Friday night we headed down to Hercules Glade. This would be our third trip here. Read the previous post here. We arrived at the creek crossing before the Coy Bald trailhead around 9:30 pm. We had planned on camping near the campground Friday and Saturday nights and hiking around the area on Saturday.
However, once again… Coy Bald had other plans for us. This time there had been a flood and while we might have been able to cross the creek in the truck, a large tree had fallen right across the creek crossing. So as before, we headed to the Blair Ridge trailhead and camped about a mile or so past that, same place that we had camped the previous year.
This time my daughter, Megan, accompanied us and I let her sleep in my hammock. She definitely experienced the cold butt syndrome on Friday night. But Saturday morning, we awoke to a gorgeous sunrise in the woods. The redbuds were in bloom, the birds awakening us with their songs. The morning sun shining on the green grass across the road. Gorgeous!
Anyhow, a quick breakfast of oatmeal and we were off to hike the Blair Ridge Ridge trail and decide once we reached Long Creek where we would head next.
We did stop at the falls for a while both on the way in and the way back out. Weather ended up being sunny and in the high 60s, beautiful day for hiking. It was a little cold in the morning getting started but that was a small sacrifice to pay for the beautiful afternoon weather.
Finding the Falls at Hercules Glade
If you are starting from the Blair Ridge trailhead (which may be a bit of a hike but is the easiest to find the falls), follow the trail until you reach a fork… literally. Go to the left or what would be west. If you get to the creek, you went to far, turn around. The Blair Ridge trail is approximately 3 miles in and 3 miles out… keep that in mind. Starting at this trailhead, it’s a minimum 6-mile hike. Downhill in and uphill out (isn’t it always?)
Starting from the Coy Bald trailhead (which I’ve never done so I’m only providing the direction by looking at the topo map), head on the southern-eastern trail and follow it until almost the intersection with the Blair Ridge trail. If you come to an intersection, you went to far, turn around and go back.
The falls are approximately 1/4 of a mile from the Long Creek crossing where the Blair Ridge and Coy Bald trails meet up.
We ended up at about 13 miles total for a trip. This was the first hike where I had a chance to use my new hiking poles. I’ve never used 2 poles before, always just the one. Don’t know why to be honest. Figured I really didn’t need to. I think everyone has their own opinion on the subject of to use or not to use hiking poles and I am definitely a firm believer that everyone is going to walk away with their own experience; however, I can say personally I loved it. I found myself powering up the last climbs by digging in with my poles and making my arms and upper legs doing a little bit more of the work for me. It also helped me from twisting and stumbling so much which I am notorious for. It doesn’t help that my left foot is numb and I don’t feel very much of the ground with it so I am going to always have a deal of stumbling, it just can’t be helped. I feel very fortunate that I even have the opportunity to go hiking at all as 3 years ago after I suffered permanent nerve damage after my back surgery, I wasn’t sure I would be able to hike or even walk much for that matter. So I’ll deal with the stumbling but 2 poles definitely eased up the amount of stumbling I had.
And once again, Hercules Glade is on my short list of places to hike in Missouri. It’s a don’t miss. There is a lot of offer here…. so get out there!
Resources For Hercules Glade:
- National Forest Service (official page for the wilderness)
- Ouchaita Maps
- Trip Review at Ozarks Walkabout
- Trip Review at Hike Masters
- Trip Review at Ozark Adventures
- Trip Guide at Backpacker.com
- Trip Report at ShortLeaf
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