One Down, Thirteen to go.

One Down, Thirteen to go.
     Only 15 or so miles left until North Carolina! I’ll be finishing off my first state tomorrow morning. I’m writing this post from Top of Georgia Hostel in Hiawassee, GA. It’s a really nice hostel, and last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve gotten since starting the trail. It’s funny how luxurious a rock hard hostel bunk feels after a week on the tail. I got to take a shower, they did my laundry, and shuttled us all into town for beer, food, and supplies.
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     Several new friends from the trail are staying here as well, so it’s been pretty fun. Last night we had a little hiker pot luck in the hostel. I made guacamole, and there was also pizza, tacos, mashed potatoes, steak, salad, and cake. We had a fire outside after dinner, and enjoyed a couple of growlers of local beers from the beer store in downtown Hiawassee.
     My first week on the trail has been great. I’ve met some awesome people, and hiked some really beautiful trail. The trees are still bare, which allows for really great views along the trail. The weather seems to be warming up quickly though, and I’m excited to start seeing things turn green. Some highlights from the week include: a hiker feed at Unicoi Gap, meeting trail angels Onesimus & Trixie and hitching a ride from town in their RV, catching views of the Atlanta city skyline from several points around Blood Mountain, and of course stuffing my face with food here at the hostel last night.
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     I’ll hike out of here around 10 or 11 this morning, and I’m thinking I’ll just do a few easy miles before setting up camp. My legs feel great, but I’m trying to pace myself as much as possible to avoid any unnecessary injuries. Also I still have another frozen pizza here which I’ll cook for breakfast. Mmm.
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     People have been calling me McLovin, so I guess that’s my trail name. I’m not sure that I see the connection myself, but several people around camp one night agreed that the way I talk reminds them of the character from the movie Superbad. He’s a goofy character but I don’t really mind the name, so I’ll roll with it.
     The next town I plan to stop in and resupply is Franklin, North Carolina. It’s about 40 miles from here, and I’m expecting to get there in 3 days. I’ll post another update sometime next week, whenever I can get in front of a computer. If anyone has questions about my first week or the Georgia section of the A.T., feel free to drop a comment below.
Cheers,
Ben
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50 Liters To Freedom; A.T. Gear List

50 Liters To Freedom; A.T. Gear List

Tomorrow is the day I start my thru-hike, so naturally today is the day I finally gathered all of my gear and put a list in writing.  I’ve accumulated much of this stuff over the years, but have added a few new pieces for this season.  It’s not quite ultralight, but I’m happy to be toting the extra ounces for the few luxuries I’m bringing along.  I’m sure that some of my needs will change and parts of this will get sent home or swapped out, but here’s what I’ll be starting out with:

Pack, Sleep System, Shelter

  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 3400 Pack (32 oz.)
  • Marmot Plasma 30 Sleeping Bag (23 oz.)
  • Exped Synmat UL 7 (16 oz.)
  • Exped Shnozzle UL Pump (2 oz.)
  • HMG 8.5″ x 8.5′ Flat Tarp (13.8 oz.)
  • Polycro Ground Sheet (1.2 ox.)

Clothing

  • Melanzana Micro Grid Hoodie (12.2 oz.)
  • OR Helium II Rain Jacket (6.5 oz.)
  • Exofficio Boxer Brief (2.5 oz.)
  • Marmot Long Underwear (6 oz.)
  • Exofficio Long Sleeve Shirt (7 oz.)
  • Ibex Wool Hiking Socks (1.75 oz.)
  • Smartwool Camp Socks (3 oz.)
  • Northface Fleece Gloves (2.2 oz.)
  • Buff (1.2 oz.)
  • Salomon Running Shorts (4.2 oz.)
  • SS Button-down town shirt (5.5 oz.)
  • Arc’teryx Rampart Pants (worn)
  • Ibex Wool Shirt (worn)
  • Altra Lone Peak 2.5 Trail Runners (worn)
  • Dirty Girl Gaiters (worn)

Miscellaneous 

  • Smartwater Bottles (3.2 oz.)
  • Sawyer Squeeze Filter (3.5 oz.)
  • Iphone Chargers (2.2 oz.)
  • Bic Mini Lighters (2.8 oz.)
  • Headlamp (3.2 oz.)
  • 1/4 AWOL Guidebook (2.5 oz.)
  • Pocket Knife (1.7 oz.)
  • Dry Bag/ Stuff Sacks (8 oz.)

Kitchen

  • Ti Spoon (0.8 oz.)
  • SnowPeak Cookpot (4.7 oz.)
  • Snowpeak Gigapower Stove (3.75 oz.)
  • IsoPro Fuel Canister (7.2 oz.)

Luxuries

  • Crocs (10.5 oz.)
  • Platypus Big Zip 2L Hydration Bladder (5.6 oz.)
  • Ipod Mini & Headphones (1.85 oz.)
  • Paperback Novel (8 oz.)
  • Journal & Pen (9 oz.)
  • Leki Corklite Trekking Poles

First Aid/Toiletries

  • TP
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Mini Comb
  • Gold Bond
  • Advil
  • Bandaids
  • Earplugs                                  (4.2 oz.)

And that’s all for now!  My base weight is right around seventeen pounds, but I’ll trim it back to fifteen or so as the weather warms up and I can ditch a few layers of clothing. If you have any questions or see any glaring gaps in my list, please drop a comment below!

Now that the bag is packed, all that’s left for me to do is enjoy one last meal with some friends and family.  Time to put some beers on ice and fire up the smoker.  Next post will be from the trail. =)

Cheers,

Ben