Day 9 and 10

Day 9 and 10?

To be honest, keeping track of days is difficult. Not sure what day I am on, but tonight I am sitting at the Top of Georgia hostel. We were going to push on, but it was really nice and the people here were very helpful, so we decided to stay. Tomorrow we should be at the GA/NC border, and claim one state as done.

One of the workers here said GA is about a 4 on the scale of 1 to 10. The Smokies, at least the first half are about a 6. I have another 100 miles to get in shape for that. Bob, the proprietor also told us that ½ of the people who say they are thru hikers quit by Hot Springs, NC, a mere 275 miles into the journey. I am hoping that is the first place I can spend a couple of days relaxing with Leslie.

Yesterday was hard for me. Not entirely sure why, but I think it had to do with losing Croc. Nothing against Crooner or some of the others I have met, but Croc and I were closer in age and could relate on a different level than me and the younger generation. I will miss him and Debra as the days go on.

Despite my post on FB today looking for performance enhancing drugs, today was better and I am looking forward to tomorrow. It will be good to claim that first state.

Wanted to do a facebook live yesterday for my nephew’s birthday, but was in an area of sketchy connectivity. I’ll do another one soon. Thinking of doing one around campsite setup so you all can see what “home” looks like on a given night. That might be kinda cool I guess. Not sure what you all want to see.

Not going to update the pages until I have a computer, but for those following along yesterday’s soundtrack wss Lucinda Williams and today’s was Mother Nature.
Hope all is well and with God’s Grace, tomorrow we knock out our first state.

-Samaritan

Shelters

The shelters on the trail are pretty cool.  They are generally three sided structures with a wooden floor well off of the ground.  I know I have taken a picture with my good camera, but unfortunately do not have one on my phone to share.  Each shelter is rated to a certain number of hikers and they are first come, first served.  Generally I would prefer to be in my tent, but occasionally the shelters can be a good thing.  To be honest, I thought being on the trail at the tail end of the season, that they would be less than full on most nights, but so far almost every night, wherever I have ended up, there has been at least 20 people.  It is a very busy trail.

Each shelter has a shelter log book which hikers can sign, or write a paragraph or share a story.  Some of them can be very entertaining, but I am speaking only from my experience of reading pictures of them posted online as, absent the log at the top of Springer Mountain, I have not touched a shelter log book.  The main reason I have not is that I do not wish to get Norovirus, which goes around the trail community every year.  About two weeks ago it was rampant down here where I am at right now, so I am attempting to be very careful so as not to contract the dreaded virus.  Since I have been on the trail I have not been keeping up with it so much, so not sure if it is still going on, or if it has passed.  In any event, later on in my hike I will sign the log books and share some of the funny items from the books.  But for now, safety first.

So a couple of days ago, Croc, Rock Steady and I are trying to get to Low Gap Shelter for the night.  The weather report was ugly and the temperature was only going to go lower.  At one point sleet was in the forecast.  So here we are, old guys hiking along and keeping what we think is a pretty good pace.  It was a good pace.  But throughout the day we were being passed by the younger hikers.  The ones that just power up the uphills as if there was little to no resistance.  I was even passed by a guy in his mid to upper 20’s wearing sandals and a full pack.  I don’ think he had broken a sweat yet.  Sandals.  Are you kidding me?

So the young, vibrant kids, sleep in, take their time in the morning, get there (wherever there is) quicker than we do and when they get there have more energy and stamina than us.  It hardly seems fair to be honest, but it is what it is.

Until we roll into camp. Low Gap Shelter in this case.  In the rain.  And the shelter is full.  Of the young kids who slept in.  Powered past us as if we were standing still.  Got to the shelter before the rain started (and could have setup a tent in the dry weather) and claimed their spot.  Leaving us old, tired folks to setup our tents.  In the rain.  And mud.  While exhausted.

It is not fair.  If they had to deal with what we had to deal with, they would not make it.  I am certain of that.

