Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the planning's just beginning...

I'm still trying to whittle away ounces on my pack weight. It has occurred to me that instead of worrying about ounces, I should be concentrating on losing some weight. (I have plenty to lose!). I've already been working out 3x/week, plus hiking on the weekend, so it is obvious I need to make some changes to my diet. But, my diet really isn't that awful - I just have trouble with portion control and a bit of a sweet tooth. So, I've been living by the "3S" rule: no sweets, no snacks, no seconds (except occasionally on days that start with S). If I can drop 20 pounds by the start of my thru, my knees will be a lot happier!

Not totally official yet, but we're looking at a start date of March 6th.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Overnight trial run

Low is 27 degrees (above zero).

Postscript: It was indeed cold, but I was pretty comfy. Learned a few things:
  • I need to wipe off the bottom of my canister before putting it into my pot. Otherwise I get a bunch of dirt in my pot. Or cut a piece of tyvek to be my porch. Or maybe both.
  • I can lean my pack against a hiking pole. Kind of.
  • I can fit my backpack (the gregory z65) in my tent. Hurray!
  • The SteriPEN Adventurer Opti my brother & sister-in-law got me for my birthday is the bomb! Especially now that I have the pre-filter that fits a wide-mouth nalgene; I can submerge the nalgene in water and then treat the non-silty water with the UV lamp. Super easy.
  • I need to brush my teeth immediately after eating, *before* getting in my bag. Otherwise I want to just go to sleep/stay warm!
  • I don't need my puffy vest.
  • I probably don't need half the shit I have in my first aid kit.
  • I definitely need to get a handle on my food - I'm packing way too much food and it is weighing my pack down.
  • Also I need to trust the water supply - will be easier with a guidebook on the AT to know where reliable water is at. But water is also super heavy - at 2.2 lbs per liter - so if I can carry only what water I need it will make a big difference in pack weight.
  • Putting a hot water bottle in my bag before sleeping is the key to success. (And I managed to stay cozy warm the entire night).
  • Sleeping in smartwool compression socks is the way to go. 
  • My camelbak won't freeze if i wrap it in my jacket and put it between my bag & my sleeping pad. I blew out the water in the hose back into the reservoir, too. (Not sure it was really cold enough to freeze, anyway, but it sure didn't with my precautions!).
  • I get claustrophobic in my bag if I cinch the mummy hood up. (Like, waking up in a suffocating panic).  I was a little panicky going to sleep - it was cold, and I had trouble breathing earlier because of the cold - and I had a "what am I doing, I should be at home in bed with E. while I have the chance!" moment. But I tied a bandana over my mouth which helped me breathe warm air. I still woke up panicky - figured out it was the mummy hood - so once I un-cinched the hood I was ok - and still warm. And the bandana ended up above my head, so I didn't really need that, either.
  • My super thick sleeping pad (the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad) is AMAZING. Best sleep I have *ever* had while camping. Serious.
  • Right now - when it's cold - I want to have a cup of tea and hot oatmeal before getting up. But maybe that will change when it gets to be "less cold". Even with a very leisurely waking process/breakfast/camp breakdown, we were on the trail by 8.
All in all - it was a great trip. I can't wait to go on our 3-night hike next weekend!