The Benny Braden Interview (#fastestgsmnp900miler Record Holder)

On Thanksgiving weekend, 2016, my kids and I meet up with some friends for a 3 day hike in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This actually happened to be the weekend right before the huge fires recently broke out in the park. In fact, on that Saturday night before they became uncontrollable, Benny and I sat on top of Cliff Tops (at Mt. LeConte), first watching the sun set, and then watching the (at that time) small fires smoldering across the valley on Chimney Tops.

While we were sitting atop that mountain, Benny talked to me about wanting to take a break from section hiking the AT in 2017, and instead take the new year to hike all the trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. He felt like it was something he wanted to do. It was somewhat close to home for him, and he had only hiked a small portion of the trails throughout the park at that time. I could hear it in his voice, I knew that he was going to complete this task… it was the manner in which he completed it that shocked us all, including himself! Continue reading

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First Look @ the Zpacks Vertice Rain Gear

As some of you may already know, at least by now, just a couple of weeks ago Zpacks added their new Vertice rain jacket & pants to their webpage. For the last couple of months I had been waiting (somewhat patiently… lol) for their new rain gear to become available. I  checked their site daily (usually several times a day), and for a while I actually thought to myself: “I’ll just wait and see what the new stuff looks like.” Then after talking with Matt & Will at the ATKO a few weeks back, and even putting my hands on a swatch of the new material (which isn’t cuben fiber at all), I got even more excited about it! The day it posted to their website I was actually driving to a hike when my buddy Benny Braden sent me a text that it was finally available! I pulled my car over and placed an order for both the jacket and the pants right then and there… Since that day I have been waiting like a kid at Christmas for the package to arrive… then today, it finally did! 🙂 Continue reading

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New Book: “Travelled Far” by Keith Foskett

Over the last few years I have shared several different posts on both Facebook & Twitter pointing folks towards Keith Foskett (aka: “Fozzie’s”) books. A few years ago, I even shared a personal review of one of his books here on my blog. Over the years, Keith has kept himself busy, whether writing a new book, updating his blog, doing interviews, or simply spending time on the trail. And while I can’t say that I know Keith personally, we have had several conversations about different things over the years, and then after reading all 4 of his books and reading his blog, I feel like I do know him, just a little bit… From what I gather, he seems like a guy I would enjoy hiking with someday (if I could keep up with him) or share a beer with. Hopefully one day I will run across him on the trail (or in a pub)! Continue reading

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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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