Birthday Hike- Hawn State Park - January 13, 2011

Needed to be in the woods on the last birthday of my 40's. What better place than what I consider to the be best hike in Missouri - Hawn State Park.

I knew it was going to be cold, but the Hummer thermometer tells the true story. 9 degrees

 I could not have asked for a more beautiful day. I had to park at the top of the road at the Ranger station as the road still had ice on it. I managed to catch the ranger early in the morning and he confirmed that he was not going to open the road until maybe late afternoon. It had been closed all week.
 I am the only one in the Park and have been the only one since the snow of last weekend. It is about 1/2 mile from the Ranger station to the trail head.

 The Shadows are long in the early morning as I cross Pickle Creek for the first time and start on the first loop. Hawn has two primary loops in a figure 8 ( North Loop 6 miles and South Loop 4 miles) you can walk around the outside of both for a 10 mile total. They have added a White Oak trail 4.4 miles, since I have been here last.

 Solo shadow and cold temps, but I am warm and excited to be out

Pickle Creek was beautiful, full of water and frozen over in several spots. The long shadows of the morning made for some great pictures

All the snow made it a very quiet place today
 800 feet elevation is highest point on the trail and offer great views

After 3 miles of the north loop you start on the south loop.
 Stopped half way for some hot cocoa and some crackers... forgot the cross spikes for my Tri-Tri stove, but made it work. Got the water from the River Aux Vasse.
 yummy cocoa- in my new QMH cup by minibulldesigns

Clouds moved in for awhile, but it was mostly a bright clear day
Happy Birthday to me- This is the LNT way

I shared the trail today with just animal tracks- and there were many.. I listed them below

All of the creeks had beautiful frozen waterfalls running over them

 Video Section-
The first is of the high point along the north loop of Whispering Pines trail
The second is about half way done and stopping for some food and cocoa ( 2 cups!)
next video- moving down the trail after my lunch stop
and finally just a view of walking down the trail with the many animal tracks that kept me company

Wildlife sightings:
Whitetail Deer
Red tailed Hawk
Wildlife tracks in snow
Deer, Fox, Coyote, Rabbit, Turkey, Raccoon, Mouse and Me

Ultralight gear in Winter
Top- Patagonia R1 long sleeve undershirt, Golite Wind Shirt- acting as a VBL layer, REI fleece pullover ( Montbell UL Down inner jacket for stopping)
Bottoms- REI fleece tights, Patagonia wind pants
Shoes- Golite Sundragon trail runners, RBH VBL sock liners and Smart wool socks
Head- Golite Balaclava, Mountain Hardware UL fleece hat
Gloves- Mountain Hardware glove liners, RBH VBL overmitts

Trail Stats
10 miles of trail 5 hr. 04 min. (includes a 40 minute lunch break)
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