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[at-l] Beginner's 2nd Test Run and Pack Shake Down



After the test run hike I could see 2 main problems.

1)  My son wanted me to start at Hogpen Gap (heading to Unicoi) which
leaves a 4.2 first day and misses the strenuous climb up from Testnatee.
I, of course, wanted to do that part so I could complete section 13.  (Who
cares, right?)  My son thought carrying the pack up that first ascent would
take me 2-3 hours and wipe me out for the rest of the trip.  I thought I
could handle it.

I solved this one by doing another day hike the day before, carrying my
pack with just emergency stuff, food and water, then walking back to the
car on the highway (1/2 mile).

Best of both worlds: I got to do the 0.9 mile strenuous section, it only
took me about a couple hours with the walk to the car, and I got to start
at Hogpen the next day looking forward to completing the entire section.
(Big deal, huh.)

2)  The weight of food and water was looking like I would put my total pack
weight off the chart.  I didn't do a final weight of pack minus food and
water but my food was around 10 pounds and my 9+ liters of water put the
pack weight about 51 pounds.  I was afraid to do my first pack carry
through mountains with so much weight I was miserable and worn out before
half through.  I went to bed late the night before knowing this was too
much and I would have to strip some weight before I left.

Next morning I dumped some things I felt sure I wouldn't need.  My fleece
shirt, my sierra cup, my book, exchanged a full fuel cannister for a
half-full, removed 2.5 liters of water.  My son and I both agreed I
shouldn't attempt this section with less than 7 liters so that's what I
packed.  I also eliminated my 3rd day snacks and lunch, thinking I would
not eat all the snacks for days 1 and 2 so I could use left overs from
those days on my third day.

The food was a delimma because I know I eat way more than most people.  And
I have to keep eating to keep going.  But the more I hike the less of the
*more* I need (hiking is healing my metabolism) plus I had never done such
an extended effort but knew that virtually all hikers can't eat as much as
they think they will at first and I have trouble eating when I am really
exerting.  And, I had *field-tested* most of my foods but this was the
first test under extended circumstances while some of them I hadn't tried
yet.

I reminded my son that most hiker newbies carry way too much food.  He
said, "And you don't want to be the first newbie who carried too little."
So, I stuck with most of the food and still got the total pack weight down
to 43 pounds, a very manageable weight for me.

One other thing.  My daughter-in-law donated some fleece material and I
made up a fleece bag to sleep in.  Basically a retangular folded bag with
the foot sewn closed across the bottom and about 18 inches up the open
side.  Not sure what it weighs but it is less than the sleeping bag.

The most scary part of all this was that I was planning a 3 day hike (not
much over 48 hours) in the summer with no extra clothes but some long silks
and a windbreaker and plastic poncho, a fleece bag and no water pump (using
iodine).  So If I am over 40 pounds with just this...  Okay, we won't think
about that for now.  Off to Hogpen for my 3-day hike...

Delita


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