Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slacking...aka a bunch of stuff to fill you in on

My goal is 1 update a week, which has been falling on Sunday, but I think my Sunday nap lasted too long last week. So here is a hodgepodge of updates and other good stuff that is getting me ready for this amazing journey.

The AT Guide
The 2012 version of the AT Guide came to my mailbox a week ago. It is the guide of choice by most thru hikers. It has elevation profiles, locations of all shelters, water supplies, points of interests and town maps. It was the missing piece I was waiting on to get the serious planning going. As crazy as it sounds, I will not be taking any maps on the trail. The trail is well marked and the most valuable navigational tool I old have with me other than a compass is the AT Guide.

Sleep System Shakedown
I took a night where the temperature low was 28 degrees to test my sleep gear. I set up my tent in the backyard like a little kid and camped out. I started out great- had my long underwear on with hiking pants, long underwear shirt and synthetic puffy jacket and wool socks with a toboggan. I had my sleeping bag liner in, which is supposed to add about 5 degrees of warmth inside my sleeping bag which was rated for 32 degrees. All in all, I was expecting to wake up the next morning having slept like a baby. That didn't happen. I was back in my warm cozy bed at 2:30am. The problem was my 10 year old sleeping bag. It had a temp rating of 32 degrees, but in reality it should have been more like a 45. Today, good sleeping bags follow the European standard called EN13537, which means that two completely different sleeping bags with the same rating should work exactly the same. The temp ratings have 3 sets of numbers, the most important being the absolute lowest temperature in which you could sleep comfortably. I am waiting until the last minute to replace my sleeping bag (if necessary) to see where temps will be when I start. For more info on sleeping bag ratings, click here.

Arts and Crafts with Mr. Carpenter
I was bored one afternoon and decided to make a stove out of 2 Pepsi cans. Alcohol burning stoves are very popular because they weigh basically nothing and fuel (denatured alcohol or heet) are readily available along the trail. I love my Pocket Rocket which requires canister fuel, but thought why not have a backup in case I run out? It was easy to make and I plan on making a few more because I am sure they will get better and better. I used this website for directions on how to make it. Click here.

Update on Active Water Goal
As of today, I am excited to announce that $750 has been given to Active Water through the generosity of several people. My goal is to raise $4500 by the time I finish the hike, which is enough to build a clean water well along with supply a few houses with biosand filters. If you want to partner with me to help provide clean water for Zambia, Africa, you can click the Active Water link on the right of this page. I am very excited that I am 1 of 5 hikers that are hiking for clean water. Between the 5 of us, we are going to be able to make a huge impact! For more info on why I have chosen this organization to hike for, click the Watsr Facts link on top of this page.


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