View Full Version : Home now after a GREAT hike!

05-09-2008, 12:56
I is home now, made it from Hughes gap to Atkins 3 days early (supposed to be there PM Sat) made it PM Wed.

On the trail 20 days: hung all days except for: 1 at Kincora 2 at The Place & Wed night at the motel :D So while on the trail I never went to ground, Woo Hoo!

Made at least 2 converts to "The Way" from groundlings.

Hiked for the entire time in a kilt :p

Some hammocking notes:
Have a large "window" that you can hang in. I need a minimum of 13' for my tarp, but can only hang from trees a max of 1' apart, giving me a 3' window to hang in. This wasn't a problem most times, but could have been. My new set up will be 12' tarp length & 20' hang length for a 8' window.
My 1 1/4" straps didn't damage any of the trees I hung from, so I'm staying with that width.
I did hang in 4 shelters, 2 times cause I could, 2 because of pending or bad weather. I was VERY VERY VERY careful about what I hung from!!!
Taking a short nap in the hammock is a BAD idea, my 1 hr nap lasted 4 hrs :rolleyes: so all naps were on the ground after that :eek:. Usually my naps were less than 30 minutes, or about as long as it took for the bugs to find me & start bitting! You know, the way it is when you sleep on the ground :p NO, I didn't "go to ground" at least I don't feel I did as it was only during short naps, & on purpous so I wouldn't sleep so good.

During my 100+ mile trek I didn't see one time where I couldn't hang at a reasonable place along the AT. Yes, on some of the balds there are no trees, but trees were always a short walk away. Even in the grayson highlands I had ample opportunities to hang. AND, my campsite choices were usually more abundant then groundlings, esp when we were on those l o n g ridges.

All in all a great trip!!! I'll post pics when I get a chance, & more details about the trip when I aint so tired.

05-09-2008, 14:30
Glad you had a nice hike Doc and had fun

05-09-2008, 14:39
Kilt hikin' is the only way to go. I love my hiking kilts. I have three, two are plaids and one is raincoat microfiber. Nothing like a waterproof kilt.

05-09-2008, 14:44
Glad you had a good time and made it back safe.

05-09-2008, 14:49
Awesome trip, Docari! I'm glad you had a good time and enjoyed your hike. We'll be looking forward to the "official" trip report and some pics. Hope you can make the RRG group hang in a couple weeks, if possible.

05-09-2008, 15:49
Welcome back Doctari.... glad you had a slammin, hangin trip...


05-10-2008, 11:57
Welcome back...you combine 2 things I find admirable...you use a hammock and hike in a kilt...I look forward to your TR and hope you have a picture of you in your kilt...

05-10-2008, 21:37
sounds like a trip that was good for the soul!

i liked the way you described the min/max, ideal distances between hammock supports... "windows".

05-11-2008, 16:23
My trip report.

4/18 After a good night at the Americourt motel, my wife drove me to the trailhead at Hughes gap @ the base of Roan Mt. I promptly went the wrong way. About 45 minutes later (about 0.75 miles) I met 2 locals out hunting ramps, they set me right & I walked back north to Hughes Gap. About 300’ later, I began to doubt them, after all, the compass said I was now headed SOUTH!!! So, back the way I had come,,,,, 25’ from where I had been corrected 2 hours before Slow Stepper AGAIN set me right. This time I was convinced as he had a map & showed me the error of my way. So, after nearly 6 miles, I made it to Ash gap 1.9 miles from where I started. I hung my hammock, got water & was going to bed!!! Decided to fix dinner instead. As it was starting to rain, I sat in my hammock under my tarp I lit the stove (wait for it), , , , , when I got up to get something, my quilt dropped out of my hammock, (from my POV) right on top of my lit stove. I dove for it!! Fortunately it did NOT land on the stove, but about 4” from it. Finished dinner & went to bed.

