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 Camping in Irish Wilderness, lost & found, and a bad back

    Hammock Camping in Irish Wilderness. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    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.

  • Camp at first light, Irish Wilderness

    Camp at first light, Irish Wilderness — The pre-dawn light got me out of bed to enjoy the sunrise. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Looking down the Eleven Point River covered in mist

    Looking down the Eleven Point River covered in mist — The pre-dawn light got me out of bed to enjoy the sunrise. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Looking up the Eleven Point River covered in mist

    Looking up the Eleven Point River covered in mist — The pre-dawn light got me out of bed to enjoy the sunrise. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • First Light, Irish Wilderness

  • Day Three — First Light, Irish Wilderness

    First Light, Irish Wilderness — The pre-dawn light got me out of bed to enjoy the sunrise. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Irish Wilderness Day Two — Fiddler Spring to the end of a ridge overlooking the Eleven Point River

    I managed the two climbs quite quickly, seven minutes for the first and fifteen for the second. The trail was nowhere to be seen for most of the way on the three ridges I hiked along. A lot of bushwhacking was required.

    When hiking without a clear trail, it would help if I used the compass I always carry (and know how to use). Doing so would save me some time and trouble. I also have a bad habit of getting a wild idea that I know where I’m going and before I know it, I’m quite aways off trail. It only happened a couple of times on this hike, but on the first occasion, I had to swallow my pride and backtrack a fair way. At least I realized I was off track and decided to check my location.

    I arrived at my campsite at four-thirty. My trail notes said:

    1630. Stopped for the day. The trail was non-existent on the last section. Decided to stop on the top of a hill, we’ll see how that works out. Cell service!

    — Tired physically — the two hills and bushwhacking for miles took it out of me. Worth it though!

    Future Gary says, if I had I thought about what I’d written, It might have dawned on me that there was a hint of potential problems to come. That said, I expected the trail from Bliss Spring to the trailhead to be in as good condition as the trail on Day One from the trailhead to Whites Creek. Yeah. Probably not…

  • Eleven Point River view from my campsite — looking south

    View overlooking the Eleven Point River — Looking south. I camped about half a mile from here back in March 2023. I thought this location might offer better views. It did. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Eleven Point River view from my campsite — looking north

    View overlooking the Eleven Point River — Looking north. I camped about half a mile from here back in March 2023. I thought this location might offer better views. It did. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Appearances can be deceptive

    Appearances can be deceptive. Whites Creek, Irish Wilderness. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    A quarter of a mile upstream the creek was dry. I had to backtrack a little way to get water for lunch and to stock up with water for the afternoon and night. There wasn’t going to be any water where I planned to stop.

    That meant I was going to carry three liters (6.6 lbs.) of water 200ft. up the hollow on the north side of Whites Creek to get to the ridge.

    On my last visit I camped on the ridge to the south of Bliss Spring. Studying the map, I saw that the ridge ended quite abruptly about 260ft above the Eleven Point River. Seems like a good place to spend the night, and it’s also quite close to the trail for an easy getaway in the morning. We’ll see.