I grew up in Gatlinburg in the shadow of the Great Smokies--hiking and backpacking were regular expereinces. To make a long story short, after years of being away in various places, I'm now back close to the old stomping grounds and am working my way through hiking all the trails in the GSMNP (250 miles so far, about 750 to go) as well lots around the Cherokee NF and Western NC.
I had back surgery a couple of years ago and wasn't able to drive for six months. It was not certain that I would be able to walk/hike/pack again. I started exploring the internet and discovered alky stoves, Ray Jardine's lightweight gear, and hammock forums. I am working on reducing my packweight and increasing my comfort--hammocks are on my horizon.
Thanks from the start to all the folks on HF who offer their expertise, equipment, expressions of welcome, and entertainment. I've learned a lot by watching Shug's series. I'm getting a grip on the terminology.
I ordered some suspension from AHE's anniverary sale. I'm going to start with a Grand Trunk Ultra-light. I'll use a CCF pad to begin and a lightweight DIY top quilt to start. The quilt was good down in the 30's the other night on Mt LeConte in the Smokies.
I'll have plenty of questions, which is good because you all seem to have plenty of good answers.
Looking forward to it.