Haven's Budget Inn, Franklin NC
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
I checked the Internet last night trying to find a local place for breakfast. Nothing was open till lunch, so I had pizza. I walked up to the Motor Co Grill for lunch (a diner configured like a Mobile gas station) and they were still serving breakfast! Real eggs, grits, hash browns, and bacon.
Figured I would use some time to describe my pack and camping/hiking approach. First my pack...
It's a 19 oz ArcBlast cuben fiber pack from ZPacks. In the right shoulder pouch I carry my SteriPen for UV water purification. Easy to get to when I need it. In the left shoulder pouch I carry my waterproof camera. I can pull it out at.a moment's notice. Though I wasn't fast enough to get a shot of the squirrel, the largest wildlife I've seen so far. :-)
In the right waist pouch I carry snacks, my toothbrush and little bottles of sunscreen and bug juice. In the left waist pouch I carry my trowel, toilet paper, hand cleaner, headlamp and small multi-tool. I don't get into that pouch often.
At the moment I have the trekking poles shortened and resting in the side pockets. I usually have my water bottles there. A wide-mouth Nalgene for collecting water. The SteriPen needs the wide mouth to fit. I pour the purified water into a one liter Dasani bottle with a pop up lid, and drink from that.
The front of the pack has a big mesh pocket. I usually carry my tent stake bag there, my guide book pages, a small ground cloth for my pack, wind shirt and/or rain jacket, and if my tarp or bivy get wet, those too.
Inside the pack I keep my sleeping quilt in a compactor bag. I'll also have the air pad, clothes, toiletries, electronics, stove, and food! Without food and water, the pack weight is around 12 lbs. Food adds 4 to 6 lbs, and two liters of water (the most I need for drier stretches) is another 4.4 lbs. It's light compared to many on the trail, but it gets heavy enough on those uphills.
Now for my camping approach. I prefer the tarp to shelters. You don't bother anyone, no snoring noises, and no scampering, chewing mice! But its hard to find flat ground and my tarp is relatively big at 8.5 ft square. Even pitched high on a clear night it uses a lot of space. I put my air pad in my bivy and my quilt inside on top of the pad. The bivy is supposed to protect the down quilt from rain splash or running water. It has a bug net in the face area, so I usually have to wear a beanie or down hood. The quilt is good to about 30 degrees and I usually wear some or all of my clothes and layers for warmth. I've never yet been cold. I do turn over a lot at night. With a bivy, air pad and quilt that's not the easiest thing to do.
If it's wet on the morning, you have to be careful in packing. I always spread on some foot goo in the morning and evening. It'll take me about 45 minutes to pack up the tarp and pack. If I eat granola or oats another 15.
I start the day with enough water and snacks. I get up when the birds wake me, usually about 6:15 am. I try to get on the trail early. I'll stop for a moment to drink about every 30 minutes. Have to stop since I don't use a bladder, carry the trekking poles, and don't want to drop and potentially lose a water bottle. Lots of trail is on a narrow path with a LONG drop-off.
When I get to a good (nice little flow easy to get the bottle under) water source I fill up. When my Dasani empties, I use the SteriPen and refill the Dasani. Even though I'm a slow hiker, I pass many that use slower water filter systems.
I stop every couple of hours for a snack break. Usually for about 5-7 minutes. At lunch I'll take 10-15 and make sure to take off the pack. If I need to dry off the tarp or bivy, I'll take a luxurious 30 minutes.
I do stop for a moment or two at other times during the day: photo opps, uphill breathing rests, short conversations with other hikers, and occasionally to check cell service and email.
I like to stop between 6:00 and 6:30 pm to have enough time to setup, cook/eat, get water, and blog. I try to go to sleep shortly after it gets dark.
That's my approach. It's pretty interesting seeing how others do it! By the way, it seems like most of the other thrus I've met the last few days were in Outdoor 76 outfitters yesterday and today.
I want to get back on the AT, and waiting and hoping for my ankle to feel better is frustrating and a bit worrisome.
Have a good day!