Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making my Gear!!

As those who have read my previous posts know I experienced some hip difficulties with my practice hike. I have decided that in ordered to reduce these issues I need to lighten my load and get rid of the hip belt.  So I decided to try my hand a gear assembly. I ordered a Ray-Way Backpack Kit. Reading about them suggested that the pack would weigh around 9 or 10 ounces, yup that would lighten the load, my Gregory Diva (a great pack) is 5 pounds 10 ounces or so. I also thought I would try some of their other gear to lighten even further. I can't comment yet on the rest but I can say that the Backpack is worth the effort. Assembly went fairly smoothly, and the finished product is as light as expected. Another plus, you get to pick the colors, not that I don't love my big red Diva, But I am hiking to raise awareness and funds for Pediatric Stroke so I wanted purple. The collar is purple and will be more noticeable when recently stocked with food. Oh and my husband let me get a purple rain coat so I'll be rocking a Purple rain coat and Purple rain skirt on those rainy trail days. 

I am getting excited as the days pass, 23 days till I leave for my adventure and 25 till I'm hiking toward Maine. Making progress on the drop boxes and will post a list with ETA's as soon as possible. I've been juggling planning this trip with work and homework, so this is what is left to do before I go:
  • finish Ray-Way gear (quilt, bags, and hat)
  • an essay
  • an article review
  • 2 finals
  • several regular homework assignments and conferences
  • finish packing the first half of my drop boxes.
  •  update my blog with a final gear list and mail drop addresses.
  • spend time with my family.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My New Lightheart Gear Solo Tent

OK, so I know I posted a while back about tarp camping, well I changed my mind.

Who knew there were so many little cottage businesses out there making great gear. Apparently other hikers, that's who. So after reviewing some "classmates" gear choices, I am changing.
I ordered a Lightheart Gear Solo tent and I would like to say first that Marc at Lightheart Gear was great. I don't have adjustable trekking poles so he made a custom ridge pole. I really love that this tent uses my trekking poles for setup and still has plenty of head room. A few minor adjustments myself and wa la:

Test Run Completed

OK so I am late in posting this because the test run was last week but....

Having completed a test run I am happy to know that my layer system will work, and I don't feel I was missing anything important. I did loose my buff while out there, and I would love a real pillow and maybe a smig more padding under my torso. Oh yeah, I also ordered gaiters, got something in my shoe once or twice. Anyway here's the rundown.

The view from Antietam Shelter

Deer Lick Shelter
I started at PA 16 and hiked past Deer Lick Shelters and Antietam Shelter in to Tumbling Run Shelters for the night, this only took a few hours but I wouldn't have made the next shelter and I was rethinking my plan to tarp camp, plus I was sore so I stayed the night. As I got there early and cooled down quickly, I got to bed early (like 5pm).
Antietam Shelter

Tumbling Run Shelters

Now that sounds kinda early but I got up at 3 and was packed and out of there by 4am. I hiked up out of Tumbling Run to Chimney Rocks before sunrise and got to watch the sun come up (at some point in the hike up I lost the buff). Having been sore before the hike out of Tumbling Run my right hip quit, now as it turns out you can hike up and down the mountain on pure determination. I got picked up at Snowy Mountain Rd. This test hike ended early but I did hike 9.7 miles in less than 24 hours.

And the folks at High Mountain Haven were great!! They helped me with a shuttle out and came and got me after my hike, they have a menu for those in need of real food.

Some other things I noticed were:
    I got this blister in the middle of the bottom of my right foot (maybe part of the reason for my hip issue)
    I need a front pocket for food and my guide, I am sure I didn't eat enough.
    I need more freedom of movement in the hip area when hiking (rest of the reason for hip issue)
    I would sleep better less restricted
    Oh and sleeping alone in the shelter kinda creeps me out, I think I'll be stealth camping more.

I have sense taken measures to improve on some issues.
     I will be attempting to assemble a Ray-Way pack and quilt, and will attempt to make a few front pockets for Nalgene's and food/guide.                        
     I also ordered a Lightheart solo tent and titanium stakes (seam sealed based on advise from another hiker).
     Oh and gaiters
     And a new buff
     and a stick pic

There are a few things I am still considering like:
     a second pad
     Oh and a pillow yet to be determined...

I also have been packing my drop boxes and in general driving my husband crazy!

39 more days!! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Test Run...

It is late, but I am doing a test run later and wanted to post whats going on. I have gotten a few more pieces for my trip mainly my wardrobe. I am budgeting it so I went to some promising looking layers and some were on clearance. Later today I am driving up into PA to a hostel and getting a ride out to the trail. I will hike bake to the hostel and spend Saturday night. Then I am headed home Sunday morning to finish home work, so I'll have to post how it went.

Oh yeah, I weighed my pack with the food for this trip and equipment (no water or the clothes I'm gonna wear) it came to 25 pounds. Oh and that includes a text book...cause I gotta get some homework done.