Monthly Archives: October 2011

Our First Steps on the AT

Saturday we went on a little spontaneous trip North.  We went to go looking at all the cool things in Mountain Crossings, the one and only store that sits right on top of the Appalachian Trail.  Once we were there, I couldn’t resist walking just a little way up the trail.  We started at the white blaze that can be seen painted on the side of the store and walked north about fifty feet.  I know it’s not much but I was excited to get to see even this small section of the trail we hope to walk in its entirety someday. 

The store itself was just as exciting.  It was a really cool thing to get to actually see some of the Ultralight products in person and actually get to check them out with my own hands and eyes.  All I have to say is Mont Bell jackets look a lot more durable in person than they sound and ULA packs are huge!!  Yeah I did some Christmas dreaming… 😀

After we were done there, we drove over to Helen, Ga for dinner where we ran into a crowd.  Helen is modeled after a traditional German town, and while it is a little hokey, they get a huge crowd for Octoberfest.  The town was crowded but dinner was great!  All in all a fun mini getaway.

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

So in one of my very first posts called Tarp vs Tent I talked about shelter options and what some of my favorites were and which ones I didn’t like at all.   I pretty much had decided that hammocks were a non option.  Well now I find myself opening my mouth and inserting my foot.  I was recently convinced to make a mock up hammock from cheaper fabrics and try it out.  Well I gave it a chance and with the tips and tricks from the helpful people at Hammock Forums I figured out that I actually LOVE the hammock!  I have also learned that hammocks are great Make Your Own Gear projects and if your weight is low enough, which isn’t too hard to do, you can make a really low weight hammock.  So I’ve been converted to the world of Hangers.

One of the things I’d like to bring up is that Hammock Camping is about compromises and if you don’t feel that the rewards are worth the losses, then it’s not for you.  This was initially the reason why I just dismissed hammocks, but until you have actually tried the comfort that is a hammock, you can’t honestly weigh the pros and cons.  I felt that the comfort was not worth the weight but without actually knowing what the comfort level was, I was just guessing.  Once I actually constructed my own hammock and tried it out I decided that the comfort level was absolutely worth a second look.  In my second look I crunched the ounces and found that I was actually only 1/2 lb more than a ground shelter.  For me the added comfort and great nights sleep is worth the extra weight.  This is one case where I am more than happy to stick my foot in my mouth!

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