There is beautiful hiking country close to Kansas City. Just a few hours away is the gorgeous Ozarks. Hiking near TableRock Lake or Branson Missouri can be an exciting and breath taking experience. And here are 10 tips to consider when hitting the Ozark Trails. Depending on the time of year your going to be hiking in. It's best to first consider your physical shape and capabilities. Make no mistake here! Rough country can be dangerous when trekking through rocky hills. But it doesn't have to be. Here is a short list of 10 tips to consider when your on your way to the hiking trails.
Ozark Walking Trails
1. Safety First - Get A Weather Forecast, and Plan to Come Home! -
Do not just wing it!
Wether your a Hunter looking for whitetail deep in the late fall, or a Fly fisherman looking for that special stream to fish in the spring. Consider safety first. It's always advisable to not go trekking in rough country when your out matched. If your hiking in the dead of winter. It's best to be layered up. And bundled up tight. Because if you get lost while hiking. You could easily become a cold casualty if your not planning your trip carefully. If your hiking a trail in the summer wear clothing that keeps your body cool. So my first tip is to make plan. And keep to the plan when your out in the elements. While planing do not bite off more than you cAn chew. And plan to hike a few miles at most. Don't over extend yourself. Remember this is supposed to be fun. Not turn into a emergency. And you will come home safe.
2. Physical Fitness
This tip should be self explanatory. But in the event you are a newby to hiking in the Ozark's know this! If your not physically fit enough to walk or carry your own weight for a day or two without medical help. Don't go trekking in hills and mountains you know nothing about! Know your limitations. This activity is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Not taxing and causing you to fall out from exhaustion. Be in some type of shape to handle extended periods of physical labored walking and light running. And if you find yourself winded on the trail. Rest frequently and take care of your body. You will have a much easier time.
When your out on the trail in the fall, winter or even summer. It's especially important to stay hydrated. Brink a camelback completely full. And before you hit the trail. Do not go out drinking or use drugs. It will only complicate and make your day on the trail completely no fun. No one wants to go out trekking when their hung over. Just a thought! Stay hydrated! If you do this. Your body will feel satisfied and not stressed. And remember drinking water is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. But here is a fact! You may not realize it but when your breathing in cold air while hiking. Your body will deplete its hydration supply quicker than you sweating in the summer. Drink up buttercup!
This makes my top 3 on my list. Because it's absolutely necessary to have comfortable hiking shoes. To match the terrain your hiking through. There is nothing worse than striding along in tennis shoes and stepping on a rock and falling down in agony. Because you either rolled / sprained your ankle. Or ended up breaking your foot somehow. And then you won't be able to complete your hike. You will become a casualty. And if your alone. You could pay the ultimate price. But with a little foresight. This doesn't have to be the case. And this next tip should not even be a tip. But I will say it anyways. Never go alone! Always go with a friend or someone who can react. If something happens. Like twisting your ankle because you wore your favorite track shoes.
Missouri Trail Hiking
Clothing is pretty easy. Winter- be layered up with at least 5-6 layers. Especially if it's freezing and snow is on the ground or in the forecast. Layering in itself is a subject. And I will not be delving into that here. Bust simply layer! Stay warm! Fall- The fall in the Ozarks can be mild at times or be right out freezing! So please use at least 4-5 layers to be on the safe side! Summer - summer in the Ozarks can be flat out scorching hot! But if you dress to the conditions. Your hike will be a pleasant expedition. And if it's too hot. Don't go at all. But if you find yourself with a group of campers. Please wear comfortable clothing that can breathe your body will thank you! I recently have been designing T shirts for the rough country hikes. And you can check them out here! https://DirtyJoes.co Spring - Depending on which time in spring you decide to head out into the forest and hilly mountain trails. Please keep in mind the weather in the spring can be freezing or very warm. Dress for the conditions and never guesstimate the forecast. Bring more if your in doubt. And you will be glad you did!
Left: Front Above Pocket Print - Right:Back Middle Design
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6. Wildlife Dangers
Ok so bieng excited to go hiking in the Ozarks is good. But be mindful when on the trail that your in the animals and critters backyard. Probably the biggest danger you will need to be aware of. Is snakes and creepy crawly's. Bring plenty of Bug Spray like "Off" because the mosquitoes can become a nuisance. And after every trip check yourself for ticks. These little bugs can cause you a lifetime of hurt if not attended to right away. The Ozarks are known for deer ticks that carry lime disease. So be reminded that this is a threat to your health. On the off hand chance you you do happen to run across a venomous snake like a Copperhead or Timber Rattle Snake. Slowly back away and never try to corner and handle these creatures. It's totally plausible the snakes will be more afraid of you. Then you of them! And of course watch for the beautiful Mule, and Whitetail Deer. The wildlife in the Ozarks makes hiking the trails one of the upmost perks. I know this may seem like a long shot but there may be roaming Black Bears passing through out there. But if you do happen to run across one. Make a lot of noise and slowly back away. They want their space just like you.
For every successful trip in the wilderness.its always advisable to bring a fully charged cellphone or CB Handheld radio. In Spots of the Ozark's it's totally normal for their not to be any cell phone coverage at all. So please don't assume that just by bringing your cell phone your covered for the "In case there is an emergency". It's better to be prepared. So study the map of the area your going to be in and have a contingency plan if someone get hurt or if you an emergency. I mention bringing a handheld CB radio because even though there may be no cell phone signal. On channel 19 there almost always an emergency responder listening and even a citizen may answer your call to get you help.
In the Ozark region there isn't many plants you need to worry about. Other than a few big trees with honey bees or wasps nets close by. But you should be aware poisonous plants are out there. But touching on the bee sting subject really quick. If you happen to be allergic to bee stings or wasp stings. Please bring the correct medication in case you are stung and go into anaphylactic shock. Just be prepared. It's the best medicine. Ok poison Ivy and poison Oak? Yep! There is a ton of that nasty stuff on the trails. So here are the irritants in the images below. Study the images below . And please be aware the oils these plants secrete will cause your skin itchiness and irritation. Causing the body's inflammation reaction to occur. And misery will follow.
9. Gear & Packing Lightly
This is probably one of the most important tips here. Pack light and do not bring unnecessary items along for the ride. I could go into a huge list of what to bring and what not to bring. But for this post I'm keeping it simple. Do bring a backpack. Inside your back pack bring a small first aide kit. Extra clothing in case the weather changes. A flashlight and extra batteries for your cell phone or CB Radio. Do bring a camelback bladder or canteen full of water. Maybe some light glucose rich snacks in case your out there longer than expected. Bug spray is always advisable and a map and compass In case you get lost. And bring a camera to make memories. Because after all this should be a fun activity.
10. Bring a good attitude and adventurous spirit.
In the grand scheme of having fun. Enjoy the outing into one of the best parts of the country. Where streams meet lakes. And water is crystal clear you can see the trout. It's a lot of fun hiking the Ozarks and if you keep to the No Man Left behind code. Your going to have a blast making lasting friendships and new memories worth remembering for the rest of your life. Thank you for reading. And if I missed something super important here. I apologize. I'm not an expert on Hiking. But know enough not to get myself and a friend out of trouble. If you get a chance and want to know more about us.
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