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Fall color on the Pilot Trail

Fall on the Pilot Trail – It’s a gray, cold and damp day, but the fall color is still nice. On the Pilot Trail headed west. Hercules Glades Wilderness – Day One. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

It’s Friday, it’s two-thirty in the afternoon, and I’m giving myself a well-earned break out in nature. The weather is damp, cold, windy, overcast, and that is the outlook for the entire weekend.

Fall Color on the Pilot Trail – Hercules Glades Wilderness – Day One. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Despite the dull weather, the fall color is looking good, if a little subdued in the gray light.

It is the first time I have hiked Hercules Glades during the fall color. For the past couple of years, at this time, I have been running myself ragged shooting and editing video for the annual convention. Thanks to COVID-19, I’m relieved of that duty. This year, I have the extra load of trying to work out how to do everything online. It’s involved developing a voting system and building a new website. I no longer have the experienced help of my much-missed assistant, Angela, who retired in March and sadly died in July. I have been kept busy with posting reports, resolutions, and nominations. At the same time, I am trying to maintain our regular communications and social media presence. Not that I haven’t had help. My fantastic colleagues have happily and ably pitched in to assist me. But we’re struggling to fill the void in our knowledge left by Angela’s absence — Annual Convention was very much her pet project each year.

Back to my weekend break…

Water will be the limiting factor that determines where I go. That and my desire to stay well away from any other people. Apart from a downpour a few days ago, it’s not rained in a couple of months, and the ground is parched under the damp covering of leaves. The good news is that I know where in Hercules Glades there are springs that should have water. To avoid people, I’ll probably stick to the less popular and less well-traveled northern side of the wilderness. I might hike to Beaver Creek on the western edge of the wilderness and stop there. I’m torn between wanting to sit quietly and enjoy some time in the woods and a desire to get some miles under my belt.

I had already met one person on the trail (I was only going to see one other person during my three-day stay). He was fully camoed, including camo face paint. Apart from a complicated-looking compound bow, he was empty-handed. We are in the middle of the turkey bow hunting season — I always check the hunting seasons before venturing out into the woods — “No luck, then?” I inquired. He said all he’d seen was a couple of people, and unless I’d brought some game, he had nothing. With that, we parted our ways.

With a bit over four hours of daylight left, I’m headed down to one of my favorites camping spots near ‘Twin Falls Creek.’ There should be water there, and I have some trash to pick up. I Accidentally left a teabag sitting on a rock when I camped there in September. I didn’t remember it until I was hiking back to the trailhead. Unless some critter has carried it off, I reckon it should still be there, and I can clean it up and “Leave no Trace.”

As seems to be the case on most trips this year, I have some new, untested gear, mainly clothing, to try out. 

  • Rain jacket and skirt
  • Merino wool base layer
  • Down puffy jacket with hood
  • Luna Sandals (new pair with grippy, thick soles)
  • Carbon fiber hiking pole
  • Rechargeable headlamp
  • Waterproof shoulder pocket for my phone/GPS (I bought this after almost immersing my phone in the flooded waters of Table Rock Lake in July).

And, to mix things up a bit, I’ve re-organized my pack. We’ll see how all these changes work out.

Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.