Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Appalachian Trail Completion Rates

I've seen a lot of numbers thrown around about the percentages of declared AT thru-hikers who complete the trail, and where the ones who don't drop out. But hadn't seen anything empirical.

I found recent data on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's "2000 Milers" page, massaged it a bit in a spreadsheet, and came up with both annual completion rates, and average drop-out rates by milestone for the period covering 2005-2011 ...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And Now ... A Box From Our Sponsor!

The doorbell rang, the dog went nuts, and our friendly, local Fed-X driver was waiting with a big, heavy box.  I opened it up, and inside were bags and bags of fizzy goodness!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Companion on the Droid

I renewed my membership with Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, which among other things, gets me a copy of the Thru-Hiker's Companion in Adobe pdf format.  I have an unbound version of AWOL's AT Guide that, with it's clever integration of the trail's profile with milestones, will be my primary navigation tool. But the Companion has amplifying info that fills in where the AT Guide leaves off - History of the trail, and of the areas it passes through, park regulations, where to find AYCE buffets in town ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

I read something about baking in a pot over a stove, and went looking for something on the intertubes.  I found several videos, including an excellent one produced by Mike Clelland for NOLS on a process called "Steam Baking." (See Below)

The approach is to put a couple of stones in the bottom of a pot to hold a silicone muffin cup off the bottom, add water to the pot, put the batter in the cup, place the cup on the stones, put the top on, put the pot on a stove.  When the water boils, the cup is enveloped in steam. Eventually, the batter rises, and when the cake passes the toothpick test, it's done.  Turn it out and enjoy.

I had to give this a try. I picked up a pouch of Martha White Blueberry Muffin mix at our local grocery, and assembled all the required stuff in the kitchen.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My New GG LT4S Trekking Poles

I had been looking to replace my good old, stable, 18oz/pr Black Diamond Trekking poles with something lighter. Whatever I chose would have to be adjustable from about 115cm where I like to cruise, to at least 130 cm to work with my LightHeart Gear Solo tent.

BD came out with a new line called Distance Trekking Poles that fold up like avalanche poles. They come in both fixed lengths, and in an adjustable version using a flick-lock. The   weighed from 15.2 to 16oz a pair, depending on length, and list at $119.95. Which seemed like a lot to pay to save 2 ozs ... But more importantly, the one length they had that extended far enough to support my tent (120-140cm), did not collapse enough to support me in the manner to which I have become accustomed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Zach Wrote a Book!

Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide To Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail (Volume 1)

Zach Davis' long awaited (and much hyped) book has finally been released in both softcover and ebook format. While thru hiking long trails like the Appalachian Trail is seen by many as a tough physical and logistical feat, experienced thru-hikers know that it is much more of a mental one - Dealing with the psychological effects of getting up day after day, eating your oatmeal, packing your stuff and putting one foot in front of the other five million times, with little discernible progress, towards an all-too-distant goal ...

(Why am I doing this again?)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Camp Shoes

Seems for a long time Crocs dangled off the back of a lot of hiker's packs. Primarily so that they could take their boots off, slip into something more comfortable, and allow their boots to dry out. Wearing them for stream crossings also helped to keep boots dry, and most want something to wear in communal/campground showers. Over the last several years, lots of hikers have given up boots for trail runners. They're lighter on the feet, more comfortable in camp, and they dry quickly. Some have decided that they don't need to carry the extra weight of camp shoes any more.

I pondered this. A cheap pair of flip flops satisfy the communal shower issue. I do like the idea of trying to keep my shoes dry, and something to wear for stream crossings seems like a good idea. I decided to look around for something light, something that would stay on my feet, and protect them when crossing a swift stream.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting Pictures from the Camera to the Droid

I started investigating how I was going to upload imagery from my new camera to illustrate this blog, and to post to social media sites while hiking the Appalachian Trail. The weight of a laptop makes packing one out of the question. So I figured I'd just plug a an SD card reader into my Droid's USB port, transfer the files, tweak them with the Photoshop app, and then upload photos when I had a signal

I figured wrong.