WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$5 for printable PDF, AVAILABLE NOW. $9 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1

    Default 18 Days with a Blown Thermarest

    This backpacking trip starts out on the Benton MacKaye trail at Beech Gap on the NC/TN state line. It's notable for having my newish Thermarest Trail Pro pad blow seams and crap out on me by Day 2 into Day 8.


    18 DAYS
    WITH
    A
    BLOWN
    THERMAREST
    TRIP 218
    June 20-July 7, 2022

    HIGHLIGHTS
    **BACKPACKERS MADISON AND MEG ON DAY 1
    **BRYAN DELAY SWINGS THRU WATAUGA CAMP DAY 5
    **TWO HOURS WITH BRYAN AND NATHAN DELAY ON HANGOVER MT DAY 6
    **BACKPACKERS STEVE AND RIN ON HAOE PEAK
    **TRAIL PRO PAD BLOWS OUT AND FAILS ON DAY 8
    **TRAIL 55A NAKED GROUND ALTERNATE IS EXPLORED
    **HIKING KILMER MEMORIAL LOOPS DAY 10
    **ATLANTA BOYS IN NAKED GROUND GAP DAY 12
    **9 HORSEBACK RIDERS ON BOB BALD
    **PAPA D (TROLL) ON NORTH FORK TRAIL DAY 14
    **NORTH FORK TRAIL COMPLETELY CLEARED EXCEPT FOR ONE HELLISH BLOWDOWN

    TRAILS (**overnights)
    Entrance Beech Gap TN/NC State Line
    Fodderstack Ridge (BMT) Heading North
    **Cold Spring Gap**
    Trail 149 Heading North
    **Dean Camp on 149**
    Trail 149 Backtrack Heading South to Barrel Gap
    149 (Old BMT) Connector up to Fodderstack Ridge
    **Snow Camp South of Cherry Log Gap**
    Trail 54A(North) Heading South to Bob Tee
    Seven Mile Ridge to Bob Bald
    **South Col Camp on Bob Bald**
    Seven Mile Ridge Heading East Past Naked Ground Gap
    **Watauga Camp**
    Seven Mile Ridge Heading East to Hangover Mt
    7MR Backtrack West towards Haoe Peak
    **Haoe Tree Camp**
    Seven Mile Ridge Bactrack West to Naked Ground
    **Landon Camp in Naked Ground Gap**
    Naked Ground Trail Down
    **Middle Dog Camp by Little Santeetlah Creek**
    Naked Ground Trail Down
    **Low Dog Creekside Camp**(2)
    Naked Ground Trail Backtrack Heading Up
    **High Dog Camp**
    Naked Ground Trail Up to Naked Ground Gap
    **Landon Camp in Gap**
    Seven Mile Ridge Heading West to Bob Bald
    **South Col Camp**
    7MR Heading West
    Trail 54A (North) to Fodderstack Ridge Going North
    North Fork Trail Heading Down
    **North Fork Crossing 1 Camp**
    North Fork Out
    South Fork Trail Up
    **White Rock Camp Next to South Fork Creek**
    South Fork Trail Backtrack Down
    **Donner Camp**(2)
    South Fork Trail Out to Citico Creek Roadwalk up to Beehouse Gap
    Roadwalk to Indian Boundary Road Jct with Skyway and OUT.


    My summer trip begins at Beech Gap on the BMT with my 80-85 lb McHale pack as I head north on Fodderstack Ridge trail to Cold Spring Gap.


    While in Cold Gap on Day 1, I run into these backpackers pulling an intricate wilderness loop from Maple Springs/Horse Cove on the NC side. They are Meg and Madison.


    My crappy Trail Pro pad begins to delaminate and has only 81days of backpacking under its belt. Piece O' Crap. The glued foam valleys are detaching into the air pocket ridges.


    I leave Cold Spring Gap and take Trail 149 to North Fork Creek and then backtrack up the old BMT Connector to near Cherry Log Gap and take Trail 54A(N) to this spot west of Bob Bald---I call it Bob Tee.


