Backpacking Trip Update 2012
My son and I are planning a backpack trip this Labor Day Weekend. I am planning more updates as the trip grows nearer.
We have decided to go up to the Chattahoochee National Forest which is located in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. I am familiar with much of the Georgia side of the National Forest. I have backpacked many times in Georgia. We are thinking mainly about the Benton Mackaye Trail or maybe some off trails.
We used to do the AT (Appalachian Trail) but over the years the AT has become somewhat of a backpacker super highway. I go out in the wilderness to get away, especially from our modern society and the people. I like to be alone, in this case alone with my son and my thoughts. I don't want to drive hundreds of miles to get away and find myself stuck around several backpackers. A few years ago we were hiking the AT in November and we camped a mile away from a shelter and there were probably around 20 people camped out at the shelter. A mile away we could still hear them most of the night.
Well any way I have ordered maps for the North Carolina part of the National Forest and maps for the Benton Mackaye Trail. An interesting side note is that Benton Mackaye was the driving force behind the AT becoming a National Trail.
When I go out I usually put together my own food. But this year I found some Mountain House Freeze Dried Grub at a discounted price. This year I thought I would try some prepackaged food. I will still put some food together. I will make some jerky, a spicy Gorp and a Sweet Gorp (Gorp = Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts). Most seasoned backpackers have their own favorite Gorp mixes. Gorp and Jerky is great for snacks and lunch when you are on the trail. I will bring my standard block of cheese wrapped in cloth. Cheese has a little weight to it but it is a nice addition and as long as it is not to hot will last a long time on the trail. On the first night I like to indulge by taking a steak I have frozen and a potatoes. By the time I am ready to eat the first night the steak is thawed and I have a steak and fried potatoes. That is a welcomed meal and since it is the first night the added weight is well worth the meal.
What I will make for sure are my morning drinks. I don't drink coffee much so that is not a problem on the trail. What I do like on the trail in the morning is chocolate carnation instant breakfast. I get myself a ziplock bag and add my instant breakfast and a some powdered milk. When I am ready to drink I heat up water and add it to my mix (in a cup, not the ziplock bag). The added powdered milk adds to the consistency.
I bought myself a new trowel for the trip. My old one had a crack in it. My last trowel had seen one to many backpacking trips and developed a crack. Going to the bathroom is tricky in the woods and you don't want your trowel to snap when you need it. I like this trowel from Coghlans. Most of their camping supplies are to much for the trail but they make a great trowel. It is light weight, strong, easy to see in the dark and the price is right. If you are wondering what you need a trowel for I would recommend the book How to Sh*t in the Woods: Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art by Kathleen Meyer. This book has everything you will need to have a pleasant, yet environmentally friendly bathroom experience in the woods.
I like to take my trowel and wrap the handle with a good amount of Duck Tape. It proves to be a nice handle and you never know when you will need Duck Tape on the trail. Duck tape is an indispensable tool on the trail. Duck Tape makes a nice trowel handle and the bright orange trowel it is easy to see in the dark making your duck tape easily accessible. That orange trowel kinda sticks out.
When I go out on the trail I always take a lighter. Lighters are great for toilet paper (see previous paragraph). I like to know that I can light my stove or have a small fire in the rain. But I also like to know I can survive in the woods. So I usually bring a fire starter and tinder to create my own fire when I am on the trail. This year I decided on a blastmatch byUltimate Survival. The blastmatch works great for a guy with one arm. And since I have one arm I can use the blastmatch with one hand where as most fire starters you need two hands. They can be tricky. I can usually figure out a way to use them but the one handed method is much easier and I don't swear as much. As far as tinder goes I usually just usecotton balls that I keep in a ziplock. (ziplocks are a great way to keep things dry and weight little.) Bringing cotton balls means that I don't have to scrape bark of a tree or tear up a cat tail. I like to leave the wilderness as I found it and create as little damage as possible.
Thats all I got for now. More updates in the future.