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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back Again

I keep meaning to update this journal. Then suddenly I realize it's been a couple of weeks. This time it's because there have been some fun things happening.

I went to the hiker dinner last weekend. I didn't go to the hike beforehand. For some reason I keep backing away from hiking with anyone else. I had fun at the dinner. I sat next to Shiloh, a new hiker who is starting his AT hike March 10. We talked hammocks, and he had some questions about gear that I own, so I invited him and peanut (who rode up from Atlanta with him) over to my house the next day on their way home. I also met some of the other local hikers. As I move from gear-gathering to getting out with hikers more I think I'll enjoy getting involved with the local hiker groups. I've liked the folks I've met so far. I also sat next to Fishbone, who I met at one of the hang-outs in Hot Springs. It's fun to talk to him as he's always into some neat stuff.

We went to REI after dinner for a demo on their new tents. The tents are a step in the right direction I think for mainstream hikers. Mostly mesh and free standing. Just looks like a lot a hardware to this hammocker. I need to periodically do a gear check to make sure that the hammock remains my best choice, but so far I think it is. REI had packs on clearance, and the model was right between my two current packs. It is lighter than my Venus, but has most of the features and is ALMOST as large. So, at $65 I got two. One was for Nancye, who was headed to my place the next day to borrow a pack.

Nancye arrived Sunday morning and immediately started checking out the pack. Finding all the compartments, playing with the suspension. She decided she likes the pack, and wrote me a check. Since I had gotten it at REI I knew that if she didn't like it I could always take it back, so it wasn't that much of a gamble. She is heading to the AT with Charlotte/Bluebelle the end of March to hike the first 3 days with her, and borrowed some of my gear. My gear at least will hike the AT this year. Shiloh and peanut arrived and we discussed tarps, Figure 9's, hammock ring buckle rigging and much more. I really like Shiloh, and will look forward to following his journal this year. He brought to Nancye and my attention that WalMart now sells a package of waterproof stuffsacks 3/$10. We both now own some of those.

Nancye and I went out after they left and set up my UL tent that she is borrowing. It was windy and was a challenge. I'm glad that we were able to do that as it wasn't as intuitive as we both thought it would be for her. It also reminded me (I didn't tell Nancye this) why I went to a hammock. I think that the tent is great for a sub-2 pound single wall tent. But, there is a learning curve.

I had dinner with Nancye and Bill this past Friday, and Nancye said she slept outside in the tent with her gear as a shakedown on Wednesday. That night was very cold, and she learned a lot about a silnylon tent, specifically that silnylon stretches when wet and needs to be tightened (or special care needs to be used when originally setting it up to get it VERY tight). I'm glad she did that, and now has some ideas on what she needs to change up before getting out on the trail.

I started back exercising on my Total Gym this week. I also got back on my Shaklee Physique. This isn't an advertisement (I no longer sell Shaklee), but that stuff really does keep me from getting sore muscles, and I'm SOOOO tired of being sore. I also received my Harmony House dehydrated foods that I ordered. I made one of the soups, and it was quick and easy. It needed more seasoning, but now that I know that I'll adjust the rest of them while cooking. I also pulled out my dehydrator and have been experimenting with dehydrating canned corn and canned beans, now that I know what the finished product is supposed to look like. I'll play with cooking with the stuff this next week.

And, after all that... I had decided that it is time to start using some of this stuff I've been acquiring. I have spent the last year getting gear. Now, the next year is going to be spent on getting out and using it. The 2-year (what the heck is a year mark that is BEFORE an event??) preparation mark before my hike was last Friday. I'm a lot further than I was last year. But, it is indeed time to shift gears. I'll work on food and on getting into shape. And, saving money.

Oh, I have my next travel for work dates now. I'll go to Santa Fe, NM next month. I'm excited.

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