4/19 I slept like a rock! In a hammock under a tarp in the rain. What more could you ask for. Feeling good today, over the rest of Roan was a little of a challenge, but not to bad, after all I had an extra 4 miles to “warm up”. I actually saw snow along the trail this morning. Stopped in to see Roan High knob shelter 0.1 from the trail, not going to do that again, wasted 0.2 miles I could have used on the AT. Much like that nearly 4 miles I wasted yesterday. The weather SUCKED across Round, engine & Jane balds. 50+ mph winds in 10’ visibility. Made it to Stan Murray shelter & decided to take a 1 hr nap in the hammock then push on to Over Mt. That was a BAD IDEA!! FOUR HOURS later, I woke up. I pushed on to Over mountain anyway. Got there around 1800, fixed dinner & hung in the loft. OW, my knees hurt. Oh well, off to bed.

4/20 My first hang in a shelter, kind of kool. I was glad that I got the extra insulation in the RayWay quilt, it got C O L D last night! Beautiful day today. I am, as usual this early in my hike, last out of the shelter. As I’m leaving, I found a nylon vest hanging from a food hanger. I took it to see if I could find the owner. It’s a Nice vest! I got to say it again “Beautiful day today”.
Wow, did that change quickly. Less than a mile from the shelter, it began to snow, & the wind was picking up. Thankfully, the wind wasn’t as bad as yesterday, I made it to the Apple house shelter, & decided to stop. Hanging again in a shelter, but as I’m the only one here, I gots no problem with that :) About 1930 I was waked by hiker voices, it was Cerebrus aka Nest, Trainwreck & Pearl. They considered staying but all wanted “real food!!!”, we chatted for a few minutes, than they pushed on for 0.5 to town. A GREAT day today, even with the snow & wind.

4/21 Great night!!! I got to watch a shelter mouse move a ¼ granola bar I had dropped, a piece at a time to her home. Up early today & off to hike. The first half of the hike was me just motoring along, then the climb up to mountaineer falls shelter through a “prescribed burn area”, an easy hike, but as I am still new on the trail, this 9 mile hike is kicking my butt. Just as I was nearly done, there was the shelter. This is the one with the chainsaw carving of a bear on the picnic table. I talked to Bob Peoples about it, he said it just appeared there one day, no register entry, none of the maintainers know who did it,,, Cool! Anyway, lots of people here, I only remember one name: Sharky
About Noon thirty today, my new shoes started to hurt, nothing I did (mole skin, cutting off parts of the shoes, etc.) helped. I have got to get my boots sent to me. OK, Sharky said he is going straight to Kincora tomorrow & that he would be willing to call my wife for me, so hopefully my boots will get there without me having to wait too long @ Kincora.
I’m hanging in front of the shelter, right over some rocks & large logs. I suspect I’m the first to ever camp in this exact location.

4/22 I dread putting on my shoes this morning. There is a very painful blister just to the left of my Achilles tendon on my left foot, moleskin didn’t help yesterday & I don’t think it will help today. There are also lots of hot spots all over the rest of both feet; hopefully the moleskin will help those spots. I limp a bit, but it hasn’t slowed me down much, yet. Here’s to an easy day, I hope. Some time last night Nest, Pearl & Trainwreck rolled in, so it’s breakfast with the group while they sleep. This is a nice shelter, close water, wish there was a privy cause there is limited space for “cat holes”.
OK, shoes are on, the spot that was rubbing my heel has been excised (cut off) so now I have to hope for a downhill to test it. Found an easy downhill about ¼ mile from the shelter, so far so good. Oh, the blisters still hurt, but nothing is getting worse, yet.
Near / about 1400, Pearl, Trainwreck & Nest caught up with me, & we sort of hiked on & off together the rest of the day to Moreland Gap shelter. FOOD!!!! But first water, Ok, that is a long walk, fortunately I can carry 4 ltrs so only have to make one trip. About halfway thru dinner a group of kids & a teacher from Ohio (My home state) came in. I will admit to saying “Drat, loud noisy kids” but they were very well behaved. Their teacher “Sidestepper” was a thru hiker & does these trips nearly every year. Most of the evening was spent answering questions from the kids. Nest & I spent about 20 minutes showing (converting) Pearl & Trainwreck to the way of the hanger. They each lay in my hammock about 5 minutes & will be switching as soon as they can. WOW, what a good day.

