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Archive for May, 2009

Kettle Moraine State Forest—Lapham Peak Unit

May 31st, 2009 No comments

Good shakedown today. 8 miles through the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Morine State Forest.  Lots of up and downs.   Much of the trail is considered an “expert” trail for cross country sking. It is wide and even has lighting in some parts.  Good day for hiking. Cool, no bugs, sunny:) Below is a photo of me from the top of a look out tower.   Had full pack on with about 30 lbs. Felt good, no problems with feet.  Slight stiffness all day in the back of my right leg but since it didn’t get worse, I’m not worried about it.

Bill at Kettle Moraine State Forest

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Devils Lake

May 27th, 2009 No comments

OK, took a mid-week hike. Odd for me but a friend at work is trying to get in shape for an Alaska hike and asked me if I wanted to hike with him. We took off after work and headed up to Devils Lake.

We hiked the East bluff for about 3 miles. I had a full pack. Didn’t weight it but I would guess 35lbs or so.  Went up a trail called Potholes. Trail followed a number of very worn out “cups” in the rock faces called “potholes”. Kind of cool. Suppose to be pre-glacier era.  It rained/drizzled for the 2+ hours we hiked. The first part was a quite steep set of stairs cut into the rock as it climbed perhaps 300 feet to the top of the bluff. Nice climb. Trial gets used a lot so the rocks are actually cemented in place. Once you get to the top, you find that much of the trail is actually paved. I assume this is to keep erosion down.  I would have been a nice view from the top but we were under cloud cover and we couldn’t see much.  Path back was via railroad tracks. Gravel was not fun to walk on.

Anyway, things went well. Feet were dry, legs felt strong and pack was comfortable. Even my rain gear keep me dry.  Plan on hiking this and more of the same park in two weeks with Parker.

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First Hike of 2009

May 25th, 2009 No comments

Took a hike today around Yellowstone Lake State Park today with Parker (brother in-law).  I didn’t keep track but I’d say we hike about 4-5 miles. I carried my new pack with about 20lbs in it.  When I first put the pack on, I was concerned about the fit and how this pack, had less foam and such over it’s non-lite weight brother. However after hiking, at leastwith the load I was carrying, I think it will be fine.

Wore my new boots today. Overall, I’m giving the a 7 out of ten. I did not get any blisters but my pinky toes still felt a bit of a pressure on the side. I also need to get taller socks. Looking at getting some “Darn Tough” socks as I heard they were good.

Highlight of the day was as short hike down a side trail where we met a couple who was look trough some binoculars across the lake. Turns out they were looking at an eagles nest with 2 chicks. They let us take a look too. It was really cool.

Legs and all felt good but the trail was mostly “rolling” so it won’t compare to the AT. 

Read some blogs last night about hikers who hiked the part of the trail I’m about to hike. Perhaps my thoughts of the tougher hiking being back in GA are not quite as accurate as I originally believed….I’d better get to the gym and work those legs.

I hope my tent comes in this week. I’d like to get a full pack loaded and see what we are at. Should be less than last year!

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Getting in shape

May 20th, 2009 No comments

Ok, I really don’t think I’m in the same shape I was last year at this time. Got to work harder at loosing weight (less to carry on the trail).

Took both 1 person tents back, ordered a new one from Big Agnes. Wider, same weight and has door one side, not end.

Took boots back and ordered size 9. I hope they won’t be too big but I thought the 8.5 was just too tight after my foot swells up a bit.

Did daily plan on where we might stay. Looks like we should be able to get to Erwin on Friday, perhaps Thursday if we push a bit. Planning on 1/2 zero day in Gatlinburg and a stay and resupply in Hot Springs. Food will be 3, 4 and 5 nights.

Not much left to get. Food/snacks.  Still don’t have camp sandles. Looking at VibramFiveFingers.com…could be fun.

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New Boots

May 13th, 2009 No comments

I finally got some new boots. Vasque Breeze XCR. I had to order them from REI as my local REI store does not carry the wide sizes. I had them on for the last our and am wondering if I should have gotten them a 1/2 size up as they are snug on the arch. Plenty of toe room however with the wider size.

I also bought a new tent! Yes, I had already done this but I saw one from Big Agnus set up and on sale at REI and I think I like it better than the REI brand I got last month. So, I guess I’ll be sending the REI one back. 

Bought some new shirts and socks for the trip. Also got new filter for MSR water filter. Need to decide if I should replace it here or bring this as a spare. 

Bought some Mountian House food. Probably more than I need but it was on sale and perhaps I give it to Al if he ends up going with me.

On that note. it looks like Al will be joining me so I have to decide what to do about tents. I guess the two person tent would be better but what if we get separated or he bails at the last minute, we then I would like to have the single person tent.

Found a new small pouch that I can attach to my pack. Hoping it works a little better than the homemade thing I had last year. Still, one should come with the Osprey packs…

Starting to get a bit worried that I have everything in order (and I don’t).  Looks like we may take a jog down to Gatlinburg on day four.  The may be a full or partial zero day but it will be a nice break.  The problem is that if I want to get to Erwin on time, we will have to make up that time! Two 20 mile days?  On the bright side, we only have to carry 4 days food up the long uphill climb on the first day out of Fontana.

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5 Weeks and Counting

May 8th, 2009 No comments

Well, I’ve been really busy at work and it has been keeping me from focusing in this years trip.  But, it’s really time to get things in order.  I’ve been looking for a new pair of boots. I’m trying to find a “wide” version but it seem like many manufacturers are overlooking us with wide feet.  I was in VA over Easter and went to a nice outfitting store and tried on about a dozen or so boots. Nothing in wide but it gave me a chance to see the construction of them. I also went to my local REI and tried on a pair of Keen boots. They are not in wide but do have a large toe area and felt good. Ok, but I’m not sure they are going to be the right boot for the trail. I’m heading back tomorrow to try on some Vasque and Lowa boots. The REI website shows they stock these in wide.

I ordered and received my new Therm-a-rest NeoAir bag pad. This weight the same as my old one but 1) is full length 2) is thicker. Yet it weighs the same! Only down side is that you have to blow it up.  Well worth it. I bought the “regular” size but thought about getting the large. Not that I needed it longer but it 5″ wider (and weights more). The extra width would be nice for my elbows when sleeping on a shelter floor. I decided the extra weight was not worth it.

Spoke to  my buddy Al last week. It seems he is really planning on going with me this year! 

Need to order sleeping pad liner for my Montbell bag. Of course Montbell has a new “spiral” bag that is even better that the one I got last year (and cost $80 more). Weighs a little less for the same rating bag. They don’t offer it in #5  rating (40°).  Need the liner as I was really cold in this bag when it got down to <50° one night last year. I’m worried that the liner will limit the ability for the bag to stretch which makes it so comfortable.

That’s it for tonite!

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