Sorry I have not posted in awhile. I have been a little busy and haven’t sat down to blog some stuff.
I’m going backpacking Sunday December 30th!!!! I’ll be hiking to a campsite called Walnut Bottom located on the bank of Big Creek in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This campsite is so unique and popular because it’s located within half day hike to the following locations: Mt. Cammerer, Mt. Sterling, Luftee Knob, Balsam Mt, Mt. Guyot (2nd highest peak in the Smokies.), and some other key places. It’s located within a few waterfalls and deep swimming holes too. The weather says it will be 23 degrees low Sunday night, so I’ll be breaking out my warmest sleeping bag and some extra warm clothes to sleep in. The next day I plan to hike up to Mt. Sterling and check out its panoramic view and descend down Baxter Creek to the car. Baxter Creek is suppose to be a difficult trail, so the plate in my leg will be hating me after this trip…
I’ll be packing the following items:
Big Agnes Seedhouse 1 tent
Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina sleeping bag rated for 15 degrees
Big Agnes insulated sleep pad
Pocket Rocket Stove with a backup solid fuel stove.
Gaiter in-case I have to trek through some soft powder snow on the way to Mt. Sterling.
Granite Gear Blaze 60 liter pack
Fire starters such as magnesium shaving, dry lint, solid fuel, etc.
A mug to boil water and cook food
Water filter and my 32oz bottle
Marmot insulated jacket with two long sleeves base layer and base layer pants in addition to two mid-weight long sleeves and pants. Wool hat, fleece gloves, and a wind sleeve to protect my face from getting wind chapped, again.
Rain jacket and pant.
Food will consist of 2 bags of Easy Mac, 5 protein bars that has nearly 300 calories each, energy chews, grits, bag of cashews, and a beef stick pack with pretzel, cheese, and beef stick. I’ll also pack green tea and hot chocolate. I will consume a big breakfast/lunch before venturing out.
Also I will pack a pee bottle this time as well as some hand-warmers to throw in my sleeping bag.
Last but not least, CHAP STICKS!!! I prefer Burts Bees Mango flavor.
The trick to staying warm in the cold winter night is consuming a lot of calories and drinking warm drinks. The latter can make you go to bathroom a lot, so males have a distinct advantage: taking a pee bottle so you don’t have get out of your warm sleeping bag or tent. For my female readers, well, I can imagine that would be tricky and I have no advice for you at this time. (Sorry, ladies) I use hand-warmers or body-warmers (it same as the former, just bigger!) in my sleeping bag and it radiate heats that your bag will trap creating a heater. Boiled water in plastic water bottle works just as well. A good sleeping bag means you shouldn’t need this, but if temperature suddenly drops below your bag’s rating it will help you get through the night without freezing to death. (I hope.) By the way this advice isn’t proven in the field, so do not take my word for it but it HAS kept me plenty warm before with very little clothes on in my Mountain Hardwear bag on a 20 degrees night.
I’ll post back either Monday night or Tuesday afternoon with pictures and hopefully a good story to share! I sure hope the bears are not super hungry or in hibernation mode.