Lower Base Weight and a New Route to Explore


My Zpacks backpack fully loaded

For a recent mild-weather over-nighter, my pack base weight came in at 10.5 pounds. Base weight doesn’t include food and water. I was probably around 14 pounds with water and food. Steve recently upgraded his backpack to a Gossamer Gear, and his base weight is similar, so we were both traveling light.

Now, if I could find better ways to pack food that weighs almost nothing. I use powdered soups as a base with dehydrated veggies and meat added. The energy bars, GORP add more weight. Please email or comment if you have ultra-light food ideas!

Below are a few photos from the recent backpacking trip with a little descriptive information. The purpose of our trip was to try out a route recently scouted by Steven Parker, assisted by Chris Adams and me. Steven plans to present more information about this route at the Ozark Highlands Trail Association meeting in October. Stay tuned because, if you like a challenge, this might be a route you’ll want to add to future itineraries.


This rock garden bluff is jaw-dropping beautiful.

Not a scenic photo, but we found it interesting. Our thought was that this is bear scat. Anyone else want to weigh in?


bear scat

Scale is deceptive since I took this photo from downstream, but the waterfall is probably 10-12 feet.




Afternoon nap for Hiker-dog

Below was my break time view. You can’t beat fresh air, blue skies, and the shade of a tree canopy for recharging your batteries!


This waterfall was a special treat. Steven will share more about this area at the October OHTA meeting.


The photo doesn’t capture it, but splashes of color from a variety of wildflowers lifted our spirits when the feet felt weary.

IMG_5612rWe were unsure about the following bloom or early plan growth resembling a flower. Does anyone have an idea about what this is? If so, I’ll update this post. The stalk reminds us of a Devils Walking Stick, but we’re not sure. (May 10 update – Thanks to reader, Miranda Kohout for sharing that this is the early growth of a hickory tree.)


unidentified plant (8/10/20 update- It’s a hickory tree in the making)


Native honeysuckle pointed out by Steven

Hopefully, we’ll have some more cool weather for Ozarks exploring

The efforts to lighten our loads continue because the lighter the pack, the farther we’ll travel.

I’m looking forward to future trips on this same route, especially as it becomes more clearly defined. It will be fun to see Steven share specifics in October!

One thought on “Lower Base Weight and a New Route to Explore

  1. Your unidentified plant is a Hickory tree – maybe Shagbark. They’re strange and beautiful, aren’t they?
    Looking forward to hearing more about your trek in October.

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