Outdoor Activities

Time spent in the great outdoors hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, paddling, and shooting. Anything well away from the madding crowd.

Photograph of a Remington Model 31, 12 Gauge shotgun manufactured in August 1931.

Remington Model 31 12 Gauge shotgun – According to the barrel date stamp, it was manufactured in August 1931, so quite early in the production run (as the serial number confirms). Some of the other markings on it suggest it might be of military origin. +2

A self portrait photograph of Gary Allman keeping warm in his hammock while winter camping. December 2022.

Journal: Four days on the Ridge Runner Trail & the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness, December 2022 – Work has been keeping me off the trail for too long. I took three days of comp time to get out in the wild and put a few miles under my belt. I’ve been wanting to revisit the Ridge Runner Trail North Fork Loop ever since I first hiked the trail in May 2020. Trip write-up: 10-minute read, +42

End of trip selfie – and a summary of the trip. Three-minute read, +4

State Highway CC Trailhead, Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri. +2

McGarr Ridge Trailhead, Devil’s Backbone Wilderness, Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri – Approaching the McGarr Ridge Trailhead. Almost at the end of my hike. +2

Looking up ‘Camp Hollow,’ the hike out, and more horses – It took me an hour to get to this spot, about two-and-a-half miles from McGarr Spring. I’ve named this hollow ‘Camp Hollow’ because, surprise, surprise, I’ve camped here a couple of times.

Photograph showing the shallow pool below the McGarr Spring, Devil's Backbone Wilderness, Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri. December 2022.

McGarr Spring, and on my way again – I had plenty of water for my hike out, so I didn’t need to collect any. The main Spring is located up the hill a ways and it drains down into this pool which is slowly filling with debris. It was a lot more ‘pool-like’ when I first came here a couple of years ago.

While I was getting breakfast ready it started to snow. I then spent a quiet morning enjoying the solitude until I was visited by a bunch of people on horseback. Two-minute read

Morning view from my hammock.

A self portrait photograph of Gary Allman keeping warm in his hammock while winter camping. December 2022.

Keeping warm in my hammock – The low was 23℉ (-5℃), well within the 10℉ rating of my quilts. I was nice and cozy. A forecast of 20℉ is my lower limit, not because I cannot keep warm at lower temperatures I can, but because it is not enjoyable sitting around and doing camp chores when it is that cold. I do this for funsies, not to prove anything.

The forecast Lied. Again – And a couple of early morning passers by. Start of Day Four. It was 23℉ overnight – A bit cooler than the pre-trip forecast of 31℉, and I did not set my tarp last night.

Camped above McGarr Spring, Devil’s Backbone Wilderness. Near the end of the third day of my trip. I surprised myself with an 8 mile hike today. Not bad. Four-minute read, +1

Another view of the North Fork River – I took this picture because it seemed to be pretty much where I took a picture the last time I hiked this trail. +1

The trail here is not for the faint-hearted – Not only is the drop-off steep but so is the trail. It drops 300ft in three-tenths of a mile. I don’t think I’d like to hike this trail clockwise and have to climb up it.

Selfie on the bluffs overlooking the North Fork River – Being so high up, I checked for cell service, and immediately received some messages on WhatsApp from my daughter-in-law in the UK. So I took a quick selfie to show the folks where I was. I still forget to look at the darned lens when I’m taking a selfie with my phone.

The North Fork River from the Ridge Runner Trail North Fork Loop – The bluffs here are impressively high (well they are to me). I was glad that the trees had shed their leaves, otherwise, the views would have been pretty boring.

The North Fork River from the Ridge Runner Trail North Fork Loop – The bluffs here are impressively high (well they are to me). I was glad that the trees had shed their leaves, otherwise, the views would have been pretty boring.

The forecast lied … Not only did it rain overnight, but the temperature was a lot lower than the forecast at 30℉.

Camped near the Ridge Runner / Ozark Trail – I last camped near here in May 2021 on my first hike of the North Fork loop of the Ridge Runner Trail. Then the leaves were out, it was warm, and I deliberately missed a large section of the trail in order to explore Steam Mill Hollow. Two-minute read, +3

Another end-of-trip selfie – Time to drive home and return to “civilization.” It has been a good trip. Four days of lakeside solitude. Two-minute read, +3

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