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Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport

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Offline dprather

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Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« on: March 09, 2016, 08:32:58 PM »
Friday, Lord willing, I'll lead a group of 12 from my church on an adventure to the Eagle Rock Loop (ERL) in the Ouachitas of SW Arkansas.

The ERL is a nice 6-hour drive from the Houston area and is a pretty tough challenge.  The difficulty of seven downs and ups is offset by the lush beauty of the place and the luxury of water, water everywhere.  In that part of Arkansas, there is just about as much isolation as in the Bend.

I'm really quite please about the slow development toward 12 takers.  Five years ago, there was just me.  Then one more guy added and then another.  Things have blossomed and now we will have an even dozen aged 15-60. 
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Owl

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Re: Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2016, 06:31:46 AM »
There's been a lot of rain in that part of the state in the past few days and more forecast before the weekend which may make the stream/river crossings impossible or very dangerous.  Check with the Forest Service before you drive up here.

https://fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTJw8jAwjQL8h2VAQAzHJMsQ!!/?ss=110809&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&navid=100000000000000&pnavid=null&recid=10732&ttype=recarea&pname=Ouachita%20National%20Forest%20-%20Eagle%20Rock%20Loop

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Offline ambersdad

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Re: Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2016, 06:56:07 AM »
You'll want to watch this closely before your trip.  Right now crossings would be inadvisable.  That is if you want to make it back to Houston.  When the level at this station is at or below 4 feet, river crossing can be done safely.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=07360200
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 07:09:09 AM by ambersdad »
Having decent gear is nice, but wildlife photography is knowing your subject and getting lucky, and I love getting lucky.
https://www.facebook.com/randy.jones.33234
http://randyswildlifeandnaturephotography.com/

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Offline dprather

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Re: Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 09:42:23 AM »
You Guys Are Super!!!!!

I called the FS guys late last week and  - du! - didn't even think about the additional rain.

The ERL is also very high in the watershed - do you think that the water will go down quickly?
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline ambersdad

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Re: Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 11:02:39 AM »
You Guys Are Super!!!!!

I called the FS guys late last week and  - du! - didn't even think about the additional rain.

The ERL is also very high in the watershed - do you think that the water will go down quickly?

Watch that gauge.  It goes down almost as fast as it rises.  If the rain quits today and no more is in the forecast, you could possibly do some crossings by Saturday.   The Little Missouri is a beautiful but dangerous river to be around if there is rain in the forecast, or rain above it in the forecast.  20 campers died in June 2010 at Albert Pike.  I've canceled 3 different trips there when rain was in the forecast.  A friend went ahead and tried to do the loop. Called called me chicken.  He almost drowned when he got swept off his feet in 3 foot of water with a backpack on.  Now he pays attention to the weather.   ;)

Having decent gear is nice, but wildlife photography is knowing your subject and getting lucky, and I love getting lucky.
https://www.facebook.com/randy.jones.33234
http://randyswildlifeandnaturephotography.com/

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Offline dprather

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Re: Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2016, 11:18:35 AM »
This is as great an example of the usefulness of this forum as I have ever seen.

My little voice was screaming, but I just wasn't listening (I knew what I would have told others, but I couldn't bring myself to tell myself).  Many thanks again for forcing the issue.  I now think that I posted my plans this AM just to get a thumb's down.

I called the Forest Service in Mena.  They described the crossings as treacherous and advised me not to do it (they stop recommending at 4.5 feet; it is now at 5.7 feet with more rain in the forecast).  I called a friend who happens to be visiting up there and he flatly said don't do it.  Even though the ERL is high on the watershed and the water will drop, I'm still reluctant.

I think I would be willing to give it a go if I was with 100% experienced guys.  We could bushwhack until we found a suitable crossing (we once found a great crossing when the water was high at the double crossing at Winding Stairs - about 1/4 mile upstream from the official crossing).  But I have an image of losing a friend's 9th-grade son down the Little Missouri and it isn't pretty.

By the way - do you enjoy the ERL as much as I?
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline ambersdad

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Re: Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2016, 11:35:28 AM »

By the way - do you enjoy the ERL as much as I?

I've been unlucky.  Three times I've planned the trip and three times it rained.  :banghead:  I have it planned in the fall before my Nov Bend trip.    4 friends do trail maintenance on the ERL and they think its the greatest thing since sliced bread. 
Having decent gear is nice, but wildlife photography is knowing your subject and getting lucky, and I love getting lucky.
https://www.facebook.com/randy.jones.33234
http://randyswildlifeandnaturephotography.com/

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Offline dprather

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Re: Arkansas Eagle Rock Loop PreReport
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2016, 11:59:03 AM »
I love the ERL.  It is a great second choice to the Bend.

There is a great contrast between the Bend and the ERL.  The ERL is positively lush and lovely with trees and shade.  There is so much water that I never carry more than two liters - one to drink and one to treat.  There are places where springs come right out of mountainsides - we don't ever treat that water. 

The ERL isn't as tough a three days as the OML, but it isn't easy by any means.  There are seven mountains/hills with 600 (maybe a bit more)  feet of elevation gain and that come at you in a gun-fire sequence.  They also don't zigzag the trails at the ERL so you go straight up. 

The river crossings are beautiful and challenging. 
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

 


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