What is this blog about?

My name is Lori. In August, 2014, I plan to hike the Camino de Santiago trail. Feel free to join me on my adventure by following me on this blog.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Down to the Wire

The smarty pants I am...I just figured out how to make a new post, including pictures, to my blog from my iphone.
I have been doing some odds and ends shopping, and thought I would write a post to keep you informed. Remember the tent stakes that I fired from my last trip?? Here is a picture of them. This picture actually gives the lip on the stake too much credit. My stakes seem to have even less of a lip.
Now here is a picture of the stakes that I just purchased:
Titanium "ascent" stake
Hopefully the little extra lip on these stakes will keep my tent from blowing off of them in the heavy wind and rain.

I also splurged and got myself a new backpacking pillow. Until now, I have been using an airplane neck pillow. It has worked well, is light weight, but is a little bulky for my pack. Now I will be using the NEMO fillo backpacking pillow. This is a pillow with some padding to make it soft, and has a port to blow it up, making it big enough to keep a comfortable position all night (hopefully). I also got a new digital sports watch. I never wear a watch, but needed something on the trail so I don't have to use my phone so much. The watch has a display that lights up for night time use, is water-resistant, keeps track of the date, and has an alarm clock. Just what I needed for just $12. Thanks, Amazon! 
Last, but not least. I have been educated once again by the Good Badger. Lyme desease on the Appalachian Trail
Though this seems like a scary thing to deal with, I am choosing to use the information to educate myself and better prepare myself. I purchased some Permethrin to help protect myself. I will have some more sent to me every 4 weeks in a drop box.
For all my hiking buddies: Please read the Good Badgers post, and take precautions.

I almost forgot!
I will be using the trailname "Passionflower". (At least until someone on the trail changes it to something more embarrassing, I am sure)
Enjoy my new theme song.
Passionflower, by Jon Gomm

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cold-climate training- Epic Fail

This week was my week to do a cold weather mountain equipment check. I took my toughest friend, Elisa with me...or she took me, I'm not sure which one it was.
I just had a very nice Thanksgiving trip to Indiana with Chris and returned home to Sarasota Saturday evening. I unpacked, and then packed for my backpacking trip. The next morning by 6:30 AM, we were on the road to Georgia.
We made great time, but still it was sundown when we arrived at the trailhead. We gobbled down our left-overs from lunch, put on our packs and were on our way. About 10 minutes in, it was time for the head lamps. This was the first time I have hiked in the dark. What a new experience! It was fun. I saw so many imaginary animals dancing in the shadows of my light.
We climbed almost 2000 ft in elevation in just over an hour. It was 7 o'clock by the time we made it to camp. We set up our tents and started working on a fire to settle in for our adventures first night. We had been watching the weather and knew that we would get rain on one or 2 days of our trip. When we left our car, there was a 30% chance of rain by 9 o'clock. It was tricky to get a fire started because everything on the ground was very wet from previous rainfall. The mountaineering gooroos we are, we had a nice fire started just as it started to rain. We hurried to find a tree to hang our food from animals. Watching Elisa running for her life got me thinking I need to work on my overhand a little as I was attempting to throw the rock, with rope attached, over a high limb. Just so everyone knows, the rock didn't even come close to her head.
Once our food was hung, the rain really started to come down hard. We made a mad dash superman jump into our tents and that is where we remained for the next 12 hours.
The rainstorm we endured this night was nothing like I have experienced before. I felt like my tent was being pressure washed. There were several times that the wind was so strong that I thought a bear must have my tent in his jaws and dragging me around camp. Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but the wind was REALLY strong. And LOUD! Elisa had to get out to adjust her tent at one point, and said "we are inside a cloud right now!" About 2 AM I turned my light on to check weather status and realized that the cloud was in my tent. A hazy mist of moisture decided it was okay to shack up with me for the night. I am not sure how this happened but I have a couple ideas. One- the wind that seemed to flow in every direction, blowing rain up under my rain cover and through the unsuspecting mesh that is my tent body. Two- my tent stakes, who have been since FIRRRRRRRRRED, do not have much of a lip on them to hold what they are staking. The wind was strong enough to pull the material and it kept coming loose from the stake, flapping in the wind and allowing moisture in. My tent has an area outside the body, called a vestibule, that is staked out and covered. This is where I usually leave my bag and shoes so I have more room in the tent. This night, I slept with my bag in my tent, but still left the shoes just outside the tent, under the rain cover. By 2 AM my shoes were soaked. Big mistake on my part!
I started taking my tent down, and decided to take a picture first of what our conditions were. Still mostly in cloud, otherwise, we would have had a very pretty view from the top of this mountain.
 Oh yeah...the weather. Forecast was that the rain was not going to stop. It would continue to rain, until snow came the next day and also the following day. Both of us had water inside our tents, wet equipment, and I had wet shoes. The low temps were going to get to 25 degrees. We made the most reasonable decision- to get off the mountain. It was a disappointing decision, but the only safe one.
Equipment check: Tent-fail...let in water and got my sleeping bag, pad, etc wet, also keeping me colder than I should have been. I will definitely look into replacing my tent stakes with something better. Clothing-pass...I did stay warm, but temps that night were only in the 50's and I used most of my layers while in my sleeping bag. I can't say that my clothing and bag would keep me warm at 20 and 30 degree temps. It would be nice to test the low temps out in dry conditions, to know for sure. Food-no grade...I took some meals I haven't tried yet, to see if I like them, but we didn't end up cooking anything.
 (This rushing
 stream wasn't there the night before.)

