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, hammock camping, and, I’m always, taking pictures.
As I predicted it’s been a super busy time at work this October. More so than previous years and I’m about to finish this spurt with an 87-hour work-week.
I took this picture at 6:40 a.m. and I’d already been working for an hour and a half. Tonight is the Annual Convention Eucharist and reception. I’ll be busy behind the scenes, and then retreating back to the hotel to complete all the slides for the convention tomorrow. Then maybe, in a week or two, I can get out on the trails again. Though before that I need to catch up on some work around the house that’s been languishing while I’ve been busy with work.
It has been painful watching the wonderful fall color and weather from the confines of my office. With thoughts of mortality, it is time to review my workload and start packing in as much time outdoors as practical while I am able.
Time to drive home and return to “civilization.” It has been a good trip. Four days of lakeside solitude. I only saw one other person, he was on horseback a quarter mile away, and I heard, but did not see, a group of two, maybe three people on horses, again over a quarter mile away. And that’s to be expected, as a major horse trail runs along the other side of the lake from where I camp. While I knew they were passing through, they were probably (hopefully) oblivious to my presence.
My plan was to sit, watch the scenery, and think. I did it all. However, it must be admitted that there was little deep thinking.
I’m not pushing the backpacking “envelope” at the moment, partly because of the bugs and the heat, and partly in deference to my health. My gear has remained remarkably stable for quite a while now, and apart from experimenting with the titanium woodstove, bringing along my digital camera, and trying out some different food, this trip was pretty much like any other this year — only fewer miles and a change of scenery.
I am looking forward to the first frost and the coming of fall and winter. Though that, of course, coincides with one of my busiest periods at work. Right now some significant rainfall is needed to replenish the springs and creeks to make longer trips practical. Finding water out on the trails is becoming increasingly difficult. I need to research some new hikes where water sources are not going to be a problem.
I want to look at my gear again and see where I can reduce weight while still keeping my comforts. Bringing along the camera adds 1⅛lbs. My electronics bag seems to have put on weight, weighing in at 2¼lbs (satellite communicator, phone(GPS), headlamp, camp light, and battery pack).
For this trip, the four-day supply of food was heavy, especially as I have some canned food in my stash that I’m trying to use up. But cooking-wise, there’s not a lot I can do to shave off weight.
My spare clothing was heavy, but I used everything I bought along, except for a spare shirt. I had a fleece and base-layer leggings for the cooler evenings and mornings. I probably should have packed my down jacket instead of the fleece. It does a better job and weighs less, but it feels like overkill at this time of year.
Once the bugs go away I can leave the bug net at home, but that’s only 2-4oz. My emergency bag — first aid, spare “string,” alternate firestarters weighs only 6oz. It’s probably a bit “light” in the first aid department. It is one of those things I keep meaning to review and don’t.
I did learn two lessons on this trip.
- The sun in September is still strong enough to get you sunburned — duh!
- Deet keeps the bugs off of where you apply it, the blighters still get you on any uncovered areas.
Bug bites and sunburn aside. This trip was just what I needed, a chance to recharge my mental and spiritual batteries.
I left just before two, and it is now nearly four-twenty. Allowing for my stop for water and a bath, a couple of hours for the hike isn’t bad, and an hour and twenty minutes to climb my way up from Piney Creek was better than I expected, especially with the two 80ft. deep hollows you have to cross just before the trailhead. ‘Shelob’s Lair’ lived up to its nickname, though it was nowhere near as bad as it was on my way in. There were still plenty of cobwebs and spiders to deal with.
Before heading up the ‘Farm Track Trail’ and into ‘Shelob’s Lair’ I stopped to fill up with cool creek water and a dunk in Piney Creek. It was cold but very refreshing.
From here it’s about a two, two-and-a-half mile hike uphill to the trailhead.