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  1. #581
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    Ladyofthewoods - I think all we can do about black flies (or mosquitoes or ticks) is take the normal precautions - and to TRY to maintain the right mental space. Like Danger Dave says, bad stuff is part of the AT experience and we have to have patience and fortitude or it will ruin our experience. Easier said than done, as I well know from experience! For me, the most important piece of gear (bug-wise) is a head net. It's the buzzing around my face that will make me crazy. I treated my head net (and a lot of other gear) to permethrin yesterday - hope that keeps the little devils from dive bombing my face! The bottom line is - hiking in the spring and early summer (pretty much everywhere, not just Maine) means TONS of bugs.

  2. #582
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    Amen to that, Dwill1000. Head net is a must for me, too.
    AKA "DANGER" AT Thru-Hiker Class of 2015

  3. #583
    Registered User Humminbard's Avatar
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    Just want to observe that our little FlipFlop thread is now THIRTY PAGES of happy shared anticipation. Wow!

  4. #584
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    30 pages! Wow is right. So an update on me. I will be off the trail for a little bit longer. I will probably be slacking here and there but no backpacking until I build up strength. Seems my patella doesn't want to stay in place so I also have a brace. My plan is to hike NOBO with most of you guys from HF on May 3. Just glad I built in the buffer of a couple of weeks before the FFKO just in case something like this happens. My advice is to Go slow, keep miles down and take breaks the first few weeks. You wont regret it! Good luck to the early starters!! Cya soon.

  5. #585
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    Th, I hope you heal quickly so you can get back out there very soon. See you in HF.

  6. #586
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treehugger View Post
    30 pages! Wow is right. So an update on me. I will be off the trail for a little bit longer. I will probably be slacking here and there but no backpacking until I build up strength. Seems my patella doesn't want to stay in place so I also have a brace. My plan is to hike NOBO with most of you guys from HF on May 3. Just glad I built in the buffer of a couple of weeks before the FFKO just in case something like this happens. My advice is to Go slow, keep miles down and take breaks the first few weeks. You wont regret it! Good luck to the early starters!! Cya soon.
    Sorry 'bout your patella, Treehugger! I hope you heal fast and join us in HF for FFKO.

  7. #587
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humminbard View Post
    Just want to observe that our little FlipFlop thread is now THIRTY PAGES of happy shared anticipation. Wow!
    I keep thinking - two weeks from today I leave for HF. All these 30-pages of anticipation are coming down to the final stretch.

  8. #588
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    Glad to hear you're keeping your spirits up, TH. We'll be there at HF to shuffle along with you...in just two weeks!

    I got my gear all weighed out and ready to pack. A few more pounds than I would like, but I'm sure I'll shed some along the way. Still a little sketchy on daily food consumption and resupply. But these things will come with experience on the trail. Learning curve and all.

    I'm walking away from a lovely home, a cushy life, and a wonderful wife, to test myself for six months against the elements and the oldest mountain range in the world. Yea, I need therapy. My to do list started out huge, but is down to this...
    1) Tune up my wife's car
    2) Check brakes on both vehicles
    3) Get drive's license renewed (mine expires in September---check yours!)
    4) Finish basement walls (the completion of a four year project, which is almost done!)
    5) Clean detached garage (it's mess in there!)
    6) Add a new account at the bank for my thru-hike money management (gotta keep it separate from the household budget while I'm gone)
    7) Mow my grass (first time this Spring)
    8) Cut grass at the Floral Hills Memorial Gardens (cemetery: this volunteer is unavailable for six months)
    9) Appoint an alternate Trustee (just in case) to manage the family trust (Mom's number one concern)

    I've been very busy, and the time has just flown! Going for the final push...
    AKA "DANGER" AT Thru-Hiker Class of 2015

  9. #589
    Registered User brancher's Avatar
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    So, Dave... Base Weight?

    Anybody wanna share a gear list or see one?

  10. #590
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    Quote Originally Posted by brancher View Post
    So, Dave... Base Weight?

