Despite a rainy forecast, twenty-six TrailBlazers headed to the Ozark National Forest to hike Roundtop Mountain and Alum Cove.
After a 2.5 hour drive through the beautiful mountain scenery, we arrived at the Roundtop trailhead on Hwy 7 just a couple of miles south of Jasper. We headed up the trail and instead of going to the top, we continued on the loop trail which took us all the way around the mountain. There were many wildflowers blooming. Most of us had never hiked the loop trail before although we had hiked on top of the mountain. We passed by the memorial to the five servicemen who were killed when their plane crashed into the side of the mountain in 1948. We went up the trail to the top and visited the south side where there were great views and rock formations – but few wildflowers.
Coming down the mountain, we decided to drive to Alum Cove where we could enjoy our lunch break in the covered pavilion with picnic tables. Alum Cove Trail begins by going down the mountain and the first scenic stop is the natural bridge. From there we continued down into the valley, crossing a small stream and arriving at the very scenic, rugged bluff line which offers great photo ops. We scrambled through the cave-like formations and missed the trail turn. We followed a trail to a creek crossing and then it disappeared. We were in an area where many large trees were down and we were climbing over or ducking under them. We searched for a trail to continue on but finally decided to back track. Very shortly we discovered the trail we had missed. It led us back to the natural bridge where we were able to explore the area down under before climbing back to the top.
It was a beautiful day with perfect temperatures and no rain. The first drops started to fall on us as we reached Ozark. Thanks to Kenya for leading and Peggy, Linda and Gloria for pictures.