Test hike on Taum Sauk

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Test hike on Taum Sauk

Postby Big Jim Mac » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:53 pm

I've been away from backpacking for long enough that all my equipment needs replaced. I've been slobbering over catalogs and stores for a couple years, but the REI Labor Day sale finally got me to gear up. I bought an Osprey Atmos 50 knowing it was a little on the small side but also thinking I might do some fast packing -- I'm also a SLUG, St. Louis Ultrarunner's Group). After much consideration I also invested in a North Face Cat's Meow bag. REI had the pack at $50 off and the bag at $100 for the long version. I already had a North Face Tadpole tent. No stove yet but this was just a shakedown cruise. I hit Taum Sauk at the Russell Mountain trailhead armed with a fresh caught peanut butter and jelly sandwich and 6 fig newtons, the fat free kind. The trail sure is well marked. It's suffered some water damage, but not bad for a trail of its age. Not sure how far I went, but it wasn't enough to lose the sound of cars heading back to St. Louis on Hwy. 21. It wasn't long though before the night chorus drowned them out. My tent has a mesh door and you can roll the rain fly back so you can see out. I camped in a spot that let me look down into a valley and still see the St. Francis mountains rolling into the distance, with a blue haze rolling out of the valleys -- smoky mountains, Missouri style! I parked myself on a trademark Taum Sauk rock, watched the sun set, swatted the occasional horsefly, surrounded by wildflowers. It never really got dark, and one of the planets -- Venus, I guess? -- was really bright outside the tent window. The first clouds from Hurricane Gustav arrived and made the orb a blurred streak. I alternated between reading Huck Finn for the 900th time and staring into space. Never got inside the bag, guess a review will have to wait for some cold temps. Hiking with my limited load was a real workout, equal to anything I've done running. I'm looking forward to fall and giving it a real test -- have a Jetboil on order and a new Swiss Army knife. Even better, my TV watching wife wants to give it a try so her pack etc. are on the way. Ron and Rosie watch out!
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Re: Test hike on Taum Sauk

Postby Ron & Rosie » Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:17 am

Jim, It's great that your wife is going to hike with you. This could start a revolution of husband/wife teams on the OT. We still have a few sections to finish up, and will probably start again as the weather gets cooler. May run into you on the trail. Good Hiking, Ron & Rosie
old
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Re: Test hike on Taum Sauk

Postby Sunfire » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:54 pm

Husband and wife teams on the OT are wonderful. My husband and I have now done 2 sections and the October Mega Event. We are trying to plan when we can get out and hike again as we LOVE this trail!
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Re: Test hike on Taum Sauk

Postby Hungry Jack » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:53 pm

Those are some good equipment choices. I'm a big fan of the Cat's Meow. My best friend bought the Atmos 60. He's pretty happy with it besides the fact that the straps aren't quite up to heavy loads (we hauled 40+ pound packs for a week all the away across Isle Royale in August), but fine for shorter trips. The Jetboil is fantastic for sipping fuel. I haven't used the Tadpole, but I love my Roadrunner, which is nearing 10 years of use and doing great.
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