2023 Backpacking Round-up

I hiked less than half of my target of 240 miles in 2023, managing just 110 miles in seven trips with 17 nights in my hammock. Apart from finally hiking, what was for me, the missing link of the Ridge Runner Trail to the North Fork Recreation Area, I didn’t hike any new trails.

Here are links to trip write up’s that I posted on my personal blog if you want to check any of them out.

Annular Eclipse — Odessa Texas

We also managed to fit in a couple of road trips:

While it was much easier early in the year, this fall and winter, finding water on the trail has continued to be a problem, with creeks and springs drying up. However, my main block to getting out on the trail has been me. I’ve not been scheduling trips, so they didn’t happen!

Gear changes in 2023

Running Repairs — I’ve always had a plan for dealing with broken shoes on the trail. But … that plan reckoned on the toe post breaking not the side posts. Backpacking the Big Piney Trail, December 2023. Copyright © 2023 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Just like 2022, I have very little to report. Everything gear-wise has remained remarkably stable. I gave up on the titanium woodstove. Despite making modifications, it still smoked a lot more than my Stainless Steel Firebox Nano stove. I replaced my hammock tree straps — but that was just a matter of normal gear overhaul, they were showing a little bit of wear after six years use. I am getting different hiking sandals for 2024. That decision was brought on by having my previous pair break on me mid-hike in December.

Packing for my first backpacking trip of 2023 — The temperature is forecast to vary from the mid-twenties overnight Saturday to the mid-sixties on Monday, so it is a full winter load-out plus some spring additions. The whole lot including food, water and fuel weighs in at around 26 lbs. Copyright © 2023 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Plans for 2024

I’ve kept my 20 nights and 240 miles (20 miles a month) target. However, we plan on spending more time on the road this year. I’m not sure if that will increase or restrict my backpacking opportunities. I’d love to explore some of the Arkansas Trails. Failing that I’ll keep hiking the Missouri trails in my regular haunts, and maybe do a bit more exploring off-trail.

Some Photos

Hercules Glades

Ridge Runner Trail & Devil’s Backbone Wilderness

Whites Creek Trail, Irish Wilderness

Big Piney Trail, Paddy Creek Wilderness

Piney Creek Wilderness

Road Trips

4 thoughts on “2023 Backpacking Round-up

  1. JN

    wonderful photos. How is it that there’s little or no underbrush in some of your areas?
    Winter is a good time, no ticks and chiggers and snakes to deal with.

    1. Gary Post author

      Thank you. The underbrush dies back quickly as soon as the temps drop, the density of the canopy also makes a lot of difference. I met a snake on the trail in December, so I’m realizing I need to watch out for them whenever the temps pick up a bit. The lack of bugs (and heat) makes winter and early spring my favorite times to get out!

    1. Gary Post author

      We’ve been busy, but I still get out as often as I can. I just bought some new shoes and a different hammock, so I’d better get out!


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