Bell Mountain and Toughness is just a word

I sound tough sometimes, on this here blog, but I never feel very tough. (Do I sound tough here sometimes?)

Right now, I feel exhausted. April and I ran a 5k yesterday morning, and then today Louie, April, and two friends named Amanda joined me for a mud run called the Crusher in Eureka, Missouri.

I say, I’m not tough, because both Amandas seemed to think that hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon and running a 5K the day before meant I was tough and all kinds of athletic and would do well. I’m not. I get scared easily and I fall a bunch. I lack upper body strength and I run very slow.

I’m going to process today a bit more, and also hope that the races will put pictures up to share. But a mud run was an experience I hadn’t had today. Are they supposed to be mostly waiting in line to do the obstacles? We did wait an awful lot, probably as long as we were running and actually trying to complete the obstacles.

I digress.

Last weekend after our float trip got canceled, Louie and I decided it would be best to do an epic hike in the area. We chose to go up and around Bell Mountain, which made a 12 mile hike. It was about a 2 hour drive.

We probably underestimated the difficulty, and it was muddy, I actually ran out of water, I wished I’d brought my hiking sticks, and most of the folks we saw were backpackers, but we had a memorable day, probably pushed the dog too much even though she seemed to have fun, and definitely made a great memory!

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The trail to the top of Bell Mountain starts on the Ozark Trail. We didn’t hike far on the OT though, before going off on the Bell Mountain loop. If you want to take the loop, the author of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles recommended going counterclockwise so you save the views for the later portion. It was muddy from the get go but once you get used to that, and just accept that you’re going to get a little wet, it was pretty nice.

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Not sure what’s going on with me in this picture, but there were lots of rocky parts. This hike was similar in ways to our hike last fall in Taum Sauk State Park.

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There were several creek crossings. By now creek crossings were old hat for us. I guess I’m becoming a more experienced hiker, even though I keep making mistakes like not bringing enough snacks and thinking that a 12 mile hike will be easy because it’s in Missouri.

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There wasn’t as much elevation change as in the Grand Canyon, but there were some steep parts, especially the climb from the creek up to the summit. We were hoping for the expansive views the book author promised us, but we just got a teeny bit. Maybe because of all the trees. As always, no matter the challenge…hiking in Missouri continues to be mostly wandering in the woods. We sometimes daydream about moving somewhere more scenic (sorry Missouri) but then we remember how cheap it is to live here and how we get to travel a lot, and how our jobs and such are here. Sigh.

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But the view was pretty decent from the top. Amazing for this area, honestly. That’s what happens when you see the world. You get spoiled. Smile

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Okay, fine, it’s really beautiful. And we were jealous of all the people backpacking. There were a few ready made camping sites along the trail, one I thought looked really cute near the creek, and then on top of the mountain too.

So we might be back, though summer ends up usually getting pretty hot and buggy here.

One thought on “Bell Mountain and Toughness is just a word”

  1. I always say the the midwest has a quiet beauty, but after being out in South Dakota for a week and a half, that beauty spoke pretty loudly to me. It is lovely here, but so not the same.

    This hike looks awesome. I’m like you with the underestimating, but you pushed through. You guys have done some really cool stuff already this year.
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