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[at-l] Trip report: hubby's first outing

<ducking back in from the woods> Hiya, all. Wish I could say I'd been
backpacking all this time but reality is more like road trips. Lots of 'em. 

With his now-going-on-eight-months without-a-job attitude, my hubby Dave
decided he wanted to try backpacking. So we hit up REI on a trip through VA
and picked up a Sierra bag for him and a couple extra Nalgenes. I called in
a reservation for the LHT Grindle Ridge shelters for last weekend, and we
made our way in along the one section of the LHT I'd missed during my hike
with Gutsy. Now I've done it all :) 

Figures I would've missed this section, it was the flattest of the entire
trail. Nice starter for Dave, easy and scenic. Several rock outcrops,
pinnacles with beautiful views. A tornado blow-down zone, with trees cut
off maybe 20-30' in the air, plenty of uprooted stuff. We left late, so got
into camp after 6:30pm -- not a great thing when under dense forest cover.
Water at the camp is awful, so used my PUR Hiker for the first time, which
made it tolerable. No bugs, also nice, and night temps in the 60s. Had the
same shelter I went to on my first overnighter. Unfortunately, suffered a
worse pyro mishap: the Whisperlite melted down. Seemed it had a leak I
didn't catch in the dim light, and after relit, it flashed over to the
bottle. Quite scary. We scooped dirt with our hands to put it out.I checked
the o-rings and tightened it before the trip, so not sure if it's worth
bringing back to REI in this state??? (recommendations?) Ended up building
a fire in the shelter fireplace to finish cooking, in the dark. 

Woke up numerous times due to (now unecessary) fire, and later because of
two mice that scrambled up & down the shelter roof, then took a flying leap
off the high end. Uneventful but slower walk back out the next day.
Gorgeous weekend for it. He used my Lowe Outback, and I tried a Lowe
Contour rucksack, but even with only 15 lbs, my tailbone really caught it
-- I couldn't figure out the best way to cinch the load to raise it up a
bit. Dave had tough time with getting his 22lb load to sit right, but did
better the 2nd day. Except for the stove, a good positive experience for
him, and a nice break for me ... though I think he'd be more comfortable in
a tent than a shelter!

He's talking about doing the AT in 2001 with me, but we'll see ... a lot of
issues to be ironed out first, none the least of which it's MY hike.
Anyway, we'll both be at The Gathering, so hope to see a lot of you there.  


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