Well, I'm back earlier than I expected. There were multiple things that did not go quite as well as I had hoped. First, the visitor center was closed, so I couldn't get any trail info (water availability, routes). The trail map I got stinks. I hiked for about 3 hours yesterday, which was fun, but the trail was in pretty bad shape due to horse use. Alas, there was no sign of water except a dry creek bed, so no Steripen test. I got set up around 4:30, ate some dinner and lounged in the hammock for a bit before deciding to turn in for the night. Problem was, I just couldn't sleep. I normally like to bring Advil PM camping, but I forgot it this time. I dozed off for an hour twice, then was awoken by mice rustling around. I laid in my hammock until 2:00 without sleeping, so between that and the fox screaming 50 feet from me (creepy!), I decided to pack it up and hike out. I got to my car at about 3:30.
I hadn't done much real night hiking before, it's pretty cool with all the little mice and creatures running around. I also heard some great horned owls and coyotes howling. Good stuff.
While laying awake for several hours, I was able to do a proper gear warmth test
. It got down to 28 degrees, and I was toasty. Took me awhile to alleviate CBS by fiddling with the UQ, but it was warm when I figured it out. I found it exponentially better than a pad. I also had the shock cord shoot through the cord lock and into the channel twice, which is a pain in the butt to fix when it's cold and you don't want to get up, but I solved that problem. I got too hot once or twice and had to vent the TQ.
Overall, not a successful trip, but I learned some things. Always bring advil, extra water, and earplugs. Also, horses poop an unbelievable amount. Stunning.
I only have a couple pics; I didn't charge the camera battery beforehand (oops) but it wasn't that pretty anyway. MO in winter is mostly just brown trees
I think I'm starting to ramble. To the pics!