Saturday, October 15, 2011

Two AT training hikes, and bought some gear

Over the past week the AT beckoned.  Fall leaf peeping was an unexpected added bonus.  I hiked two sections - one atthe north end and one at the south end of my current completed segment of the trail.  The above shot is taken in the surprisingly level two or three miles in the middle of the James River Face Wilderness - ten miles of trail between Petite's Gap and the James River Foot Bridge (shown below):
This time of year, the AT 'green tunnel' transforms to the 'technicolor tunnel'.  I hiked this 10 mile section out and back (total of 20 miles), just as I intend to do with the entire trail starting January 1st.

The other section I hiked was in southern Pennsylvania from Snowy Mountain Road to Caledonia State Park - an out-and back twelve mile walk over some very rocky trail - what did I expect from a ridge called "Rocky Mountain"!  Here's a sample: I call this 'hole-in-the-rock':

On one 5.5 mile section here, I had the great pleasure of crossing paths with a group of about 80 first to twelfth grade kids from the Anchor Christian School, a Mennonite affiliated private school near Shippensburg, PA.  Virtually every one of the kids from the school were there, and completed the hike before being treated to a picnic feast at Caledonia State Park.  That's where I had my pic snapped with a few of them:
Gear discussion:  During the period of a few days between the two hikes on the AT covered above, I made some gear acquisitions:  Foremost among these was a pair of lightweight mountain running shoes:  12.2 ounce Asics Gel Trail Sensor 5's.  In addition, I splurged for a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Tarp/Poncho, only 11 ounces.  It comes in a tiny 4 inch stuff sack.  At Dick's Sporting Goods I bought an UnderArmor hooded fleece sweat shirt (100% polyester).  I much prefer having a hood available to keep my head warm, and this was a top priority acquisition.  Finally, I got new carbide tips for my much-used and well-loved Leki Makalu Trekking Poles.  The original tips came loose more than a year ago down in South America and I didn't even realize I could get new tips!  I was prepared to buy a whole new set of poles.

Great week, great progress.  I'm stoked to start this adventure!

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