Sunday, March 26, 2017

First 100+ miles ....

It's been a wild, wet and white at times kinda ride ... from springer we had great weather turned into frigid and ice crusted winter lands ... you can see the photos on Cavey's Adventures facebook page ...

Hawk camp area was packed with us up on the a.t with no room below, that was find with me for sure ... I like camping away from others generally.

Stayed a night at TOG at Unicoi then again at dicks creek ... Bob's a good friend and an awesome place. Hope to work with him sometime soon ...

Crazy wicked winds and lightning at hogpen ... I thought I was gonna blow away lol. Easy 50 mph winds.

Btw, the BBQ stop in Hiawassee is a must ...

The night over trey was frigid and ice crusted tents and a winter wonderland I just couldn't help but stare deep into its magic and beauty. It's why I do this, so peaceful.

Once out of ga, shit just hit the fan till standing Indian which is the easiest 5k mountain you'll ever hike.

Albert mountain was a bear of a climb, but wasn't my first time going up it. However, I must of tried to forget how much it sucked. Teardrop, iceberg and his dog dovah all ate dinner while we watched the sunset and night hiked a few more miles into the night to rock gap then into franklin ... Siler bald was spectacular. If you don't hike up there you're missing out hard. Fire damage still heavy going over wayah ... and down into the NOC where I'll be hiking out this morning ... till fontana!
Check caveys adventures facebook for photos and more!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Heading to the kickoff ...

Southbound heading to the appalachian kickoff, already drove through a snow squall and some minor traffic and just about to head into west virginia.... eta is 3am however with a few more stops obviously going to happen I'm guessing more like 6am till we get welcomed at the lodge for the campsite.

I'm fairly sure I have everything ... I'm solid on food even though I already know the first few days I'll be in body shock and not real hungry. Key is too eat anyway or you will pay for it. So I brought cheese and pepperoni and easy breakfasts and dehydrated dinners my buddy jason gave me from wise .... not the greatest but they'll do. I look at it this way, I got camp clothes if I get wet to sleep in, my tent, pad and quilt. Cookware and fuel and food. Beyond that it's just misc crap I know is in there like external battery etc.

Few toys to make life easier on trail but mostly it's basic. And I mean, at this point ... if I don't have it, apparently I don't need it.

Back to the swaying the car ... drove the first 2 hours ... time to relax and soak up the scenery while suns still in the sky.

First videos will come at the Atko ... stay tuned ... Cavey

Thursday, March 2, 2017

.... that wind though.

Sitting here listening to the wind whip around and realize that I'll be subjected to those exact elements just a few days from now ... weathers looking to be lows in the 30s and 60s during the day. Those are perfect temps for me to backpack. I can handle rain as well so I'm kinda hoping it holds out alittle before winter wants to take a last jab at us before spring decides it's ready to take over. Tomorrow is get everything ready to rock ... leave pa friday!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sleep and shelter

Changing things up this season ...

Again this is what works for me and how I do things ... let's start with my shelter.

My lightheart gear solo has been a solid piece of gear inside my pack and has proven itself over the years ...

1 lb 7 oz "before seam sealing"

Uses my black diamond hiking poles for setup and is quick and sturdy in all weather.

Sleep system is pretty basic and only thing that may change is my pad from a neoair xlite to a big agnes q core SLX. Same weight, more loft and higher r value.

Neoair xlite large 1 lb or my medium 13 oz
Enlightenment equipment revelation quilt, custom 20 degree 21oz heat machine.

3 lbs 12 ounces for shelter and sleep. I do use a inflatable pillow and luxury is my mid day nap and camp chair swing hammock at 5.2 oz with home made whoopie slings and 1 inch 4 foot tree straps.

Base weight for winter is now under 10 lbs with luxury items.

These posts are not very entertaining and blah, once the trail starts things will be much more entertaining and hilarity will ensue. Hard to find humor in gear you're using. These are more or less for my own writings to look back on .... if you leave a comment I'll be sure to reply, send any questions to @caveysadventures on facebook and I'll be sure to blog about it. Bout a month to go till I get started .... nothing to do but wait.

Soon to be embracing the suck, Cavey.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Late night thoughts and demons

Laying here, trapped in thoughts of what is already knowledge from experience and enough pride and determination to still think it'll be a walk along many parks ...

Leaving early March pretty much assures me I will see snow and maybe with some luck more than a few times ... I honestly like being engulfed in the majestic winter wonderland of the deep woods. Snow is very much possible well into April .... only downfall in my opinion is the nasty mud that comes after, in slush piles ... sure does feel good on the feet though. It'll wake ya up for sure.

Alot of self doubt is always a lingering thought, I was reading another guys blog and he himself was having thoughts of dropping everything and investing so much emotional time and money to even think of failure is heart wrenching. I don't think of it in terms like that anymore. My problem now is simply what the trail and I have gained from each other, the fire to finish and do it all for myself and those who've seen me struggle to get this point again. Letting people down is always a heavy thought, but letting myself down when you know those who look up to you.

