May 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm #1273717
After some searching with no specific luck for the time of year, I thought I'd post some questions. I've done this loop twice, December and January. Great walk. Several of us are now planning to go back in the last weekend of May for a two or three day hike and I'm curious about the ticks, chiggers, and skeeters. I've dealt with these in the past so I'm really not asking how to cope, but rather, will I see them. Although any suggestions are welcome. I also talked to the local ranger but I thought I'd get some other opinions.
The second bug question, which I haven't camped with, are fire ants. I understand they are there but I think with a good rocky location, they can be avoided. We have them at home, but I've never been on an overnighter with them. Any suggestions? Spray? Garlic and Frijoles?
Any other thoughts about this loop would be welcome.
ThanksMay 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm #1735865
I just finished packing to go there tomorrow and I was there in April. There are lots of bugs, mostly just the ones that bother and get in your face but not bite. That is my favorite trail and since I live in east Texas, it is one of the closer ones. When it is green, it is so much different than in the winter. I would try to camp pretty high to avoid the humidity around the creeks and rivers.
Funny story- I went about one month after the big flood and the road was closed. I only needed to go about 100 yards to park. I went ahead and passed the warning sign and sitting there waiting was a task force of police. I told them that I just wanted to park to go hiking. I ended up with a nice $150 fine for driving past the sign. So instead of blocking the road and telling people to leave, they hide around the corner and wait for people. I don't feel sorry at all for Arkansas since they have not touched the place since the flood, but I gave them $150 to put in their pocket.May 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm #1735871
Curious where you parked? Albert Pike is closed for good I'm told. No overnight parking, no camping, etc. Probably not a bad idea. I have parked at the Winding Stairs TH both times. Anyhoo, I plan to tarp this one and carry bivy for bugs in case.May 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm #1735992
Albert Pike Recreation Area campsites in some parts are being rebuilt nicer than they were before. I was there April 15 and we got lucky with a cool weekend and no bugs. I'd expect them there now.May 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm #1735999
I live in Arkansas and you can expect lots of bugs. The ticks were bad all winter and are worse now. Chiggers are not to be messed with. Skeeters won't be as much of a problem although it has been quite wet so I would be prepared. Fireants are not much of a concern. Snakes on the other hand are something that you will definitely need to be on the watch for.
Chris, you can't get high enough in Arkansas to get out of the humidity. You may be able to get along a bluff line and catch a breeze. The nice thing about camping low is you can just get in the water to cool off.
Have a nice trip!May 13, 2011 at 10:12 am #1736161
I hate snakes, but I grew up in snake country. Chiggers… are something I wouldn’t expect to see on the loop, unless you got in some tall grass off trail. Anyway, I plan to prevent or watch out for both. Thanks for the responses.May 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm #1736204
I would spray my shoes and pants with permethrin for the chiggars. I hate chiggars. My daughter and I got into them in South Dakota last summer, and I almost thought I was going to have to hospitalize myself.May 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm #1736251
@maethrosLocale: Mid South
The ticks here in Arkansas this year are really bad, as bad as I've ever seen. I've gotten one or two passengers every monthly trip this year, despite Permethrin.
The skeeters and gnats wanting to buzz the face are easily managed by a Permethin bandana around the neck.
I never really have a problem with chiggers, I guess I eat too much garlic for their tastes.May 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm #1736255
@maethrosLocale: Mid South
Oh, and make sure you research and mark bailout points on your map in case the rains roll in and threaten to strand you on the wrong side of the river.
Don't need another lost group making the news.May 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm #1737894
Hiked the upper section of the buffalo last week. As others have said, expect ticks. If skeeters have an uncanny affection for your blood, you'll definitely get a few bites. I was eaten alive. However, my normal blooded backpacking partners walked out with only a few marks. We did not encounter chiggers.
AlexMay 30, 2011 at 7:59 pm #1742968
The bugs weren't bad at all but the ticks were there. I found four crawling around on my legs, but none attached. No snakes but we did see a bear and a few deer. The walk was great and we had great weather but I'm curious… Why doesn't the forest service lock the facilities and remove trash cans if they aren't going to be maintained? The Missouri Falls area was clean but the Albert Pike and Winding stairs area, not so much.
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