First of All, thanks to all on this thread which served as inspirations on Gear DIY and technique, quite a few items on this trip directly related to the innovations found in this forum!
Saturday 1pm started out from Fontana Dam, finish at Clingmans 1PM Tuesday. Camped at the following sites, Sat Night- Birch Spring Gap, Hammocking. Sunday Night, Russell Field, Shelter. Monday night, Silers Bald, Shelter. Before the pics and reports ensue, a couple observations:
1) I am now officially a gram weenie. I will definately pack out better than this trip in the future.
2) 35 pounds doesn't sound bad for a 4 day trip, until you climb a 6500 foot mountain.
3) I packed heavy intentionally in food (6.5lbs), and clothing (3.4 lbs which I wasn't wearing). Out of these, I determined I could have shaved 4 pounds easily.
4) My sleeping bag and pack are WAY heavy, this Christmas I will give myself a G4 Pack kit (shaving 4 lbs), and do up a Down TQ (shaving 3 lbs). Thats and additional 7 lbs. Add in 2 lbs additional crap, plus food and clothing savings, I would be down to 22 lbs. I lost 9 physical lbs on the trip, so next time I will do so before the hike lol.
Now for some of the pics....
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1st pic, starting out (2 other guys with me, Attila and Matt from Scouts. 2nd pic, perfect view, perfect week, leaves just now turning. 3rd pic, my sleep setupup night 1, in DIY Hammock, Tyvek Tarp in porch, Woobie-IX UQ. Went ahead and took standard SB due to last 2 nights in shelters.
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1st pic, typical quality of the water this trip, just a dribble. Definately used the Potable tablets, no chances here. 2nd pic, the not so comfy shelter, not sleeping on ground, but pretty darn close.
3rd pic, typical colors experienced, as weather was GREAT, only issue was last day when we had rain, the leaves definate;y slippery.
Next day truly a challenge, Russell Field to Silers Bald, 14 miles. Loved seeing the last 0.3miles branch on the ridge heading to the top of Clingmans, truly God's Country! Some unbelievable damage done to the 48 yo body, but Nietche said it best and I aint dead.
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Great trip but pretty demanding, to summarize the contributions this forum had to the trip in regards to DIY: Hammock, Underquilt, HUG Bugnet, RL Org, Suspension Whoopies etc, Tyvek tarp, countless Amsteel Biners/shackles, Wristies (made night before trip, thanks Knotty), and Stic-Pic for poles. Again, Thanks, yall rock.