Mar 20, 2011Gary and Ginger Backpacking on the Berryman Trail (365:079)


Today the sun shone.

Which was a relief after last night’s downpour. It didn’t take us too long to pack up the tent and our packs and move the van to the Berryman trail head parking lot. We left the trail head shortly before ten-thirty am with six days’ food plus a couple of litres of water each. Our packs were quite heavy at 42-45lbs each. 

The Berryman trail is very nice hiking, the gradients are generally fairly gentle – possibly because they are adapted for biking, and the surface is generally good, either soft or gravelly with a few muddy patches, which the previous night’s rain added to. The puddles on the trail were a great test for my new huaraches, which worked well and didn’t slip against my feet when wet. However, there was a different problem; the foot-bed material was so hard and sharp it abraded my feet. I had to stop using them after today and revert to my pair with the foot-bed that becomes slippery when wet. For today though, it was great to be able to walk straight through the mud and small creeks while Ginger had to search for a dry route across.

We stopped for a cooked lunch of cranberry almond tabouli at a creek about four miles in. All of Ginger’s efforts with the food dehydrator definitely paid off. Even though the food was dehydrated, the six days’ meals we were carrying amounted to 16lbs between us. Over the week we worked out a revised food strategy which will shave a few pounds off. We had enough food for a cooked lunch, dinner and dessert every day. We quickly discovered we didn’t need the cooked lunch – our daily trail mix rations were quite enough to keep us going. We can also drop some of the heavier foodstuffs. The salmon and any pasta weighs a lot mot more than the alternatives.

Our plan was to hike a nice easy five miles a day, today needed a little bit longer, six miles, to get us to an old disused campground – Edward Beecher Recreation Area, where there is a spring which we could use to top up our water if no other opportunities presented themselves. The campground must have been quite large, though it is completely overgrown now with only a few posts and old fireplaces and grills to show it was ever there. The spring it looked like it was a popular party spot for the locals, so we bushwhacked off the trail to be well out of the way and set up camp near a creek.

Once we’d got the tent up, we collected wood for the fire; there were plenty of fallen limbs around to choose from, enough for us to keep a small fire going for a couple of hours or more. Dinner was smoked salmon pasta with carrot cake in a bowl for dessert. Who says backpacking isn’t luxurious?

Sitting quietly by the fire the amount of noise coming from the frogs was startling, and one in particular seemed to be intent on making a very eerie and initially unsettling noise.

Today’s alternate shots

Gary at Berryman Campground
Gary at Berryman Campground. A quick self portrait just in case I didn't get a chance later in the day.
Testing my new huaraches
Testing my new huaraches

Today’s extras

Overnight camping at Berryman campground
We camped a little close to the van, but it was the highest - and therefore driest spot around.
Berryman Trail
Berryman Trail between the Berryman Trail head and Edward Beecher Recreation Area. These were fairly typical conditions for this part of the trail.
Berryman Trail
The higher parts on this section of the trail were all pretty much in this condition. The trail markers can be found at almost every point where the trail crosses one of the many forrest roads (tracks). This part of the trail is also part of the Ozark Trail, which explains the top Ozark Trail marker.
Copyright © 2011 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.