Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lookin' For Adventure

Or whatever comes my way....

 These two mean trouble-
with a capital T-R-O-U-B-L-E.  Really. As adults, they began taking road trips, road trips that seemed to include crazy circumstances.  The first- a trip to the WV State Penitentiary for a ghost hunt.  When they arrived at the hotel they would be calling their home base, they discovered it was scarier than any haunted prison.  Between creepy leering men in the parking lot late at night to a blood stained mattress.  That's right ladies and gentlemen, the mattress was stained with blood and the hotel decided to just flip over the mattress rather than replace it.  So creepy and nasty was the room, that the two opted to leave in the early morning even though they had been up until 3:30 am.  And at the prison, the two were given a private tour and locked in a cell.  This creeped them out because they were being shown and unauthorized area of the prison and NO ONE KNEW THEY WERE THERE.  They luckily made it home safely.
During another trip where they were headed to the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, WV, they encountered 4 tornadoes, torrential rain that had them seeking a hotel (that they never found before the rain let up) and fog so thick you couldn't see more than about 5-10 feet in front of the car on a highway with people driving 55+MPH.  The next morning as they continued to their destination, they were met with gorgeous blue skies- and Biblical flooding of the Ohio River.  At one flooded town they pulled out the map and figured out a detour around a flooded road.  It was later discovered that only minutes after driving through, their alternate route was taken out by a mudslide.  Once at their destination, they went to check out a reputedly haunted abandoned asylum and ended up being shot at by an unknown individual.  They eventually made it home safe.  But of course their next trip included another weather anomaly where they drove through storms so bad they nearly had to pull over.  The storm system ended up spawning tornadoes further East in New York.

During a camping trip to Washington State to the UFO Ranch, they came upon an individual who looked a lot like Santa Claus but who was dressed in overalls, a straw hat, a black alien t-shirt and a long sleeved unbuttoned flannel shirt.  At his camping area he was talking to something named "Thor" that they assumed was a small dog.  It ended up being a plastic alien head sitting in a dog bed.  Santa conversed with Thor often.  The two girls decided not to stay around long and left at 6am, well before they needed to in order to make the flight home.

The two girls above are in fact myself and my cousin.  And all the above stories are completely factual.  Needless to say, we're wondering what adventure may happen while we hike the trail: Bigfoot? Aliens? Bear Attack?  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What Do You Do WIth a Drunken Sailor?

I received my Frogg Toggs yesterday and was anxious to try them on.  I got the Ultralight 2 and they are very light weight.  And they're very bright yellow.  My cousin has the same ones.  She mentioned we'd look like a couple of fishermen hiking the trail.  So I said we'd just sing some sea shanties.

Everything is coming along good.  I have my Frogg Toggs packed in an easy to get to spot along with my jacket.  The stove, cookset and sleeping pad should arrive by the end of the week.  I'm purchasing the rest of the clothing I need this week/weekend.  Food has been tested out a little and I just need to make a specific list to have it completely organized.  I do need to order another sleeping pad since mine has that leak.  I'm hoping I still have time to order it, otherwise I'll have to pay more to get it from the store. 

Only 10 days!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Eleven Days and Counting

