Things I learned from this weekend’s hike:
- Respect the Weather. I camped atop a ridge Friday night. The weather forecast called for rain and moderate wind. On top of the ridge, the wind was a lot stronger. More importantly, if a thunderstorm had developed – none was forecast – I’d have been in a really bad position: near the tallest trees on an exposed ridge. I stopped at this spot because I really dislike trying to set up camp in the dark, but in this case I should have kept going.
- More Tyvec! That stuff is awesome. I plan to construct a pack cover out it (instead of just a plain sheet, as it is now) and a poncho. The poncho can work as a ground cover if needed.
- More Zip-lock Bags. I have all of my hammock stuff in one stuff sack. The straps got pretty wet Friday night. Putting them into the same stuff sack as the hammock meant the hammock got wet. That’s not a problem in this case, as I was walking out on Saturday. Next time, though, I’ll have a ziplock bag to protect the hammock. (The hammock dries fast, but I don’t want to ever have to put my down sleeping bag on a damp hammock.)
- Food. I found I did pretty good not making breakfast. I eat something ready made, like a snack bar, and keep snacking on trail mix as I go. This means I can carry less fuel. I can also give up the coffee. Next time I go out, I’ll carry some packs of hot chocolate or hot apple cider, and maybe some instant coffee. I had double-chocolate coconut pudding for lunch one day. I was standing in a downpour, getting rained on, eating pudding. I think I called myself “a beautiful genius” at that moment — that pudding was delicious. Before my next trip, I’ll make a batch of snack bars & trail mixes, and try to ensure I’m getting enough protein (the sugar & fat are a lot easier to come by!).
- Yay Altras! The trail runners are definitely a winner. I will need to prep my feet for this, though. The added 35 pounds with the pack means I need a little more support. My feet will adapt.
- Time to Hit the Gym. These past two hikes were a painful reminder that I can’t slack on my core workouts. Climbing and descending wore out my glutes. I’d rather put the time in at the gym and be less miserable on the trail.
- I May Not Be Tough Enough for This. I probably am, but I questioned myself a lot. I get really whiny when things are difficult. (This may be the downside of my hyper analytical personality.) The blessing of the crappy weather is that I’ve been able to experience it on shorter hikes; I get to learn these lessons when I’m out for a shorter hike, as opposed to two days into a seven day hike. I hope to keep challenging myself, to get myself ready to try Section J again.