This weekend I went on another backpacking trip. This time was more fun in that David (my usual hiking buddy), his wife Elizabeth, and their Uncle Mike went. The trail we covered is the Buckeye Trail and the East half of the Caney Creek Trail. The Buckeye trail is supposed to have some of the most spectacular views in Arkansas. David and I did this hike a while back, but the weather was foggy and rainy, which prevented us from seeing very far off the trail. This time, the weather was overcast and cold, which hampered some of the views, but we were at least able to see some overlooks. But MAN was it cold!
On Friday night the temperature was around the mid-twenties. I pitched my tarp low to the ground and with one side flat to try to minimize any wind. Thankfully, there was very little wind. We stayed at the Shady Lake campground the first night. My feet got extremely cold during the night, but, otherwise, I was fairly warm.
In my continual quest for going lighter when backpacking, I was trying out some new ideas for me to keep warm. My clothing consisted of: wool-blend socks, trail running shoes, mesh-lined nylon wind pants and quick-drying synthetic underwear. On top, I wore a quick-drying synthetic long-sleeve shirt and a wool sweater. I brought a wind/rain jacket made out of tyvek (a hazardous materials suit with the legs cut off). It worked surprisingly well in the wind. I also had a pair of cheap cotton gloves and a cheap wal-mart synthetic cap.
On Saturday we got moving on the trail. We planned to cover 4.3 miles the first day (hike the Buckeye until it intersected with Caney Creek trail). The temperature was supposed to be in the 40’s, but it never got above around 32-33, so we decided to hike out the remainder of the trail (3.9 miles) on Saturday so we could all be in a warm bed that night.
At the trailhead. It was sooo cold when we started especially because the wind had started blowing. We did not spend much time here before getting a move on so that we could warm up. I know I look like a fool. But this picture does show my new favorite component of my backpacking equipment: my trekking poles.
Tyvek Wind/Rain Jacket
Here’s a picture David took of me in my rain/wind jacket. It cost me all of 4 bucks and worked really well in the wind. It’s not very stylish, but I was pleased with the performance.
There are some HUGE rocks on this trail.
Here’s a picture I didn’t know David took. He knew my battery was dying and took this anyway. So I guess I should put it here.
This plant, which is some sort of weed, is very interesting. We saw several of these. For whatever reason, the water freezing made ice come up the root of the plant and split it up the stem. Note that this picture was taken around 11:30 – noon, and the ice is still quite firm and not melting at all. So the temperature was still very cold.
Katy Falls is a narrow waterfall that David and I visited the last time we came. It’s fun to look at, but it would have been better if the day was warm! The fall is at the end of the Buckeye trail, but I stuck it before the next shots because I wanted to end with some nice overlooks of the Buckeye.
Elizabeth, Mike, and Me at an Overlook
Now for some pictures of the overlooks we did actually see. Here’s Elizabeth, Mike, and me posing for a picture.
David and Elizabeth
This final picture is by far my favorite shot. This was taken by David. I think this shot is what makes me want to give this trail one more chance. I just know that if we ever go on a clear sunny day, the views will be breathtaking.