It's getting down to crunch time here.  There are only 11 days until we head out on the trail.
This weekend, my mom and I decided to test our tents and sleeping stuff.
WE don't have to worry about bears in the backyard, but the chickens were interested in what was going on.
Both tents were easy to set up.
I'd like to set mine up again to show my husband the ins and outs of it
so he can help with it on the trail.
My mom isn't as comfortable with all the camping stuff, 
but she far surpasses us with the physical fitness.
So she can haul our asses up the hills, 
and we'll make sure her tent isn't going to leak or blow away.
Packing up "camp" was a cinch as well.
And so far my pack is only about 15 lbs.
That includes the tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, 
some clothes and the camera.
I'm certain I will be well below 25 lbs which will be awesome
(plus my husband can carry some stuff too).
I did learn that I need a new sleeping pad.
Mine has a leak and I was on the ground by very early morning.
(you know, the morning where the sun isn't up but the neighbor's rooster thinks it is and starts crowing)
All in all, I'm certain I'm nearly prepared for the trip.
Food plans are coming along, and I've chosen my clothing.
All that is left is assembling the first aid kit and some other odds and ends.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Last night 3 of us headed to REI to pick up a couple of things.  My husband was finally going to purchase his pack.  He went with my suggestion of the Osprey Atmos 65L.  It's the same pack my cousin, my mother and I have and we all love it and think it's super comfortable.  The hubby agreed. 
I had my husband try out the sleeping pad I'm going to order for him to make sure he thought it would work.  Last night I also inflated my sleeping pad to make sure that it stays inflated and doesn't have any leaks.  But one issue I didn't think of is that my pad is an extra long and it might not even fit in the tent (oh darn, I might have to get a new one).
Back to the shopping excursion, I also picked up a "Feminine Urination Device" called the Freshette.  Basically, it's something that let's women pee standing up.  I was unsure about getting one or if I needed one, but during our planning meeting, (and after 15 minutes of serious gut busting, tear producing laughter) both my cousin and friend said it's definitely something that is a must.  It just makes things easier.  The Freshette even has hose extensions for those women with hose envy.  Can't beat that.
After getting the back and some socks and some other various things, we headed home.  The peas were done dehydrating so I got some blueberries and apples going.  I have a feeling the dehydrator will be going nonstop for the next week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Am I Going To Eat?

Food is an important item on the trail.  When you're burning so many calories, you need to make sure you take in enough calories to give your body enough energy and nutrients to continue.  So I've been trying to think of some different foods to take so I don't get sick of the same thing.  My plan is eating a hot breakfast, cold lunch and a hot dinner.  I think planning your hot meals is a lot easier than figuring out a cold trail lunch.  So I decided to try tuna.  I'm not a fish lover.  I hate eating fish.  Can't even stand the smell of fish.  But every now and then, I can stomach tuna.  The small little cans are heavier than I'd like but still not too bad.  The kit I bought had a can of premade tuna salad, 5 crackers and a spoon.

I opened the can and immediately thought it looked like cat food.  Not a good omen.  So I started eating, and at first it was okay.  Okay meaning with the flavor of the cracker I could choke it down.  But when I got to the last couple of spoonfuls, I was done.  There will be no tuna salad in my pack on this trip (or any other trips for that matter). 

 While in the store, I also came across this soup mix that you make by just adding water.  I love potato soup, and nothing is better on a chilly fall night in the woods than a warm bowl of soup.  So, since it was only around $3, I figured I'd test it out.

So I cooked dinner last night backpacker style- in a Ziploc bag.  I measured out the mix based on the amount of the serving size listed on the bag (1/4 cup dry made 1 cup of soup).  The first bag I made was a little watery but the second was okay.  Both were edible and tasted pretty good.  We've decided to include 1 meal of potato soup.  I wonder how I can get bacon in it?

I also have the dehydrator going full bore.  I'm currently working on peas, and tonight I'm hoping to start on some corn.  I have apples and blueberries to dehydrate for my oatmeal as well.  (the peas and corn aren't for the oatmeal, that's for chicken and rice or noodle meals).

So I think I have an idea of food, or most of the food.  Lunches will be jerky and granola bars or possibly PB&J on a tortilla.  I'll be trying it all so I know how I'm managing everything. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sleeping Bag Saga Solved

All this time that I've been preparing for this backpacking trip, I've been worrying over my sleeping bag.  I have a great bag, but it isn't a backpacking bag and therefore isn't very light.  My husband's bag is rather old and I know (from experience, or rather my cousin's experience camping at the UFO Ranch in Trout Lake, Washington) that sleeping bags loose their effectiveness over time. 

Since we're on a budget, my husband and I didn't really want to purchase new sleeping bags.  So I attempted to see if mine would be compressed small enough to at least fit easily in my pack.  But it didn't fit in the compression sack I purchased. The thoughts of sleeping bags and compression sacks were shelved for a while.  I'd figure it out later. 

