Shaking Down at Sawnee

I dragged my kids almost 4 miles around Sawnee Mountain today. My pack was loaded to about 11lb, which was pleasantly manageable. I was mostly testing to see how well my knee is doing now that I’ve started rolling various things connected to my IT band. The entertainment for today were all the people that tried to skirt around the little streams of rain run-off passing along, through, or down the trail. [Read More]

Fixing my knee for 2019

People make resolutions to lose weight, sleep more, spend more time with their family, etc. My knee is something I have to fix. Limiting my AT sections to 10 miles, then taking 6 weeks off to recover is not a workable plan. I’m fairly confident it’s an IT band problem now and that there’s greater than zero hope of resuming overnight hikes. I got a foam roller for Christmas as one of my best hopes of a resolution. [Read More]

Clothing choice of the retired

At the overlook for Cowrock Mountain, I met a lady who was doing AT section hikes in her retirement, chatting with people about where they were from, and doing a bit of mini trail magic by offering to take photos of couples at the overlook. I got caught up in talking to her and left the overlook without a photo. Much of what I took away from talking with her was her choice of wardrobe, which I hold in higher regard since she has roughly twice my life experience. [Read More]

#OptOutside 2018, cold, then hot, really cold, round and round

Destination: Hogpen Gap Today's Miles: 8.32 Start Location: Byron Reece Memorial Trail parking Trip Miles: 47.59

The best photos are really not staged. I got some staged photos today, which were good, but I’m still not ready to put my kids’ faces on the Internet. At the best photo spot of the day, we met Ben and Abby from Orlando. Ben had already taken his 10 year old son “Dash” from Amicalola to Hogpen Gap and his 13 year old daughter wanted to go, too. Ben is a den leader for a pack 242 in Orlando and we had pleasant conversation for about half the trail. [Read More]

Zero day at Desoto Falls

I planned to do Byron Reece Memorial Trail parking to Hogpen Gap this weekend, but my knee isn’t cooperating. I got an IT band strap for above my knee and took a zero about a mile away off-trail at Desoto Falls. I went about 2 miles with the whole family and wasn’t totally miserable, but I had to make the strap uncomfortably tight to make it work. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as my knee at the end of a 10 mile day. [Read More]

Blood Mountain - done

Destination: Byron Reece Memorial Trail parking Today's Miles: 10.22 Start Location: Woody Gap Trip Miles: 39.27

I told my wife yesterday that I might as well take my son back out on the trail to see how quick my need flares up, so today we hiked up to Blood Mountain. It was a really nice day, partly cloudy, with a slight breeze that wafted flower blossom smells through the air. We didn’t step on any snakes or get stung by any flying pollinators. If I could have ordered weather to my specifications, I don’t think I would have changed anything - maybe a couple degrees cooler at the peak of the day. [Read More]

Trying Wool

After the annoying acne situation I discovered with a polyester shirt on my first two days, I got a Woolx shirt, 100% merino. I normally wash new clothes as soon as I get them, but this one I wore for a day, hung, then wore for another. Both days had some good portions outdoors. The second day, I wore my Timbuk2 backpack. The shoulder straps never quite sat right by my neck, which is I think a problem with my body alignment (seriously, I’m crooked). [Read More]

Lessons learned from my first 2 days

Favorite hiking item: Purple Rain granite kilt. When I woke up in the morning, my prAna Zion shorts were just as soaked as when I took them off the previous night. I hiked to Ramrock Mountain from Hawk Mountain in the kilt and it was glorious! Everytime I took off my pack, which were more breaks than I should have needed, the waistband had to be un-bunched from activities where I had bent over, but that was tax I’ll gladly continue to pay. [Read More]

Stupid IT Band

Destination: Woody Gap Today's Miles: 13.10 Start Location: Hawk Mountain Campsite Trip Miles: 29.05

I left the trail today. I wasn’t planning to exit at Woody Gap today, I was supposed to exit at Neels Gap tomorrow. There was a water buffalo at Cooper Gap and I could see that I was down to 1.5 liters of water. I really didn’t want to clean my Platypus filter when I got home, so I loaded up with 4.5 liters (10lb) of water at the gap, saying all the time that my knee would hate me. [Read More]

First Day on AT

Destination: Hawk Mountain Campsite Today's Miles: 14.70 Start Location: Hike Inn parking lot Trip Miles: 15.95

Tonight was my first day hiking the Appalachian Trail. I started at Amicalola Falls with the whole family and after about 2 miles, the girls turned around and went back. My son drove me all the way to Springer Mountain and still ran around the parking lot while we waited for my wife to pick him up and bring me dinner.Water is heavy. I could feel my left knee protest, but honestly, I don’t want to filter any water. [Read More]