This is a preview of a member exclusive premium article.

Plans for a winter backpacking trip began percolating in my brain, followed by the acquisition of supplies needed for said trip. Unfortunately, inventory shortages and holiday travel had me sweating the arrival of a couple of pieces of mission critical gear the week and day before my departure. I found myself fretting over plans B and C, as well as beating myself up over time not budgeted adequately. Truthfully, I had far too much to do in the time I had left. My lackadaisical demeanor was transitioning into panic at a rapid pace, and familial relations in my house were bearing the brunt of my madness. Thankfully, my gracious wife, whose patience with me never tires (a bit of an exaggeration) stepped in to fill sandwich baggies with rations of granola and chips. This was not my plan for the final moments of quality time we would have for the next ten days or so. For you gentlemen still developing your marital prowess: if your wife has permitted you to exercise your primal instincts in the backcountry, do not expect her to tolerate you seam-sealing your tarp after dinner the evening before your departure.

With backpack stocked, the remaining logistical hurdle was a lengthy car ride to the trailhead to leave a car, followed by another lengthy ride to the opposite end of the trail. Our frenzied departure made the mood in the car about as warm as the snow-blanketed hillsides. A gray, overcast day didn't help lift spirits either. The serpentine road and pickups loaded with firewood willed upon us a pace more apropos of the setting. As the miles and minutes ticked by, I was increasingly anxious of my departure. Small talk did little to ease the mood. Tackling this piece of the Ozark Trail had been on my list. I was excited to be executing my plan; unfortunately my gut was in knots. I scanned the trees for blazes or a sign indicating the trailhead. Finally, a double blue blaze appeared on a tree. I finished sealing my pack with hesitation. Once the lid was closed, our paths would part and disappointment would collide with excitement, as a new adventure began.


  • Introduction
  • Day One
  • Day Two
  • Day Three
  • Day Four
  • Day Five
  • Day Six
  • Day Seven
  • Day Eight
  • Day Nine

# WORDS: 4490
# PHOTOS: 19

--- End of free preview ---
Member Exclusive

A Premium or Unlimited Membership* is required to view the rest of this article.


* A Basic Membership is required to view Member Q&A events