Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Walls of Jericho

It's the eve of the first backpacking trip of the year!  I have my backpack loaded up, it's 19 pounds with food and water.

The "big 3" and half my pack weight:
Pack: Osprey Viva 3.5 pounds
Sleep system: Klymit (30 inches wide) 2 pounds
                     Sierra 20 degree down mummy bag 1.5 pounds.
Shelter: Hennessy Asym Hammock with under hammock and rain fly 3.5 pounds
            Big Agnes HV UL2 Copper Spur and ground cloth 3 pounds (last minute swap)

Clothes: wearing as I hike: wicking base layer, hiking pants, wicking tank, wool hoodie,
Sleeping: Merino wool hat, down booties, fleece pullover and leggings, fresh underwear
Extra: Buff
Added: down jacket (it got down into the 30's)

Gear: bear bag kit, fire starting kit, first aid kit, earplugs, UV light and extra batteries, UCO headlamp, water bottle, camera, phone, earbuds, charger, toilet kit, digital thermometer, camp towel, toothbrush/powder, and a comb and one extra hair tie.
Actually used: earplugs, water bottle, camera, phone (to listen to music, there was no cell coverage), earbuds, thermometer.  I also used the bear bag, but mostly to show my hiking partner how to use the PCT method.  That's right.  I did not brush my teeth, my hair or treat my water!

Consumables: 1 liter of water, 3 protein/meal bars, 2 packs of gummies, 2 coconut chews, breakfast wafers with nut butter, I will stop en route and get a burrito for dinner.  I also have my vitamins in a tiny baggie.
Added: Monster energy drink (a POUND) for morning

1 liter of water will be plenty as the trail we are doing crosses or parallels various creeks over 80% of the route.

I will wear my Chacos to hike in and have my hiking poles.

I opted to not take my down quilt because I think it will be really muddy and wet and I don't want to get it messy.  My Sierra Designs down bag is a little tougher...and a little heavier.

Total pack weight at trailhead: 20 pounds with food and water

So we hiked Walls of Jericho.  Kimberly had not been there before and I thought, "eh...I'm not in shape.  Let me start the season with the hardest trail IN THE STATE."  Then I relented and we went in and out the TN side, which is 2 miles longer and 50% easier than the AL side.

We took the red trail to see Mill Creek Blowhole, then hooked into the white trail and stopped for the night at Clark Cemetery.  It was already dark when we were setting up, I did not think it would take so long to hike in!  We had a full moon to help!

My backpacking vitamin regimen
Ibuprofen, turmeric, biotin, allergy tablet, valerian root

It dropped into the mid 30's, I was able to get warm, but not stay warm.  When I moved to get more comfortable, the heat in my bag would foof away and I would have to build up body heat again.  It took until about midnight to get the inside of the tent warmed up.  I am not a furnace by ANY stretch.

We got going just after 6 a.m.  It was right after Kimberly woke up and announced she did not want to be awake, or move, then promptly got up.

We camped on this slope because the flatter areas were so damp.  It was not the best choice, but it was already dark and we were tired.  I slid a little on my pad and kept touching the lower wall with my feet, which kept them cold.  Plus, I was on a rock or root that was just under the ground, I could feel it through my pad. That sounds more miserable than it was, it was more of an annoyance really.  But enough so that I will be more careful next time!


We were nearly against the cemetery

The early sun was glorious!


This photo, on Instagram, got more likes than anything else I have ever posted AND was featured by a hiking group. It was seriously a surreal experience since this is my view 90% of every hike.  My feet, encased in Injini socks and Chacos.
And it looks like I wear these socks over and over-and I do-but I also have 3 pairs of them because they were $9 instead of $15

We got back to camp and finished packing up, letting our rain flies dry a bit in the sun.
I was shaking mine and watching the rainbow that would appear in the droplets as they sprayed up in the light.  I did it four or five times before my inner emo said, "Stop it. That's your spit."  Spitbow.  Ew.  It was the condensation on the inside of the rain fly.

I love these!  Yummy Earth gummies.  There are peach, strawberry, cherry, and banana.
If you don't see the banana ones, you are not alone.  :(  Or cherry, but the banana are my FAVORITE.  I once got a packet that was all banana.  I squealed I was so excited.

I love this patch.

I also ate these.  Very good, better when not partly frozen though.

There are 3 blazes in this shot, they keep going up and up.  The trail was SO DANG STEEP for about 3/4 mile, it never stopped climbing.
Still, it was better than the AL side that climbs for a solid 2 miles. 


And still nearly...

Made it!  I took this shot to give an idea of how far away the next level of terrain is, to show how much that last climb does, but photos never give the perspective I want.  Just imagine all of the trees on the forest floor are 800 feet tall and that will be pretty close.

We hiked out in 4 hours, which was faster than we walked in and that was nearly all downhill.  I was FAR more tired after the hike in, I could not believe how easy the climb out was compared to last year.  I think the Honeycomb Trail is helping!

Monday, February 19, 2018

More Land Trust Hikes

Working on my goal of walking all the land trust trails this year, Kimberly and I knocked out Keel Mountain and then went over and did 2 of the trails at the new Green Mountain addition.

the trail was very muddy in a couple places

winter views
Parking is at valley level, it's a climb to the waterfall!

Over at Green Mountain, the trails were very dry!

well, nearly all the trails were totally dry! 

The day's total was only about 5 miles, but I managed to screw up my tracker somehow and didn't get either of them all the way through.  That's irritating because even when it is on the whole time, it's not giving me less mileage compared to people with a dedicated GPS to track with, so I feel like my overall mileage amount is getting cheated and then some.  Anyway, it's not a big deal.  I'm just glad to be out getting some exercise!