Plans are starting to come together for this spring. Loonie and I will head down to the Smokies for a week in April where we’ll spend three days backpacking and the rest of the time day hiking in the hopes of getting some good wild flower pics. The annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage will be goin’ down during that time and Loonie’s looking forward to that. After that I’ll meet up with Deep Woods at Standing Bear Farm where we’ll leave the car, shuttle to Erwin and hike southbound back to Standing Bear. I would prefer to continue hiking northbound but southbound works out better logistically this year. As for the three day backpacking trip with Loonie, the plan is:
- Road Prong trail from Clingmans Dome Road down to Chimney Tops, one place we haven’t been yet, and then proceed to site 24 on Little River to camp for the first night.
- Little River Trail from site 24 down to Cucumber Gap Trail to Miegs Mountain Trail to site 20 for the second night.
- Miegs Mountain Trail to Miegs Creek Trail and ending at The Sinks.
22 miles in all and mostly downhill. That’ll be just fine with Loonie. Hopefully we’ll catch some wildflowers in bloom along Little River. We’ll see. And fingers crossed that neither site gets closed because of bear activity. That seems to be an ongoing problem with 24. There’s still plenty of time to change things up if need be.
Scored BIG TIME on a trip to the Merrell outlet when we were down at Big Cedar recently. The pair of Moab mids that I’ve been wearing on the AT have one more season left in ’em so I was going to hold off until this time next year before investing in another.
After popping into Eddie Bauer (where I picked up a sweet expedition weight ¼ zip base-layer top for $30) we decided to drop by the Merrell store to see if they had any deals. The low tops, which I actually prefer, never seem to budge from $100 and this day’s price was no different. I noticed there were only two pairs of the mids on the shelf, neither in my size, so I asked the clerk what was up. Long story short – more were coming in AND they were running a special on them for $39.99! I got the last pair of size 11 coming in on the next shipment and called back a week or so later and nabbed a second pair for myself and a pair for Deep Woods. Two pair for less than the regular price for one. Excellent! Loonie is going to kill me if I so much as mention wanting another pair in the next couple of years.
Headin’ to REI this Saturday to check out the Osprey Atmos 65 AG pack so I’ll have an update soon on how that went down. If that all works out we’ll try to get in a long weekend trip in March to test it out. Maybe we’ll finally knockout the Garden of the Gods thru Lusk Creek Wilderness section of the River to River Trail here in southern Illinois. Been wanting to do that for some time now and it would be nice to know how the Osprey does before heading to the Smokies.
More to come…