Tag Archives: Hiking

Trail Names

Brent and I had been using our alter-egos, “Lula Bruises” and “Shotgun Bobby,” as trail names until we earned ones. Our friends, Tim & Ireland, came up with our names at the NOC while they were waiting for us. They had a couple of days to think about it. We are now “Bed” & “Breakfast.”


A Long Way to Maine

It seems more than a week ago that Brent’s parents dropped us off at the approach trail in Amicalola Falls. Maybe time moves at a slower pace in the wilderness or maybe it’s just my tired, blistered, unfit feet telling me this. Regardless, it has been a wonderful journey from the falls to our first resting place in Helen, Georgia. We are two days of hiking from our first state line, which provides enough motivation to wake up in the morning and hit the trail again.

Among this motivation, we have witnessed the kindness of many trail angels and the beauty that lies beyond roadways. Trail magic. Wow. It’s been overwhelming how locals and fellow hikers have responded to us straggling thru-hikers. We’ve been offered rides, picked up on highways and given fuel, water tablets and food. Nature. Amazing. We’ve witnessed a momma bear usher her three cubs down a tree trunk, an eerie owl prowl for food below in leaf litter, a rattlesnake (that I nearly stepped on) slither across the trail, a turtle hide away within its shell, and a turkey looking bird dart in front of us.

I’d love to elaborate on the trail angels with whom we’ve crossed paths and acknowledge them by their names and good deeds, but it will have to wait until the next post. We’re already looking at a short night’s sleep, and we have fourteen miles to hike when morning arrives.

There were some strong storms back home tonight. I hope everyone is safe and sound with power! Until next time, happy hiking!

Springer Mountain to Justus Creek

The Get Out More Tour

The Get Out More Tour

Brent and I ran across this ad in Backpacker Magazine and decided to take a road trip to Nashville to attend the session at Bass Pro. This 75-minute seminar held by Sheri and Randy Propster included information on a local hike, trip planning advice, safety tips, and gear reviews. Their display included many gear items that have yet to hit the shelves! As we perused the display table, we found several items that we had not seen before. The most appealing aspects of these items were their efficiency, light weight, and compactness. We purchased our gear around March of 2010, and already we have witnessed the rapid innovation in backpacking equipment. For example, we saw a water bladder with an in-line filter. By combining a filter with the bladder, one more item is eliminated from your pack. In addition, the in-line filter is about half the size of the Katadyn Hiker Pro that we purchased last year. Another product that caught our attention was the Sea-to-Summit ten liter (2.6 gallon) Pocket Shower, which holds enough water for eight and a half minutes of rub-a-dub greatness. During our rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon, we carried Stearns Sun Shower, a 2.5 gallon luxury weighing 12.8 ounces. Although it is more of a base camp shower with its reinforced plastic handle and shower hose, which makes for awkward packing, we appreciated the morale boost of slipping into our sleeping bags without the grit and grime of every mile we hiked. We even deemed it worthy of worship by naming it “Golden Buddha.”However, when Brent decided to include it on his packing list for the Appalachian Trail thru-hike, I thought him crazy. The Sea-to-Summit Pocket Shower offers the same comfort, compacted into a small carrying pouch and weighing only 4.25 ounces. The Soto Pocket Torch is a 1.8 ounce fire starter that converts a disposable lighter, excluding Bics, into a wind-resistant burner. If I had one of these on the oh-so-many, windy camping nights I spent trying to light a fire or grill, I would have avoided the frustration that resulted in fist fights with the air and dust kicking. We have ordered the torch and shower from Top Spot, our local outdoors store, and will be including them on our gear list. An item I will not include in my pack but would love to have for future backpacking trips on the Colorado Plateau is the Celestron SkyScout Personal Planetarium, which was also displayed at The Get Out More Tour session. This 2.4 lb. gadget uses GPS technology to locate and identify over 6,000 stars, planets, and constellations with the click of a button. If I am ever able to afford this (it’s listed for $299 on Amazon), I will be sure to write a review for my fellow star-gazers. For those who enjoy taking photos but fear destructing their camera on rainy days and rocky climbs, the Pentax Optio W90 seems a nice option.  Sheri and Randy completely submerged it in water and then passed it around for the group to take test shots.  The photo quality wasn’t much different from my personal digital camera, which cost more than the $280 Pentax. According to a review in the April 2011 issue of Backpacker Magazine, this 6 oz. camera is “waterproof up to twenty feet, shockproof to four feet, and freeze proof to 14°F.” Pretty impressive!  And if you’re interested in a trekking pole that doubles as a camera mount, the Pentax fits on the Leki Sierra SAS Trekking Pole. The last item I will mention is the emergency kit that the couple assembled. I found its organization fascinating. The kit included items such as tinder, a mini compass, matches, duct tape, safety pins, paper and a pencil. I will post an entry on the contents of an emergency kit in the future. This session was informative and allowed us to see what outdoors companies are creating to accommodate backpackers. If Sheri and Randy are heading in your direction, I recommend attending the session. They will be sure to share information on a beloved trail in your area and, best of all, they will be giving away backpacking gear! Happy hiking!

Gear Gallery