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Thread: The 2013 hiking thread

  1. #51
    Member WHORG's Avatar
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    A good friend of mine decided to hike the AT back in 2011. I helped him prep his gear - leaning towards the ultra-light technologies . . .

    He was a younger guy - in good physical shape . . . and I reinforced the fact that he should both get his feet and back in supreme shape starting in November (he started/departed from the southern trailhead in Georgia on 3/8/2011). He was pretty confident . . .

    In mid April he gave up somewhere in southern VA:

    1. He left too early - ran into some wet/snowy/cold nights in early to mid March - this was explained to him. Of course the weather over here (the Piedmont) was gorgeous - but he was up in the mountains in the western part of the state, where things are much different. He did have good gear, but a tad too much.

    2. Blisters took him out for 6 days right after that . . . I think his boots got soaked and he came off-trail for nearly a week in southern NC.

    4. Weight - he ended up sending lots of shit back home. There are several spots on the AT close to mail centers & post offices for situations like this. Plus he hated his alcohol stove too (I offered my titanium propane stove to borrow) - but sent home stuff like a camera, his tarp shelter (he opted for an ultra light, fully enclosed tent), etc . . . not easy things to decide.

    It's not an easy undertaking from many sides - - - and something I could never do at this stage in my life. To each their own . . .

    I still enjoy a robust day hike, and have wonderful gear to make things both enjoyable and safe.

    ~JK

    3. Solitude: perhaps the biggest reason of them all. He originally thought that he'd meet many others of "like mind" - but leaving early brought on the doldrums. If he stuck it out - he "might" have ran into section hikers up in MD and NY, Mass, etc . . . but he had many long stretches of solitude to reflect on these things.
    It's always a good night when the "heat" shows up ~Pepe

  2. #52
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    It would be interesting to know the ratio of through-hikers who manage to finish vs. dropping out. I would imagine there's a huge drop-out rate.

    I have 2 hiking friends who did a through hile (one in 2009, and one in 2011). They explained it to me this way:

    ** Could you do a 7-day backpack?

    ** If so, you can do the AT.

    ** They hike for about a week at a time, then lay up at a town for anything between 1 and 4 (or occasionally even 5) days, in a cheap motel. That way they can do their laundry, catch up on mail and phone calls, rest, tend to blisters, etc.

    I agree with Josef - it ain't for me, even if I could take that kind of time away from family and earning an income. I tip my hat to those who try.

    BTW - did anyone read Bill Bryson's book "A Walk In The Woods", about the time he almost completed the AT? An interesting read, and quite funny in the first half, and educational in the second half.
    Regards,

    Duncan

    This place has become the "Cheers" of the Internet.
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  3. #53
    Member WHORG's Avatar
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    I remember reading somewhere that about 10-15% of the thru-hikers actually complete the hike - with the majority being north bound. One guy did it in less than 50 days too - that's unbelievable - over 40 miles per day average - craziness.

    Kyle (my friend) started too early if you ask me - - - early/mid March is still to rough in the higher elevations, even down here in the south.

    Longest hike I ever did was 7 nights/8 days in the Adirondacks - it was actually lots of fun because all of our day-end destinations were beautiful spots on "swimmable" water, etc. It makes a big difference (especially hiking with women) - if things are as comfortable as possible, with the ability to fully clean-up at day's end, nice meals, campfire, totally enclosed shelters, stuff like that.

    We always avoid mud season (spring) in the high peaks - then avoid black-fly season directly after that. Things usually clear up in late June through early October if you have the right gear.

    Oddly - my daughter (now 8 years old) is the real "outdoorsman" of my two kids = she loves getting dirty, planting, gardening, building camps in the woods, collecting bugs/worms/slugs, and of course backpacking. Both kids are great surf fishermen now that we're close to the coast and spend many summer weekends on the water . . . but my son (now 14) still loves a good day hike up where I grew up (Adirondack park) - especially when the destination has nice views and elevation.

    I'll do a section hike of the AT next summer with her - as we've spotted the trail crossings at numerous highway locations on our travels to western NC, and her interest is now peaked. Research will be done soon . . .

    My friends back home have had a Siberian Husky kennel for decades now - but have only recently began to dog-sled. Talk about a great time ! ! ! They purchased a 29 acre lot across the hollow from their primary home & kennel location, where they've built horse stables (they own 3 horses too) - and cut miles of sledding trails through the woods. They will soon relocate the kennels to the new property, and build a log home over there starting next summer - - - life is busy, plus they've had a wicked long winter this year.