-Samaritan

Day 6, 7 and 8

I have access to a computer at the hotel we are at and at the moment no one is waiting.  So I will try to type fast and see if I can bring everyone up to date. Pretty sure I am covering 5/4 through 5/6, but I lost a day in here somewhere and was surprised yesterday was Friday.

We stayed at Neel Gap a couple nights ago at a place called Mountain Crossings.  It is full outfitter and it has a hiker hostel.  It was pretty decent all in all.  Mighty Mouse made it to the hostel that night, but he was beat.  He had a hard time trying to keep up with us.  In his week on the trail he learned a lot about hiking and camping, and perhaps about how painfully unprepared he was physically, mentally and with gear choices.  His sleeping bag was rated at 50 degrees.  No wonder he was freezing.  He made a great judgment call the morning of the fourth and decided to end his thru hike attempt for now and he went home.  I really think that if he spends sometime researching, acquiring the right equipment and getting into shape he might actually be able to complete the trail at a future date.  So Mighty Mouse if you ever see this, congrats!  You did more than a lot of people ever would even try and I think you learned a ton of good stuff for future use!  Hope to see  you down the trail.

This morning (the fourth) I had a decision to make.  Do I stay here (Mountain Crossings …. with nothing to do) another night and take a zero or push on (and try to take a zero at a town where there are some services).  The weather report was for rain and then cold.  I did not feel I had enough cold weather gear to successfully get through that, so I bought another lower base layer to hike in and a pack cover to ensure my gear stays dry and hiked on.  The day was beautiful until the end when it rained the last hour, hour and a half or so.  That was not terrible, but we had to setup in the rain (sucks) and I found out my tent is on its final legs as it leaked.  I have had this tent for about six years and it has served me well, but time for a new one.  Today (the sixth) I ordered a Zpacks Duplex which will be mailed to me to a place I will be one week from today.  Looking forward to my new super super light weight tent.  (swapping these out will save me about two pounds).

We spent the night at Low Gap Shelter, in the rain.  At one point Croc, Rock Steady (Debra) and I were each in our own separate tents texting each other about what to do the next day as it was going to continue to be cold and rainy.  The rain on the tents was too loud to talk amongst ourselves in the tents.   We decided the best thing to do would be to hike 10 miles to Unicoi Gap and get a ride into town to dry out, do laundry and maybe take a zero (a day of no hiking, giving the body a chance to heal and rest).  Seriously hiking in the cool and rain is no big deal.  It is only a problem when you stop to rest or have to setup in the rain with wet gear.

We got to Unicoi Gap to the best thing ever, trail magic times ten!  (Trail Magic is where people, sometimes past thru hikers, or simply just people who like hikers, setup shop and offer hikers coming by food and drink).  They had hot dogs, sausage, bacon, chips, soda and beer and coffee!  It was the most amazing thing.  I had three hot dogs, a couple of beers and a coffee.  And they were offering more!  It was cold and windy, so this was a very nice treat and is the first of potentially many trail magic moments.

After that a ride to Helen, GA and we spent the night at the Baymont Inn.  Unfortunately, while here we lost Rock Steady.  Her knee was giving her trouble on the fifth and by this morning was very swollen.  She will not be able to continue.  I fully expected to lose Croc here too then, and he was even thinking about possibly going to Ireland to hike, but I think he it going to continue on with me and a guy I call Milwaukee, since that is where he is from.  His trail name however, is Crooner.  He was singing Danke Schoen yesterday and Rock Steady was amazed he knew the song as he is in his early to mid 20’s I think.  He admitted to knowing the song only because he heard it on Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.  We all got a kick out of that.

If anyone is ever in Helen, GA I would fully recommend the Baymont.  They have been great.  We were even able to use their hose to hose down our tents which were full of mud and set them up in the back to let them dry out.  I also would recommend Big Daddy’s restaurant and tavern.  Watched the Cleveland game last night and had an excellent dinner of salmon, baked potato (loaded, of course) and cilantro slaw.  Going to go back there tonight and have one of their pizzas, I think, as I was salivating over that last night as well, or maybe their tacos.  Everything looked amazing.