4/23 Hopefully, I get to Kincora today, & more hopefully: my boots will get there tomorrow. Easy trail today, passed the trail to Coon Den Falls, the guide says 0.8 miles, the sign says 1.06 miles. This early in my hike, a 1.6 or 2.12 mile detour is WAY too far, so up the AT I go. As I approached Dennis Cove rd, I heard voices (1f 2m) well I was “last” on the trail, so wondered who that was, a few minutes after getting to Dennis Cove rd, Nest, Trainwreck & Pearl came into view. Cool, I passed them as they visited the falls. I made it to Kincora around 1500, this is my 4th visit to Kincora, but this time it is home for the night. Wow what a beautiful place to my tired eyes. IT’S SHOWER TIME!! Then bob took us to get supplies & PIZZA. I ate ¾ of a large Pappa John’s in 30 minutes, I think it tasted good, not exactly sure I even chewed.

4/24 I plan on a zero day today. Likely will spend it cleaning the hostel & relaxing & re packing for the hike to Damascus. I think that my goal of Atkins is hard to do, if at all. & my second choice of Bland is right out. My feet still hurt, & my right knee is nearly done. So, anyway: Bilge Rat & I spent most of the day cleaning the hostel. NOTE: If you stay at a hostel, any hostel, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!! PIGS! It took us over 6 hours to clean up after everyone. That is over 12 hrs of work by 2 experienced cleaners, when everyone before us could have spent 5 minutes cleaning THEIR own mess up. I enjoyed helping out, but it shouldn’t have been THAT dirty.
Anyway, about 1500 I decided to hit the trail cause my boots had arrived by 0830 (thank you Fed-X!!) & I was ready to hike again. So, a nice easy hike to a camp about 3 miles down trail. When I got to the steps to laurel falls, I decided to give them a try, I made it 5 steps down & had a choice to make: 1) go down the steps, see the falls, go back up the steps & go home. 2) Blue Blaze the (level) high water rte & keep hiking. So, I chose option #2 & kept hiking. Some day I will be back to see the falls, when all I have to do is hike to the falls & back, without a 25 Lb pack.

4/25 Good night sleep, but then I was in a hammock so “Duh!”. Judging from what I was told, the first half of my hike today will be all up, not a problem right now. It’s the down hill later that worries me, that is what hurts my knees most. I got 2 ltrs water, & up I went. It’s not a bad climb, just long. I took a 45 minute nap at the top. The descent I was worried wasn’t bad, lots of views of Watauga Lake. Into the shelter by 1700: Bilge Rat, Turtle, Nona, Privy Monster & Kinooch were there. I’m hanging next to the shelter. Turtle is hanging just a little away from me, she is in Bilge Rat’s hammock, it’s her first night in one.

4/26 Up early, fixed oatmeal for breakfast, YUCK! I didn’t cook it long enough, too lazy to re heat it, can’t eat it. Turtle is a convert to “the way” after one night. No surprise there. Off to Vandeventer shelter 6.8 miles away. I really need to pick up the miles, maybe I’ll do a few miles extra after dinner at the shelter.
Ok, what a climb today, then 0.6 Steep miles each way to get water. Ok, I’m done for the day.

4/27 Got to make up time, going for 10 miles if I can. Beautiful day, but then I have said that before haven’t I. About 1700 it started to rain lightly, 1730, it began to POUR the rain. After having 2 previous bouts with hypothermia, I am a bit paranoid, so I started to look for a place to set up camp for a bit. It just so happened I was on a old logging road & just at that moment I passed a unused side road, with 2 trees just the right distance apart, on the lee of the hill. I set up camp, crawled in, & the rain came down harder. So, a light dinner, then off to bed.

4/28 So, the plan is Abingdon gap shelter, but it looks like rain. But I am ready to get on the trail, after 14 hrs of sleep I think I’m done here. Yep, it rained all day. Still, I made it to Abingdon gap shelter, before dark even. I’m the only one here, I am sort of happy / sad about this. I have plenty of water, so a quick dinner & off to bed, Yep, I’m hanging again, every night so far except at Kincora. A few minutes after I got set up 2 hikers stopped in for a quick break, then on to Damascus 10 miles away for them.

4/29 around 0100 in came Bones, Pearl, Trainwreck & Nest. They were trying to make it the 33 miles from Vandeventer to Damascus in one push for the “twinkle toes yellow shoelaces challenge” They stopped for a nap. Didn‘t get up till I did around 0600. OK, it is way cold out there, & there is snow on the picnic table. I want to stay here, I’m warm in my hammock, but it’s only 10 to town & I need “real food” & a shower. So, on the trail by 0710, hoping for town by 1500. Oh what a neat section of trail! Easy grade, good tread way, decent views. About 1300 I passed out of my 3rd state & into my 4th. I even got a picture.
Made Damascus at 1500, but I pushed a bit hard the last 20 minutes into town, so my knees & feet really HURT! It took me another 30 minutes to get to The Place. Off to SHOWER now. I suspect I used the last of the hot water, but it felt so good. I’m wearing all my clean clothing now: shorts, tee shirt & no socks. I miss my kilt, shorts suck. Well, any pants suck: Kilts rule, pants drool!! But the kilt is off only while it & everything else is in the wash. Other town chores done today, will do the rest tomorrow cause I need a zero. I was on my way to Dot’s for dinner, about 2000, fortunately Pearl came in & told me they had stopped serving food. Sigh. Turns out she had gotten too much food, & her & Trainwreck gave me a double cheeseburger with the works. OMG, was it good!!! I think.

4/30 ZERO DAY WooHoo! Breakfast @ cowboys after sleeping in “late”, then another shower. Did more town chores, too boring to list here.

5/1 The Decision has been made: I am hiking the Virginia Creeper trail instead of the AT! There are 2 reasons: #1) [65% of the decision] This is in protest of the Pointless & Mindless Ups & Downs [PUDS & MUDS] the Non hikers who run the ATC impose on actual hikers! #2) My knees hurt [35% of the decision]. Turns out to have been a good decision, great hiking, on an easy trail. And: at mile 4 there was a privy with it’s own TP & a trash can. At mile 7ish was a great little restaurant; I had a meatloaf sand & small Gatorade for under $7.00. Well fed, & rested, I made lost Mt shelter by 1500ish, what a great hike today was!! I’m hanging in back of the shelter after a decent dinner. 13 miles today, not bad for a sectioner.

5/2 I’m well rested, got plenty of water, had a good day yesterday, & breakfast so I’m going to try for the 13 to Thomas knob shelter today. Hope I haven’t taken on more than I can handle, looks like lots of elevation between me & there. Short version: Yep, that was a lot of PUDS & MUDS. But I was at Thomas Knob by 1630, so all is well.

5/3 Nearly had to give up last night. While climbing to the loft where I was hanging for the night, my right knee went “POP” & I felt a very sharp pain just below the knee cap. But after a short walk this AM I feel great, so onward & upward. I am trying at least to the Wise shelter as it has ample hanging spots & is only ¼ mile from the road. Turns out I easily did the wise, so pushed on to Old orchard. Something is wrong with this shelter: it doesn’t face into the prevailing wind, water is a short walk, it’s in a sheltered area, the roof doesn’t leak & has a decent view. This has got to violate every ATC rule about shelters. Oh, in case someone doesn’t know, I hate the ATC, my views / reasons are public at several places on whiteblaze.net so I won’t re-hash them here.

5/4 Off for a hike to wherever. Looks like a nice day, OK, I have got to stop saying that. Oh, well, the weather stayed great, I made it to Dickey gap at 1400 & hitched to Jerry’s kitchen & stuff for a great Ruben sandwich & a slight re-supply. Hiked to Trimpi shelter from there with Margaret (Now “85” or “85 PowerBars”). Got there around 1700 & had a nice lunch of Ramen, then off to bed.

5/5 Partnership shelter & pizza is the goal today. Very nice trail along here, just enough elevation change to keep it interesting & a good tread way. @ the shelter by 1400 ready for pizza. Sadly they don’t start delivering till 1630, so I’ll set up camp & chill for a while. Looks like I’ll be at Atkins by Wed, then it’s off to home.
At exactly 1630 there was a line at the phone 8 of us placed 3 orders for one delivery. I think it was at least 4 pizzas from Pizza Hut. 85 & I got a veggie pizza together. I was going to take a shower (there is a warm water shower AT the shelter) but the heater isn’t working, sigh! Just before our pizza arrived, Pearl, Trainwreck & Nest shuffle in, they got pizza too. We are all hanging in the same area, it is way cool, all 4 of the tarps overlap for a real “Ewok Village” look. Yes, I took pictures.

5/6 The AT between Partnership & Chatfield shelters S U C K S!!! I had Six Hours to come up with: “Whoever laid this route out was the illegitimate offspring of a 10th generation prostitute who couldn’t decide between the 50 men she had the night of conception, but hey, mom made $20.00 that day.” After the first mile or so, the trail follows a route that takes you over large loose rocks, it even swerves several times to go over huge piles of these ankle twisters. The trail swerves off of perfectly good terrain JUST to go over these dangerous piles of rocks! Yet more reason for me to hate the ATC & it’s associated clubs. 6.5 hours to go 7 miles over an easy grade is UNACCEPTABLE & only because of the routing over those D**n rocks. I was doing an average of 2.1 mph the past 5 days, some of it over fairly big mountains, to be reduced to just slightly over 1 mph is Stupid trail design!

5/7 Well, my last day on the trail. In spite of yesterday it has been a good hike, I will be sad it’s over. I’ll likely not see Nest, Trainwreck & Pearl again, but we had a good run. When last I saw them they had become a 4some with the addition of Alien, a hiker who wanted a reason to slow down. Nest, Trainwreck & Pearl stop & do non hiking stuff so,,,,
Around 0800 I got to the short trail to the settlers museum, so I went & looked. WOW, I grew up in that house on that farm, but in Ohio. I poked around for a while, got water from the well (reportedly contaminated so drink at your own risk. I’ll be fine.) & headed back to the AT. A short walk later, I came on the old one room schoolhouse, to find Nest, Trainwreck, Pearl, & Alien with 85 & Preacher. They had (with permission) camped in the school. It was GREAT seeing them again! Nest, Trainwreck, Pearl, & Alien said they were planning on doing some work at the farm today, putting in a fence. Ok, I “grew up on this farm” so have put in fences many times, my response was “OK, I’ll help!!!!” Soon after, Dwight the director, showed up for the day. I got a quick self guided tour of the house (even saw “My room”) then Alien & I started on the fence. I had a time limit of sorts, the wife will be in Atkins by around 1600 or 1700 & I wanted a chance to shower & take a nap (& gotten food!). We managed to put in 2 fence posts before I had to leave. Sadly, Nest, Trainwreck, & Pearl had gone into town for supplies, so I didn’t get to say yet another goodbye. Neat, the 2 miles from the farm to Atkins is a dream!!! It almost makes up for yesterday,,,, almost!
Got to Atkins in 3 hrs cause I took my time, showered & went for a bite to eat, then a nap. When the wife arrived we went to the barn for dinner.

5/8 took Steadfast the 4 miles into Atkins so she could meet her husband, then went to the settlers museum so my wife could meet Nest, Trainwreck, Pearl, & Alien. Then off to home. Got home 5/9 around noonish. I already miss the trail.

05-11-2008, 19:38
I'm really glad I got to meet you in Damascus. You looked really happy and content to be fulfilling a dream. Way to go!:)

05-11-2008, 20:09
Sounds like a great time and a great trip, Doctari.

gunn parker
05-11-2008, 20:12
Nice trip by the sounds of it.
What is it about hiking in a kilt? I just don't get it :eek:

05-11-2008, 20:14
What is it about hiking in a kilt? I just don't get it :eek:

Have you ever tried it?

05-11-2008, 21:29
I'm jealous and did I say I hate you.

05-12-2008, 06:42
Have you ever tried it?

I've heard this reasoning before for a lot of questionable behaviors. Pretty sure that logic is not all it's cracked up to be. :) Got any others?

05-12-2008, 07:20
This was not "reasoning for questionable behaviors". It was an attempt to find out what shared experience we had. If you have never tried it it is one thing. If you have and found it problematic it is another.

I like kilt hiking because I am kind of a big guy. Even the high tech fabrics tend to chafe me and I sweat like a pig which doesn't help. The kilt allows free air flow around the nether regions and keeps monkey butt under control.

