Within recent history, we've had a thread on the "bucket list" and threads on various and sundry exotic locations. Well, Hogeye was one of the exotic locations on my bucket list, as I am sure it must be on yours as well.
First, the proper pronunciation: HAWG I, where "I" is pronounced somewhere in amongst "eye", "iih", and "ah".
Hogeye and the surrounding area are nestled in the Boston Mountains and are included in the annual Joe Martin Stage Race, a series of pro events held in Northwest AR.
Since I had heard quite a bit about Hogeye from local cyclists, I decided to ride this route a couple of weeks ago.
Proof positive that Ol' Fuj and I made it. Fuj was taking a break while I was in the store chatting with the proprietor.
This is the entirety of greater downtown Hogeye. Impressive, huh? I'll bet it makes you want to jump on your bike and go there immediately.
There is enough bike traffic in the area that the store has given us our own parking area!
I asked the proprietor about what local cyclists call Hell's Kitchen, and she told the route to follow. According to local lore, Hell's Kitchen includes "The Wall", a significant hill. Having no better sense, I took off for the Hell's Kitchen loop. Part of the instructions I received were, "when the pavement ends, take a left."
I rode for quite a way after having passed the first feature cited by the lady at the store. I kept riding and riding and riding and getting farther back into the middle of nowhere. As I recall, I think I saw a funny-looking little guy strumming a banjo, and I began to wonder if I would ever see my family again. Finally, in the distance, I saw a "Pavement Ends" sign. I breathed a little sigh of relief.
Just past this bluff, there was a paved road to the left.
The bridge marks the beginning of "the wall". If you look closely, you will see a small spot on the right hand side of the road just beyond the bridge. This was a small Jack Russell-ish type dog. As I rode toward him and called to him, he ambled over my way. His hair was like that of a bristle brush. He was a friendly sort but lacked the raw energy of Terrierman's Jack Russells, which are also friendly pups. I stroked his fur a while and then started toward the first of three ascents in "the wall". The first ascent was a sitting ascent, not too bad.
This is a shot of the second ascent. From the end of the road in middle of the photo, the road curves to the right and gets a little steeper. This was a next-to-granny-gear, stand-up ascent.
The third ascent was a stand-up affair as well.
The total length of the climb was probably a mile and a half or a mile and three quarters (not exactly sure). The leaves were about a week or so shy of being at peak, so the trip was a treat for the eyes. Also, out in the middle of nowhere, it was quiet and peaceful. Nice.
Ol' Fuj and I completed the Hell's Kitchen loop successfully. We left all of the pro and amateur speed records intact. We stopped back in at Hogeye and thanked the proprietor for her accurate instructions as we downed a quart of Gatorade and some peanut butter and crackers.
Almost back to civilization, we are poised at the top of a hill ready to descend into West Fork, AR, a major metropolis compared to Hogeye. That's I-540 in the background. It's a good, long descent into West Fork. We hammered across the overpass across I-540 and were exceeding the posted speed limit as we rolled into West Fork.
Mark one off the bucket list. I've done Hogeye to Hell's Kitchen. Eat your hearts out!