Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Peakbagging The AT

With a thru-hike along the backbone of the Appalachian Mountain range, and crossing 14 states, I thought one would certainly be able to bag several of the 50 States high points. I consulted Peakbagger.com, mapped the provided coordinates, and consulted the ATC's Thru Hiker's Companion. This is what I found.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fire Starters

It's one of those Ten Essentials things. The ability to start a fire. A life saving skill in the cold, and one that can be difficult in the worst of conditions - when everything's wet. So when I ran across Jermm's blog post "DIY Fire Starter Wafers," I had to give it a try.

Folks have been using wax-impregnated stuff as emergency firestarters for years. Lately a few vaseline-soaked cotton balls stored in a pill bottle is a common solution (tho it sounds like a potential mess). Alcohol-based hand sanitizers such as Purell can be brought to task, and there are all kinds of commercial firestarters available. What Jermm did was to saturate those flat, cotton cosmetic pads with molten candle wax. When dried, they harden into very packable flat discs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eating Like Hobbits

"And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them)."

While this might sound like a description of thru-hikers, it was Tolkein describing Hobbits in The Fellowship of the Ring.

But long-distance hikers do eat whenever they can, and as much as they can. Hiking in the mountains with a 30 lb pack burns more calories than one can generally consume or even carry comfortably. Common estimates of caloric requirements in this environment are from 4500-6500 calories per day. Add cold temperatures and these requirements go up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keeping Juice to the Camera

In a previous post, I outlined just why I wanted a camera that sucks down battery power like a thru-hiker does milkshakes. Ok, that isn't a feature so much as an issue. I did get a spare battery, and that might just be sufficient, but if I'm inspired to shoot, I can go thru a battery in a day or so ... Two batteries might just not get me thru five days between town visits, adding more batteries is adding more weight, and I might have another option.

I have that New Trent ACD66 I got to keep my Droid powered up between town visits. It's a 7000mAh battery pack, with USB outputs that should store more than I need for the Droid. I started looking for a way to recharge the X100's batteries with the ACD66. A search of chargers for the X100's battery uncovered the PowerGen Rapid Smart Charger. It sports a USB port, which can either be an output to charge a device, or an input to power the charger from a USB source. It comes with a cigarette lighter/USB adapter.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Now 2184.2 Miles

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has announced that the A.T. has grown by 3 miles! The official Appalachian Trail mileage for 2012 is 2184.2.  

That works out to about one more hour on the trail.

No details were given, but is generally understood that these annual fluctuations are the result of trail relocations, new land acquisitions that allow the trail to be moved off of roadways, and new switchbacks made on formerly straight trails by the many volunteers associated with the 31 trail maintaining clubs.

The theory that it is caused by global warming causing the earth to expand is hotly contested...

"A journey of 2184.2 miles begins with a single step"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tangerine Fizzy

When I saw the little packets of Emergen-C Joint Health vitamin drink, which provides a mix of antioxidents, B vitamins, electrolytes and other nutrients, along with glucosamine and chondroitin, I thought this sounded like a great supplement to take on a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. I ordered a box of thirty through Amazon.com, and found them to be tasty and convenient. Dump the packets into a water bottle, shake and drink. Easier than taking a bunch of pills. The tangerine flavor is pretty good, and the fizziness is a treat.

I went to their site looking for case lots, and saw their "Sponsorship" link.  I applied, thinking that this is perhaps a bit of an unusual "event" for them. But I made my best pitch as to how this product seems perfect for those hiking up and down mountains for 8-10 hours a day, over several months, while eating a sometimes less than optimal diet.  They offered to sponsor my hike with enough Emergen-C to provide for most of our needs, with plenty of samples to give out along the way!

Heh ... We're sponsored!