One step, one view, one mile .... it's not gonna be easy, but it's not impossible.

Rain, snow, wind or fire ..
Embrace the suck.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Getting ready, overwhelmed?

Welcome back, getting ready for a long distance hike can be overwhelming ... I see alot of questions and huge range of responses daily in my Facebook group "appalachian trail hikers". I suppose the easiest way for me to do this is list from head to toe what I will take followed by the reasons behind it ... this could be awhile. Here goes.

Head to toe.

Head/neck - Beanie/shemagh and trucker hat. Normally this could be seen as overkill already but this is what I do. Beanie for camp and extremely cold mornings and bitter winds. I also use a quilt and not a normal sleeping bag so it's more for sleeping. The shemagh is a valuable multi versatile piece of gear .. blocks the sun off your neck, covers head/face and shoulders during bitter winds and isn't restrictive like some other options, a balaclava comes to mind. Since you'll range from -5 to 75 degrees in a short period of time it's a must have in my opinion. Trucker hat is simply for nice days and heat dumps when you want the sun outta your face. A simple boonie style hat works too.

Upper body is pretty straight forward.
Long sleeve lightweight synthetic paired with a merino wool t shirt for bitter cold.
Lightweight fleece and lightweight down puffy of your choice followed by a rain shell for more warming layers. The idea here is to trap warmth between each layer and you'll find its much warmer than one thick puffy jacket. Trust me. I see it every year. I carry a embrace the suck custom shirt for in towns .. that's it. "Merino midweight top that pairs with the bottoms for camp only!"

Bottom half is where I might lose some of you here ... however for me it works cause I'm a heat machine. One pair of exofficio boxers is all I've ever needed, shorts for less leg friction and movement ... pair of lightweight tights for really bitter skin numbing days.
Socks? Super easy choice. 2 pairs of darn tough and a super thick pair for camp only to go with the merino set. "In extreme temps you can wear them too but if you get them wet, you'll be sleeping naked.

Also remember, merino wool will keep its insulating properties and keep you warm when wet. So just in case that's why I choose that material for camp.

Shoes?? This is a subject I see all the time. The best answer is simply the shoe YOUR feet approve of. However there's some things to consider ...

Boots? I don't recommend unless you're carrying a heavy pack and or have weak ankles. With that said, you can't strengthen weak ankles while bracing them.

Waterproofing sounds great!!
No, it doesn't. Your feet will get wet no matter what, I promise you. It'll take longer to dry and your feet will be choked with the lack of breathability they offer.

But cavey they say they're breathable.
*cough* bullshit *cough*
You want max breathability, specially when your feet are gonna be wet no matter what. Ever wake up to wet socks and frozen solid shoes? I have, and trust me. You'll want flexibility and breathability even in the snow. I highly recommend trail runners, the brand and style is all on you.

That's all I carry, no change of clothes cept a town shirt, your job now is hiking. Short 3 to 5 day long hikes from town to town and repeat. That's all we're doing.

I won't get into the gear debate because honestly, I'm not buying or carrying your stuff. Just remember to buy the lightest and most compressible gear you can afford. I use a 48 liter pack and it's 75% food. No matter what, enjoy the experience. Lighter just means more miles between breaks and less punishment on the body. Those mountains early on are already gonna punish you. :)

10 mile days till franklin is the norm.
Embrace the suck and happy hiking.

Cry of the mountains

So here we are, another chapter of our lives ... seems to go by so quickly. Just 5 years ago I felt the pull to long distance backpacking. Hiking my entire life pushed me to the dream of one day hiking the long trails of the world.

Derailed by personal issues, life and injuries I can stand proud of the experience and the knowledge I now have to get back to that dream. So here we go, 2017 appalachian trail thru hike from springer mountain in Georgia to the mighty katahdin in deep north Maine.

Leaving this season in early March on the 5th after attending the ATKO "appalachian trail kick off" event at amicalola falls and resort. A great time to meet legends of the trail, vendors displaying their new products and a wealth of knowledge to the green around the gills backpacker whom may never have camped a day in their life to the more experienced whom will still always find something new to learn and discover.

You can find a wealth of information on the Internet and in groups but sometimes it's hard to pick out who's advice is best for you. So instead of arguing with those over opinions, I shall offer mine here and explain the differences between those choices and allow you to decide for yourself. This is also the place to follow more in depth outside the likes of youtube and facebook. I will be writing, vlogging and posting on those social media outlets. You can search for @caveysadventures on facebook and find all the links to the vlogging and updates as links back to here as well.

Got questions? Would like to hear what I have to say on certain topics? Drop me a message online and I'll get to it as soon as I can. The next entry will be getting ready for the trail, what to expect and how to help deal with the unknown you may be concerned with ...

Happy trails, much love and as always.
Embrace the suck.