Tuesday, March 27, 2007

With pictures this time

Hello again! I'm in Franklin, NC now about three days walk from Hiawassee. I am largely seperated now from anyone who was seemingly a hiking partner but its been really good to be soloing some, and I've also ended up walking with a number of new people who seem very cool. After my last post, I went and walked about 4.5 miles to Plum Orchard Shelter where I crashed for the night, even though it was only about 3:45 in the afternoon. I had just wanted to get back out in the woods rather than stay another night at the shelter. There was only one guy there when I arrived and he was quite a character. He was only carrying about 8 pounds. He had no tent, no sleeping bag, and no food! He was on a fast, the only thing he had eaten in the last 7 days was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a coke. He isn't thru-hiking but he is trying to get to Erwin, TN. He also said the F word more than anyone I have ever met. Very odd. Meeting him brings to mind the fact that I have met a number of very interesting people out here. First, there was the no it all on Springer who was wearing an actual Tartan kilt, then there was Patriot who wore a Tri-corner hat and carried a tomahawk (and a hand gun I have since learned). This is of course not including my own partner who suggested macing himself as a defense against bear attack. After the short day I did about 13 to the top of Standing Indian Mountain where we had a beautiful late afternoon view and sunset, and where we woke up in the middle of a cloud. The following morning I impressed myself and knocked out a 19 miler with Airic, all the way to Rock Gap shelter where I had what I believe to be the first totally complete night's sleep I have had thus far. I'm in Franklin now but I think I'll head back out later this afternoon. I'm feeling pretty spry. By the way the images at top are me and Skyhiker (now Chico) at the Springer terminus and one of my sunrise shots from Blood Mountain. Until next update.
-The Breadless Horseman

Saturday, March 24, 2007

First Week

I'm done with my first week on the AT! It has been an interesting week too. My partner and I started from Amicalola falls in what felt like sub-freezing weather and summited Springer in about 4 1/2 hours and high spirits. On the mountain we met up with another pair of hikers, Pootz and Uncle Buck. Originally we were planning to spend the night at the Springer Mountain Shelter but we were there by 2:30 so we decided to push on a few more miles instead. As it turned out we ended up at the Stover Creek Shelter with Pootz and UB and man was it COLD. It got down to about 21 that night and I ended up sleeping in a hat and face mask which was a first for me. We also discussed the effectiveness of macing oneself when faced with a bear in h0pes of making yourself taste less appetizing. Needless to say it was a rather odd night. The next day was fairly uneventful except for the fact that my feet were unbelievably sore all day. That night we spent the night at a rather full Gooch Mtn. Shelter w/Pootz, Uncle Buck, Scoot, Pickle, North Star, Ninja, Patriot, Tar Heel, Sublime, Lloyd, and Jet James. I was in the zone on the third day, and might have summited to Blood Mountain Shelter on my own but the rest of my crew was wanting to stop at Wood's Hole where we spent a very pleasant evening and rose at 5:20 to night hike Blood Mountain and watch the sun rise. It was beautiful. One of the best views I have ever seen. We then knocked out the remaining couple of days to spend the day and night in Neels Gap at the Walasi-Yi. The next day we took the wrong trail for a ways on some mountain, which cost us some time but did provide some very funny pictures of Skyhiker and Sublime fighting with plastic light sabres we found left at some ancient camp site. Other than that the only thing that happened was Skyhiker and I became seperated and have hiked seperately for the last couple of days. The next day was fantastic it was good hiking with beautiful views, but more importantly it was my first encounter with trail angels. Two hikers from last year Slick B and Holly Trout had a campsite with food, drink, and well played music set up at the site of the Old Cheese Factory (don't ask, I have no idea). It was a fantastic night of hanging out, talking, and laughing with the two angels, Eagle (who is on his third consecutive hike), Sugargrits, Nine Iron, Larry, Airic, Pootz, Uncle Buck, and Sandwich (a woman who was carrying 38 pounds and was only two days out from Springer!). The next day we woke to a very damp dawn and have since pushed on through a very hot day of hiking into Hiawassee where I am currently residing at the Cloud 9 hiker hostel and trout fishery. In fact I am about to head back to the trail so I need to go. Thanks for paying attention to this venture and I'm sorry I have no pictures yet, there was no good way to post them. I will try to remedy that at my next entry.
Until then,
The Breadless Horseman

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I leave for Dahlonega, GA tomorrow around noon to start the trail itself on the following morning. I really can't wait. Anyway, I thought some people might like to see what I am taking with me so I thought I'd post a gear list and picture. Right now I'm on the "taking the kitchen sink" side of things and I fully intend to pare it back once I get out there and really figure out what I'm going to need. So here we go:
1 pair North Face conversion pants
2 icebreaker skin 200 longsleeve wool shirts
1 patagonia capilene 2 t-shirt
1 pair icebreaker skin 200 long johns
3 pairs wool socks
2 bandanas
patagonia R1 pullover fleece
patagonia down sweater
arcteryx Alpha LT rain shell
OR rain pants
pack cover
OR gloves and liners
neoprene face mask
acrylic skull cap
Salomon GCS boots
Leki ultralite ti trekking poles
Prolite 4 sleeping mat
mont-bell down hugger bag (25 degree)
small thermarest camping pillow (I know, I'm a pansy)
Six Moon Designs Lunar solo (ultralite one man tarp tent)
titanium pot and cup
MSR Simmerlite stove, 22oz fuel bottle, windscreen
heavy duty plastic spork
medium packtowel
2 nalgene bottles
30 ft 2.75 mm cord
Petzl Tikka plus (headlamp)
MSR Sweetwater water filter and siltstopper attachment
first aid kit
emergency blanket
windproof lighter
camp soap
cell phone and charger (off, buried in my pack, town use only)
small bible
paper back
Canon s3 IS digital camera
and everything goes into an: Arc'teryx Bora 80 backpack
Base pack weight: 29.4 pounds