Thursday, February 23, 2012

of Tarp Tents and Frogg Toggs

edit on 5/24/2013 -- I am selling my beloved Tarptent Notch to swap it out for a two person TT. It is priced at $200. Please email me if interested!
First item of business: someone landed on this blog the other day by searching 'best earrings for a thru hike'. What?

Moving on:

Lots of gear has arrived in the mail recently... tent, rain gear, AWOL guide book, patagonia jacket, sleeping pad, and the third pair of boots after I wasn't happy with the first two.  And a food bag.

Behold! The TarpTent Notch, as seen on the right.

Beau thinks they look like little space ships. Stratospire2 on the left, Notch on the right

I've set it up a couple times and it's pretty quick and easy.  I'm a little concerned about needing to pitch it when the ground is too hard to get stakes in, as it's not free standing.  But I've spoken to a few thru hikers who have had tents like unto this on their hike and they said it was only an issue a couple times and it turned out okay.  My dad just got the StratoSpire 2 for him and my mom, and we had a TarpTent party in the yard.

On one of my (many) research trips to REI, a 2010 thru hiker englightened me about using Frogg Toggs for rain gear.  Orginally made for fishers and hunters, these two piece suits are incredibly light and durable.  I chose the DriDucks Dura-Lite Rain Suit.  It's 10 oz for the whole suit.  I'll keep both the top and bottom for the colder weeks, and ditch the bottoms when it's warmer.  I should take a picture of these, becaue they look pretty ridiculous.  But I think it will work really well and I'm excited to try them out. Actually, that's a lie.  I hope it never rains the whole time I'm hiking except for on zero days or when I'm sleeping in a shelter (but the springs will magically stay flowing).

I am super happy to have found a jacket and boots I love- a hot pink Patagonia Micro Puff, and I switched to the mid-ankle option on the Keene Voyageur boots.  The low ankle boot was creating weird pressure points where the tongue lay on my foot, but the mid ankle length is working fine.  I LOVE the wide toe box and they are just great. 

Also, 2 copies of the AWOL guide- one for me and one for Beau, my official thru hike coordinator.  Initial perusing has brought an immediate sense of panic towards resupply stops.  My type-A personality will have quite the experience adapting to the "figure it out as you go along" nature of thru hiking.

I'm electing to use the AT Guide over the formerly universally used Thru Hikers' Companion, mostly because of the handy profile maps.  And the distances listed to the next three shelters, instead of just one like in the Companion.  I just love the comparison found on their website:

My gear list is just about complete!

Friday, February 17, 2012


The past few weekends we've done some fun things, but I didn't take ANY pictures.  So instead of being able to document our Spy Museum trip, game night with friends, bike rides, dinner party, more games with friends, temple trip, or a Superbowl party.... I have nothing.  But I decided to make up for it this weekend.

My goal was to document everything we did.  I had moderate success.

We made pizza on Friday night, a common occurrence, especially when Harris Teeter has dough for a $1 on the weekly ad.
first layer of toppings, and me looking like I'm about to stab myself

Beau's self portrait

I highly recommend making pizza on the barbeque.  You roll out your dough and put it on the grill for a minute or two (just on one side).  Then top your pizza on the side that's been cooked.  Put it back on the grill for a minute or two and you're done!

Saturday was a busy day for us.  Beau took the much anticipated GMAT, the aptitude test for business school.   He's been studying SO MUCH over the past couple months, and he did really well.  He'll be applying to a few local school and maybe a couple others as well.  Details to follow.

So while Beau was having a super fun time taking the GMAT, I went running and used my Groupon for a massage! Ha.

I found a wetlands refuge!
This is my first run in quite a while, as I've been resting some tendonitis.  I was/am really afraid of it preventing me from thru hiking, so I've been playing it really safe and not running. At all. Huge bummer (Who am I? Who likes running, anyway?) and I miss my long run Saturdays.   Anyway, it's finally at the point where I have no residual tension on my ankle and I'm looking forward to getting back to (short... slow...) runs.


The remainder of the day:

- Drop by to Z&J's
yes, Millie is always dressed cute, even when just lounging on a lazy day
- Perusing F Street

Amorini Panini

love this pay by the ounce stuff
- The National Portrait Gallery, something I'd never done before but I definitely suggest for best DC museums.  And the building is amazing! Will someone please have their wedding reception there and invite me?
- The Holocaust Museum's Nazi propoganda exhibit
(My goal to take documenting photos is clearly slipping....)
- As luck would have it, we ran into Steve and Lauren at Costco and spent the evening with them
Hooray for fun Saturdays!

Sunday we went on a delightfully cold walk on the first day that has actually felt like winter.

Then we went to church and made Valentine's cookies and that is THE END.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

anecdote from John

"I'm thinking that Shauna and I will quit our jobs and go with you.  We will hike the first week with you, then fly up to Connecticut and start hiking south.  We'll see you somewhere in Shenandoah Nat'l park.  We won't tell each other where we are, we will just see each other when we see each other.  The anticipation will be tremendous.  If we read each other's entries in the shelter journal we will know we missed each other.  If that happens, you keep on going.  Shauna and I will shuttle back to run into you. 

- dad "

Thursday, February 2, 2012

a thought on mail drops

Why do them?

See here, here and here.

Seriously, I'm interested in opinions. They seem like a huge hassle and potentially a waste of time.

(Packing too much food, packing not enough, getting sick of the food you thought you'd like, not arriving in town when the post office is open, expense of mailing, worry about package not getting to where it should be... etc.)

Enlighten me!