Welcome to Breakfast in America

My photo journal is an eclectic mix of things; there’s no guiding theme or topic. It is whatever happens to catch my attention, what I’ve been thinking, doing, and whatever my current obsessions are. At the moment, they are clearing some of the backlog on my ‘honey-do’ list, backpacking, hammock camping, and, I’m always, taking pictures.

Recent posts

  • Remington Model 31 12 Gauge shotgun

    Photograph of a Remington Model 31 12 Gauge shotgun manufactured in August 1931.
    Remington Model 31 12 Gauge shotgun – According to the barrel date stamp it was manufactured in August 1931, so quite early in the production run (as the serial number confirms). Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    I was given this shotgun a short while ago, and I have only had a chance to fire a couple of shells to date; just enough to know it works and I can hit what I am aiming at.

    According to the barrel date stamp, it was manufactured in August 1931, which means it was quite early in the production run (as the serial number confirms). Some of the other markings on it suggest it might be of military origin.

    It’s a ‘three and done’ pump action, referring to the magazine limit of two shells, which makes it compliant with the three-shell regulations for migratory waterfowl hunting.

    I did some skeet shooting in the UK. Now I’ll have to find out where I can shoot poor innocent skeets here.

    Remington Model 31 Waterfowl Magazine tube detail – The magazine is crimped to limit it to two shells. This is to comply with a Federal law limiting shotguns to three rounds when hunting migratory waterfowl. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
    Remington Model 31 trigger and safety switch – In this picture, you cannot see the pump action lock which is mounted on the opposite side of the trigger guard. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Guilty

    We are cat-sitting our ‘grandcat’ Dick for a couple of months. This was, I suspect, Dick’s way of letting me know it was well past food time. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Meet Dick. Dick is staying with us for a couple of months. He is one of our ‘grandcats.’ He is also very well traveled having lived in Springfield, Kansas City, Bogota Colombia, and very briefly Denver.

    This isn’t his first visit, he stayed a while in August too.

    This mess was, I suspect, Dick’s way of letting me know it was well past food time.

    (And yes that is where the hall closet is supposed to be. Right now it is a dumping ground for things about to be donated.)

  • Journal: Four days on the North Fork Loop & Devil’s Backbone Wilderness, December 2022

    A self portrait photograph of Gary Allman keeping warm in his hammock while winter camping. December 2022.
    Keeping warm in my hammock – The low was 23℉ (-5℃), well within the 10℉ rating of my quilts. I was nice and cozy. A forecast of 20℉ is my lower limit, not because I cannot keep warm at lower temperatures, I can, but because it is not enjoyable sitting around and doing camp chores when it is that cold. I do this for funsies, not to prove anything. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Work has been keeping me off the trail for too long. I took three days of comp time to get out in the wild and put a few miles under my belt. I’ve been wanting to revisit the Ridge Runner Trail North Fork Loop ever since I first hiked the trail in May 2020.

    For details of my trip

  • End of trip selfie

    End of Hike Selfie – and why not? Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
    Day Four – McGarr Spring to the Hwy CC Trailhead.

    Three nights, four days, 20 miles hiked, and 1500 ft. of elevation climbed. I encountered some rain, snow, and the temps varied from 23℉ to 58℉. I saw a total of 10 people, all of them today (Sunday), and eight of them were on horses.

    I have got to dedicate another trip to sorting out the trail that links the North Fork Recreation Area to the North Fork Loop or at least bushwhack it. I also need to bushwhack my way from the McGarr Ridge Trail down to McGarr Spring. That sounds like a plan for a short three-day, two-night winter trip.

    What worked

    • My food. Which comprised Mountain House breakfasts and dinners with hot noodles for lunch with summer sausage, cheese, and my homemade trail mix (almonds, raisins, and M&Ms) for trail snacks.
    • Clothing. I kept warm and dry. But I did bring along more than I needed. My Columbia snow pants are great for winter hiking, and the Bass Pro waffle pattern baselayers work really well. In fact, I prefer them to my heavier but not warmer merino wool base layer.
    • Buff and shemagh. I cannot recommend these highly enough. Don’t let their ‘tactical’ appearance put you off. They are truly versatile items, and I carry them in winter and summer.
    • Outback Hat. Coupled with a buff to keep my ears warm, this hat is great any time of year. In winter, it is particularly handy for keeping the low sun out of my eyes.
    • Camp light. With the long dark evenings, my Black Diamond – ReMoji camp light really helped.
    • And pretty much everything else!

    Lessons & changes to make

    • Backpack. With four liters of water, bulky additional winter clothing, winter quilts, food for four days, plus camp shoes, my pack was overloaded. I should have taken my bigger (and heavier) Deuter pack. Or, I’ve got to cut down on what I’m taking (again). Water is a big issue with the current drought. Most creeks and lots of springs are dry or drying up.
    • Thinsulate beanie. I have had this beanie for nearly 20 years. It seems like the wool has gotten scratchy, and it makes my scalp itch, so it is time to find a replacement.
    • Hammock Gear Titanium wood stove. Even with the extra air holes I added, it was still very smokey. I’m going back to my Firebox Nano stove. It is a bit heavier, but it burns a lot better and is a more useful design, as I can use the case to stand my alcohol stove on.
    • Water. For some unknown reason, I carried a huge amount of water around on day two. I’m not sure what I was thinking. I could have ditched all but one liter. That is all I needed.
    • Clothing. I could have managed without my camp fleece pants and the extra underlayer top. The fleece pants are quite heavy and bulky. Though it must be said, they are very comfy!
    • Camp shoes. I decided to hike in shoes this trip, so I brought along a pair of Luna Sandals huaraches to use as camp shoes. They were too big and bulky and got in the way in my pack. I should have taken the smaller Zero Shoes huaraches.
    • Phone/camera. Using my phone as a camera works, but I don’t use it as much as a ‘real’ camera. For this trip, I didn’t want the extra bulk of the camera. Especially as it has to be kept warm when the temperatures are low. I already have to keep my battery pack, cell phone, and water filter warm at night. I ought to add my Garmin InReach to that list too.

    Despite breaking my backpack and losing the trail more than once, this was a great trip, and I’m glad I decided to stick to my promise to come back and hike this trail in the winter. Now I am going to have to go back and re-hike the Whites Creek Trail loop in Irish Wilderness and also come back here to clear up the last couple of missing bits of trail jigsaw.

  • State Highway CC Trailhead, Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri

    HWY CC Trailhead – or the Ridge Runner Trail Trailhead. Back to the start, and ours is the only vehicle parked here (as it was yesterday when I passed through this trailhead on my way to the McGarr Ridge Trail). Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Scroll to Top