Friday I worked a crazy half day of work then rushed home and grabbed my gear and clothes and then rushed over to Tony’s house. Everyone was there and about ready so we headed out for our trip.We got some lunch at McDonalds on our way and then drove south of Columbia a ways to Pine Ridge Campground in the Cedar Creek National Forest. We parked at the campground and got on our packs. It rained off and on a few times on the drive.
We hit the trail,
It actually seemed like every couple minutes we were putting rain gear on or off or looking for a trail marker or trying to find the trail on the map or turning around. It never rained too hard and we crossed a creek without getting wet
but it was starting to get dark so we found some nice woods of the end of a big field and stopped to set up camp.
We had a nice group of trees to stretch out between.
I accidentally brought 2 tarps and found out they were both kind of too small but got a working situation
(that ground pad went in the hammock once it was fully inflated and I put my extra gear under there)
We finished getting settled just before dark and got a big warm fire going.
It rained off and on but never poured. We cooked up mac and cheese with vegtables and tuna.
I tested out bringing a bunch of aluminum bottles of beer.
We drank the beer and once it was gone I reused the bottles for water. It was actually a bit windy but a nice evening.
Out in the field we had a big view of the sky and lightning in the distance. At some point it seemed like a storm was really getting going so we rushed off to our hammocks and shelters.
Through the night the wind really got strong and it did pour rain most of the night. It got worse in the early morning hours and the wind blew rain in on me. I was dry and warm in my bag but worried I’d end up cold and wet.
I did alright though and once it was light out and time to get going the rain was sleet.
We all got up and started packing up.
The sleet turned into actual snow. It made our tarps if nothing else wet and heavy.
It also froze our fingers undoing knots and packing up. Somehow we had warm coals that had survived all the rain and we easily got the fire going.
So we could warm our fingers on it. We also made some coffee and I used my aluminum bottle to warm water by the fire. The snow got thicker and thicker but we figured we better get hiking or we would never leave or spot.
So we headed out back across the fields.
It was not as windy anymore and the flakes were huge.
it didn’t take long for the snow to tapper off and it warmed up a few degrees. We did a little better going somewhere and not getting too lost but we just headed in general directions and ignored the possible trail. We came across several hunters and realized it was the last weekend of deer season and we were in a popular hunting area and were supposed to be wearing orange.
Eventually we made our way to the actual trail as it entered a dirt road and crossed the river.
The snow melted fast and we took advantage of the river and filtered some water.
While it filtered we made some tea and had some snacks. The trail from this point was just a gravel road w/ private property on both sides. We followed this up to the main road through the park. We did some looking over the map and found no realistic way back to the cars. We would either have to retrace our way back along nonexistant trails or take the road or do some serious climbing fences and trespassing. So we took the road.
It was a long boring 4 miles but we got there. Jon’s boots were falling apart terribly and we stopped a few times to rest and for him to tie them back together with strings and duck tape.
Once we got back to the cars we decided to use them to go get some beers. Then we hit the trail in the other direction.
I could not stay saturday night so I was glad they picked a campsite close to the cars. I pulled my sleeping bag out of my pack and replaced it.
The guys set up there spots for the night.
I got the fire going and wondered the much better trails around this campsite.
Then got the relax around the fire afternoon started.
We hung out while it slowly got darker and colder. Just before 6 I figured I better get going and the guys figured they should get dinner cooking. I hiked back to the car and hit the road. I drove a ways then decided I needed dinner, gas and the bathroom so I stopped in Booneville then drove the rest of the way home. I got in around 8:30 or so and no one was home. I unloaded my stuff in the garage and hung up all the wet tarps and whatnot and the family got home. We got the kids in bed and I got clean and was ready for bed pretty quick.
In the morning we slept in and had a good breakfast. Pumpkin and I went up to my work and got things working for an internet outage. We got a few things done and she practiced braiding.
Once things were under control we headed home and cooked lunch. After lunch Mom came by and we did a bit of wedding planning while the girls took naps. Then Heath and I put the chiefs on the radio and got busy painting.
We got a 2nd coat of primer on most of the basement.
Not sure if I mentioned we already put the kitchen back together.
When Heath and I got done we realized Peanut was not going to be around next weekend, the run was the weekend after that and we were running out of time to do any Christmas decorating with everyone. So we got busy cleaning up the house to make room for the decorations.
Then we ate a soup for dinner that Heath made in the crock pot all day. After dessert we got busy decorating.
Everyone helped and had fun.
We didn’t get much done but got a good start and built up some holiday excitement from the kids.
Before we knew it they had to get ready for bed and decided to have a Christmas book.
Heath and I were still kinda worn out so watched a True Detective and went to bed.