The Ouachita Mountains & The Ozarks, Arkansas

I like Arkansas. They have accessible forest that I can just head off into. The estimated 3,500 black bears which live in them aren't too much of a concern in winter, and hardly eat anyone, really. Only a dozen or so people are killed each year by bears in North America, but as far as I can see, none in January, when they're asleep. The mountains ... Aren't very big. I don't mean height - I mean area. There is considerably more bush in Victoria than in Arkansas (almost 3 times more) which is a little depressing for somewhere which brands itself as 'The Natural State'. As I've travelled east, I've been more and more surprised about how little land is left without people all over it. Even Texas is almost completely inhabited, with a low population density but actually very few square miles without a domicile. Arkansas is better, with it's two major forests, but they're not huge and even in mid January I went past quite a few people out in them during the day. They're also quite heavily logged.

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It was -16C the night before, but the bivvy bag was warm.

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Ghost-towny enough for ya?

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So far on the road I've seen wild hogs, deer, turkeys, dogs, coyotes, and a roadrunner and a badger.. But these guys were unexpected.

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Little Bear Lake. I didn't see any little (or big) bears though.

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