Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Appalachian Trail Overnight Hike

This past weekend, we took the little guy out for a little overnight backpacking adventure. We did 6 miles in, and 6 miles out in Shenandoah National Park, on the Appalachian Trail. We started at Jenkins Gap, and made camp at Gravel Springs Hut.

While I would have liked to spent more than a night in the woods, I'll take what I can get. We definitely had a blast.

A few random notes from our adventure:

  • The Appalachian Trail continues to be a really fun and family friendly place to backpack. It's well marked, the shelters provide a nice stopping point, and you're typically never to far from civilization if you need to abort the trip.
  • Backpacking with a little one requires one key essential: a Sherpa. Shira carried all our little one's gear (and has a surprisingly large amount of it) and all our food; David carried my sleeping bag, pad and clothes and all shared gear (like the tent and cookware); and I carried some of my own stuff and a 28lb 21 month old. We looked like we were heading out for a week.
  • For 10 days, leading up to, and including the day of the trip, the forecast called for severe thunderstorms. Luckily, the storms never appeared. We got about 15 minutes of rain. Note to self: don't trust 10 day forecasts.
  • We tried out a Pocket Chainsaw, and while it was durable and managed to cut wood - it was absolutely exhausting to use. I'm thinking this is probably a dud.
  • I love my new Fozzils ThinkFLAT dishes. The cup weighs nothing, held up fine with both hot tea and oatmeal, and slid into our child carrier. As far as I'm concerned, it's a winner.
  • For the first time, my brother used a Lightload Towel. I suggested he machine wash it, as I did with mine. Turns out, machine washing his version shredded it. I contacted the good folks at Lightload, and confirmed what I had learned: they no longer recommend you machine wash them. They were nice enough to send me a replacement for my oops.
  • I used my buff both to keep warm at night, and then soaked in a a cold stream to keep cool during the day. I felt a bit like a walking advertisement for Buff Wear, but hey, the product actually works.
  • Our little one did spectacular on the trip. It took him a little longer than usual to go to sleep, as he alternated between loving the tent and fearing it. But, once asleep, he slept the whole night. He ate like a champ, got nice and dirty, and behaved himself around the fire. He even managed to flirt with some of the ladies that were staying at the same campsite. He's such a player.
  • See that photo below of David starting a fire? He did it in one match, to his credit.

Some photos - all in all, a most excellent trip!

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