    I reach the top of Bob Bald at 5,300 feet and enjoy the solitude and cooler temps as the purpose of this trip is to "get high on a mountain" and avoid the furnace heat of TN valley.


    The best backpacking chair is rolling out my Solar ccf pad and using my pack as a lazy-boy leaning backrest. Boots of choice are Zamberlan gtx Evo Lites.


    I set up camp on the Bob and go east exploring and find a couple fir tree blowdowns near camp.

  2. #2

    Default


    I leave Bob Bald and head east along Bob's Wall (part of the BMT) and hit several sections like this---bramble walls requiring copious clipping with my Felco pruners.


    I reach Hangover Mt and meet my friend Bryan DeLay pulling a couple nights with his son Nathan. After our visit I backtrack west to a nice CS below Haoe Peak at 5,240 feet.


    While on Hangover Mt I go explore its spring and find it basically bone dry as it takes me 20 minutes to filter a half liter from this mud pool and it clogs my Hiker filter.


    I leave Hangover Mt and backtrack west and stop on Haoe Peak for a breather.


    While on Haoe Peak I run into these two backpackers---son Rin with his dad Steve---pulling a Deep Creek/Haoe Lead loop.


    The pretty ridgetop trail between Hangover Mt and Naked Ground Gap.


    Day 8 of the trip and my hateful Thermarest begins its Death Cycle.

  3. #3

    Default


    Any increased air pressure and the pad blows out seams to result in this---and it doesn't make a "great pillow" because all of the cushioning below the bulge is going into the bulge so the more you blow it up for comfort the bigger the herniated bulge becomes. Like this---taken at the end of the trip---




    Luckily I carry an emergency NeoAir on every trip just in case and it provides comfort off the ground altho it's too narrow and like sleeping on a tootsie roll.


    I backtrack west to Naked Ground Gap and take Naked Ground trail steeply down to the Kilmer/NC side of the wilderness and stop by this landmark tree on the trail.


    Naked Ground trail is very narrow and very steep so the microspikes save my butt on descent as they grip like backpacker's cleats.


    I reach the bottom of NG trail by Little Santeetlah Creek and pull a zero day camping and go on a dayhike from camp to check out the big Kilmer trees.


    Playing around with Joyce Kilmer.

  4. #4

    Default


    I leave my low NG trail CS and backtrack up NG trail and near the top of the tough hike there are 8 swtichbacks to ease the pain. I rest here where switchback 5 becomes SB 6.


    In Naked Ground Gap I camp with two backpackers from Atlanta. This is Ofir preparing to head out.


    Todd and Ofir and dog Scout in Naked Ground Gap.


    I return to Bob Bald and find 8 or 9 horses with their riders.


    I leave the Bob and head down 54A(N) and get to Cherry Log Gap and descend North Fork trail and meet Papa D aka Troll, a backpacker I haven't seen since 2008.


    Here's Papa D on Bob Bald from 2008.


    I reach the bottom of North Fork trail and set up in a pile of new blowdowns.

  5. #5

    Default


    I check out the damaged North Fork footbridge.


    A small trash fire on Citico Creek on Day 17 of the trip.


    Day 18 and I leave Citico wilderness on a 5 mile roadwalk in the rain for my evac pickup point near Indian Boundary Lake.

  6. #6
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-25-2016
    Location
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Age
    73
    Posts
    769

    Default

    Great report. Super pictures. I always enjoy these.

    I've never owned a Thermarest. They seem expensive for what you get. I go with cheap pads. My last cost me about $40. It lasted a part of the AT, a Zion NP hike and all of the 800 mile Arizona Trail (where it snowed but I was fine with the pad) before I got rid of the pad, because it couldn't hold air anymore (multiple leak sites). I'm trying out a more expensive ($80) Ultralight 17 oz, Gear Doctors ApolloAir pad. It was great on the PCT, but I only took it 50 miles before I got injured. I'm hoping to get more miles on it later this year to see how it does.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-22-2015
    Location
    Cumming, GA
    Age
    53
    Posts
    132

    Default 18 Days with a Blown Thermarest

    Excellent report and thanks for the trail clearing!

