The other day Emma asked me if we could do another “long” hike sometime soon. So naturally I started making arrangements for us to do a 10.2mi hike in a wilderness area where I have hiked and backpacked a few times before. When the day came, we left the house bright and early and drove to the trail.

hiking17-1The girls always want to stop and add rocks to these piles when they see them. Since this area is a “wilderness”, it is by law generally void of anything man made, which includes bridges and trail signage. So navigating the area can be a bit challenging at times and these rock piles can be useful to point out the spot where you are supposed to cross the stream.

hiking17-2After a couple miles, I saw a large “mountain” off to the side of the trail, which according to my topo map was called Pilot Knob. While most hills in the Ozarks are covered with trees, top to bottom, this was mostly open and exposed, so I asked Emma if she was interested in scrambling up to the top to check out the view. Of course she was, so we left the trail behind and up we went! Once we made it, the view was indeed pretty great. We sat on a rock ledge and rested, then checked out some cactus growing in the area before making our way down the other side and re-joining the trail.

hiking17-3We had lunch near a waterfall. Although I am generally pretty averse to being wet, I do make an exception when it’s a natural water feature on a warm day. So we stuck our heads into the icy waterfall.

hiking17-4The area was loaded with Dogwood trees and they were in full bloom. So we enjoyed seeing all of the white flowers throughout the forest.

hiking17-5Eventually we had to cross back through the stream from earlier in the morning, although in a different place. Emma decided to find a nice rock and lay with her head in the rippling water. We again decided to ditch the trail and find our own way by hiking in the creek. Which was a lot of fun until I slipped and fell into a pool of water and submerged my camera.

hiking17-6Eventually we reached this very cool spot with several waterfalls.

hiking17-7Again we decided we needed to stick our heads in the waterfall, even though it was freezing cold.

hiking17-8We enjoyed a snack on these big rocks. On a side note, I camped in my hammock in this exact spot a couple years ago.

hiking17-9And here she is, with just about a half mile to go. She is quite the hiker!