It was good to take a day off today and let my legs rest, repair and recover.  The next zero is planned one week from today in Franklin, NC.  Tomorrow we have a 5.7 mile day planned, which does not sound like much, but it is basically straight uphill, then down some, then up more than the first up.  Up up up.  Welcome to Georgia.

Hope all is well with everyone.

-Samaritan

PS – I apologize for not including a ton of pictures on the blog.  It is a rather clunky process to get them in these posts.  Much easier to post them on Facebook.  Feel free to send me a facebook friend request, if you are not already, and you will get to see more pics.

Day 4 and 5

Mountain Crossings

Day 4 and 5.

In scouts when doing an extended outing with a group day 3, 4 or 5 were always the challenge for the group. If there were going to be issues, that is when they would crop up.

Going individually is not much different. By day 3 the body starts to rebel. You are sore and physically tired. This was part of the reason day 3 was so short for me. When you are physically tired and sore it begins to work on your emotions as well. When you have the physical and emotional going negative it is real hard to keep a positive mental framework. Bigfoot, in his video on youtube about the five most surprising things he found out about the AT, mentioned people quitting at Neel Gap. After applying the 3-5 day analysis it is not that surprising that that many quit here. (I am at Neel Gap tonight).

And yes, I have had my own challenges the last three days, but knowing it was coming certainly helped the mindset and I have been through this before. The best feeling is being in hiking shape. The worst is getting in hiking shape. Ah well, it is what I signed up for.

Not a ton to note about the last couple of days. I did see an awesome owl as I was going to get water two days ago. I did not have my camera with, unfortunately. He (or she, I really have no clue) and I had a mutual staring contest until I decided to move and he decided to fly away.

Let me tell you a bit about the people I have been hiking with. Croc, who I wrote about the other day and his hiking partner, Debra. They are married. To different people. Debra likes hiking and her husband suggested that she hike with Croc because he knew he was not going to go hiking. Croc is a preacher and they have known each other since high school. I lied the other day, he did not thru hike, but did section hike the AT. They are great hiking partners. They are out here for 30 days, so I could be with them through the worst of getting into hiking shape. He is a fountain of knowledge and I am trying to soak up what I can.

My trail name is settled, Samaritan. If you have not read Day 2 and 3, you missed the story. Croc named me, and after consideration, I accepted it. Not Good Samaritan…seems too long, nor GS, but just Samaritan.

I wish I had some type of Dictaphone device. I come up with all sorts of really witty or profound things while hiking but then they are gone when I sit here to type to the blog. And sorry about jumping around on topics. Editing on this thing is ridiculous, so you get it in the order it happens in my mind.

Final thoughts tonight. I spend most of the time looking at the trail and my feet. It would be so easy to trip and fall as there are rocks and roots everywhere. Hiking over this terrain makes a cracked sidewalk look like a freeway. The ground and granite looks the same here as it does in Isle Royale, New Mexico or the Rockies. This afternoon it was hot and the dirt even smelled like New Mexico. The trails are similar but the people, flora and fauna, and wildlife are different. So far great people on this trail. And great views.

Last thought. Update on Mighty Mouse. Ran into him last night and he did not know who I was. I think that is an indication of how much trouble he was in the other morning. He decided to do the trail and did no (or very little) research and does not have an outdoor background. We (Croc and I) are worried for him. We hope he decides to go home. We really do not want to read about him in a few weeks…

Day 2 and 3

Day 2 began being enveloped in the clouds. It rained slightly overnight, but more of the moisture was from the 100% humidity than anything else. Perfect hiking weather. The trek down from Springer to the parking lot was straightforward. However, due to the humidity and my ability to sweat, I could not see much as my glasses fogged up, so at the parking lot I switched to contacts. I also used my umbrella for the first time, and absent getting it to ride just right, I like it. I am sure those adjustments will happen in time and I’ll know just how to strap it on.

