Just one last day to send off! I've got my pack all packed- for the most part - and am officially moved out of my house. Just me, my Dad, and a Super 8 Motel for the time being. Pretty soon it'll be just me, my backpack, and the trail. I can't wait.
I thought I'd just give a quick rundown of my gear since I've had lots of questions. I'd like to preface this by saying, though quality and dependable gear is of utmost importance, gear is not going to get you to the destination. Additionally, expensive gear does not equal the best gear for you (example: I almost purchased a $35 'backpacking umbrella' because of it's compactness and light weight, however then went to Dollar General and found one almost identical (hot pink instead of neon orange) for $5). Different gear works for different people, so if you're considering a long distance hike, consider lots of people's suggestions and then go with what feels best to you.
Backpack: Kelty Trekker 64L External Frame (this pack is a dinosaur in the pack world but it is da bomb)
Tent: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
Sleeping Bag: Timber Woods 32 degree and La Fuma 50 degree
Clothes: Wal-Mart and Target Tank Tops (2), Columbia Shorts (1), Smart Wool Socks (3), Target synthetic pants (1), K-Mart synthetic stretchy pants (1), IceBreaker medium weight insulating layer (1), K-Mart fleece hoody (1).
Other: Leki trekking poles, Vargo titanium alcohol stove, K-Mart grease pot, Black Diamond Headlamp, Mtn Hardware rain jacket, 2 nalgenes and 1 liter Platypus water bladder, basic roll-up sleeping pad, Crocs
Tech stuff: Eee PC netbook, prepaid Verizon mobile broadband, Samsung flip phone
I'm hoping to arrive at Clingman's Dome about 9am. Isolated Thunderstorms is predicted for the entire week ahead, so hopefully they will be isolated to whatever side of the mountain I am not hiking on. Temperatures have risen since last week (low of 27 degrees in the Smokies-eep!) to low 40's and predicted to stay there. Well if it rains, I have my $5 hot pink umbrella and the plants will be happily turning their leaves to the sky.
Before I head out, I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you to all the folks that have supported me in my decision to do this trail: friends and family you know who you are, as well as anyone who offered me a kind word, thoughtful suggestion, or simply a smile when I was in the throes of indecision or worry about the trip (this would include many a kind Filo customer). I would like to thank in advance all those who have offered me a place to stay while hiking (some of them previously complete strangers who once learning of my trip and intentions, opened up their thoughts and homes to me). I would also like to thank all those who have greatly assisted me in learning about the plants and offered me the guidance and confidence to leap into the plant world - Juliet Blankespoor, Marc Williams, 7Song, the folks at the UNCA Wildflower Pilgrimage (guides and attendees alike), herb school classmates, and my special homeschool students.
Tomorrow the trek begins. Mountains-to-Sea Trail, bring it on!