So while discussing the issues recently, my 9 year old son suggested my husband use his bag.  I explain that his sleeping bag is a youth size so my husband would never fit.  "So why don't you use it, Mom" was his next suggestion.  So I tried it out.  We won't dwell on the fact that I am short enough to fit into a youth bag.  We will dwell on the fact that I fit, it's lighter than mine AND it fits into the already purchased compression sack.

Only a few other items to work on getting and we'll be set!

Friday, September 11, 2015

From the 104th Floor

From the 104th Floor

by Leda Rodis (age 14 in 2001)

When the plane hit the building
rocked first
to the right
to the left,
and outside all the skyscrapers
of New York
seemed to tremble.
The alarms screamed louder
than we did, and I knew
it was time to get away. It’s funny
what you notice:
a pen rolling across the floor
my screen saver flicker and go off
a picture of you
and me
at Coney Island.
So much to leave behind. And yet so little.
Running down the hall I remembered
my mother
taking me to the top
of the Empire
State Building when I was just
a little girl,
telling me that a plane
had crashed there a long
time ago. So I thought that maybe
what happened. Just
an accident. And accidents
happen everyday.
Under the blown-out exit sign
a crowd
is screaming,
on the door.
I know:
You have to believe that I tried. I’m not the one
to give up.
Back at my desk, I rescue
the rolling pen,
at the blank screen, and
my picture
of you.
I look out
at the blue morning.
I expect
to see God there.
But what I really see is
another plane.
And I know what it means.
But I don’t know why…
I always thought that life was full of choices.
It always has been.
What to wear
Where to eat
Who to love
(and you know who I chose).
Now my choices have been taken away from me.
The men in the planes have narrowed my choices
Death by fire, or death by fall.
I see the smoke
filling the room
It’s hard to breathe
I look towards the open window.
would falling feel like?
I remember the roller coaster at Coney Island.
The wind tugging at my hair
How good it felt to scream.
The feeling in my stomach.
And how all the way down
I was with you.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


This time next month I will have hopefully returned from my section hike and will be able to move.  Hopefully I won't still be lying on the side of the trail somewhere above Harper's Ferry, or be buried in a hole dug by poop shovels or, as my 9 year old son warned me, end up missing because Bigfoot or a UFO abducted me (I really shouldn't share all my research on ghosts and the paranormal on the AT with him).
In the meantime, I'm getting all my gear together.  There will be a last trip to REI next week for the hubby's pack and some online sales to get the stove and other various odds and ends (I'm taking my small Olympus Tough camera so I'm getting extra batteries- worth the extra weight for me because I love taking photos, plus I want to be ready in case I see Bigfoot).
Sunday our group is meeting to plan all the logistics of the trip.  At some point this weekend, I want to start preparing food or at least experimenting with some recipes.  Part of me thinks it would be far easier at this point to just stock up on Mountain House food, but as someone who has high blood pressure, I can't really have the amount of sodium that Mountain House has.  It's a shame, really, because some of there meals are darn good. 
So, with the flurry of activity, I'll post here when I can about updates on the gear choices and food.
I'm so excited!

And for your listening pleasure, one of my favorite songs:

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Countdown

This time next month, I'll be on the Trail somewhere.  I'm not sure if I'll be actuall hiking, or if I'll be lying on the side of the trail telling people to contiue on without me.  Either way, I'll be on the trail.

In a last minute push, I managed to get back into the gym.  I've only gone one day so far, but I went back.  I tried not to push too much because I didn't want to cause issue with my muscle injury.  For a few days afterwards it was a little touch and go.  The heating pad was my best friend.  Then I took one of my prescription anti-inflammatories, went to bed and woke up the next morning completely pain free.  And for 2 days now, I haven't even had the typical constant ache.  I'm hoping it lasts.

I haven't been able to do much actual hiking.  September came and my world exploded with school meetings and scout meetings and popcorn meetings... I did have my grandson visiting for a weekend and we managed to take him to the Battlefield for a short hike.  No doubt he loves the outdoors and hiking, but he just runs with no sense of potential pitfalls.  Luckily he had his uncle there to help him along. 

Just need a few more things to round out my gear and figure out meals and I'm good to go!