These trekking poles made by black diamond have helped me in three ways:
1. Saved my knees
2. Saved time by helping me up steep hills.
3. Saved my life from life threatening falls
The stove i use to boil water is the snow peak stove. I like the fact that is is compact, lightweight, and easy to use. For fuel i use canister fuel distributed by brands like mountain safety research and jetboil. My cup that holds my water and meals is a titanium cup that holds about 2 and a half cups of water. Its very lightweight and it came with a lid. Overall, this setup is easy to use and inexpensive.
The boots Ive been wearing on the trail are the Vasque breeze gtx 2.0. I like these boots because they are comfortable, breathable, and have plenty of cushion to lessen the impact on your feet while going downhill. Also, the tread is a plus. I dont like the fact that the boots are goretex. They take forever to dry and they seem to keep water in rather than out. I would not recommend these boots for winter hiking. More of a three season boot.
The tent Im using on the trail is a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1. All of the parts which include the tent, footprint, rain fly, stakes, and the one pole system weighs in at around two pounds. I like this tent because it is lightweight, keeps me dry, and has a bug net to keep mosquitos and black flies at bay. Even though its a little pricy (350.00), Ive had no problems with the tent and i can get replacement parts no problem. The only thing i worry about is the durability. The fabric is very thin, so you have to be careful not to tear it. There are a couple of small holes in the side. I would recommend this product to a friend.
Fall has finally arrived! This is my favorite time of year and it has finally started to cool off. The hot and humid weather is pretty much gone. I’m getting my cold weather gear shipped back to me.
These past few days have been some of my favorite days on the trail. Let’s start with the pastures. The majority of walking has been though farmland. I saw many cows chomping on grass. They just looked at me as I ambled past. Also, I passed I-81 which goes not far from my home in York. For the most part, this part of the trail was really well maintained and it was easy walking.
The generosity of people has blown me away. Two days in a row, I got a meal payed for. I ate a one pound burger with fries in Atkins and burritos in Marion. Each meal was covered by a former through hiker which really impressed me. I will now be paying it forward sometime in the future. Trail magic was plenty in his area too. Things like soda, cookies, and little Debbie cakes were a treat!
One of my favorite parts of the trail was Grayson Highlands. Not only was I exposed on high ground, but the colors of the leaves were magnificent, I got to see wild ponies, and I saw the most beautiful sunset. It was blood red. I ended up hiking in the dark for a while and set up camp under a lone tree by a road.
Then next day I reached Damascus. This is a turning point. I am 3 miles from Tennessee! So far I’ve hiked 1,719 miles. I have roughly 466 miles left! The final phase is about to begin!!! I’m so thankful for this opportunity! Hoping the rest of the trip is a memorable one. God bless you all.
Now that I’m halfway through Virginia, I finally feel that I’m closer to the end than I’ve ever felt before! This week was filled with many highlights and great scenery. I got a panoramic view of the mountains and Roanoke on top of McAfees Knob which is the top five most photographed places on the entire trail. What I sight to behold!
The shelters that I stayed at the next few nights had people in them so I was grateful for the company. I’ve been isolated from other SOBOs for many weeks now. However, I know that they are getting along just fine.
When I stayed in Pearisburg, I stayed in this motel with very clean beds and my room even had a 50 inch flat screen tv! I’ll be honest…I watched the Parent Trap on ABC family. It felt good to get a shower before I carried on the trail. It was quite climb out of Pearisburg.
One of the things that I admired about the trail this week was the rhododendron tunnels I walked through and the many brooks I crossed. Nothing satiates the soul more than watching a frothy brook tumbling over rocks through dense groves of rhododendron.
Another thing I liked was walking through pastures. The scenery reminded me of home. Fall was quickly approaching and the leaves were changing fast! The shelter I stayed in on the eve of the first day of fall was an enclosed shelter on top of a grassy bald. I’ve never seen so many stars!!!
This week has been adventurous and I now have only 565 miles left!!!
The backpack Im carrying with me on this trek is the Osprey Atomos 65. This is a great pack because its very durable, comfortable, and has lots of space to store things. Durability in a backpack is important and this backpack is made with an abrasion resistant material to keep it from ripping wise open. Comfort is also important and this backpack has lots of padding in the shoulder pads and hip belt. The last thing is space. This pack has many compartments. There is the main body, an upper compartment, water bottle holders on the sides, hip pockets, and two decent sized compartments on the backside. Overall, Im very impressed with this backpack. The only thing i dislike about the pack are the straps. They always fray and I’m constantly having to adjust them. I would recommend this pack to a friend!
