Needs a location
Added September 15th:
Okay! The main purpose of the January backpack and the training backpacks leading up to it is to have FUN! We're not going to set any records. The Ozark Highlands Trail was selected for its beauty, not its difficulty.
That is not to say there will be no challenges. Backpacking is an intense cardiovascular workout. Learning how to be comfortable in cold weather is a challenge. The training will make those challenges manageable and doable.
Three practice backpacks are scheduled. If you have recent winter backpacking experience you may ask to opt out. But your experience could be valuable to share with those of us who are not experienced.
Otherwise you should participate in as many as possible. Everybody's participation helps build a spirit of teamwork, will make you stronger, and your future backpacking adventures more enjoyable.
Each practice backpack will show up as an individual event available to all members of Hiking and Outdoor Activities but preference will be given to those signed up or waitlisted for this trip. Please sign up for these dates:
There are members on the waitlist! As a courtesy to them members who fail to respond to emails (PMs) in a timely manner, who do not sign up for practice backpacks or otherwise fail to demonstrate a genuine interest will be dropped quickly to make room for those who are interested. If there is a "situation" contact the organizer.
Backpacking with a group provides many benefits, from safety in numbers to sharing essential but easily-shared gear like water filters. The organizers and event hosts volunteer their time and experience to make trips as safe and smooth as possible, but we can’t do everything ourselves. In addition to preparing and carrying your own gear and food, you can help trips run smoothly by doing a few simple things.
READ: Until we actually get on the trail, most of the information we have to give you is written down in trip descriptions, emails, and announcements. If you don’t read the descriptions, or only read part of an email, you will miss valuable information, which could lead to a poor experience on the trail, or being dropped from a trip.
If you have questions, ask. If an organizer or event host sends you an email or asks for information, please respond as quickly and as fully as possible. If you’re having a difficult time on the trail, speak up. Frequent and clear communication makes trip planning easier, carpooling smoother, and trail hiking safer.
LEND A HAND:
If you have a car and can drive others to the trailhead, indicate that when you sign up or later if you forgot. If you don’t have a car but are willing to drive, indicate that, as well. While we’re on the trail, follow Leave No Trace principles. While we’re in camp, volunteer to get water, gather firewood, etc. Remember that backpacking as a group is a team effort and organizers and event hosts are volunteers. When we all work together, trips are safer and run more smoothly for everyone.
End of September 15th addition.
The Ozark Highlands Trail was on a list of top 7 winter backpacking trails in the world a few years ago. The list included just two hikes in the US. The rest were in places like New Zealand, Patagonia, and Africa. Here's a link to the article.:
Can't attest to any of this myself. Never been there. But I have to give Outside magazine some credence, and I have seen a lot of positive comments on the AllTrails website
This is a point to point trail so it requires two cars or hiring a shuttle service. I plan on hiking one or two sections, just for 3 or 4 days (2 or 3 nights actually on the trail). In that it's a six hour drive from St. Louis it would not be worth hiking a shorter time.
Spirits Creek, Ozark Highlands Trail
My idea is to do this in the late fall or during the winter (no ticks or poison ivy, thank you very much)! The plan is to do some local, shorter distance backpacks in advance to perfect cold weather techniques and equipment.