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Pine trees by the Big Piney Trail

On the climb up from Little Paddy Creek – Paddy Creek Wilderness Day One. November 2020. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

The climb up from Little Paddy Creek to the ridge is some three-hundred feet. Unlike some of the other climbs on this trail, it is a fairly gentle ascent. Once on the ridge, the trail is fairly even and in a little over thirty minutes I was at the site of the old homestead that marks the junction of the shortcut through to the North Loop.

I didn’t stop to take any pictures. Below are a couple from my visit in February.

The ‘short cut’ trail is pretty easy to follow but quite rugged in places. This was obviously a major road at one time, as there were drainage ditches to be seen, and in places the trail had been leveled. I met another group of riders coming up the trail, and I was reminded of how polite and respectful the locals generally are, with casual ‘Howdys’ and several ‘Sirs’ sprinkled into the short exchanges as the riders filed past. Around ten minutes later I came upon a straggler. It seems his horse, a very frisky mare, had got away from him at one point, and he was trying to catch them up. He couldn’t have been trying that hard as we chatted for five minutes or so. Long enough for the dreaded “Where are you from?” question to be asked. However my stock answer of “Springfield.” didn’t draw further questions, and I discovered that he had roots in Bolivar (about 40 miles north of Springfield).

It wasn’t long before the trail was leveling out and running through some creekside flood plains, nice and easy hiking, but a damp environment that I didn’t think would work for my Day Two camp. That’s okay though. I’d already thought I’d fancy a spot on the side of the hill on the opposite side of the creek.

Forty-five minutes or so after I turned on to the short cut, I arrived at the point where I’d cross Little Paddy Creek for the second time. As I didn’t top up my water at the first crossing, I planned on doing it now.

Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.