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.

Recent posts

  • Hammock set up at ‘Paddy Creek Trolltunga’

    Hammock set up at ‘Paddy Creek Trolltunga.’ Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    It’s good to be back, I had to put in a long hike (with AFIB) today to get here, but it is such a great place to set up camp.

    My afternoon’s journal entries:

    1520 Time to get moving – 3 ltrs of water to be carried!
    1525 Should be on the trail.
    1546 AFIB! Bah! Took a pill.
    1556: at the top of the ridge. It was a good climb despite being forced to stop by my heart. I’m writing this while I’m waiting for it to slow/steady again.
    1706 @ Paddy Creek Trolltunga.
    75°F and dropping. 2 Deer
    7.8 mi +742 -622 2.2 mph 1.3 mph

  • Uh oh!

    Uh oh! Pills out on the trail can only mean one thing. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Pills out on the trail can only mean one thing. Yup, the dreaded AFIB has struck again. Going as slow as I could and taking a rest at what seemed like every few yards, it was still a struggle to bring and keep my heart rate down. It was also impossible to get it to settle into a regular rhythm.

    It didn’t help that it came on at the start of the particularly steep and long climb up on to the ridge.

  • I don’t want to lose another pencil

    I don’t want to lose another pencil — I found some stick on pen holders on Amazon, and they seem to do an excellent job. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    As I was taking gear pictures, I thought I’d also take a picture of my solution to losing my pencils while backpacking.

    This was brought on by losing one of my mechanical pencils on the trail at Piney Creek back in February. I did some online searching and came up with these handy dandy pen loops, which, so far, are working very well. I added one to each of my three leather journal binders1, and after a month or so, they all seem to be holding in place.

    I don’t want to lose another pencil — I found some stick on pen holders on Amazon, and they seem to do an excellent job. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    1Three journals:

    1. Backpacking — lightweight field notes journal.
    2. Personal — my angst and ‘agony aunt’ journal.
    3. Work and notes — Just the day-to-day general stuff. It’s much bigger (A6), thicker, and heavier.
  • Lunch stop, and time to filter some more water

    Filtering water while I heat up and eat my lunch. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Shortly after Two O’clock I arrived at Little Paddy Creek. That’s very near my first planned campsite for tonight. I was glad it was early because I really wanted to make it to ‘Paddy Creek Trolltunga,’ several miles further on the trail. Though to do so will mean carrying extra water all the way back up onto the ridge. While I was heating water for my lunch, I topped up my fresh water and packed some dirty water for later. Above is a picture of my water filter in action.

    My water filtering kit — At the back, my dirty water bag, and in front, my Platypus water pouch (clean water), waterscoop and bleach, and the excellent Sawyer Mini water filter. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
    Water filter and bleach in my water scoop. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Taken fresh from the creeks and springs, the water isn’t ‘dirty.’ Though it may be contaminated by dead animals and animal (or person) waste, so I always filter or boil the water I drink, and I also treat my filtered water with bleach. You know, to get rid of 99.9% of all known germs. When I’m carrying ‘dirty’ water, I’ll either pour it straight into my cook pot for boiling or filter it as normal.

    It’s not a good idea to let your water filter freeze, which means I have to keep it in my pocket or with other non-freezable gear… Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    It’s not a good idea to let your water filter freeze, which means I have to keep the filter in my pocket or with other non-freezable gear (like my camera and cell phone). I needed a way to stop water dribbling out of the open ‘dirty water’ end. So, I made a stopper out of a hose connector and some hot glue. it works very well.

  • Virginia Bluebells by the trail

    Virginia Bluebells by the trail. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Three quarters of an hour later and I’m quite possibly near to where I’d land if I miss-stepped and fell off the scenic overlook. Though more likely I’d be impaled on some tree somewhere on the way down. Probably best to not dwell on that.

  • Long way down

    Long way down. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • New hiking sandals

    New hiking sandals — Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    I’m not sure when they stopped calling shoes like these huaraches, but sandals appears to be the current nomenclature. These are Bedrock Cairn Evo PRO Sandals. So far, I am much preferring these to my Luna sandals.

  • Running Repairs

    Running Repairs — Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Last night I cobbled together a repair of my broken hiking pole. Hopefully it’ll last the ten-plus mile hike and various creek crossings on my way back to the trailhead. So far, so good.

    The last time I was here, it was with a pair of broken sandals!

  • View from the scenic overlook — looking northwest

    View from the Scenic Overlook — looking northwest. Clear skies and a higher sun made it a lot easier to see the lie of the land. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • View from the scenic overlook — looking southwest

    View from the Scenic Overlook — looking southwest. Solo backpacking in Paddy Creek Wilderness, March 2024. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Look carefully and you can see the two roads I still have to cross. But first I have to get down off this ridge and cross the creek.