    Anybody wanna share a gear list or see one?
    It's amazing how much I learned after only being out there a week before I got off to recoup this knee, which by the way is already so much better. Will be doing lots of slack packing this next week to get back out there without further damaging the knee. But I digress, I wanted to let you know what I ended up with after the first week. I shed about 4-5 pounds I think once I figured stuff out. First, you WILL bring too much food at first. This is tough because you don't have the resupply down and you think you will eat more than you do. You won't be that hungry at first and one good meal a day was sufficient for the first few days. I wasn't too far off but still had about a day and a half left in the pack by the time I resupplied. I actually built in an extra days worth so it was expected but I gave up that idea pretty quick. "What ifs" add weight. Heavy food is heavy, buy light weight stuff if possible. Sounds obvious but it's not as easy as it sounds. Also, I ended up figuring out that cooking in the morning for me was a bummer. I switched from oatmeal to power bars or Nutella with pecans wrapped in a tortilla, and hot coffee to Crystal Light with caffeine or ice coffee. Worked out well. Lunch was on the run, usually a protein and a high calorie item. That's all I ever wanted. Snickers were my go to snack if I was dragging as was lots of water. Dehydration is sneaky and zaps your strength almost more than lack of food. Some go to foods are tuna and spam packets, couscous, Knorrs rice or noodle sides, tortillas or bagels smooshed flat (kind of heavy but so good), cheese, pnut butter in a small jar or Nutella, nuts, dried apricots or prunes, corn chips (add them to everything!), jerky, Power or Cliff bars, and Snickers.

    Anyway, I trimmed weight in my pack by getting rid of a few 1st aid items, heavier rain jacket, a stuff sack for my pad, a luxury item and switching to a lighter pack and sleeping bag. That got me to 28 lbs with food and water. Much better than over 30! I think at this point yall have bought your stuff so I won't bother with a gear list, but if you want specifics, just ask. It is important to be comfortable but don't bring too many luxuries. I have a pair of alpaca sox to sleep in. They are like my pets and I love them. But that's about it for luxury. Well, I do have a phone and camera and writing pad, all of which are luxuries but I consider them necessities too. Also, you will get wet, everyday, rain or shine. It will be in the form of either sweat or rain or both. I went to bed sometimes with my sleeping base layer over my hiking clothes because I was too tired or lazy to take them off. The warmth of my sleeping bag dried everything out. But not a great idea. Better to take that wet stuff off, put in or under your bag to dry them out. The humid air of the AT will not dry your stuff unless you get one of those rare days and a sunny spot.

    OK, I will shut up now. But one more thing, wear sunscreen on your neck, nose and ears. The tops of my ears got very burned and are still peeling. OUCH!! My hat protected my face but not my ears. Oh well, once again, live and learn.

  11. #591
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    Good post!

  12. #592
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    Quote Originally Posted by brancher View Post
    Good post!

    I agree. Thanks Treehugger! I think (based on what you and everybody else said) that I am hitting the trail at HF with too much food. I'll trim that down. I figure I'll trim gear as I go, as you did.

  13. #593
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    Treehugger,
    Great post; I too did shakedown hike last weekend around Mt Marshall. My observations mirror yours except that i've gone nuts about nuts! That's right; my entire food supply is my personal mix of walnuts, pecans, almonds, and coconut with a little coconut oil and salt. Throw in some power bars and some freeze dried coffee and my starting food pack comes to five pounds which like you I reckon is about 2 lbs too heavy. But using just nuts does make it easy to calibrate your weight. I did some research and nuts pack as much or more, caloric content as anything you'd want to pack. It's difficult to get more than about 3-4 cals/gm with the the usual freeze dried stuff and noodles, but my nut combo comes in around 5-6 cal/gm. It will be interesting to see how long I can endure the same thing, but if it save a pound or two I'm likely to stay with it unless I get sick. Roger the water; I sweat heavily and loose a lot of salt so hydrating and salt tabs or a must. I did a short hike of about 8 miles three weeks ago; got plenty of water, but still had massive leg cramping while i was in the bag on a 38 degree night. Not a pleasant experience; this time I brought my Thermotabs. They're a treasure for folks like me.

    Like you I got marginal knees; 3 surgeries on left and 1 on the right. I'm bringing my two knees braces (1 lb) in case it gets bad. I don't plan on wearing them unless the pain becomes unbearable, and wearing them will prohibit my knees for getting stronger. One of my objectives is to strengthen my knees and work on flexibility; 35 years of sitting on my rear hasn't done much to help recover. We'll see what happens but I'd sure like to give those braces away. You might see them and other paraphernalia along the trail if this 35 lb load gets me down. I hope you recover quickly and can join us...I know how debilitating knee problems can be...it's painful and discouraging. Hang in there and we'll be looking for you along the way.