    I was going through my hiking stuff with my daughter last weekend (sold off some titanium cookware) - and she spotted by bear canister: a giant clear acrylic cylinder with a screw top = painted bright orange (by me) with lots of scratches and bear slobber marks. She was fascinated by the fact that actual bears played with this thing over the years - and was asking me all about it . . . pretty cool

    Later . . . ~JK
    It's always a good night when the "heat" shows up ~Pepe

  4. #54
    Member ItalProgRules's Avatar
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    My Moab trip is a go. 5 days, 4 nights in the beautiful red-rock desert right off the Colorado River.

    We're doing it in early Sept. when the daytime temps are at least reasonable...OK, by comparison they are reasonable! Days in the upper 80s, nights only down to about the mid-40s.

    This is going to be a great one.
    High Vibration Go On - R.I.P. Chris Squire

  5. #55
    Member WHORG's Avatar
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    Do you need bear cannisters for the Moab hike at all ???

    Lots of the popular trailheads in the Adirondacks are staffed by rangers (day time only) - so anybody going to the interior for any extended stay MUST be carrying a cannister now. Bear bags (with rope to hang on high tree limbs) were used when I was young . . . but mother bears now know to send the cubs out on the smaller/thinner limbs to retrieve the cord and bag.

    I used to use a Kevlar bear bag before the cannister - it worked well but if the bear got it - everything inside was either pulverized or squashed - so I switched to a cannister:

    http://www.campsaver.com/bear-canist...FVLNOgodGH0AiQ

    Never had an issue with the cannister - plus it served as a nice small stool around the campsite - until we moved it away from the campsite before bed time, about 200' away to be exact. I painted it bright orange so I could easily find it the next morning, as the bears would bat it around a lot and try biting it open too. I mostly placed it inside a bushy/brushy area - so the bears would not knock it farther away - or down a hill/cliff or somewhere it could be lost.

    I've seen bears stretch out quite well, reaching for a bear bag dangling from a narrow dam walkway - - - everything - - - they are comical to watch, but are serious animals.

    We used a quad approach to back woods camping:

    Site 1 - where we slept and had our entertainment campfire only (nothing was ever cooked or eaten there)
    Site 2 - where we cooked and ate our meals and snacks
    Site 3 - where we used the toilet
    Site 4 - where we put the bear cannister

    All of these sites were approx 200-250 apart in a large rectangular area.

    Separating our duties in this manner never caused us issue with any wild animals in over 4 decades of back woods adventures . . .
    It's always a good night when the "heat" shows up ~Pepe

  6. #56
    Jefferson James
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    At 50 years of age it's pretty unlikely I will ever do the California section of the Pacific Crest Trail but DAMN, that would be so much fun.

    When I'm not actually working, surfing PE or Facebook, I like hanging out here and reading some journals; you have to hunt around for some cool ones but some of these journals have taken me a couple of weeks to finish reading. There are some fantastic writers out there.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/

  7. #57
    Member ItalProgRules's Avatar
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    No bears in Moab. Just snakes. And scorpions.
    High Vibration Go On - R.I.P. Chris Squire

  8. #58
    Jefferson James
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    Quote Originally Posted by KerryKompost View Post
    Yeah, my bullshit-o-meter is going into the red with this story...snip... My gut feeling is these two went out there, did some mind-altering drugs, freaked out and got separated and wound up in the thick of the chapparral, confused and lost.
    I knew there was something wrong with their story.

  9. #59
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    The reason I could not go to ROSfest this year:

    I just finished a mega-hike today.

    This is an event that takes place every 2 years - it's called the 'Hike Across Maryland', or the 'HAM'. It is the segment of the Appalachian trail that crosses Maryland. We started at 'PenMar', a park on the Pennsylvania / Maryland border, at 5:00am, with head lights because it was still dark. And we hiked to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, 42 miles away, across the ridge of South Mountain - i.e. hilly and rocky. I finished it in about 12 and a half hours (exact times haven't yet been published - although I'm home already, some people are still hiking - the cutoff is 9:00pm.) I actually had to run about 6 miles of the trail to get that time.