The goal today was Hawk Mountain Campsite, 7.2 miles. I left at 9(ish) and was there by 12:30. That seemed ridiculously early to stop for the day, but my legs were beat. Uphills kill me. I can do flat and down just fine. So I decided to rest for an hour and a half and then made dinner. After cleanup I thought I was good for a few more miles and headed onward.

I was going to stay at Horse Gap, but the next day’s early morning weather report was ugly, so instead I decided to push on to Cooper Gap where I had water. I had no intention of getting up and hiking in a thunderstorm, although plenty did. There was about a dozen folks at Cooper Gap and the early night was uneventful.

Day 3 began with waking up about 6:30 with a huge roar through the trees. Then the rain began. I knew we were in for it so I rolled over, put in the ear plugs and went back to sleep. Woke up a couple times and finally at 10:30 decided it was time to see what was going on. Sounded like maybe it was over. I got up, went across the road to gather my bear bag and was amazed that everyone else was gone save for a couple of us. When I got back, I went to talk to another guy who was up and I immediately noticed he was slurring his words and shivering. He is something like 72, never has been hiking and is doing a thru. That information was gathered later. From what I was able to get out of him at the time, he stayed on the mountain overnight wrapped in his poncho. When he got to Cooper Gap at 9 am he huddled down under his poncho trying to stay dry. He was attempting to set up his tent when I got to him but did not know how. He was soaking and shivering uncontrollably which actually is good. It is when you stop shivering that things get serious.

In the next hour we got his tent set up, got him into some dry clothing and I made him a cup of warm coffee. At that point another hiker, trail name Croc, showed up. He is a thru hiker from a few years ago and knew Mighty Mouse, the hypothermic hiker. He said they would stick around and make sure he was okay. Before I started packing up for my day we made sure he was in his sleeping bag. Unfortunately, he did not have a hat with him so I gave him my Rab beanie, which I have never used and only weighs like something under an ounce. Why couldn’t he have needed something heavier? I’ll pick up a replacement at Neels Gap. Croc suggested the trail name Good Samaritan. Certainly could be a lot worse.

From that point I hiked to Gooch Gap Shelter and decided that was enough for the day. From a physical standpoint day 3 or 4 is the worst of it. Perhaps for me this time it will be day 3. If so it only gets better from here. Tomorrow about 8 miles. Hopefully.

Now on day 4. I have parts written in my head already, but running out of power so it won’t be up for a couple of days. Forgive the editing as well please. Leslie feel free to edit these. I am sure there are misspellings, formatting issues, and other stuff. Once I have a keyboard it will be easier.

Scott

Observations of a First Day Thru Hiker

1. No matter how long you’ve dreamed of thru hiking the Appalachian Trail, leaving your spouse to begin the trail is overwhelming…and not in a good way.
2. Georgia is humid.
3. Georgia is hilly. Georgia is hard. It is nothing like Bong State Park in Wisconsin which is really flat. I do not have any uphill gear…yet.
4. In 30 days, maybe less, I will look back and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I typed out number 3.
5. Make sure you keep looking for the blazes. If you zone out and realize you have not seen one in a while, it can kind of freak you out, even if you know you’re on the right trail.
6. When the Gluteus Maximus is primarily used for sitting, walking up hills is painful.
7. The Approach Trail is gorgeous. Reminds me a lot of The Ice Age Trail around Lapham Peak. Some different greenery, but otherwise very similar. Whoever said it was nothing special needs to examine what lens they are looking at life through.
8. Tesla is very good hiking music.
9. The Georgia ridgerunners are very nice and very dedicated. So far everyone I have met is awesome.
10. The simple act of sitting by a stream and filling up water bottles can be very relaxing and satisfying.
Day 1 in the books. So far I have accomplished .2 miles of the Appalachian Trail. More to come…..
Scott

Atlanta

My best friend Cole and his wife Steph were engaged under the lit Olympic flame across the street from where we are staying.

