The Kaintuck Hollow Trail is actually a system of trails in the Mill Creek Recreation area southwest of Rolla MO. It was the site of my first backpacking trip almost two years ago, and where I spent this past weekend with 3 friends.I received my new winter sleeping bag from ZPacks Friday afternoon and was eager to try it out – I’ll have more to say about it soon. Since I tend to be overly cautious and was unfamiliar with the performance of the new bag I also packed my summer bag thinking I could use both if I had to. My very-cold-weather gear list plus an extra sleeping bag was pushing the upper limit for the new GoLite Jam 70 backpack so I didn’t use it this time.
We got down there late Friday and spent the night near the northern Acorn trail head, waking Saturday to heavy frost and a temperature of 14.5F, the coldest I’ve had to deal with yet. The boots were dry this time so they didn’t freeze and my drinking water was very slushy but not yet frozen. We hiked down to Wilkins Spring and set up camp there. With an output of about 3 million gallons a day, it’s one of the biggest springs in the state.
The spring arises in the small pond in the background and overflows into the large pond in the foreground. Both ponds were apparently constructed by the CCC are are now badly deteriorated with several breaches. The area is trying to revert to being a giant marsh.
We day-hiked around the area Saturday afternoon, trying to make our way down to Yeltin Spring, but couldn’t find our way through a maze of private property. The easiest way to get there, apparently, is to just walk down the road.
We awoke Sunday morning to a relatively balmy 26F. We packed and hiked over to the natural bridge. I didn’t take any pictures this time but can probably find some from the previous visit. The area was pretty well trashed – plastic bottles, broken glass, discarded clothing, etc. It’s relatively close to a trail head so I think it’s a popular weekend party spot.
I had yet another battery failure with my Steripen. It seems once the lithium batteries reach a certain low temperature they simply die. Even the never-before-used spares are dead, even after re-warming to normal household temperatures. I guess I will have to start keeping the batteries in my pants pocket or hanging around my neck inside the clothing when not treating water. Frustrating!