    It's a supported hike - with control points about every 6 or 7 miles, with cutoff times etc., and which also have water and Gatorade etc. Only 125 hikers qualified for the HAM, and I believe about 20 dropped out or were pulled off. (Again - numbers to be confirmed.) For that 125 hiker race, it took 80 volunteers!

    Although I have an idea of my time, I don't yet know my position. I think it was around 37th or 38th out of 125.

    I damaged my knee and had tremendous problems coming down hills - but pushed on nonetheless. I suspect I shoulda stopped, but pride and all that ...

    Anyway - I've no doubt I'll be limping and feeling sorry for myself for the next few days
    Last edited by Duncan Glenday; 05-16-2013 at 12:23 AM.
    Regards,

    Duncan

    This place has become the "Cheers" of the Internet.
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  10. #60
    Four of us attempted that hike back in the late 70's, only three finished.



    One guy messed up his knee, probably a previous injury he re-injured. I had to carry my pack up a hill then go back and carry another up for someone older than I. It was a fun weekend. The trail went through peoples yards back then. Got some nice slides of that trip.
    NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF STUPID PEOPLE IN LARGE GROUPS!

  11. #61
    Member WHORG's Avatar
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    We've done some crazy long day hikes in the ADK's.

    One time we were up in Avalanche Pass - but parked down in Tahawus and were coming back to the car in the dark with flashlights & headlamps. Tahawus is a ghost town way back in the mountains - originally a mining settlement in days past . . . but is now a very popular trail head for southern access into the high-peaks interior. We would often return from long day hikes in the darkness - this was nothing new.

    Almost to the car - maybe 1/4 mile or so . . . and there's this guy perhaps 10' off the trail just staring at us - - - he's absolutely filthy with a massive beard and long hair - tattered clothing. We stopped and asked him if he was OK - no response - just staring. We had 3 men and 2 women in our group - so we felt pretty good about any possible altercations - but nothing happened. We quickly made it to the car and split back home . . .

    There are lots of fugatives (every now and then) up in the ADK's from downstate - especially in the abandoned towns like that - - - lots of buildings still remaining with wood stoves inside, tons of old tools laying around, abandoned cars, etc. There's lots of places to hide in a 6 million acre park - - - and many old structures from the old days. My Dad remembered when they shut down the Tahawus operation and moved the town/schools/everything to what now is Newcomb (NY) - pretty remote.
    It's always a good night when the "heat" shows up ~Pepe

  12. #62
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Four of us attempted that hike back in the late 70's, only three finished.

    One guy messed up his knee, probably a previous injury he re-injured. I had to carry my pack up a hill then go back and carry another up for someone older than I. It was a fun weekend. The trail went through peoples yards back then. Got some nice slides of that trip.
    Ed, there's still one point where it goes through peoples' back yards. It's just 2 houses, and they don't own the property the trail is on - they back onto it. (It's immediately south of the I-70 footbridge.) We always try to walk through there as quickly and quietly as possible, to avoid any disturbances. As I understand it the trail was there before the houses so the residents don't really have any rights to complain, but we try to play nice anyway.
    Regards,

    Duncan

    This place has become the "Cheers" of the Internet.
    -- Rushfan

  13. #63
    Kansas is a band! Hunnibee's Avatar
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    I'm going to work on getting in shape and start doing 5k walks again. Now that I live in Oregon's Coast Range, I am surrounded by some great hiking, so I'll be doing lots of that, too. The tallest mountain in the range, Marys Peak, hovers above my town (Corvallis) and I'm told it's an easy climb. From the top, you can see three mountain ranges, several volcanoes, and the Pacific Ocean! It's my goal to do it before my first 5k in late July. I have a lot of "Alaska fat" to lose and now I live in a temperate zone where I can hike and do outdoorsy stuff all year around. Other than my arthritic knees, I have no excuse to sit on my fanny! My first hike will be the Peavy Arboretum, not much elevation, but I need to get my wind back!
    "The mountains are calling and I must go" - John Muir

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  14. #64
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Good luck, Melissa, I hope you manage to get out all summer long!

    About 6 years ago, I had arthritic knees (and hips). I asked the doctor what to do, so I could start doing sports etc. he said there was not much I could do, and I should not do any difficult athletic events.

    So I proved him wrong by taking a double-dose of Glucosamine / Chondroitin / MSM / Collagen every day, and by doing gym exercises that deliberately put high stress on those joins (heavy squats etc.) because the body does a lot of self-repair under that kind of stress.

