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AT Thru Hike Training

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Bussey Point Trail Over-nighter: Late April 2012. The Bussey Point Trail is a multi-use trail on the ďClarks Hill LakeĒ J. Strom Thurmond Lake in Lincoln County Georgia. This trail is primarily an equestrian trail but also allows hikers and bikers on the trail. The Bussey Point Trail has a one mile approach trail that leads into a 12 mile loop equestrian trail and also has around 8-9 miles of old jeep trails entwined in the mix which have all been named for ease in navigation. There are four separate camping areas at the Bussey Point Recreation area and all campsites are water front sites; sites 1-10 Fee sites are mixed tent, small camper trailer primitive camping sites, and sites 11-14 Fee sites are strictly equestrian only camping; the Owl Island and Bussey Point free sites are primitive boat-in sites or in our case hike-in.
To reach the Bussey Point boat-in sites by foot requires a short six mile hike along the jeep trails, from the large trail head parking area continue down the approach trail on Pace Ferry Road about 2 miles until Lockhart Road. Continue down Lockhart Road until you reach the campsites at the end of the peninsula.
We started our hike after a 45 min drive from Augusta Georgia at the trail head. Chris and I were rearing to go by the time we made it to the trail head. It would be his first hike with gear and mine first in many years with anything more that a day pack. He started the trail with great enthusiasm, chasing butter flies and making short videos of his adventures. I had him geared with my old pack from when I was a teenager in the 80ís only having his sleeping mat that lined the inside, sleeping bag, change of clothes, swim trunks & shoes, mess kit & dehydrated meals, personal hygiene and any personal comfort gear he chose to bring ie. IPod. He is only 13 and already a track star in his mind however, after about two and a half miles into the hike he started complaining about the pack and said that walking is boring and if he were running he would have already be there. He created a game that helped pass the time and to get the thoughts of hiking with gear out of his mind. We would come up with short words from the wilderness and see if the other could guess it with as few clues as possible. He kept on saying that when we get there the water is going to be what made the walk worth the trip because he was going to dive in and have fun.
Once we achieved the goal at the end of the peninsula and was shed of our gear sure enough he was changed and in the water. After playing in the water for what seemed hours he joined me on shore as I had gotten out long ago and we began to fix dinner. His Backpackers meal didnít mix well and he didnít like it so I split my Mt. House and he loved it. He told me to stick to Mt. House when he is along with me. Shortly after dinner it was night time and to hot & windy for a fire so we prepared for bed. We never used the tent we brought along because we were the only ones out there and the shelter was empty so we slept in it. Meanwhile, he sorta snuck my Colman Max self inflatable sleeping mat and left me his blue foam mat that I literally picked up along the medium of the Interstate in Texas years ago. Well, needless to say at my size I need a little more padding than that little foam pad could provide for me.
After a night of tossing and turning and very little if any sleep a crow, that sounded as if he were on the arch of the shelter, started squawking. We got up and started breakfast. I use a Colman Max butane stove because one small canister usually lasts me a week or more but we had to use it to boil both our water to drink and eat with and when it ran out after just our evening and midway through our breakfast meal you can imagine my surprise when we had no more fuel. Last night Chrisís Ibex stick failed to boil his water even after using the entire purple stick and then this morning my fuel canister fails. Hmm, itís a good thing that I had a backup Ibex in my survival kit. These little white cubes have never failed me either to light or to boil 24 oz of water. After consuming our Mt. House eggs & bacon we were packed and ready to walk back out.
My little hiking buddy said that he wasnít up to hiking all the way back to the truck and I needed to take it slower. Well, needless to say after a mile or so he was complaining about his pack hurting his back and he didnít want to have it on. I then took his pack and fixed it to my chest so he would have a good experience. Then having only ĺ of a mile left I then gave his pack back to him and he never complained the rest of the way. As exhausted as he was once he could see the truck about 100 to 150 yards away he ran the rest of the way being all dramatic as he went just as he had done when the trip started.
Then when I finally slugged my way to the truck he said that he wanted to do it again once I got him a different pack. Guess this is something to go down as gear counts and itís all just a mental game after all.

video coming to youtube soon.. just search shadowleep for my video's thanks!