I had a choice of routes to take today. The short route takes the North Fork Loop east back to the Ozark Trail, where I could get back to the trailhead. The longer route goes south, and into the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness, and returns to Highway CC via the McGarr Ridge Trail (and a 300 foot climb up onto McGarr Ridge). This route crosses Highway CC near its bridge across the North Fork River, runs through the recreation area to Blue Spring (it seems nine out of ten springs in the Ozarks are called ‘Blue Spring’). The problem with the southern route is that it is several miles longer, and from what I had seen, there is no trace of a crossing point on Highway CC, so it quite possibly doesn’t even exist anymore. I decided I’d make my mind up when I got to the trail junction.
I never did see the trail junction, and I looked carefully, so I ended up on the North Fork Loop heading east back to the Ozark Trail. As that route was significantly shorter, I decided to stop for an hour (or more) for a cup of tea, some lunch, and to just enjoy the forest in the sunshine.
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