Feb 27, 2021Pole Hollow Cairn (it’s behind me)

Photograph of Gary Allman in front of the Pole (Pete) Hollow Trail cairn, Hercules Glades Wilderness, Missouri. February 2021.
Pole Hollow Cairn (it’s behind me) – and a picture of my new mustard-colored merino wool base layer top too. Copyright © 2021 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

The weather seems to be doing a better job of keeping me off the trails in 2021 than COVID-19 did in 2020. I could have got out last week, but the ground was covered in snow, and I didn’t have any suitable footwear. So, (a) I ordered some footwear. Hopefully, I’ll not be caught out again, and (b) I had to wait another week before getting out on the trail. Even worse, I had a work event booked for Saturday morning, so it was going to have to be a short overnight trip, with, surprise, surprise, a lot of rain in the forecast.

I packed my backpack Friday night and I was ready to go as soon as I got changed after our training event finished. That almost worked. But before I could get on my way I had to dump a load of Amazon boxes at the recycling facility here in town.

With the lack of time and the fact I wanted to get some miles under my feet, I decided that (yet) another trip to Hercules Glades was going to be in order. Only this time, despite the late start, I was going to hike in six miles and then go off in search of a spring I had noticed marked on the map. The spring was a good way from the main trail, and it looked to be in a fairly steep location (it was), but I figured I could find a camping spot nearby (I did).

The day had started sunny, but I knew I had a six-mile race against the rain which was forecast to arrive around five p.m. And I didn’t start my hike until two p.m.! In a repeat of several of my recent trips, it was time to ‘pour on the coal’ and get moving. I made excellent progress, by 5 p.m. I had found my campsite, and I put my tarp up to provide shelter against the coming rain. After that it was just the usual setting up camp chores of collecting water, finding a tree to hang my food bag from, and setting up my hammock.

This picture was very taken very hastily. Not because I was in a hurry, but because as I was taking it, I heard voices coming up the Pole (Pete) Hollow Trail. I grabbed the photo and scampered off as quickly as possible to avoid having to meet the hikers.

Have I mentioned that I don’t like meeting people on the trail and that I backpack to get away from people? Yeah, I thought I might have mentioned that a few times before.

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