    Charliehorse

  14. #594
    Registered User Humminbard's Avatar
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    Treehugger: Are you and I going to have matching ULA Circuit packs now that you've dropped a couple of pounds? (By the way, I just took your deluxe patella brace to the post office so you should have it soon for slack-packing.) Thanks for the tips about sunscreen; I just had a few more things frozen off at the dermatologist yesterday--the legacy of too many bad sunburns over the years. Oh well.

    All: I love hearing about gear choices. I'm starting out with my Warbonnet Blackbird XLC hammock and a gigantic lighter-than-air Cuben Fiber tarp that probably can cover us all in a downpour, and 20-degree top quilt/under-quilt combo. Still trying to decide about warm layers and rain gear. As I've discussed with some of you, I'm having trouble cramming everything into my size small Circuit pack. Both the tarp and hammock will have to go in outside pockets. I could get a slightly larger Catalyst delivered next week, but right now I'm thinking it would be best to do the best I can to reduce the bulk. Who needs food anyway? That reminds me, somebody's gotta feed the cat....

  15. #595
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humminbard View Post
    Treehugger: Are you and I going to have matching ULA Circuit packs now that you've dropped a couple of pounds? (By the way, I just took your deluxe patella brace to the post office so you should have it soon for slack-packing.) Thanks for the tips about sunscreen; I just had a few more things frozen off at the dermatologist yesterday--the legacy of too many bad sunburns over the years. Oh well.

    All: I love hearing about gear choices. I'm starting out with my Warbonnet Blackbird XLC hammock and a gigantic lighter-than-air Cuben Fiber tarp that probably can cover us all in a downpour, and 20-degree top quilt/under-quilt combo. Still trying to decide about warm layers and rain gear. As I've discussed with some of you, I'm having trouble cramming everything into my size small Circuit pack. Both the tarp and hammock will have to go in outside pockets. I could get a slightly larger Catalyst delivered next week, but right now I'm thinking it would be best to do the best I can to reduce the bulk. Who needs food anyway? That reminds me, somebody's gotta feed the cat....
    ULA Circuits rock! Yours is teeny weeny though. A Catylist might not be a bad option. Try it, you can always send it back!! You know you want it, being such a gear junkie and all. I mean I have four packs. Soon one for each day of the week! At the very least it will be less frustrating to get everything in when you're in a hurry to get the heck out of the shelter (think: invasion of boyscouts) or hammock for whatever reason. PS: You are famous!! You are in this weeks' edition of the Purcellville Gazette! You are hereby known as Trail Angel Humminbard. Rolls right off the tongue!! HA!! Now go feed your poor starving cat!!! (Really Floyd is a sweet, furry, grey basketball with legs, for those of you that now think Humminbard doesn't feed her cat.)

  16. #596
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    Thanks for the encouragement guys. I just walked about 2.5 miles on a trail near me with a big brace on one leg and a Cho-pat on the other. It felt pretty good! No pain, just some weakness. Time to get back out on the AT. There's a few stretches I haven't done yet near here. I am chomping at the bit!!! Can't wait until the FFKO! It is going to be a blast!!

  17. #597

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    I'll be on the 4 PM train from DC May 1st and will hang around town Saturday until mid afternoon. Hope to see you all there, but I'm heading south

    Don't go too crazy loading up on food, there are plenty of places to get food close to the trail. The last time I hiked PA I had a deli supermarket lunch a couple of times a week!
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  18. #598
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    I love all the tips. Thanks everyone! I'm taking notes!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    AKA "DANGER" AT Thru-Hiker Class of 2015

  19. #599
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    30 pages. Boy. We flippers are a chatty lot. Great post treehugger especially the tips about food weight. Im down to 31 pound with food and water, but I think I could do better.

    I'm going to look again at my food.

    Two weeks!?? Can't believe it. Knee deep in final art projects for class and doing last minute details like shorting my stuff and finding a place to park my car.

  20. #600
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    Less then a week for me . I get to H.f. On the 23. Clothes are sprayed,food packed and it all fits in the ULA cdt. I must not have enough stuff. Base weight is 12 lbs without food or water.

    Thom

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