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Great report. Super pictures. I always enjoy these.

    I've never owned a Thermarest. They seem expensive for what you get. I go with cheap pads. My last cost me about $40. It lasted a part of the AT, a Zion NP hike and all of the 800 mile Arizona Trail (where it snowed but I was fine with the pad) before I got rid of the pad, because it couldn't hold air anymore (multiple leak sites). I'm trying out a more expensive ($80) Ultralight 17 oz, Gear Doctors ApolloAir pad. It was great on the PCT, but I only took it 50 miles before I got injured. I'm hoping to get more miles on it later this year to see how it does.
    I require inflatable air-cushioned sleeping pads for my backpacking trips---for comfort of course. All of them are inflated bags waiting to blow or get punctured---and so the Plan B emergency pads like NeoAir etc and ccf.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Excellent report and thanks for the trail clearing!
    Thanks for the comment.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-21-2008
    Location
    Bangor, Maine
    Posts
    179

    Default

    I've always enjoyed your trip reports and pictures. No doubt I'll be using them to plan something down there one day.

  10. #10
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-07-2017
    Location
    Georgia
    Age
    29
    Posts
    257

    Default

    Enjoyed the report. I saw you on Bryan Delay’s video a couple weeks ago, that was cool. They make a wider version of the NeoAir Ex-lite you might check out.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-22-2015
    Location
    Cumming, GA
    Age
    53
    Posts
    132

    Default 18 Days with a Blown Thermarest

    Tipi, I saw you on Bryan Delay's YouTube video...you're a rock star! Impressive seeing you manage to go from sitting to standing with that full pack on!

  12. #12

    Default

    There were several posts on various sites about a big bear going into tents on the Bob and naked ground recently. As a matter of fact, on alltrails a woman was staying right at that site on the Bob when a bear would not take no for an answer. Any sightings? I chose an alternate trip this year but dang if I missed ridge walk (except hacking through all that crap).

  13. #13
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-23-2019
    Location
    Harpers ferry wv.
    Age
    58
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Tipi, I saw you on Bryan Delay's YouTube video...you're a rock star! Impressive seeing you manage to go from sitting to standing with that full pack on!
    Indeed tipi a rock star and a rock amongst hard!
    Impressive with 90+ lbs and 70+ years old!
    Rock on tipi thanks brother!

  14. #14
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-23-2019
    Location
    Harpers ferry wv.
    Age
    58
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Tipi, I saw you on Bryan Delay's YouTube video...you're a rock star! Impressive seeing you manage to go from sitting to standing with that full pack on!
    Indeed tipi a rock star and a rock amongst hard!
    Impressive with 90+ lbs and 70+ years old!
    Rock on tipi thanks brother!

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by putts View Post
    I've always enjoyed your trip reports and pictures. No doubt I'll be using them to plan something down there one day.
    There's at least 400 miles of trails south of the Smokies for the interested backpacker---so you never have to get a permit or pay cash money or tell the Tent Cops where you'll be sleeping every night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    Enjoyed the report. I saw you on Bryan Delay’s video a couple weeks ago, that was cool. They make a wider version of the NeoAir Ex-lite you might check out.
    I had the large NeoAir All Season pad once and it's nice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Tipi, I saw you on Bryan Delay's YouTube video...you're a rock star! Impressive seeing you manage to go from sitting to standing with that full pack on!
    That's the hard part---the easy part is walking with such weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by martinb View Post
    There were several posts on various sites about a big bear going into tents on the Bob and naked ground recently. As a matter of fact, on alltrails a woman was staying right at that site on the Bob when a bear would not take no for an answer. Any sightings? I chose an alternate trip this year but dang if I missed ridge walk (except hacking through all that crap).
    I was camping on the Bob last year and actually saw that problem bear walk by my camp. No big deal. I ended up spending three days at that spot. Bear probably has no interest in my vegan diet.

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •