I had a great trip, just a quick overnighter. Originally, I had intended to hike 12.5 miles to site H, stay the night and complete the rest of the trail the next day. Things didn't quite work out the way I wanted, I did do the 12.5 or so the first day, but bailed early the next day. Things to do at home, and it was pissing with rain.
A history of the Zaleski region can be found on the Zaleski page of www.backpackohio.com
, but the gist of it was that a significant amount of Union iron was mined an smelted to make ammunition during the Civil War. You can see one of the large stone furnaces in the background of this picture I took of my car as I set out. When I hit the trail it was 1135 and 34F. Later start than I wanted, but I stopped by Hammock Gear on the way down to pick up a backpacking pillow. I had the pleasure of meeting Thorwren and Stormcrow as well as a couple of their little ones. I was also lucky enough to meet some of the other employees that work at their shop. Enough can not be said about their kindness and character. It was a true privilege. It was also very difficult to not walk out of there with significantly less money than when I walked in. Thankfully, I came away with only the pillow. I will say, an M50 TQ and Cuben Fiber tarp are going to be purchased prior to this summers' shenanigans.
Truthfully, I was disappointed at how warm it was. I had bought the spindrift for my ridge runner, and was really looking forward to putting it through its paces. There was still a bit of snow on the ground, and many of the ponds were still ice covered.
Sadly though we got a warm spell through Ohio this week and by Thursday, it was in the 60s when I left, so that these beautiful icicles were all but gone on the way home. You can see the before and after in the next couple of pictures.
The terrain in southern Ohio, while probably not as rugged as that of the Smokies, Appalatians etc is still quite hilly. In my opinion the state of the trail's tread made it worse. It was very, very slippery as the ice melted off. There are plenty of natural caves, ledges and other rock features. You have to be very careful if going off trail as much of the time there is no indication of a drop off.
Some new grown lichen on the trees in the low part of one of the valleys. There was not a lot of water on Wednesday, by Thursday however there was a good bit more.
I rolled into camp at around 1730, it was dusk at that time. After I set up my hammock and got my pack stowed, the new wood stove came out. Finding fuel was remarkably easy. I only needed a couple of finger-thickness sticks that go down to twigs. I will confess, I did cheat and use a bit of alcohol to get things going, but once it was up and working it went great. I cooked my Hawk Vittles Southwest Lasagna over the open flame. It worked great! It went down with a little experiment. Black Box Pino Grigiot accompanied it. While it was good, I don't expect to pack wine again. Too heavy to justify its existence in my pack. Kit Kat for dessert.
Bedtime came early, around 2000 actually. Once again I brought a book. I don't know why I keep doing this as I never read before bed while backpacking. It's just weight I don't need. I write in the my trip journal though. Sleep came quickly and easily. One thing I found, and never knew anything about was "hammock song." While it was raining, the drops would hit the hammock lines and sound like a guitar string. The different strings would put out different pitches. I couldn't hear it unless I but my head down on the pillow, but it was audible! Very cool. I was very warm and dry the whole night. The spindrift did exactly what it said it would. I do need to seam seal the tie-outs and along the rings on the ridge line of the tarp. Other than that, no leaks. The next morning, I was up at 0900. I was hoping for an early start but didn't get moving until 1000. I packed up everything except the tarp. It was still raining so I chilled under the tarp and made tea and breakfast. On the trail again at 1035.
On the hike out it was still raining, and it was hot. My AGG pit zip jacket kept me dry on the outside, but I got drenched on the inside from sweat. Good thing it was warm. In the streams, mist was rising up allowing for some very pretty pictures. I finished up at around 1300. Very fun hike all in all. Looking forward to many more.
The root ball of this tree actually took out the trail. The trail now goes over top of the root ball that was probably 8 feet in diameter.
A couple to finish up.