Location: Berryman Trail, Potosi, MO
Other Trailgoers: None on trail; some at campgrounds
Would I Go Again: I MUST!!!!
**Read fellow Missouri hiker missouri howell’s blog post as well about his hike on the Berryman the same day!**
You can read my previous post about how excited I was to go on the Berryman Trail. Well, we made it to the Berryman and the Berryman beat us!
We left early Saturday morning. It took us nearly 5 hours to reach the trailhead with a couple of stops on the way. The weather “Saturday” was gorgeous. Our temperature gauge around 4:00 that afternoon read 78 degrees!!!!! Well that was just a teaser….the worst was yet to come!
We did take some time to hide a couple of gallons of water near some stopping points, thus avoiding carrying water with us in case we couldn’t find any to filter.
We finally got started at the Berryman Campground trailhead around 3:00 that afternoon. I cannot say how beautiful the weather was. Nice breeze. Big clouds. Beautiful blue sky. Temperature in the high 70s/low 80s (almost a little too warm for this time of year).
This seemed to be a trip of bad things going wrong. First off, my shoulder strap came loose from my pack. No big deal. Just a minor mishap. Mike got it fixed in a jiffy….really was no big deal but it never happens and I started getting an uh-oh feeling. That fixed and off we went.
We started on the west side of the loop. This side (being the Ozark Trail section) was just so darn dry it was incredible. Not much to look at. Typical Missouri scenery. Very dusty and dry. No evergreen trees for a while.
Once we started turning more north, we started running into the evergreens, pines, cedars, etc…and here it started getting prettier to look at. At about 5 miles, we crossed the forest service road where we had left some water earlier in the day. Now I first must preface this portion of the story by saying that Mike and I had just had a conversation shortly before this about how he felt his short-term memory was going downhill.
So we could NOT find our water. Two options: Mike either forgot it or someone saw it and took it – 16 pounds of water. We searched for nearly an hour all over looking for 2 gallons of water. I had a general idea of where Mike stopped at and he felt like he knew where he left it. We searched everywhere near there. That aside, I have a hard time believing that someone came along within the 1-2 hours since we left it (even though we seen no one else on the actual trail) and found the water 50 yards off the trail and felt like carrying 16 pounds of extra weight that they weren’t prepared to carry. If that actually happened, thanks to whomever you were. If that didn’t happen, oops.
So this being the big mistake that changed everything for us. We had a little bit of water left. But the next day we knew we were facing a very long hike in very bad weather (if the forecast held true). I must say that we checked the weather constantly and knew there was a big chance of bad weather. However, if you live in this part of the country, you know that they get the weather forecast wrong more than they get it right and the weather changes here so quickly, you never know.
Remember that 78 degrees from earlier? Well, we experienced 3 weather seasons within the next 12 hours! It was incredible.
We set up camp shortly off the trail and set out every container we had available to catch any rain that was predicted to come in later. Hoping that we could get enough to have some coffee in the morning at a minimum. We did have enough to make dinner that night and we had about 2 cups each left in our Nalgene bottles. **side note – I never did a product review of my Nalgene bottles; note to self: do that!**
We really hoped that the weather would not be as bad as some forecasts were predicting… but it ended up being far worse. It started some time after 1:00 am with rain. That wasn’t so bad. Eventually it changed over to ice. Enough to coat all the tree branches. Okay we made it through that just fine. Around daybreak, it changed over to sleet. Okay….it really started getting cold. We were making do. With the lack of water, I had no need to go to the bathroom, and I was opposed to getting wet. (this being the beginning of our trip and not the end, it would be very hard to dry out – especially hair, am I right ladies?) We had planned on making it to the Brazil Campground by that night (whether we had to shortcut or not). The temperature was supposed to drop rapidly into the low teens by that night and it seemed foolish to me to get wet. Well after hours of this sleet happening, Mike couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t handle being in the tent another minute. He stuck his head out and discovered that it had switched over to snow and there were already several inches on the ground and it was snowing like crazy So we packed up and took the service road back to the Berryman Campground where we had parked. (congrats to whose ever car was still left in the parking lot — a lot braver than we were). Keep in mind two things were happening – I was refusing to get wet and Mike was refusing to sit still any longer.
We got up to the truck and I had the idea to stay there the rest of the day and sleep in the truck that night. We could start it up once in a while to keep warm and then come morning (which would be Monday), we could start hiking again. Mike agreed with me on this, but being that it was a truck, we probably didn’t have the gas to do that and make it back to a gas station on the trip home, so we packed up and decided to drive to the nearest gas station and fill up and then come back. At least we wouldn’t suffer defeat at the hands of the Berryman.
Making it to some town with some gas station, my cell phone dinged and I had a text from my daughter stating that the smoke alarm had went off several times the night before and she shut the furnace off (our furnace, **God bless it**, is as old as our house — built in 1949) but it’s now suffering and needs to be replaced. With it being in the teens at night for the next day or so, there was no way I could leave my daughter without heat so we gave up on the trip and headed home.
I will return to the Berryman, no doubt. But it gets put on my list along with the Coy Bald (note there is no review of that trail). I should start a list of trails that have defeated me.
In summary, we went from 80 degrees on Saturday with sunshine to a wind chill in the low teens the following morning with almost 5 inches of snow on the ground by the time we left; after hours of rain, sleet, and ice. We’re tough but with the loss of water and the fear factor of being wet and not being able to dry out, we were beat!
There is one thing I forgot to mention…I have a sunburn on my face from Saturday and nearly froze Sunday. Gotta love #Missouriweather!
Title: Berryman Trail 3.15.2014
Track lenght: 8.75Km.
Altitude range: 60m. (Min height: 268m. Max height: 328m.)
Total climb: 106m. Total descent: 119 m.
Page link: http://www.tammyonthetrail.com
Description: Overnight stay on the Ozark Trail/Berryman trail near Potosi, MO