Well, we made Atlanta and are sitting in our hotel. This is now finally becoming real for us. Someone asked me a while back how I was feeling and at that point I was in prep mode and had not really thought about it. I wanted to be done prepping last night at 6 pm. It might have been closer to 8 pm, but when I awoke at 3:30 am this morning was the first time I felt much of anything. And it was fear.

Continue reading “Atlanta”

You are going to do what?????? Are you nuts?????

Originally Posted at:  https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/you-are-going-to-do-what-are-you-nuts/

Start Day Approaches

I am less than 30 days from Springer.  Less than 30 days from leaving the life I built for myself behind and heading into four plus months (perhaps up to six months) of a very different life.  Some would say insanity has set in.  Others have said I am adding the spice to life.  Almost all, however, have been supportive.

Seriously?  You are doing what?????

I’ll be giving up solid shelter from the elements, refrigeration for my food and drink, convenience of a bathroom complete with a door, shower enclosure and running water, and unlimited changes of clean clothing.  I’ll be giving up spending each evening for a couple of hours with the love of my life and then laying down beside her on a queen size mattress with several pillows and drifting off to sleep.  I’ll be giving up the adoration of two cats, well, one cat really, the other is Leslie’s cat.  I’ll be giving up evening fires in the backyard with a nice cabernet.  I’ll be giving up complete and total emersion into an electronic world that seems to find each one of us and envelope our world.

OK, OK…so why?

Challenge

So why on earth am I doing this thing?  The biggest reason is the challenge of it.  Can I hike from Springer to Katahdin in one summer while carrying everything I need on my back?  I used to run track and cross country (in a previous life it seems as it was so long ago).  Then after college I got into and did several triathlons (not iron man distance, short course stuff).  Since then I had kids and a job and a family to support and the challenges became different.  The seeds were replanted for this epic adventure a few years ago and now I have the opportunity to do it and I am taking it.  Am I mentally tough enough to endure the challenges this hike will put in front of me so that I can gain all the advantages of being a thru hiker of the Appalachian Trail?

Love of Outdoors

If it was just the challenge, I could choose to run a marathon or some other physical endeavor.  However, there are other aspects to this particular challenge that I love.  I love hiking and in particular I love the raw power of being in hiking shape.  They call that getting your trail legs.  With trail legs, nothing seems particularly daunting.  I recall at Philmont that we would hike five or six miles just to go to another staff camp to borrow a cup of sugar or play a joke on the staff at that camp or something equally as irrelevant.  It was nothing to do that distance and back.  I also love the outdoors and most things about living in the outdoors.  I love camping and cooking over a camp stove, sleeping in a tent and hearing the wind through the trees.  I love the vastness of the views and the wonderment of seeing wild animals in their home.  I love the smell of the pine trees.  There are times when I even love walking in the rain.

Recharge, Refresh and Reenergize

Another reason I am doing this is I love the idea of a sabbatical.  Frankly, I think everyone should have a chance at doing one.  Although it is not paid, I am blessed in that I was able to take one.  And I think at this time of my life, (read: age) the timing is perfect.  It will give me a chance to reflect on my life to date, to recharge my batteries and to refocus my mind.  This is an opportunity to renew and refresh and come back a better person, spouse and father.

Mental Strength

The key to making a trek such as this has very little to do with physical fitness or camping skills, and more to do with mental strength.  Another thru hiker I have spoken to says you have to be stubborn.  And I believe you have to have some degree of luck.  Luck can somewhat be controlled…don’t do stupid things, but somewhat it is a roll of the dice.  Injuries and illness happen.  Do what you can to prevent these things, but they may happen anyway.