    Judging by my post #59 above I'd say that my method works, and the doctor was wrong.

    (Follow my advice at your own risk )
    Regards,

    Duncan

    This place has become the "Cheers" of the Internet.
    -- Rushfan

  15. #65
    Member WHORG's Avatar
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    I should try the Glucosamine / Chondroitin therapy myself. Maybe that would reincarnate my backpacking adventures to a certain extent . . .

    Duncan - will you make to Progday this year?
    It's always a good night when the "heat" shows up ~Pepe

  16. #66
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Josef, I always promise that I'll try, but there's always something important on at that time.

    I'll know closer to the time.
    Regards,

    Duncan

    This place has become the "Cheers" of the Internet.
    -- Rushfan

  17. #67
    Kansas is a band! Hunnibee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Glenday View Post
    I proved him wrong by taking a double-dose of Glucosamine / Chondroitin / MSM / Collagen every day, and by doing gym exercises that deliberately put high stress on those joins (heavy squats etc.) because the body does a lot of self-repair under that kind of stress.

    Judging by my post #59 above I'd say that my method works, and the doctor was wrong.
    Once I get an official diagnosis, I will consider some OTC stuff. There could be something else wrong with my knees, so I want to follow proper channels. Right now, Advil and ice are working well.

    Hey, I might be at Progday, too, if I can get that Friday off. It will make up for missing RoSFest.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go" - John Muir

    Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/justwords810

  18. #68
    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    After a fustrating year with various health problems I finally managed to get myself out in the mountains again and do some hiking. Not the most obvious destination: Fan Mountains in Tajikistan. My fitness left a lot to be desired but I somehow managed.

    Here are a few shots:









    If anyone is interested, here's the full set:
    https://plus.google.com/photos/10743...70698460478337

  19. #69
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    Wonderful pictures!

  20. #70
    Jefferson James
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    Wow! Beautiful, congrats on getting out there, looks like a fantastic trip.

  21. #71
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Great pics - looks like an interesting place!

    What took you to Tajikistan?!?
    Regards,

    Duncan

    This place has become the "Cheers" of the Internet.
    -- Rushfan

  22. #72
    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Glenday View Post
    Great pics - looks like an interesting place!

    What took you to Tajikistan?!?
    BAsically the unknown.

    One look at the map and you see that it is full of high mountains but very little people still travel there. It is also very nice to combine the wild nature of Tajikistan with the silk road towns in Uzbekistan.

  23. #73
    Thread necromancy!

    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  24. #74
    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    Long time since I've seen this conversation active. Oh yes Hiking....

    My last real hiking trip was Tadjikistan in 2013 (see pictures above) I mentioned physical problems. I now know the cause of these problems: Severe wear on my right hip, moderate wear on my left hip..... and I am *only* 48. Hiking is probably my nr 1 passion (yes, even over prog) so I have to say I felt pretty frustrated about it all.

    Anyway ; I got a hip replacement earlier this year which got rid of the pains that bothered me for years. The problems with my left hip are still manageable so I am actually considering doing a multiple day hike again next year. Got my eye on the Zagori region in Greece next june.

    First up is a trip to Antartica, which will only include small 'hikes' around penguin colonies ;-)

  25. #75
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    Long time since I've seen this conversation active. Oh yes Hiking....

    My last real hiking trip was Tadjikistan in 2013 (see pictures above) I mentioned physical problems. I now know the cause of these problems: Severe wear on my right hip, moderate wear on my left hip..... and I am *only* 48. Hiking is probably my nr 1 passion (yes, even over prog) so I have to say I felt pretty frustrated about it all.

    Anyway ; I got a hip replacement earlier this year which got rid of the pains that bothered me for years. The problems with my left hip are still manageable so I am actually considering doing a multiple day hike again next year. Got my eye on the Zagori region in Greece next june.

    First up is a trip to Antartica, which will only include small 'hikes' around penguin colonies ;-)
    Damn, you really get around!

    I hope the problems with the hip(s) end soon, and that you're able to hike.

    I've only done one 22km hike this year because my weekends have been taken up with cycling activities (some ultra distance, some races, some training, and some were just social rides with friends). But I'm looking forward to getting on the trails again this winter. It's been too long
    Regards,

    Duncan

    This place has become the "Cheers" of the Internet.
    -- Rushfan

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