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 and hammock camping.

Recent posts

  • Journal: Four days solo backpacking on the Whites Creek Trail, Irish Wilderness, Clockwise, January 2024

    Appearances can be deceptive — A quarter of a mile upstream the creek was dry. I had to backtrack a little way to get water for lunch and stock up for the afternoon and night. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    A break in the weather means I’m off on a four-day hike of the Whites Creek Trail, South and North Loops at Irish Wilderness. 

  • Day Four & Trip Summary — Whites Creek Trail North Loop. Whites Creek Crossing to the Camp Five Pond Trailhead

    Despite some minor problems, and my losing my temper with my pack, it was a good trip. I’ve found a new great camping spot with wonderful views, and if I’m fit enough to do the trail, it’s not a problem.

    In total I hiked 21 miles and had 1700ft of elevation gain.

    What worked

    • Daisy chain tree straps.
    • New tarp tie-outs.
    • Pop tarts!
    • New water filter plug. I didn’t mention it but I made a new plug for the water filter before I left on this trip. It stops water dribbling out of the filter.
    • GPS. Without it I would not have got round without some major difficulties.

    What didn’t work

    • My pack needs some adjusting, and my packing needs rearranging. The former so the straps stop slipping, and the latter so that it is easier to carry extra water when needed.
    • My Deuter backpack. Fortunately, I worked that out before I left.
    • The Gas stove struggled on the colder mornings, and it didn’t seem that much quicker boiling water than my Cat-can stove. I think it’ll stay at home in future.
    • My trip planning. I went on two 15-mile hikes in 9 months, and after a two-month break, thought I’d be fit enough to easily hike five miles a day with some hefty (for me) climbs. No. Oh, yeah, and the elephant in the room, I’m pushing into my late sixties too.

    Lessons Learned

    • Print and take large-scale maps. I’d have been stuck if my GPS had given up the ghost.
    • If there’s no trail to be found don’t waste time looking for it, get out the compass and hike.
    • Spend a bit more time breaking in new shoes before going on a twenty-mile hike.
    • I made assumptions about water availability and the state of the trail. Both were wrong. Plan for the worst of the probable conditions.
    • Use compression sacks on my quilts to gain more pack-space in the winter. I’ll have room in my pack for water, which will make it easier to carry.

    Fixes

    • I could buy a bigger backpack. Zpacks no longer make the 65 Liter pack, now it is a 70 Liter pack. But (this is silly) I don’t like the color. Not to mention, the cost is astronomical ($400+). But They do make pads for the shoulder straps and also for the lumber support of my existing pack. I’m going to give those a try first an d see if they help with the fit. I’ll use a compression sack for my winter quilts leaving room for water in my pack, where the load is easier to carry.
    • Different huaraches. I didn’t want to buy another pair of Luna Sandals, but the brand I’ve researched as replacements had sold out, and will not be available until mid-February.
  • Loop finished

    Loop finished — Irish Wilderness, Missouri. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    I’ll admit the trail kicked my butt. I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was, and my heart deciding to throw a wobbly at the end of day three didn’t help.

    That said, my AFIB had gone away by the time I got back on the trail at noon. That was good! It only took me a couple of hours to get here. Now I’ve just got a short hike to the trailhead, and the two-hour drive home and then I’m done for this trip.

  • There’s a trail there somewhere

    There’s a trail there somewhere. Irish Wilderness, Missouri. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    The trail can be very hard to follow (for me anyway). The signs are so faint that if I look away, I can lose it. That almost happened while taking this picture. At this time of year, the low sun doesn’t help, and the shadow of a tree can look like the trail too.

    FYI, The trail is on the left side of the frame running to the right of the small sapling.

  • Unintended trail markers

    Unintended trail markers. Sometimes when you cannot see the trail you just have to look around for a downed tree that has been cleared. Irish Wilderness, Missouri. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • I’m trying out some daisy chain webbing for my hammock suspension

    I’m trying out some daisy chain webbing for my hammock suspension — Thus far I’m liking it. It is light and very simple. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Breakfast in my hammock. Irish Wilderness, Missouri

    Breakfast in my hammock. Irish Wilderness, Missouri. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • All this bushwhacking is taking its toll on my feet and legs

    All this bushwhacking is taking its toll on my feet and legs. Irish Wilderness, Missouri. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Morning tea in my hammock — Irish Wilderness, Missouri

    Morning tea in my hammock — Irish Wilderness, Missouri. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Day Four — View from my hammock, February 2, 2024

    View from my hammock, February 2, 2024 — I grabbed two liters of water at Bliss Spring, and that had to last the eight-mile hike out, including the last evening and the final day. The spring on Whites Creek I had hoped to get water from was dry. Irish Wilderness, Missouri. February 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    I survived the night 🙂 (at my age I sometimes wonder!), but my heart was still in AFIB. I had enough water for breakfast (12oz), a cup of something hot (10oz), and about 4oz for the trail.

    I decided to take a slow morning and another pill. Hopefully my AFIB would clear up before I started hiking again. It’s not a lot of fun hiking with AFIB. I know, I’ve done it before.