazing wasn't so good on the northeast part of the loop. Stream crossing is a major part of that trail and it can be very tricky during rainy weather. I just walked across in my trail runners, but I do remember one wide crossing where the couple crossing near us changed into sandals and put their boots on their packs. Of course at that time it was nice, warm, and sunny. The four of us were laying in the river playing around and watching them take 10 minutes to do the crossing we did in 30 seconds.

The Solemates
02-07-2005, 12:41
I started at Albert Pike.

Having trouble uploading the photos, but they should be there by this afternoon sometime.

The Solemates
02-07-2005, 15:59
Pics are up.


SGT Rock
02-07-2005, 16:14
Looks like they fixed the footbridge over Blaylock Creek.

The Solemates
02-07-2005, 16:32
Looks like they fixed the footbridge over Blaylock Creek.

No, there were no footbridges the whole trail. Remnants of one in a few of my pictures, but it had obviously been swept down river during flooding.