Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ouachita

Mt. Ida, near Hot Springs, AR, is best known for its quartz crystals, and the 40 mile Lake Ouachita VIsta Trail (LOVIT). On our first day here we had time to ride the 8 mile Denby Point trail, and another 8 miles of the Ouachita trail. Both are out and back, so total milage was 32.

The Denby section is rolling similar to the top photo. Some of the climbs are a little steep, but the lake views are fabulous. It is an out and back. Fun and flowing, Marty loved it.

The first 5 miles of the Ouachita trail were smooth with moderate climbs and descents. This presented long, fast fun downhills that were big fun for all. Marty, being a rock hound, was stopping every 100' to gaze at the crystals. The last photo shows the size of some of the crystals. Fortunately, this one was too big to take home, otherwise it would now be in our front yard rock garden.

The next several miles were steep climbs and descents covered with large, loose rocks. We turned around at 8 miles because we were getting tired. Sometime in the next several days we will attempt another portion, hoping for smoother surfaces. Over the full 38 miles (one way), there will be 4262' of elevation gain. We shall see how that goes.


Milage>30
Elevation gain >4000'



Marty enjoys the Denby Point Trail

The climbs and descents on the Quanchita Trail were sometimes steep, but smooth.

One of hundreds of large quartz rocks we found.


This was day two at Lake Ouachita. The first day was mellow compared to today, but it is all fun. We began our climb lakeside at 484', climbed to 1150', descended to 550', climbed to 1297', and ended a 3 mile downhill at 650'. It was a tough 18 miles, considering the final 750' climb was in less than 2 miles. But as you can see, the view was spectacular. 

What makes this area around Mt Ida unique is the three IMBA designated Epic trails totaling over 200 miles. The Womble is 36 miles designed primarily for bikes with easier climbs. Lake Ouachits has steeper and taller climbs with 40 miles. The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is 108 miles with 15,600' of ascent, and is the most technically challenging of the three. All are connected. One could easily have a full week of riding if running both directions. A shuttle helps.


Not sure why Bob wasn't riding this?

View from the top was worth the climb.