Finally put some time aside to get back here and post an update. I’ve been busy with family, projects at home, work, etc. over the last few months. Trail-life has taken a backseat to more pressing matters. However, I’m happy to report that Deep Woods and I will be resuming our AT trek in the coming weeks. We’re looking forward to wrapping things up south of Erwin, TN and GSMNP so we can push on to Damascus, VA next Spring. There will be no follow-on Smoky Mountains journey for Loonie and I this time around, which really sucks. She’ll be taking a trip with her sister. So, I plan to head to Missouri for four days on the Ozark trail, focusing on the Bell Mountain Wilderness/Middle Fork section. Supposed to be an excellent hike. It’ll give me a chance to become familiar with the section before returning with Loonie in September.
For the upcoming AT trip, I’ll likely stick with the gear I used last year, though, depending on what the forecast looks like, some of my layering options may change. Only having to haul 17 lbs on your back…which includes 4 days of food…is pretty sweet and I never felt like I regretted not bringing something along. Of course, if I’m forced to stay in a shelter I’ll probably curse myself for not stuffing the air pad in my pack. We’ll see.
Loonie finally found a pack that fits her nicely and has the features she was after. Our REI dividends and member coupon were more than enough for her to pick up a Gregory Maven 55L in size XS/S. At just over 3 lbs, it’s not light but, as I said, it fits her very well and should have more than enough volume for what she packs. She’s mostly carrying clothing and personal items along with a bit of shared gear so her total pack weight, which includes the weight of the pack and all consumables, should be 25 lbs or less. Of course, depending on what camera gear she wants to bring along, that could go up a bit. Could she have gone with a lighter pack? Sure, but I think the fit sold her on the Gregory and a shake-down hike she did with a total pack weight of just over 20 lbs seems to have confirmed that it was a good choice. We’ll find out soon enough.
That about wraps it up for now. I have a bit more food to gather up, a few gear items to check over and a couple of other details to take care of but aside from that, I think I’m good to go. I don’t think Deep Woods has done a single thing to get ready! He flies by the seat of his pants so we’ll see how that works out. He’ll still kick my butt though! I’ll try to post an update or two as we draw near to kicking things off. Here’s hoping for zero forest fires, plenty of free-running water sources and sunny, dry skies our entire time on the trail!
“Think of all of the beauty still left all around you and be happy.” ~ Anne Frank
More to come…