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  1. #1
    Flackfizer's Avatar
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    Appalachian Trail and lessons learned

    Hey all--
    The Bearfinder and I just got back from this year's two week section hike on the AT. This year we went from the Shenandoah Park to Boonsboro MD. The Bearfinder did the whole run barefoot even though his little 10 year old toes got knocked around a bit on the rocks. He has lost two toenails, but he could not be happier. We spent a few days in Harpers Ferry and had the weather go from 80 degrees to 103! Hikers were dropping like flies. We even met people who were actually heading back to Harpers Ferry to wait out the heatwave in the hotel.

    Our water pump busted on us so for a while we had to use iodine pills or trust the springs when they were coming right from the ground. We ended up with Aqua Mira (which I think I can still taste), but it was fine. We had no trouble from the water--but Bearfinder got food poisoning in a Harpers Ferry restaurant making our stay a bit longer that we planned on. The lesson is--better off in the woods! I made and posted a few videos of our various hammock camps and here are the links. Great trip!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XqOO...el_video_title

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8PL9...eature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6Ydl...el_video_title

    Take Aways:

    I found that a larger than normal DIY black bishop bag was a great friend. I ditched my thermarest prolite this trip and just stuck to my DIY 3 season under quilt which I usually slung sort of loose. The larger bag though let me keep my WBBB and the UQ together which I found a huge convenience when setting up camp.

    More and more serious hikers are using hammocks and we saw that evidence a lot. We even met a nice pair of guys (Six String and Disco) who each carried an Eno SN for afternoon naps. Nice to see! We met a few through hikers who were carrying hammocks for nights not in shelters. Speaking of shelters--The Bearfinder slung his hammock in the loft of the Ed "Marcus" Garvey Shelter in MD. He loved it up there and would recommend it to others.

    Huge sheets of tyvek were INVALUABLE! Cannot recommend them enough. so many uses--I even used it as a bed sheet on a sofa on the porch of the Blackburn trail center. Get some before your next hike and wash it once or twice to make it soft. Amazing stuff.

    We adjusted our hiking schedule quite a bit this year and it paid off big time. I hike with a 10 year old, so your miles might vary--but, we woke early, ate cliff bars, packed and set off for two hours (for us that is about three miles). We then ate oatmeal and rested an hour, Then we did another 2-3 hours before a long break. Then after 3:00 pm generally we did another 2-3 hours. A few times we stayed out after dark and used head lamps--awesome. This way we had no trouble getting between 9 and 12 miles a day, but never felt like we were killing ourselves. Plus, we got to frolic or nap in some nice places. I kept my WBBB at the bottom of my pack, but we kept The Bearfinder's HH near the top of his. That way, it was out and on trees for most of our longer breaks. I totally recommend the staggered schedule. As his legs get longer we will be at 18-20 miles per day in no time.

    Tie outs on my Maccat Ultra resisted a huge mountain top wind that blew on me all night long. Watching the tarp bend and press and knowing that I was totally covered made that one of most fun nights. The only problem was that the best spot had a tree that was a bit on the thin side. The wind shook it pretty bad all night. That gave me an odd queazy feeling until I adjusted to it. It is the best feeling know that your gear is up to the challenge it is facing.

    No wildlife. One deer (who cares). Two squirrels (we have a pet one, who cares), a cute mouse (some interest), and a chipmunk (who cares).

    The Bear's Nest hostel is a must visit. There are not too many usable trees in the yard, but even so--a great place and a totally welcome evening with great people.

    Cheers!
    Hedgehogs! Why can't they just share the hedge?

    FH3 REPORTS AND PICS http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=66682
    FH4 In the Planning Now! Ask me for more......
    "Vada a Bordo, Cazzo!"

  2. #2
    Senior Member TFC Rick's Avatar
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    Great report and great to hear from you again!!
    Look up before you hook up!!
    Originally Posted by body942
    Me big. Me like hammockgear burrow. Long. Problems no. People good.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Sounds awesome! Do you also hike barefoot, or just the little one?

    I just did a 20km in and out last weekend with my new Vibram FiveFingers and I absolutely loved it. My feet aren't quite tough enough to go truely barefoot, but for a mid-distance hike, I wouldn't go any other way anymore.


    Glad to hear you guys had a great time! I wish we had a better trail system around here for longer multi-day hikes.


    Any pictures, or just the videos?

  4. #4
    Senior Member ShadowAlpha's Avatar
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    sounds like a good trip
    except for the heatwave

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. #5
    richtorfla's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you all got to get out. 103 degrees? Thats hotter than where we live!Losing them nails had to hurt! But he is a tough kid. Can't beat the Dad and son quality time. That my friend is priceless!

  6. #6
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Glad to hear that you & Bearfinder had a great trip!
    We willl have to get together for another Florida outing, after the temps drop about 30 more degrees
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bearpaw's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great time and I hope the roller coaster wasn't too tiring.

    Personally, I really liked that section, but I was looking forward to getting off for a week to come home for a wedding from HF. It added a sense of excitement to walking into HF for me.

    Blackburn was a nice stop.

  8. #8
    olddog's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great experience. Bearfinder continues to amaze me, great young man. Looking forward to hanging togeather again in the fall.
    Most of us end up poorer here but richer for being here. Olddog, Fulltime hammocker, 365 nights a year.

  9. #9
    Flackfizer's Avatar
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    Indeed--once we get a better temperature down here we need to work out our next group hike.
    Hedgehogs! Why can't they just share the hedge?

    FH3 REPORTS AND PICS http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=66682
    FH4 In the Planning Now! Ask me for more......
    "Vada a Bordo, Cazzo!"

  10. #10
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flackfizer View Post
    Hey all-- The Bearfinder and I just got back from this year's two week section hike on the AT. ... The Bear's Nest hostel is a must visit. There are not too many usable trees in the yard, but even so--a great place and a totally welcome evening with great people.
    NEATO! I just got back last night (well, early this morning at 1:00 local time) from Bears Den Trail Center and Hostel, where we finished up a weekend section hike on the AT yesterday. I had called ahead earlier in the week and the Bears Den folks were expecting us at noon (normally they are not open officially during the day and no staff are there). We were able to take showers, change into clean clothes, and enjoy some wet, wet, cold soft drinks, and Ben & Jerrys. Hit the spot after 10 miles of "The Roller Coaster." I'll be posting a link to a photo album, probably later today. But so nice to sit down to the keyboard just now and read about a place I was at yesterday at noon. And yes, I highly recommend Bears Den, too!

    Rain Man

    .
    Last edited by Rain Man; 06-27-2011 at 11:22.

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