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Backpacker Magazine – February/March 2013

From the Field — Central — March 2013

Follow the footsteps of Wild West outlaws in Oklahoma, marvel at Gooseberry Fall's frozen cascades, search out arrowheads at Hot Springs National Park, and more.

by: Sarah L. Stewart

Gooseberry Falls (Photo by
Photo by BP0313TRIPC_FF_Sundberg_Gooseberry_bjk_445x260.jpg
Gooseberry Falls (Photo by
Balanced Rock (Photo by Eric Coburn/NPS Photo)
Photo by BP0313TRIPC_FF_CoburnNPS_BalancedRock_bjk_445x260.jpg
Balanced Rock (Photo by Eric Coburn/NPS Photo)
Stream feeding Kinkaid Lake (Photo by
Photo by BP0313TRIPC_FF_LBraun_Kinkaid_bjk_445x260.jpg
Stream feeding Kinkaid Lake (Photo by

Gitchi Gummi/Nelson’s Creek Loops, Gooseberry Falls SP, MN
Traipse through a winter wonderland along Lake Superior on these two loops totaling 5.1 miles. Wear snowshoes or ice grippers on the two-mile Gitchi Gummi Trail, and hike to a lake overlook atop ice-covered, 65-foot cliffs.  The park requires skis for the groomed Nelson’s Creek route, which gradually ascends to views of the river valley. Or, keep your hiking boots on to try the 2.3-mile Fifth Falls Loop, along the Gooseberry River to three frozen cascades. Trip ID 8676

“The lakeshore looks like an arctic moonscape, with crystal blue ice several inches thick covering the rocks.”

Field scout: Shawn Donais, Two Harbors, MN

Horsethief Spring Trail, Ouachita NF, OK
Follow in the footsteps of Wild West outlaws on this 12.8-mile lollipop in the Oklahoma Ozarks. Ascend 1,000 feet through a pine forest to pitch your tent at the edge of a ravine at mile 4.8 (the spring is .2 mile farther); the site’s namesake 19th-century rustlers hid out around here. Next day, hike 3.5 miles to a white-blazed, .8-mile spur atop 1,300-foot Snake Mountain for views back at your route across the valley. Return to Cedar Lake trailhead to close the loop. Trip ID 5752 

“In March, look for redbud and white dogwood blooming.”

Field scout: Bill Durant, Talihina, OK

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