This week of hiking has been very eventful to say the least. Lets start out with the mountain they call ‘the priest’. This is a mountain over 4000 feet which is my first one since mt moosilauke in the white mountains of New Hampshire!! When i stayed at the shelter, it was foggy and windy. Kind of eerie and i was glad to be moving on the next morning. For the next couple of days, it was really cool and windy. Also, it rained a lot which to me is better than hot and humid. The change of seasons is upon us. Fall is my favorite season. This week also had lots of climbing. My legs were quite sore after some days. Just two days ago, I saw an opportunity to do some big milage and set my own personal record. I did 30 miles in one day into the town of Troutville, VA. For the last 10 miles, a lost dog followed me. It was a yellow lab. Sort of reminded me of Abbey! Anyway, i enjoyed my rest day in town. I treated myself to some good lodging and food. However, Im ready to get back on the trail. I have 725 miles left! Ive completed 1461 miles so far!! I plan to be in Tennessee on the 28th of September!! That will be a major turning point.
Until next time!
I will be reviewing my top five items in my gear list. These items have served me well.
1. Osprey atoms 65 backpack
2. Vasque breeze gtx 2.0 hiking boots
3. Black diamond trekking poles
4. Snow peak stove
5. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 tent
This past week has been filled with many good memories that I will share with people for years to come. To start things off, I got to walk through Sky Meadows State Park which gave me the opportunity to meander through meadows filled with many different types of vegetation including clover, switchgrass, and the like. There were so many different aromas, that my nose started running like crazy! I think allergy season has started. This excites me, because this time of year is on the cusp of the change of seasons and the autumn effect will start to unravel.
As I approach Front Royal, I can’t help but smile as I enter the blue ridge mountains in the National Park. This is some of the best trail on the entire trail. It gets a lot of use from other day hikers and families so it’s important to keep the trail well maintained. Another great thing about the park is the waysides. These are stores placed at various intervals along the trail that sell food and drink, including cheap bear. I was able to enjoy a Yuengling for $1.15! Anyway, I hit all of the stores because there won’t be anything else like this for the rest of the trip. It was nice to chill out and talk to people who were curious about my adventure. This blogging thing is really starting to show its benefits.
Next I would like to talk about some general facts about this week of hiking on the trail.
1. I stayed in six huts. In the park, they call them huts instead of shelters.
2. I covered 138 miles in one week. I believe that is my best distance so far!!
3. On September 7, I walked 26 miles in one day, which is the most miles I’ve done in one day on the trail.
4. I crossed Skyline Drive, which is the road through the park, nearly 30 times.
5. I was at an elevation of over 3800 feet at one point in the park which is the highest I’ve been since the white mountains (I think).
Some highlights that occurred this week:
1. Saw my second rattlesnake of the trip.
2. Saw momma bear and two cubs playfully climb trees while I filled up my water bottles from a cold spring.
3. Met two southbounders that started on June 3rd, which is the day after I started my trip.
4. Walked on the best trail I’ve ever walked on for consecutive days.
5. When I got to Waynesboro, I ate at the best Chinese buffet I’ve ever eaten at! I had three full plates of lunch food and one plate of dessert. All for the price of $7.15. No wonder hikers rave about it.
I can truly say that this past week has been one of the best weeks on the trail. From observing a variety of wildlife to talking to different people about the trail to constantly thanking God for this wonderful opportunity has fulfilled me beyond my imagination. It is the outdoors where I can find myself and my life purpose. Hiking for over 1300 miles in the woods has given me a lot to look forward to in life. On top of everything else, I got to keep in contact with Rebecca who makes me very happy and keeps me motivated when times get a little tough. I want to thank everyone for the support and I can’t wait to see what the rest of Virginia has in store for me!
P.s. I have 857.5 miles to go!!!
Osprey atmos 65 liter backpack
Black diamond trekking poles
Vasque breeze gtx 2.0 hiking boots
3-6 days of food
2 liters of water
Waterproof stuff sacks
Big agnes fly creek ul 1 tent
Marmot ultralight 40 degree down sleeping bag
2 pairs of nylon shorts
2 pairs of polyester shirts
2 pairs of antimicrobial underwear
3 pairs of wool socks
First aid kit
Waterproof match kit
Gps tracking device
Water purification tablets