My biggest Challenge

I think the first 30 days will be the hardest.  Three things will make the first 30 days the hardest.  First, I will be getting into trail shape and I will have a lot of aches and pains.  I was hoping to have gone into this past that point of physical preparation, but tax season has set me back in that department so I will have to deal with that on the trail.  The worst for me is right hip pain, but I am learning some stretches that will hopefully help with that.  Second, will be I am going to be learning a lot of my gear.  I have done enough backpacking and camping that I am not a rookie at it, but there are several brand new gear items that I will be learning on the fly, like my umbrella.  Never hiked with one.  Read about how great they are for hiking and want to try it for a variety of reasons.  It will be challenging though as I am used to knowing my gear and how it works and setup properly.  Third, I am going to miss my wife.  I think this is going to be my biggest initial challenge on the trail.  She will have the same issue as she flies home and leaves me behind for five months.  We will do our best to mitigate this through connectivity on a daily basis, but alas, it will be a very different existence for both of us, for a while.

Start day approaches.

Scott

 

Today’s Backpack Design and Utility

Originally posted at:  https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/todays-backpack-design-and-utility/

I started backpacking when I was 16 years old.  My first backpack was an external frame Jansport pack and until just recently I have used the same basic pack on every trip I have taken.  My latest is a Jansport Carson (62 ounces plus a 6 ounce rain cover).  The design is basically the same as my very first pack.  Recently, I have sought out a lighter pack and through my search I have discovered that the basic design of today’s packs has not evolved.  In fact, in many ways I think it has gone backwards.  That being said I will carry a Zpacks Arc Haul Zip (27.5 ounces according to Zpacks) on my AT thru, even though it has a couple of limitations.  I still prefer the basic Jansport or Kelty design for one main reason – organization.

Organization – External vs Internal Frame (or Frame-less) Pack

The basic design of the old external frame packs made packing your pack, and more importantly, finding your gear simple.  Strapped to the top was your tent and strapped to the bottom was your sleeping bag.  The two big side pockets had individual purposes; one for first aid, toiletries, flash light or headlamp and the other for kitchen gear, knife, cord, and other miscellaneous items.  There were two open mesh bottom pockets for water bottles.  The main compartment was accessed with a zipper and it had a shelf (piece of material) in the middle to break it into two compartments.  On the bottom, camp shoes, clothing, pillow, sleepwear.  In the upper, fuel, stove, food and any other miscellaneous camp gear or crew gear if out with a group.  With the zipper I could access any part of the internal compartment without having to disturb the gear around what I was after.

Today’s packs are almost always top loading.  This eliminates the zipper, which I think most consider an advantage.  The zipper adds weight, is something that can break, and water can potentially seep into the pack through the zipper.  Further, since most are top loading the internal shelf had to be eliminated, again a weight saving feature, but it creates one giant black hole.  A lot (most) of the packs have also eliminated outer pockets, with the exception of the two lower pouches for water bottles.  I am unsure as to the reason for this, but I find it to be unfortunate from an organization standpoint.

A view of these differences from the trail….

A couple of years ago I spent a week at Philmont Scout Ranch with a group of adults and youth.  For most of them it was their first longer term backpacking trip (10 days).  One of my best friends could never really figure out his pack.  He never quite knew where his gear was.  Another adult leader had to constantly explode her pack in order to find anything.  Her trail name was Sister Gadget, but that is another story.  The youth all had difficulty knowing where anything was.  Something as quick as grabbing a rain jacket would become a 20 minute pack off break as each of them in turn decided they needed to remove their pack for whatever reason.

Today’s packs remind me of the dry bags we use on Boundary Water canoe trips—one big black hole, everything goes in and you pretty much have to completely empty it to find what you want.  By comparison, my old Jansport external frame made finding any item simple and easy.  My best friend was amazed that could pack my pack in moments and I knew exactly where everything was.  The design of the external frame pack made it easy.

The Focus on Weight

I believe one of the main reasons for the internal frame pack was the focus on weight.  The weight of the external frame put these packs upwards of five pounds.  The internal frame presents some advantages and some issues.  A internal frame or frame-less pack is the only way to carry your gear if you go ultralight.  It is more comfortable as the pack rests close to your body and does not disturb your center of gravity.  The lack of the frame in today’s packs does not matter a great deal with ultralight or very light loads.  The weight can be carried comfortably between your shoulders and hips.  This will allow you to move like a gazelle down the trail.

