March 2017 GSMNP Day Hike: Trillium Gap Trail to Mt LeConte to Rainbow Falls Trail to Old Sugarland Trail

My son and I, along with a few others, were invited on a day hike with my buddy Benny Braden (aka: Plug-It In) last weekend (March 18th, 2017). Now as some may have seen in many of my previous trip reports, Benny and I have been hiking together for a little while now, but this hike wasn’t one of our ordinary hikes… this was the finish to Benny’s “#fastestgsmnp900miler” hike! See, on a hike last Thanksgiving in the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park, while sitting atop Cliff Tops watching the sun set one night, he talked about wanting to hike all 900 miles of the park. Little did I know that in less than a mere 4 months, I would be hiking with him on his last 20 mile stretch of that conversation! Continue reading

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JMT Trip Planning: Sleep Systems

Well, it’s still not summer of 2018… so I am left to continue to dream, and to plan, for our future JMT hike. A couple of weeks ago I posted about the cook kits that my son and I will be using on this hike, and today I want to share with you our sleeping systems, or at least the core components of our sleeping systems… By this I mean our sleeping pads and our sleeping “bags” or other similar items. While I do briefly discuss supplemental items, such as clothing, this post will highlight only the core pieces of our kit, and other items will be discussed in future posts. So on with it! Continue reading

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JMT Trip Planning: Cook Kits

This may be a bit premature, but ever since I decided that I was going to thru hike the JMT in the summer of 2018 I haven’t been able to take my mind off of it! Since then I have been scouring the web for information… blogs, forums, videos, FaceBook Groups and Yahoo Groups… I have been stalking them all! This is a big deal for me, and I want to make sure I go into it the most prepared I can be. Continue reading

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January 2017 GSMNP Loop Hike


Thursday, after I got off of work and my son got out of school, we loaded our gear into my car and headed to my buddy Benny’s (Plug it In) house. We stayed the night with him at his home, and the next morning we woke up early and drove the short distance into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Continue reading

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The “Ugly Stick” Firestarter

I often get messages on my YouTube channel, however, most are generally garbage, and it’s pretty rare that I even remember to go through them. However, my channel is set-up to automatically send me an email when I get messages, so it does make it a little easier to know when I need to check it or not. A few months ago I got an email notification in which a company called Mission: Preparedness had sent me a message. It didn’t look like junk, so I made a mental note to check it when I got home from work that day, but to be quite honest, it slipped my mind for a few days… Continue reading

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If I’m Going to Dream, then I’m Dreaming Big!!!

Video above provided by Chris Smead.

Over the years, I have often thought of hiking the John Muir Trail (aka: the JMT)… let’s be real, what hiker/backpacker hasn’t?! This trail has been called “America’s most beautiful trail” so that must mean something, right? So, in early 2015 I began (loosely) planning a potential JMT section hike with my son that would have taken us along a short 30-ish mile section of the PCT, then north along the JMT to Kearsarge Pass, however, that trip didn’t come to pass (see what I did there!) So, while those particular plans didn’t come to fruition, the fact of the matter is that the trail is still there… so, there is still a reason to hope… and to dream! So I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming BIG this time, and not just of a JMT section hike, but of a full JMT thru-hike! (Woot-woot!!!) Continue reading

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