View Full Version : Trail Days, Section Hike, Sleeping Bag, and Pics

The Solemates
05-16-2005, 10:00
Just wanted to say I had a great time at Trail Days and enjoyed meeting some of the WB folks on Saturday. I walked into TD NOBO and was just gonna comment on my hike. I also had promised a few people a review of my new bag a while back, so I added a few comments on that as well.

I arrived in Johnson City around 2200 on Wednesday, May 11, and parked my car outside of Bearfoot's townhome. He gave me a shuttle to the trail about 30 minutes away at US 321/Watauga Lake. Thanks to Bearfoot for doing this! I did this because I know vandalism around Hampton is really bad and I didnt want to risk it. I hiked about a mile in the dark around the lake and set up camp around midnight.

I got up the next morning to watch the sunrise across the lake and it was absolutely beautiful weather. I felt strong this morning and hiked all the way to Vandeventer Shelter before stopping for a break at 0920. After 30 min or so of taking in the view, I hiked onwards and began the passing of a 30-member group from CNU in VA. Despite the fact that their group was entirely too big, they were scattered about the trail in a distance of about 10 miles and were trying to abide by LNT principles, so it wasnt as bad as it could have been.

I also met two thru-hikers, Mellow and Loose Goose. I stopped at Double Springs shelter around 1700 to have supper, after 23 miles of hiking. Afterwards, I decided to hike on to find a peaceful campsite alone. In all, I was proud that I was able to manage 24-25 miles my first day. I did have an advantage over most of my winter hiking though; it did not get dark until 2130. I am going to AK in 3 weeks and it will never get dark. Gonna have to restrain myself from killing myself by hiking too many miles. I just get in the zone. My wife will be with me though, and after 20, shes done.

The next morning I did 17 into Damascus and got there around 1400, hiking a few miles with Loose Goose, a 65-year old retired teacher who really inspired me. He's a great guy. I set my tent up at "The Place," opting out of Hiker Hell and enjoyed TD festivities until the Greenville (TN) Hiking Club shuttled me back to my car in Johnson City after the weekend was over.

My new bag, a 30 degree down Moutainsmith Wisp (size Long) worked well. I loved the fact that it is less than 1.5lb and packs to the size of a cantaloupe. The lowest temps got was around 45deg, so I slept with the half zipper open and it was perfect. I believe I will be just fine down to 30 deg with the zipper closed and a hat on. You do have to take a little extra care with the zipper, because it catches some times and the thin material the bag is made of may get caught. It is also cut a little tighter, but I am a big guy and I didnt mind it. In all, its a great bag and I find that it is a much better deal than the overly priced Western Mountaineering bags. I must say, though, that the 04 model I bought on backcountrygear was at clearance price. I believe I got a good deal on a bag that is virtually the same construction as say, the Highlite, which is 7oz less, BUT 10 deg warmer, AND $100 more. I would go with the wisp again hands down.

Updated my photos page to show pics of TD. Also some pics of the bag under the "Misc" album.

Morning Glory
05-16-2005, 11:18
Hey Solemates! Glad you made it and had a good time. Sorry I wasn't there on Saturday to give you a ride back. I was hoping you had gotten back, because late Saturday night I looked out the window and your vehicle was gone...so I figured you had either gotten a ride or someone had stolen it (I'm glad it was the latter!).

05-17-2005, 13:19
wbdent I don't think we got introduced at the WhiteBlazer get together. But I think I know who you are. I will have to wait until someone post the group shot and see if I can remember you. Sorry. I was trying to meet everyone but I either met you and forgot or did not meet you.