View Full Version : Week at a Glance

05-20-2008, 08:32
I am just back from a week section hike. Neil's Gap to the N.C. State Line.

Here's the observations of the experience.

Trail Name:

Last year, on my first Hike, David )from Upstate New York) named me Grinder because, although slower than a snail on climbs(1/2 MPH), I rarely stop and sit down. Thus I'm able to keep up with faster hikers who take breaks. At the time, I resented the name as belittling. This year I came to accept it with pride. Hence, the change of user name here.

Stove Envy
I bought into the minimalist alcohol stove thing in a big way. I have made a half dozen stoves and bought a Trangia. I often cook lunch or dinner in the house with them.

But, in the field, I gotta say that the Whisperlites and the Jetboils sure "GET 'ER DONE" in style. This year, I made some last minute gear changes and forgot to include a wind screen. Need I say more??
I found myself crouched in various corners,With rocks piled around my pot, trying to keep out of the wind. I never missed a meal though.

I continue to be a fan of the double layer hammock with pad between layers. This year I have a buckle and strap set up. It is vastly superior to the rope of last year.Trees in the real world vary greatly in both placement and girth. My ropes were often too short to get the four wrap Speer knot done. The straps take it all in stride.

Night time Warmth.
I carry a Guide Gear 50 degree bag supplemented with a Poncho Liner. By wearing all my clothing ( silk long johns, army AWS long johns and Rain Gear) I was comfortable at around 35 degrees.

I have a Gear Guide 9x9 camo tarp.This year I began to tie it down with the two loops next to the end (like a cat. cut tarp. The tail ends hang loose). I added tarp ball bungees for tensioners and got a nice tight setup. On a cold windy night I tied the two tarp loops near the windward end under the hammock with another tarp bungee, giving me a real snug nest.

Ear Plugs
If you don't carry them, rush out today and get a set. They virtually eliminate sleeping problems due to wind or shelter noises.

Rain setup
I have a home made gearskin pack. It's a light weight set up that uses your sleeping pad as the frame. BUT, this means you have to take it apart to set up camp. On a rainy day, this causes problems. After setting up the tarp high to give an area out of the rain, you have to lay all your stuff on the wet ground while you hang the hammock. Those smarter than I say to carry a small ground cloth to set things on. I'll have to try that out.

The tent guys, with conventional packs, set up the tent and throw the pack (and themselves)inside, safe and sound.

Miles of Smiles