Yesterday, I had the wonderful idea to grab my pack and go out for a hike on the Ozark Trail again. I’m slowly but surely going to finish the entire trail, and if all days go like yesterday it could be years.
I planned on going for an overnighter on the Curtois Creek Section again. I got on the trail around 2 PM, because I work the midnight shift at work so I wake up around noon. This time I was starting out where I ended on it last time. I don’t know if i’m the only one but I have a tendency to find an awesome spot to camp with great scenery or a great water hole close by and can’t help but stop hiking and stay there for the night, which is why my plans of hiking 20 mile days sometimes gets derailed.
So I’m out hiking and my hike starts out with a creek crossing. I’ve been to this creek before and it is usually much higher than this and splits at this crossing. But that day the right fork actually was completely dry. I crossed the creek and bam, Spidertopia. Literally every other step on the trail I stepped through a spider web. Webs in the face, webs in the shin, webs in the hair, webs everywhere. If you didn’t like spiders’, or had any sort of arachnophobia this would have been the worst day of your entire life. For the first mile and a half of the hike I stepped through 7,283 spider webs, yeah I fuckin counted. Then the trail started to open up so I thought wow it would be much harder for spiders’ to spin webs between two trees 12 feet away. Boy, was I wrong it wasn’t quite as often but I still walked through approximately 3,479 spider webs during the second mile and a half.
At this point, I am completely miserable and just want to punch spiders’ in the face. Luckily, I arrive at a checkpoint on the trail a great overlook of the Huzzah Valley. After smacking away 72 spider webs on my 15 foot walk down the ledge, I realized there were heavy rain clouds and thunder coming towards me. There had not been rain in the forecast, but this is life. I was hungry so I figured I would pitch my tent on the bluff and eat while I waited out the storm.
I just bought a new tent, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 1, which I will review later. This tent is awesome, but I foolishly went out on the trail without fully assembling the tent, with rainfly. I never do this, but I really wanted to get out on the trail and knock out some miles. So I set up the tent quickly, but the rainfly had other ideas. I could not find any places in the ground on this bluff to stake my tent. I managed to find places the stakes were 3/4th the way in the ground. I put the rainfly on and didn’t know how to use the guy lines properly. So, the inner tent got a little wet due to the sides of the tent laying parallel with my rainfly. This was totally my fault, so I take credit for that dumbassery.
I get in my tent and the downpour begins shortly after and my tent is blowing around barely stable being 3/4th staked. I pull out my food and stove and begin pouring water into my Toaks Titanium Mug 550ml, which I will also review later. I’ve poured 475 ml of water and I begin to look for my gas canister. That is when I knew I fucked up. I left the canister, which is usually in this pack in Whidbey Island, WA in my dads gear closet because I couldn’t bring it through TSA and get lucky again.
So at this point, I had about 2 inches of extra skin from all the spider webs I’d walked through. Stuck in a rainstorm I was unprepared for, and I didn’t have a stove to cook my food which was required for anything I brought. Sure, I could have gone full minimalist and not enjoyed any of my food, but I decided to be a little bitch, lick my emotional wounds and walk back. I’d only gone three miles so I hiked back in an hour and only hit about 2,000 spider webs on the way back.
If you’re wondering why I was feeling spiderwebs on my shin, it is because I wore shorts. If you’re wondering why I wore shorts you must have never been to Missouri in the summer. It is one of the most humid and hot places in the U.S that time of year. Pants aren’t a choice, unless you love lakes of sweat for your junk to take dives into every step. Sorry for the graphicness of that last sentence, not really.
But, at the end of the day, I actually was very happy with my choices of the day, minus the whole stove thing. The entire drive home, I jammed out and just enjoyed the drive and the delicious Jack n’ the Crack I had, no stove or canister required.
Update: 2 days later and I realized I had been spit on by every chigger this side of the Mississippi. Yes, I said spit, the itch you feel from chiggers Is there spit dissolving skin. That is all.
Stop Bullshitting, Keep Hiking.