I like the complete total freedom of movement that a kilt affords. There is no binding anywhere on my legs or hips.

I like the fact that I don't have to undo my waist belt to get to my zipper to take a pee. Some of my meds can act as a diuretic and I find myself adding to the natural moisture of the trees more than some people.

I like the fact that I can proclaim my Scottish heritage, (of which I am intensely proud.) Even though the plaids ore not my tartan and the mircofiber is not a plaid.

In short... I like everything about it except for the added exposure to ticks. But that is managable and I have them crawl up my pant legs and down my shirt so.....

I don't hike in my kilt unless it is warm enough to be slightly chilly in shorts. But that's mainly because they are not the heavy wool and I don't have the regulation socks to go with it.

Unless you have experienced those benefits, it is hard to communicate the value. If you've tried it and didn't like it, then by all means, stick to your pants of shorts or whatever. But I love it.

05-12-2008, 07:28
No offense intended. Your post was very informative and I appreciate the explanation. It's nice to know that there are a few more options out there.

I like the support of pants or shorts, and have not had chafing issues, so I'll stick with them.

05-12-2008, 07:37
I usually do not go "regimental" in a group hike out of courtesy to my fellow hikers. No one needs to see me flashing my naughty bits around. I did slip on a stream bank and ended up in the water up to shoulders with kilt at high mast as it were. I was quite glad that I was at least covered as the ladies were swimming at the time.

No offense was taken.

05-12-2008, 11:22
What is it about hiking in a kilt? I just don't get it :eek:

I like the freadom of a kilt for one thing. I have been off the trail for almost 5 days & am still struggling to get used to the confinement of even shorts. I did wear my hiking shorts about 2 hrs on this trip, but only in town while the kilt was being washed. I did have the shorts on for about 30 seconds (under my kilt) once as an experiment. How did that go? "I had the shorts on for 30 seconds!"
I found / find that shorts restrict the movement of my legs, especially when climbing something steep, a problem I NEVER had with the kilt. Also, my shorts are very light & breath well, yet I never stayed as cool in the shorts as I do in a kilt. And, if I do get a bit hot in the kilt, I just face into the breaze & hike the kilt up for a few seconds, after checking for aproaching hikers of course. :p
My kilt looks, feels & hangs like a wool kilt, but is acrilic so it will get wet, but the fibers don't absorb water so it dried very quickly.
I chafe no matter what I wear, but with the kilt & being cooler, ths was less of a problem. The few times (3 for about 45 minutes [avg] each time) I wore undies, the chaffing doubled. I will still carry my briefs, and shorts, but only for in town use &/or swimming.
My kilt was warmer than shorts when it got cold also. Yes, this seems to defy logic, but it is true.
I got my kilt at Stillwater kilts online at Stillwater Kilts Web Store (http://stores.channeladvisor.com/Stillwater-Kilts/) mine is the thrifty kilt.

Down side: my kilt weighs 20 Oz, my shorts weigh 4.5 Oz. But to me the added weight was well worth it when it came to comfort while hiking.

Example: my hammock set up weighs about 2 Lbs* more than my tent, , yet I will never go to ground again if I can possibly help it. WHY? Because the hammock is more comfortable!

* I'll be nearly even when I get a sil nylon tarp.

05-12-2008, 21:32
Hey Doctari,
That was a really fun TR to read. Looking forward to seeing the picture of the "Ewok" village....

6 feet over
06-28-2008, 22:21
I’m not a hiker at all, and still enjoyed reading your adventure.

I kind of got the feeling you don’t like the ATC. :rolleyes:

07-04-2008, 11:03
Sadly, of the 4 "Ewock village" pictures I took, only ONE (sort of) came out: You can see the guy lines for Nest's tarp, Pearl's tarp & My tarp,,, just barely. I am deeply saddened by this, was going to make tee shirts for the 4 of us, I even used a flash on 2 of the shots "Just in case".

Yea, I aint fond of the ATC, feel my rasons are sound, no need to go into it any further here.

Can't wait till my next trip, only 46 weeks to go :rolleyes: