I ended up here after a friend introduced me to Shug's videos...
I gotta be honest-I almost couldn't watch them at first-THAT GUY HAS TOO MUCH ENERGY!
Later, on another forum, someone posted to check this site out and gave Shug's background, so now that I understand his background, I haven't stopped laughing!
I "hiked" with some older church members when I was a kid, and then in the late 80's. I live near the Linville Gorge, and to many people here the Gorge was someplace that if you went you got lost or died or both!
That just made me want to go more! Me and a buddy went in one Sunday with daypacks, and...
We didn't panic, we didn't die, and we backtracked and "found" ourselves, and enjoyed the day.
Later, two friends and I started hiking on weekends. One (Greg-imagine Shug at 22 years old!) was a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne (coming home almost every weekend) and one on particularly nasty cold and wet winter weekend, I almost froze in my cotton longhandles and cotton and polyfill sleeping bag. Me and the other guy both felt like he had to "babysit" us, and we decided that was pathetic on our parts and that it wouldn't happen again!
We hiked the Gorge almost every weekend, and bought as much quality gear as we could. Little by little, I went from jeans, combat boots, cotton long handles, a Kmart sleeping bag, an ALICE pack, etc., to a Eureka frame pack (and later a Mountainsmith internal) Danners, Slumberjack bag, North Face and Patagonia underwear, a North Face down jacket, etc.
The days of being "babysat" were over!
I tried hammocking a couple times and liked to FROZE, so I gave it up.
I got "out of" hiking as other hobbies and endeavors started taking my time. Little by little I sold or gave my gear away to buddies that needed it or were just getting "into" wilderness hiking.
Here lately however, I have "vowed" to "get back into the woods" and several years have came and gone, but this year is looking good! Just bought hammock, fly, titanium stakes, a Primaloft jacket (when you find mountaineering jackets in 3XL on closeout, you BUY them!) and already did a day hike at Shining Rock with some new Columbia pants and trekking poles.
Looking forward to picking your brains here!