Dec 26, 2020Last Backpacking trip of 2020

Last Backpacking trip of 2020

Color photograph of Gary Allman checking in at the Tower Trailhead, on his final backpacking trip in December 2020., Hercules Glades Wilderness, Missouri, USA.
Last Backpacking trip of 2020 – I’m planning on staying out three nights, finding my way to Beaver Creek to the north of the bluffs, and hiking the only trail here that I haven’t hiked yet. Hercules Glades – Day One. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

When I added the figures of my last trip to my year’s total, I realized I was just 10 miles short of hiking 200 miles this year. A short break in the weather and a few days off work decided me on a mid-week hike at Hercules Glades, where I could push my mileage up over 200 and I had some unfinished business. I wanted to get down to Beaver Creek to the west, and I wanted to hike the only trail in the wilderness I’ve not hiked yet. The Blair Witch Ridge Trail.

I planned to stay three nights, and just like my last trip, I was starting with some nice weather, and it was going to get progressively colder and cloudier, ending up with snow and rain in the forecast for the final night and the hike out. I quite fancied getting a picture of a snow-covered hammock tarp.

I’ve made a couple of minor gear adjustments.

  • Gone is the hammock winter cover. I’d experimented with leaving it off on the Berryman trail, and I liked how much nicer it was to sleep in the open air. So now to try it in some colder temperatures.
  • I’ve taken so many pictures at Hercules Glades I decided to leave my usual camera behind and for ‘old times sake’ take along my 13 year-old point and shoot camera.
  • I’d realized that my old down jacket was actually lighter and more compressible than my fleece jumper, so I left the fleece behind and brought two down jackets.
  • I also packed a pair of fleece pants that I’ve not tried out before.
  • Finally I’d bought another merino base layer top in what I think is a rather fetching mustard color, which I plan to use as my winter hiking shirt. We’ll see how that goes.

My plan:

  • Day One. Hike the six miles down to the bluffs on the western side of the wilderness, and try and get to Beaver creek to the north of them. I’d spotted a hollow on the map that looked like it would make getting down to the creek possible.
  • Day two. Hike to Long Creek, another six miles, and camp near the creek (and water), ready to hike the Blair Ridge Trail on Day Three.
  • Day Three. Hike the Blair Ridge trail out to the Blair Ridge Trailhead and back again. Camp near Long Creek. That should be another six miles.
  • Day Four. Hike out, around three miles.

Total around 21 miles.


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