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  1. #1

    Default Troutville to James River Hike – (It's Almost Summer, So Why am I Cold?)

    Just completed the section from Trouville NB to the James River at US-501, May 2-4. Saw and talked with a number of thru-hikers, as well as many section hikers.

    It was beautiful weather all 3 days of hiking, with no rain.

    I drove down to the AT parking lot at the James River on Friday, and Deer Hunter picked me up there and shuttled me down to Troutville (Thanks, DH!) where I started my hike. I made it up to the Fullhardt Knob shelter around 5, and there were a number of thrus setting up tents and such. I stopped for water there (there’s a pretty nifty cistern that collects rain water), and then continued on to Wilson Creek shelter, arriving about an hour before dark. Wouldn’t you know, I was the only one there Friday night. Anyway, I set up my hammock, eager to try out my DIY “Hammock Underfly Insulator Shell”, as described by gearcollector.

    You basically clip a standard HH tarp to the bottom of your hammock, and sandwich a layer of foam between the hammock and the undertarp. I had done the mod over the winter, and tried it out in my back yard for short afternoon naps, but never overnight.

    It seemed to work really well at first, but I did get pretty chilly during the last couple of hours before dawn.
    Saturday, I was up early and out of camp around 7. I made it to Bobblets Gap shelter by about 10, and talked with Batman while I refilled my water. I was also using my new Sawyer Mini for the first time, and it’s the best system I’ve ever used. Stopped for lunch at Cove Mountain shelter, where there were a number of thrus.

    We talked trail experiences and mileage, and a female thru asked me how many miles I was going. When I told her that I was planning to do 20 miiles that day , she looked surprised and said,

    “You’re doing really well… for a section hiker”.

    I took it as a compliment and said “Thanks… I think”.

    I made it to Bryant Ridge Shelter for the night, and eventually 5 or 6 others rolled in. I set up my hammock, and since it was windy I made sure to stake the tarp so that it was snug against thesides of the hammock. I also used a thin reflective pad on top of the foam pad in my “undertarp”, hoping that this would keep me warmer. I started out quite warm, and made it through most of the night with no problem, but definitely felt chilly on my shoulders and backside by morning. (I even slept in two layers of clothing to stay warm.) So, maybe I will just have to buy an underquilt after all. 

    On Sunday, I started out with a 2000 foot ascent over the first 4 miles, followed not long after by an additional 1000 foot climb. At that point, I was at the top of Apple Orchard Mountain, walking right past some gigantic radar installation. It was very windy up there! On the steep descent, the trail passes right under the Guillotine, and then there was a beautiful view at the Thunder Ridge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had been planning to try for Matt’s Creek Shelter, which would have put me
    around 22 miles for the day, but I decided to push on to my car at the James River. The bridge across the river is fantastic (and smooth and flat, thank goodness). I got to my car with sore feet, but I was happy to have completed a 25 mile day.

    Question for those out there who hammock: (and yes, I know about HammockForums)
    Do you use an uderquilt? They seem expensive and bulky to me, but I have never owned one.

    Hope to see you on the trail.
    Formerly uhfox

    Springer to Bear Mountain Inn, NY
    N Adams, MA to Clarendon VT
    Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch

  2. #2


    A big YES on the under quilt. My hubby was cold in his hammock until I bought him a Jacks "R" Better under quilt.

    DH is a great shuttle & person! I'm glad you had a good hike!

  3. #3


    Glad you enjoyed your hike, Fox. Nice meeting you. If your in the area again and need something, let me know.

    Lost Acoustic Blues

  4. #4
    Rain Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nashville, Tennessee


    Quote Originally Posted by UHFox View Post
    Question for those out there who hammock: (and yes, I know about HammockForums)
    Do you use an uderquilt? They seem expensive and bulky to me, but I have never owned one.
    Absolutely. And (though I was on the ground cowboy camping) my coldest night ever on the AT was a July night on Standing Indian Mountain near the NC/GA border. At elevation in a windy spot with the fog/cloud blowing be (through!) you, it's dang cold indeed, summer included.

    I made my own and a 20-degree UQ made of down takes up no room at all, to me.

    Rain Man

    Last edited by Rain Man; 05-07-2014 at 10:21.
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35


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