2020 – All Change! New gear: an ultralight backpack, some luxury items, and cooking kit changes

No, I’m not referring to COVID-19, though that has thrown a monkey wrench into my backpacking and hiking plans. I’m going to briefly talk about what I’ve been doing on the trails, plus some life and gear changes.

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Two nights and a superb sunrise on the Bell Mountain Trail

Two nights and a superb sunrise on the Bell Mountain Trail – Many years ago I read about hammock camping on Bell Mountain and the beautiful dawn vistas to be had looking out over Shut-in Creek. Ever since I read that article I’ve wanted to camp there and watch the dawn. Trip write-up: 12-minute read. 38 pictures.

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February 2020, Big Piney Trail, Paddy Creek Wilderness

February 2020, Big Piney Trail, Paddy Creek Wilderness – It was time for me to get out and clock up a few more miles. We first planned to visit Paddy Creek Wilderness in late December 2011, but with high winds in the forecast, we decided to go to Piney Creek instead. Somehow Paddy Creek Wilderness never featured in our plans after then. Now was a good time to put that right. Trip write-up: 24-minute read. 69 pictures

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Hercules Glades – Visiting the Bluffs, Exploring Long Creek, and a Visit to ER

Despite my best intentions, I’ve been too busy to get out on the trails since my last trip in March. This weekend I decided to fix that with three days hiking at Hercules Glades. My plan was to catch a sunset from the bluffs and do some exploring down Long Creek. Things didn’t quite end up how I’d planned though.

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Trip Report – Four Days, Three Nights, and Two Wildernesses

After my earlier ill-fated trip to Devil’s Backbone Wilderness I was eager to go back and complete the hike. I also wanted to get out and try to meet my goal of two nights and 20 miles backpacking per month. To do this my “Four days, three nights, and two wildernesses” trip was conceived.

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Trip Report – When a Backpacking Trip Goes Wrong

There is no one quite as lost as the person who is mistakenly convinced that they know exactly where they are. There was a predicted break in the weather before this year’s polar vortex was due to descend again upon the Ozarks. The temps were going to be reasonable, and there would be sunshine. I decided to venture a bit further afield for three days solo backpacking at the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness, near Dora, Missouri. It ended up in a bit of a mess.

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New Trail Names at Hercules Glades

Back at the beginning of 2018 the majority of the trails at Hercules Glades were renamed. The more I think about it, the more I am coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t a good idea. There are lots of maps, videos, and references online that use the original names. Sooner or later some confusion is bound to arise.

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Trip Report: Four Days Backpacking at Hercules Glades

Hercules Glades Backpacking in November. Van problems forced me to select a nearby trail for a late fall break. Another visit to Hercules Glades was on the cards. [53 Pictures, lots of words and one short video]

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Backpacking and Camping Cooking Setup – Fall 2018.

My cook pot, stove, and food (ready-made dehydrated meals) have been working well for both backpacking and camping. But the wind screen and pot stand are a little bulky and weighty – between a quarter and half a pound. So, in an idle moment, I thought I’d check and see what other options there might be. Read on to see what I found to replace them.

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