Hiking – Next!

My old scale broke. I guess I should have expected it – it was a cheap Walmart scale. My wife sells crafts and stuff and has to weigh stuff for postage. When the scale broke she came to me in true woman form with her laptop, and deliberated for 20 minutes on the merits of various scales. She handed the laptop to me and asked my opinion. I looked at two on the list for about 10 seconds and clicked “order now” beside the slightly more expensive one. I was done with cheap scales. Discussion over.

I use the same technique picking out greeting cards. My wife hates watching me pick out greeting cards, because my theory is the shopping cart should never really come to a complete stop. Find a card with a pretty picture on the front, glance at key words inside, and you’re done. The recipient doesn’t know whether you’ve spent 10 seconds or 20 minutes picking it out. What’s really important is the message you write inside to go with it. That’s why the blank page is there.

So – I weighed my new underquilt thing again since my old scale was apparently suffering impending death. It came out to 1 pound 6 ounces, which sounds good. I then weighed my old lower temperature quilt. It came in at 1 pound 12 ounces.

For those of you with 33 month old children, that prefer to overly complicate measurements: it comes out to 22 ounces and 28 ounces respectively. Not as much of a weight savings as I really hoped. I’m considering opening the foot end, and removing the extra side panels of insulation, leaving just the extra layer over the back. BUT – I’ll do that AFTER my next hike. Since I’m doing a full up test in a few weeks. My test takes me back near Erwin, Tennessee.

Organizing a hike is pretty tough to do. It’s really kind of a pain in the ass. I told a friend of mine last week I was probably going somewhere. We started kicking around ideas, and someone else joined the discussion. It took 427 messages and 4 hours over two days, along with 23 blurry pictures from hiking books, and we came back to the A.T. again.

My goal by the end of the year is to have the entire section from I-40 to Davenport Gap completed, a distance of approximately 230 miles. I have several 2 and 3 day sections planned, but I’ve been missing 20 miles into Erwin, TN since March. It a section that crosses an open field called Beauty Spot Gap. BSGap

The above picture was apparently taken right on Beauty Spot. Credit goes to Google Images and Right-Click/Save-As. It presents a chance to tent/hammock out right on a gorgeous bald mountain and catch a sunset and a sunrise. I’m hoping the weather is nice. For example, this weekend the temperatures are supposed to be highs in the 70s and lows in the mid 60s. Where I live it’s like 95 degrees in the shade. I’m really looking forward to trying out the new quilt and walking with my friends, old and new, covering some 20 miles of the AT overnight.

I’m looking at trying some star trails and long exposures overnight. It all depends on the weather. I’ve been practicing a while with my DSLR camera, I think I can do some halfway decent stuff if it doesn’t rain, and the clouds behave. One of my favorite finds recently is the Appalachian Trail Weather site. Just click on the trail, the state, and the shelter you are closest too, then check out the forecast. Its great because a lot of the trail isn’t near a town, or it’s way above town so the weather can be drastically different. Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.20.57 PM

Another site I like is timeanddate.com’s moonrise/set calendar. If you’re planning a hike and want to know whether to expect a moon or not (especially involving photography of stars) it’s information is pretty valuable. In my case, I’ll be looking south/Southeast most of the night. For example, if I was going on August 26th, a photograph of stars needs to take place between dark and around 1am. At one frame every 30 seconds, thats about 4 hours of pictures, or 480 frames. at 30 frames/second, thats only 16 seconds of star motion. If the moon were coming up at 9pm, I could forget it. Looking directly into the moon would totally wash out the stars.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.26.12 PM

The biggest challenge is always getting everyone to agree on a place and setting up cars. There are usually a lot more “go-ers” than drivers. I.e. “I want to go, but I don’t have a spare car”. Most of the time I just post a hike on our group and say, “this is where I’m going, you can come or not.” It works pretty well, but sometimes I throw it out there that I’m taking suggestions. Usually it’s much harder to come to a consensus that way.

I’m not usually a summer hiker, but I’m looking forward to escaping the relentless South Carolina heat.

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Author: theosus1

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