Monday, December 10, 2012

Jo's warm-up hike

Fiskars and Someday atop Springer Mountain
I just returned from a 26-day hike from Davenport Gap in the Smokies to Springer Mountain, Georgia on the Benton MacKaye Trail.  My friend Fiskars went with me and completed her first long-distance hike.  She rocked! 

We started on November 6th, and encountered some a lot of Sandy's snow.  Luckily, the Benton MacKaye Trail maintains generally lower elevations throughout the Smokies compared to the Appalachian Trail, so after a few days the snow had melted.

It was great to get out and back into the hiking groove, making sure all my gear will work for a long trip.  On night two, we learned that my tent's rainfly was no longer waterproof.  At all.  I called the company and was able to purchase a replacement and have it shipped to our next resupply point. I'm glad I learned that before hiking the Great Eastern Trail.  Logistics on the GET will be difficult enough without having to deal with gear issues.

The Benton MacKaye Trail was absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend it.  It was nice to hike a trail and need a map; my other hiking experiences have been in places where a person would really have to try to get lost.  It was very good practice for the GET, which in some places doesn't quite exist yet.

On my way back to Minnesota I stopped in West Virginia to go over some plans with Hillbilly Bart.  I leave Minnesota in less than a month, so I am busy planning maildrops, mapping out some roadwalks, and accumulating maps.

Thank you to everyone who helped us out during the Benton MacKaye Trail trip: Hillbilly Bart for driving us to the Smokies, Mom for the roadtrip home,  Mad Dog, Ali, Jen, and Brandon for visiting (and treats!), Mike for being brave enough to pick up two stinky hitchhikers, The Hike Inn for being wonderful people, the Fish Hatchery for going above and beyond, the Green Cove Motel for my favorite zero day on the trail, Mike and company at the Ducktown Copper Inn for being sweethearts, and the Iron Bridge Cafe and Hostel for being exactly what we needed.  Oh, and thanks Sgt. Rock!

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