Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pine Grove Furnace

This past weekend, myself, my husband and my cousin  drove out to Pine Grove Furnace State Park to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail out and back.  We're getting close to our departure date for our trip, so we're trying to get ready.  Some of us are testing out how injuries are healing to see how we do and some of us are working on fine tuning our packs to get the weight and fit just right.
The weather was a little iffy at first.  Winds had been gusting to 60 MPH the night before and while they had died down some it was still quite blustery out.  And it was cold.  It gave me a chance to try out the $5.00 base layers I purchased on clearance at Walmart.  I'm happy to report that a top base layer, a long sleeve moisture wicking top and my Columbia Omni-Heat jacket were sufficient to keep me warm.  In fact, I had to unzip halfway through because I was sweating. On the bottom, I only had on a pair of fleece lined leggings (also a Walmart clearance steal) and I was good to go.  Should the weather be chilly, that will be the clothing I plan to wear.  Clothing is my one issue at this point.  The weather is so up and down (it was almost 80* 2 days before this), I won't be able to really make a choice until closer to the time we leave.
Our goal was to hike a mile or two, eat lunch then turn around and head back to the cars.  We ended up hiking 2.9 miles before stopping.  In total, we hiked just shy of 6 miles (5.8) in 3 hours and 30 minutes which includes the time we spent eating lunch.  All three of us were pleased with our pace, especially since the start was a steady incline.  I had to stop and take a few breaks on the way up and still we made decent time.  I was carrying about 19 pounds in my pack, and I was pleased with how well I did.  Those of us who are nursing injuries also did well and were encouraged that we didn't have any significant issues. 
All that is left for me to do is to start packing and deciding what goes and what stays based on need and weight.  I want to try to keep the pack around 20 pounds as much as possible.  I'm hoping for warmer temps because that means lighter clothing.
It was a really great hike full of positives- beautiful day, no problem with injuries and a faster hiking time than expected.

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