Location: Busiek State Forest; closest town is Ozark, MO
Trail: East Side; West Side
Other Trailgoers: 6 (2 dozen counting people at the shooting range)
Would I Go Again: Maybe
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Mike has thought about camping at Busiek, and I’ve talked him out of it every time; looking at the map, I wasn’t too excited about sleeping right off the highway. It would seem easier to just get back in the car and drive home. But we were curious on what Busiek was like, so we decided today would be a good day for a dayhike to Busiek. I did some research on the trails and terrain before we left. I had the route plotted out, and I did read somewhere about multiple creek crossings, but I guess I just didn’t prepare for it.
We started on the east side with the plan on hiking the outer loop of the trail; hoping to get close to 10 miles in. However, we were not prepared for the creek crossing.
The temperature started out in the 30s and by mid-day was up to 50; so it was a really nice day to be out in the woods. Anyway, shortly after we got out of the car at the parking lot on the east side, we took a stroll down to look at a few of the campsites, and they are literally right out of the parking lot. They are trashy. They look like the places where a lot of people go to party – hence a lot of beer cans lying around.
We walked up and down the creek bed trying to find some rocks, logs, or somewhere shallow enough to cross. We never did. We wasted about an hour of our time walking back and forth and I was just at the point where I was about ready to take off my socks and boots and walk across but being that we were just getting started, it didn’t seem smart to start out with cold, wet feet.
So we opted to cut our losses here, get back in the car, and drive to the west side and hike there. We were both glad that we done this.
Coming off the highway, you pass a quarry. Next you park in an area by the shooting range and the weather being as nice as it was, there were dozens of people constantly shooting at the range today. This wasn’t my preference on being outdoors but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Anyway, we looked at the map and had our plan on which loops we would take. We planned on walking the white loop down to the orange loop and coming back — doing the purple on the way back if we were up to it.
When we came to our first crossing, we stayed to the left; this was our first mistake. We didn’t realize we were actually on the white loop until quite some ways onto the trail. Nonetheless, we walked along a nice babbling stream most of the way; stopping beside the stream at one point and enjoying a nice peaceful lunch. Very picturesque.
We ended up finishing the loop and walking back. There were multiple picturesque areas. See pics below. We ascended and looked out among some hills. The scenery changed quite a few times.
We did have to cross the creek about half a dozen times on the west side but were able to find rocks to make it across without getting soaking wet. Keep this in mind! In the warmer weather, we wouldn’t have minded at all but not on a cool winter day.
I’m not sure if I would go back to Busiek again; however, I don’t feel that we gave it a fair chance. I would like to try the east side; I really didn’t care much for hiking by the shooting range — just too much noise for my taste. Looking at the map at home tonight, I see we could have drove further down 65 and came in on the south side of the east loop and maybe had better luck starting there. The scenery was nicer in most places than I would’ve expected but Busiek also has an overall “trashy” sense about it. I’m really undecided about it so far. Will need to go again to decide.
Title: Busiek State Forest
Track lenght: 11.21Km.
Altitude range: 114m. (Min height: 282m. Max height: 396m.)
Total climb: 191m. Total descent: 184 m.
Page link: http://tammyonthetrail.com