It’s Friday, it’s two-thirty in the afternoon, and I’m giving myself a well-earned break out in nature. The weather is damp, cold, windy, overcast, and that is the outlook for the entire weekend.
Despite the dull weather, the fall color is looking good, if a little subdued in the gray light.
It is the first time I have hiked Hercules Glades during the fall color. For the past couple of years, at this time, I have been running myself ragged shooting and editing video for the annual convention. Thanks to COVID-19, I’m relieved of that duty. This year, I have the extra load of trying to work out how to do everything online. It’s involved developing a voting system and building a new website. I no longer have the experienced help of my much-missed assistant, Angela, who retired in March and sadly died in July. I have been kept busy with posting reports, resolutions, and nominations. At the same time, I am trying to maintain our regular communications and social media presence. Not that I haven’t had help. My fantastic colleagues have happily and ably pitched in to assist me. But we’re struggling to fill the void in our knowledge left by Angela’s absence — Annual Convention was very much her pet project each year.
Back to my weekend break…
Water will be the limiting factor that determines where I go. That and my desire to stay well away from any other people. Apart from a downpour a few days ago, it’s not rained in a couple of months, and the ground is parched under the damp covering of leaves. The good news is that I know where in Hercules Glades there are springs that should have water. To avoid people, I’ll probably stick to the less popular and less well-traveled northern side of the wilderness. I might hike to Beaver Creek on the western edge of the wilderness and stop there. I’m torn between wanting to sit quietly and enjoy some time in the woods and a desire to get some miles under my belt.
I had already met one person on the trail (I was only going to see one other person during my three-day stay). He was fully camoed, including camo face paint. Apart from a complicated-looking compound bow, he was empty-handed. We are in the middle of the turkey bow hunting season — I always check the hunting seasons before venturing out into the woods — “No luck, then?” I inquired. He said all he’d seen was a couple of people, and unless I’d brought some game, he had nothing. With that, we parted our ways.
With a bit over four hours of daylight left, I’m headed down to one of my favorites camping spots near ‘Twin Falls Creek.’ There should be water there, and I have some trash to pick up. I Accidentally left a teabag sitting on a rock when I camped there in September. I didn’t remember it until I was hiking back to the trailhead. Unless some critter has carried it off, I reckon it should still be there, and I can clean it up and “Leave no Trace.”
As seems to be the case on most trips this year, I have some new, untested gear, mainly clothing, to try out.
- Rain jacket and skirt
- Merino wool base layer
- Down puffy jacket with hood
- Luna Sandals (new pair with grippy, thick soles)
- Carbon fiber hiking pole
- Rechargeable headlamp
- Waterproof shoulder pocket for my phone/GPS (I bought this after almost immersing my phone in the flooded waters of Table Rock Lake in July).
And, to mix things up a bit, I’ve re-organized my pack. We’ll see how all these changes work out.
Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.