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.
I stopped at Bliss Spring to top up my water, I carried out two liters, my one-liter pouch and one liter of unfiltered water in my dirty water pouch. I was banking on getting water for the night from Whites Creek, near the crossing.
Water sorted, I had some snacks and headed off on the North Loop. I missed the trail almost immediately. I Realized my mistake and was soon back on the trail on the long climb up from the spring to the ridge on the south of the hollow. Near the top of the ridge I lost the trail, and that was the story for the rest of the hike. The trail was difficult to spot and mostly buried in leaves.
Around four, I arrived at the steep descent down to Whites Creek. Peering over the drop-off, it didn’t look good. I couldn’t see any water in the creek. The pool I thought was fed by a spring was dry. I’d just have to make the two liters of water I had last the night and the hike back to the car.
I set up camp where I camped in March last year. In March 2023 I had the opposite problem, too much water. Following a series of storms, Whites Creek was running too high for me to safely cross!
I felt very tired after the hike, my back wasn’t too bad, but my feet were sore in places (new, not broken in huaraches, on this trip). I was obviously nowhere near as fit as I thought I was, and the climbs were hard. The continual bushwhacking wasn’t helping either.
My pack had been misbehaving, the left shoulder strap was continually slipping off my shoulder, no matter what adjustments I made to the various straps. I’ll admit I was getting pretty annoyed with it. The slipping strap was another reason why I didn’t fill up fully with water.
As I sat in my hammock it slowly dawned on me that my heart was playing up (AFIB). Time to take some pills and rest up. The good news was I only had three-and-a-half miles to go in the morning. I regretted not taking on a full load of water, as dehydration is one of the things that (I think) causes my heart to play up.
Apart from my watch’s heart monitor alarm going off a couple of times it was a quiet night.
And the only scenic overlook on the Whites Creek Trail. You had better enjoy it! The trail along the top of the bluff is a tad sketchy in places, but it is fine at this point, though you need a head for heights to step out on the overlook.
It’s a rugged and knurly hike. Not a trail for anyone who’s not sure footed or has problems with heights!
Well, I already had a lot of my stuff laid out on my ground sheet while I was playing “Hunt the glasses,” providing an oportunity for a gear photo.
The cold nights bring out a lot of condensation. I took advantage of the early sun to air and dry out my top quilt before getting on the trail.
Lost & found
I have managed to lose, and subsequently find three items of gear on my hike so far.
- The first was on Day One, when a tie out for my tarp went missing. I guess I didn’t fit it securely when I was changing the tie out fittings. I wasn’t concerned, I guessed it had fallen on the ground when I opened out my tarp. I reckoned my light would find it when it got dark (the rope is reflective). As it was I found it on the ground a few minutes after I realized it was missing.
- The second was last night (Day Two). I tripped over a tie out and kicked a stake out of the ground. I spent around 20 minutes on my hands and knees in the dark looking for it. Again not a problem, I carry spares, but I didn’t want to lose it.
- The third was sometime overnight, a bit more problematic and expensive. I lost my glasses. I was sure I’d put them in the tidy that hangs from the ridgeline of my hammock. Maybe I missed the tidy? I carefully emptied everything out of my hammock and laid it out on my ground sheet. Nothing. They weren’t in my quilt, my under quilt, or my under quilt protector, which acts as a general catch-all for things that get dropped in the hammock.
I was resigning myself to spending several hundred dollars buying a new pair. Without them I am only able to see vaguely in bright sunshine — that will make following the trail interesting, to say the least. Not to mention the drive home!
I decided to check the ground around my hammock. The chances of me, without glasses, being able to find my glasses among all the leaf litter seemed to be fairly remote. Once again on my hands and knees, I sifted through the leaves, and finally found them. Phew!
Oops, I did something to my back
While bending over and crawling around looking for my lost tarp stake, I put my back out. Badly. The slightest wrong movement caused a lot of pain.
Taking it slowly, I could stand up straight, and get into and out of my hammock with only a few stabbing pains.
Pain or not, I was only halfway round, with another ten miles to go. Today I have another 200 ft. climb too, and I’ll need to carry water, as the North Loop is notoriously dry. Though I was hoping to find some water at what I presumed was a spring on Whites Creek, where I planned to stop tonight. We’ll see how that goes.