Next week I will be leaving for a sabbatical on the Appalachian Trail. Most people don't really know what the heck it is or why you'd want to be homeless wandering through the woods for a month and a half. I can't offer any answers for those people. Most of all people ask me what I'll be carrying for all those miles. You don't need quite as much as you may think. So this post will be to educate some and show what I prefer and will be on my back.
Pack: Granite Gear Crown 60 w/ side pocket for quick stashes and water bottle holder.
Shelter: BearPaw Wilderness Designs Canopy 1 Tarp. Made to order tarp and built in the USA. If you are at all interested in a solid, affordable shelter I suggest you check them out. This will be my home for awhile. I have the optional bug net that I can have sent to me if the skeeters get too bad but I'll be leaving home with just the tarp and a groundcloth.
Sleeping: Big Agnes Cross Mountain, Thermarest NeoAir Trekker and a Cocoon Pillow. A nice plush pad, a thin sleeping bag and a fluffy pillow. I wouldn't normally bring a pillow but I don't have any big insulating layers for the warmer weather to stuff into a pillow like form. Oh well. This setup for me is more comfortable than my own bed.
Cooking and Drinking: Homemade cat food can stove. I have tried every kind of stove imaginable and works just as well as any i've tried. If you are looking for a stove for camping or any kind of travel, you owe it to yourself to give this a try. A cheap 3 cup pot w/ homemade cozy, gripper, spork, etc. Gatorade bottle to drink out of and an Evernew 2L bottle for storage. And a Steripen to treat water when not drinking straight from the springs.
In unrelated news my vegetable garden is coming along incredibly well. My tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash are blossoming. Too bad I won't be here to enjoy the harvests.
In fishing related news I took my Fountainhead Caddis Fly 360 out today in the basin for the first time. This rod is a little softer than my Amago and a foot and a half shorter. I think it's great for tighter spots or throwing smaller flies at panfish. The fluff butts weren't working today because we were really limited to where the kayak could reach because of the water lillies blocking both avenues toward lake henderson. I tied on a Pink Pookie style hopper and started fishing it slow on the surface near the lillies. Caught a few good size bream on them and I have to say I LOVED fishing the hopper pattern. It's a totally different approach and to see the fish hitting the fly on the surface is awesome. No doubt will be fishing these dries all the way through the summer.