However, if you are low to mid 20 pounds base weight, then the weight starts to become uncomfortable once loaded with food and water, causing shoulder and neck pain in a lot of cases.  The three main purposes of the external frame were to:  1)support the pack, 2)keep the pack off of your back to provide air flow and 3)to put the weight of the pack on the hip belt and ultimately on your hips, instead of your shoulders.  Further, most internal frames rest tight up against your back.  This makes them feel better from a weight distribution standpoint as they move with you.  Scrambling up a rock face is a lot nicer with an internal frame pack held tight against your body.  The downside to this is that they are hot.  For someone that sweats lot that is a huge issue.  I need the airflow.

The focus on weight has done a disservice to pack design.  I believe you could still have a fairly lightweight pack and maintain most of the convenience and functionality, or utility, of the older design.  Today, it is difficult to find an external frame pack for a long distance hiking (external frame pack with a focus on lightweight materials).

Zpacks Arc Haul Zip Design

My search led me to settle in on the Zpacks Arc Haul Zip.  The main reason I chose this pack is that it has a zipper so I easily access any part of the interior compartment.  Utility and organization.  However, I do miss the sewed on, sealed upper pockets and the interior shelf.  I have solved the external pockets by using stuff sacks equal to the size of the add-on upper pockets.  I have not solved the interior shelf as I don’t have the time to invest in attempting a modification to the pack by adding a compartment divider.  The added weight to the pack would be negligible, if the manufacturer had solved both design issues.

The frame is not as sturdy as the old external frames, but that gives a very nice weight savings.  However, the frame is sufficient for two purposes:  1)it keeps the pack’s weight on my hips and 2)the arc in the frame keeps the pack off my back creating airflow.  The design of the frame does not support the pack as much as the old external frames, but with the significant weight savings, I think it will work for me.

All told I think that Zpacks Arc Haul Zip design is almost perfect.  Sure, I would tweak a couple of things and unfortunately when I asked about modifications, they were unable to do so.  I am looking forward to giving this pack a more complete test on the trail and hope that it meets all my expectations.

The other day I ran into a review of this pack by the co-designer of the pack.  For those you interested in a more detailed explanation of the design of the pack, it is an interesting read.

ZPacks “Arc Zip” Backpack

What are your pack thoughts?

-Scott

Blogger for The Trek

I decided to apply to become a blogger on the website http://www.thetrek.co.   (no, that is not a typo, it is co, not com).  Part of my decision in applying was I was hoping to reach a wider audience and have a home base where they took care of the behind the scenes software and site issues.  The benefit to them is more eyeballs on their site and more people that see their brand.

Zach Davis is the owner of the site and from what I can tell an all-around nice guy.  He wrote a book that I have read and would highly recommend, called Appalachian Trials.  The main focus of the book is the mental preparation that must take place in order to complete a thru-hike.

However, once I was accepted and read their terms, I realized it would not become what I had hoped, a complete repository for my blogging posts.  Part of the deal is they do not want me to repost stuff from a prior blog onto the Trek blog.  They desire new content.  So, all the posts I have made over here so far, would be lost to the system unless I was willing to rework them.  I am not.

So I have decided that instead I will maintain this site, and post everything I do over here.  That includes what I decide to post at The Trek and several things I decide not to.  They ask that I post at the Trek first and a day or two later I can post on my blog or I can post on my blog immediately if I include a link to the Trek’s post.

For now, I will post to the Trek things which I think reach a broader audience, gear reviews, trail tips, things like that.   I will post that stuff here as well, but in addition over here I will post the more personal stuff that friends and family would likely find more interesting.  As Leslie has stated before, no one wants to read about the benefits of merino wool over synthetics.  J  Leslie – the pulse of my blog.

For those of you interested in fabric blends, pack design and other equally as riveting topics, here is my blog page at The Trek.  You can bookmark it or sign up and get emails when I post there.

https://thetrek.co/author/scott-edwards/

Seven