JMT Trip Planning: Random New Gear…

My summer 2018 JMT hike is still quite a ways away, but, it’s also steadily growing closer too! In just a few more months I will start working on actually getting our permits, and from then it will begin to feel even more real… Until then though, I am stuck with daydreaming and planning! That’s not a bad thing though… I have only hiked out west once, and even that hike won’t be exactly quite like this one, so there is still much I need to learn. Sure, some of it I won’t learn until I am actually standing on the trail, but until then I enjoy learning as much as I can beforehand! Continue reading

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PHGT: Meet Virginia “SUL” Gear List

On June 23rd & 24th of 2017, I hiked the 50 miles between Dennis Cove Rd to Damascus, VA. This marked my 3rd state along the Appalachian Trail that I have now completed, and landed me on the first big landmark for AT hikers, some 469 miles from the southern terminus, Springer Mountain. However, that wasn’t the only milestone that I achieved on this hike… Along with my son and his friend Micah, and my buddy Craig Smith, we also put in a whopping 29 miles on day 2 of our hike, our biggest daily mileage yet! That’s not so bad after a 21.5 mile day either… When it was all said and done, I was/am very excited to finally make my way into Virginia. This state alone is about 1/4 the length of the Appalachian Trail all in itself, so at my rate, I figure I will be here for a while to come… but that’s ok! I look forward to it all! Continue reading

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June 2017 AT Section Hike: Meet Virginia!

In September 2009 I took my first steps on the Appalachian Trail. It was only a few months before this time that I realized that “backpacking” was even a thing, and that there was such a thing as the Appalachian Trail. Once I saw it though, it stuck in me, and it pulled at me. In September I took those first steps beneath the arch in Amicalola Falls State Park. Now, 8 years and 469 miles down the trail later, I finally walked beneath the arch welcoming me to Damascus, VA!
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First Look at My 2017 Zpacks Arc Haul Gridstop Backpack

In late 2013 I was “talked into” buying a new Zpacks Arc Blast backpack. As it turned out, that pack ended up being the best pack I have ever used. Sure, it was a 60 liter backpack, so not really a small backpack, but I found that I was reaching for it on any hike I went on that wasn’t in the dead of summer (which for these hikes, even my XS Zero backpack can be too big… lol!) The Arc Blast backpack fit me like a glove and it was comfortable (even with total pack weights reaching into the mid 20’s). It had all the features I needed and wanted, and none that I didn’t want (I’m looking at you hydration port). For me, it just worked. I loved that backpack, but in time I came to find one small issue with it, which ultimately would make the pack unusable for me… Continue reading

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Book Review: “Long Trails, Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike” By Liz Thomas

A little over a month ago I came across a post (either on Liz Thomas’ Facebook page or her Instagram page… I can’t remember now) announcing that her new book, “Long Trails, Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike“, was ready for preorder through Amazon. I didn’t even know that she was coming out with a new book, but I do enjoy reading new books about hiking and backpacking, so I followed the link to Amazon and submitted my preorder. The book was something in the neighborhood of $16, and at that time still had around 2 weeks (give or take) before it was ready to ship. Continue reading

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April 2017 Hike: The Fiery Gizzard Trail

I recall hearing of the Fiery Gizzard Trail sometime in the past, but that was all I could recall. This was the trail that Jeff Benefield (from JBen’s Blog) had planed for our April Fools weekend hike. So I did a little Googling, and what I came up with was that it is a 12.5 mile end-to-end trail along the Southern Cumberland Plateau. One could start at either Grundy Forest, or at Foster Falls, the trail is listed as “strenuous” and there are a lot of waterfalls… Continue reading

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