Over all, this training was a fail...although, I learned some things to improve on, and made some mistakes that I won't again.
We had a nice hot breakfast in a cute German restaurant in Helen. We did some shopping and visited the local winery. On our way home, we went to the most amazing world farmers market near Atlanta. (Dekalb farmers market) This market will never be passed by me again when I am in the area! In the end, the trip was a success due to the fun, laughs, and good girl time with my bud!

Doubts about me being tough enough to do a thru hike have definitely again encompassed me. I worry that I am too much of a wimp in the cold. I also worry about not having a "partner" to laugh off the trials that do come. I'm not sure I am tough enough to keep the smiles we had on this trip, if I am doing it solo. In fact, I was planning in my head for my back-up trip to South Africa instead.
Then the psycho, non-logical part of me, after 24 hours, was thinking, eh...I can still try it, right??
I will have to give my little brain some more time to digest my thoughts and fears.

To be continued:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Movie night

I decided to make a movie to depict how most of my conversations go when someone finds out that I am hiking the AT. Believe it or not, I didn't make up any of the comments, they are things that have really been said to me.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Do These Pants Make Me Look Fat?

Well, my winter clothing is on its way. I took some advise on a couple items, and went all out. I decided that for me, it was best to be over the top with warm gear rather than not being warm enough. I think I am much more likely to quit if I am freezing.

I have a pair of icebreaker 260 leggings coming, which I got on sale for $78. Thanks for the Good Badger for the recommendation. I also splurged on Montbell UL down inner pants. (I have the down jacket already) I have been watching, but haven't ever caught these on sale, so I hope they are as valuable as I have heard for night. I still cant believe that I just spent $150 on pants that are going to, by design, make me look really fat! hahaha Now THAT is devotion!

I also got a pair of capilene 2 bottoms that were on a good sale, and an icebreaker tech T light top, which was also on a great sale. This is the first time I have purchased from www.campsaver.com and they have a 100% satisfaction return policy, so if any of my items do not make me happy, I can return them and they even pay return shipping. They are based out of Utah, too! (where I was born and raised)

As if the amount of money I have spent on gear in the last year isn't enough...I am also thinking of my food choices.
I found a great retailer of backpacking food. packlightfoods.com
I have tried several of the meals, and they are fantastic. They also come in 1 large serving, rather than two, so they are just the right amount, and are light weight. Another benefit for me is that they are 100% vegetarian. I know that it might be difficult for me to get great nutrition on the trail as a vegetarian, so I need to do more drop boxes than most people might care to do.  
Drop boxes are packages that I have sent to me along the trail. There are multiple hostels, stores, and PO offices where I can have a box shipped to me. I will have a couple friends at home with all my premade boxes. I will let them know my next location and when to send which box. This is how I will resupply any medications I will be carrying, food, replacement shoes, etc.
This brings me to my next aha" moment. [Buying food for my thru hike] The gear is expensive, but It will get used, no matter how much of the trail I complete. Buying almost 6 months worth of food makes me feel like, oh darn, I guess I better be committed to making it all the way! Well, I am already committed...but somehow buying 6 months worth of trail food makes me feel that much MORE pressure.

Less than 5 months to go! So much planning and preparation done, and so much still to do!!
Baby steps...just quicker baby steps, from this point on!