Distance to a Road: 2.2 miles
Cell Phone Coverage: Yes
Conservation Land: Yes, Hercules Glades Wilderness Area, Mark Twain National Forest
Travel Method: Hiking
Travel Time One-Way: 3 hours
Something We Learned: The quality of a wilderness experience can be diminished by the constant drone of airplanes overhead or the sighting of a beer can hanging in a tree.
Click on ‘Play’ button below to view our panoramic video of the Remote Spot.
The Ozark Mountain Fall season is in full force as we begin our approach to the Missouri Remote Spot. Skies are cloudy with intermittent light rain and temps hold steady in the mid 40′s. This is a look out over the Hercules Glades Wilderness where the Remote Spot resides. The R-Spot is near the distant hill on the upper left.
The term “glades” refers to the grass-dominated openings on top of many of the local hilltops. The glades are a xeric limestone prairie ecosystem that formed within the poor, heavily leached, rocky soils of the hilltops.
We set out on foot to reach the Remote Spot, utilizing the Long Creek hiking trail to penetrate to the center of the wilderness. We are delighted to have Ryan’s Mom, Helen with us for this trip.
The Ordovician-aged Cotter dolomite caps the hilltops and frequently crops out. Chert deposits also are common.
Long Creek is not flowing today. In fact, it appears that it hasn’t been flowing in quite some time. This region suffered an extrmemly hot summer in 2011 with little rainfall. Looks like the drought continues. The beautiful local limestone or dolostone is scalloped and exposed all along the creek bottom.
This creek bed makes a great place to have lunch as well. Skyla has cold extremities, but her spirits remain high after about 3 hours of cold exposure. We keep a watchful eye on her. Just sitting still in the backpack doesn’t generate enough body heat to stay warm for forever, especially not for a 30 pounder. She stays bundled up and she is all too happy to increase her caloric intake.
A rugged portion of our hike over the water- eroded limestone. Mom, at age 74, amazes with her agility and stamina…not to mention-Rebecca-who shoulders the load of child carrying all day. We are now at a point where Skyla may be too heavy to carry for long expeditions, but is too young to walk by herself long distances. As our Remote Spot expeditions lenghten as Project Remote heads westward, Rebecca will carry Skyla while Ryan will have to tote all the gear. Light travel isn’t possible yet for the Remote Spotters. We stay trained for heavy load backpacking.
From Long Creek, Ryan points to the Remote Spot, located now just 0.4 miles off-trail up an incomming, unnamed, smaller tributary creek. We are now within striking distance of the MO R-Spot. This is when excitement really builds for going remote. Off-trail travel requires the most physical effort per unit distance and often is the most rewarding part of our Remote Spot expeditions. When you get off-trail in protected wild areas, the feeling of remoteness is amplified, and the quality of a wilderness experience typically is greater…
…unless you run into this…This may be the remotest beer can in Missouri, laid there apparently by the remotest moron in Missouri. This hanging can is just 0.2 miles from the Remote Spot, a fair piece off-trail in a seemingly random direction. We scratch our heads. This isn’t the first time we have run into trash near Remote Spots.
It takes about 30 minutes to walk 0.4 miles off-trail to the MO R-Spot.
Ryan takes a few ecological notes while Rebecca conducts the Remote Spot Assessment (RSA). The forest is a mix of oak, hickory and myriad other deciduous hardwood tree species. Red cedar and shortleaf pine also are common components of the mixed forest. Limestone commonly crops out at the surface under the leafy forest floor. We observe no litter or human structures on the Remote Spot. The forest has a fairly open understory, as is expected under dense canopies. Poison ivy is one of the commonest shrub species in the understory. We try our best to stay clear of it, and more importantly, to keep Skyla out of it. Although we observe no direct evidence of past logging, this forest is not virgin, but is in an intermediate successional stage several decades after a complete or partial logging event. The Missouri Remote Spot has excellent prospects for remaining remote, wild, and well ecologically managed because of being located within lands that are protected by our National Wilderness Preservation System.
The Remotest Family in Missouri…
Skyla is all tuckered out after her fourth hour of wilderness exposure, and what was a lengthy stay at the Remote Spot.
At day’s end, Skyla and Grandma get their hiking on together. This is a good time to encourage Skyla to locomote herself. She needs no encouragement.
The day’s out and back day hike to the Missouri Remote Spot took approximately 6 hours. We traveled a total out and back distance of 7.1 rugged mountain miles on foot.