Month: June 2013

June 16, 2013 (part 1)

After refueling and talking we decided to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway and see what we could find, we quickly found a near deserted NPS campground at Doughton Park (MP 240) and selected a flat spot to deploy the Flippac. We cooked our second freeze dried meal (beef stroganoff) and hit the hay (warmer since the truck had my fleece liners) I slept great, I really think the Flippac is the most comfortable camping mattress I have used. 

June 16, 2013 (part 2)

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Happy Fathers Day, we got up late, eat breakfast and visited the Brinegar Cabin, learned a lot about life in the area and started south on the BRP, I have not driven this section before and we went slow, stopped at several over looks and exhibits before reaching 421 outside Boone and heading back to REI to return the packs and getting home for Fathers Day Cake!

June 15, 2013 (part 1)

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I had gone back and forth on what to pack and chose my summer weight sleeping bags since the lows were supposed to be in 60s…. but it was much colder and neither of us slept wonderfully. We did sleep in. My bear bag survived any bears, but not a mouse, it got into the bag and chewed through half our breakfast choices. I had over packed food (after the kayak trip a couple of weeks ago) so no worries, we dried out the dew soaked tent and sleeping bags and started back on the AT.

The first part of the day promised 2.5 miles of steady climbing to reach the grass covered Stone Mountain at promising vistas, but we crossed a horse trail that cut about a mile off and followed a ridge. I was glad we did, we ran into a herd of free range cattle and quickly made the landmark called, “The Scales”, an old corral and stopped for a long snack and chatting up other hikers.

It was here we decided once again to change our plan and hike another horse trail called the Crestview Trail, we were told Pine Mountain Trail was mainly tree covered and the Crestview Trail, while rockier and exposed had wide open vistas. It seemed an easy choice and in the end the right one, with in a quarter mile we saw our first Rhododendron ponies. The Rhododendron ponies are feral ponies that roam freely. This group was just hanging out and rolling in the dirt.

June 15, 2013 (part 2)

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We hiked for another couple of miles when we ran into a great spot for lunch in a secluded grassy spot under trees and no sooner than we sat down a second herd joined us, including a colt. 

We ate and watched as a young stud repeatedly chased off another male, dodging kicks the whole way. As much fun as it was we left when a group of hikers from the DC area walked right into the middle of the herd, one guy with his iPhone in one hand and the other outstretched with food (where was that young male when I wanted him)

June 15, 2013 (part 3)

I somehow missed my planned water resupply spring on the way to Rhododendron Gap. The view from the big rock at Rhododendron Gap is worth climbing. We jumped back on the AT heading back towards Grayson Highland State Park.  We crossed Wilburn Ridge, with amazing vistas and made our way through the “Fatman Squeeze.”

The trail was quite busy with day hikers headed towards Mt. Rogers or Rhododendron Gap, and we had more better time than I expected, (plus I have a HUGE blister on my toe) so headed to the truck and debated out next move

Fatman Squeeze

 A rest stop north of the Gap

Don’t tell Sam the ponies bite and kick…..

June 14, 2013

For Father’s Day 2013 Sam and I decided to spend the weekend backpacking and the search was a memorable first hike for Sam. After searching and talking with area hikers, I chose the Appalachian Trail > Pine Mountain Trail loop starting from Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia.
Friday afternoon came and Sam and I headed to REI to rent backpacks (the one I own was last used in 1988) and buy some freezed dried food. After a careful fitting, we drove the 2.5 hours to Grayson Highlands State Park, loaded out borrowed packs and started out just before 5pm. The goal was about 2.5 miles descending down the Little Wilson Creek valley to the Wise Shelter. A group of through AT hikers were already camped there (they got a late start… by 2 months?) so headed toward Little Wilson Creek and found a wonderful field. The trail was getting dark, (woods dark, where the day still has hours of light, but the woods don’t) so we quickly set up the tent, hand a bear bag and boiled water for dinner, tonight it was Chicken Alfredo and Good and Plenty.

June 11, 2013

One of the items I am selling to pay off my new toy is a set of older Toyota rims with worn out tires, I said the tires are done, this is for the rims. I get an email a day, “can you send me more pictures of the treads?” Yes but they are worn out!