Backpacker Radio #197 | Tim Ernst on Founding the Ozark Highlands Trail

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek we are joined by Tim Ernst, renowned wilderness photographer and the founder and former president of the Ozark Highlands Trail. This one is dedicated to the Ozark Highlands Trail, serving as an in-depth trail profile of this 200-mile(ish) backpacking trail through the state of Arkansas. We learn all about what makes this trail special, the best time of the year to hike, who it’s for, some of the trail’s highlights, wildlife, resupply strategy and more.

We wrap the show with our ride or die beer choices, a new stupidest thing of the week, a brief preview of the Lost Sierra Trail, the triple crown of things we do that we’re ashamed of, and more.

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Interview with Tim Ernst

Time stamps & Questions

00:05:28 – QOTD: What one beer would you drink for the rest of time?

00:07:30 – Reminders: Support us on Patreon to listen to our exclusive Q&A episodes!

00:09:50 – Introducing Tim

00:10:35 – What got you into the outdoors and photography?

00:13:50 – You hiked across the state with no maps?

00:14:57 – How long did the first traverse take?

00:16:07 – Tell us more about your background in photography

00:23:37 – What is the basic layout of the Ozark Highlands Trail?

00:28:40 – What do people do for that 16 mile gap?

00:33:35 – Discussion about reasons to hike the OHT

00:36:44 – How do you decide how long a trail should be?

00:41:56 – What’s the official distance of the trail?

00:44:08 – What’s an overview of the trail’s terrain?

00:50:00 – Trail history

00:52:50 – What type of pace and water crossings should thru-hikers expect?

00:56:00 – When’s the best time to hike the OHT?

00:57:50 – Is the guidebook the recommended form of navigation?

01:00:00 – Discussion about how busy the trail is

01:01:42 – What is the camping situation like?

01:05:13 – What are the resupply options like?

01:12:12 – Do you hike with the bear can that you use to stash food?

01:15:07 – What would you say is the highlight stretch of the trail?

01:20:05 – What kind of wildlife should someone expect to see at different times of year?

01:23:15 – What could someone expect as highs and lows for each season?

01:31:16 – Can this hike be done in full with a dog?

01:34:00 – Sell someone on the Ozark Highlands Trail!

01:36:55 – Where can someone get more information?


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