Sleepy Hollow Trail Hike – Day 2

[From my Journal] April 7, 2019 10:00 PM

I woke to the sounds of geese calling out … 7:30 AM. My first thought was “it’s so warm inside this sleeping bag, maybe I can just lay here for another half-hour”?

Ten minutes later, I was standing in my trail runners and Smartwool bottoms, next to a very large and secluded Pine tree, peeing in the wind and establishing what I guess is to become my morning routine on trail.

I slept well and although not a back-sleeper, I did manage to begin my sleep while laying on my back. Even though the temperature was forecast to drop down into the low 40’s, I decided to sleep with the front fly door open – allowing the breeze to blow into the tent, and the opportunity to experience cooler weather while in my shelter.

My hands and fingers got a bit chilled, but I quickly figured out the perfect way to lay on my side and wrap my sleeping bag up, around me, and allow my hands and fingers to be covered. I’m certain that I’ll need to have a light pair of gloves in cases where the temperatures are under 40 degrees F.

Once up and moving about, I quickly gathered my stove kit and retrieved my bear/food bag hanging from the tree – the only goal being a hot cup of coffee! The MSR Pocket Rocket II fired right up, and water for coffee was boiling in a couple of minutes. I opened a packet of Starbucks VIA Instant and poured it into my mug, added the hot water, and …. AHHHhhhh, so tasty!

As I enjoyed my morning coffee, I decided that I will carry a stove & mug on any/every hike if for no other reason than moments like this one.

I finished my coffee along with a Kind Bar for breakfast, cleaned my mug and set off to break down camp and start my day.

With everything packed away in “it’s place” in my pack, I was off. Beginning with a short road walk back to Marker 1, then Marker 2 and onward to continue my hike from where I left off the day before.

It was another beautiful day, with the sun peaking in and out of the clouds, and temperatures absolutely perfect for hiking – so much so, I was able to shed my hiking shirt and just hike in my Nike Pro running shirt. And even with my last trail mile before this hike taken place in late November last year, my legs were a little stiff, but seemed to quickly remember they were built for this. A quick right turn at Marker 2, and I was on my way in search of Marker 15.

Just as I had mentally broken this hike down into a number of smaller hikes or goals, I like to refer to them as challenges, Marker 15 would become Marker 14,  …

Marker 14 would become Marker 13, …

then 12 to 11 and, …

and I found myself thinking of hiking the 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, not as a single ominous 2200 mile hike, but rather as 22 smaller hikes or goals of 100 miles. In turn, breaking down each 100 mile segment into five 20-mile days, with a Zero on day 6 or 7 as needed.

In Zach Davis’s “Appalachian Trials” he points out how important it is to be mentally prepared for a Thru-Hike, with mental preparedness being more important than being physically fit or prepared.

I’ve always taken things apart, broken them down, mapped the path from point a to point z, and even in the short time I’ve been dreaming of Thru-Hiking, I have done the same with my plans to date.

But at some point, all the planning, all the research, all the details have to give way, break into existence becoming ‘reality’, and I honestly feel as if my time to ramble afoot is approaching.

 

 

Hike Data

  • Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail
  • Start: Marker 1
  • End: Marker 8
  • Garmin InReach: Avg 2.7 mph, 8.33 Miles
  • FitBit: 26426 Steps, 19 Floors, 11.66 Miles

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
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tw: Twitter

Sleepy Hollow Trail Hike – Day 1

[From my Journal] April 6, 2019 7:00 PM

 

Even though it’s early in the season, the warmer temperatures and pleasant weather have provided the park with many visitors, most camping eloquently in their RVs and campers. After all, this is Michigan and the weather can always change, and quickly.

When planning for this two day adventure and my first hike of the 2019 season, I thought for sure I would be the only person rustic camping and sleeping in a tent. Alas I was mistaken; I actually have neighbors next to me on Campsite A!

I started my hike today, just North of the rustic campsite area and up a multi-use trail , at Marker 8, worked my way clockwise around the park, ticking the markers off one by one, until I reached Marker 1. From there, it was about half-mile road walk back to the multi-use trail head, and a short distance to reach Campsite B.

In addition to mowed sections to pitch your tent on, the Park has welcomed the advent of the hammock and provides multiple 4″x4″ wooden posts with eye-bolts or hooks to which one can secure their mattress -in-the-air if desired. The campsite has a nice cement fire ring, but no water, although Lake OVID is a short 300 yards away, if needed.

I used a new carabiner & hook combo called the HeroClip (https://myheroclip.com/products/heroclip) to securely hang my backpack to an eye-bolt on one of the hammock posts, which kept the backpack off the ground, and allowed for easy access into the pack while setting up camp. I like it!

After dinner, instead of the well known PCT Method for hanging a bear/food bag, I used a new method called the 2CR Method (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9L4ORK62oM) for hanging my bear/food bag from a tree branch; it was really easy to hang the bag and took no time at all, once I found a rock big enough to toss the rock bag over the tree limb.

Many sounds from birds and geese can be heard, and I’m guessing there is a nest of sorts located in the giant pine tree next to my tent.

The sun is setting behind the clouds now and the sky begins to glow along the horizon – all beyond me and through the trees to the West.

I can only imagine what it will look and feel like when I watch the sunset along the ‘Big Trails’.

 

 

Hike Data

  • Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail
  • Start: Marker 8
  • End: Marker 1
  • Garmin InReach: Avg 2.6 mph, 5.1 Miles
  • FitBit: 24584 Steps, 17 Floors, 10.59 Miles

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

 

Why would you … ?

Why would you want to live life vicariously through a series of blog entries, Tweets, Instagrams, Facebook posts, or YouTube videos portraying the journey and adventures of a middle-aged man, as he prepares for and attempts to “Thru-Hike” three of the most challenging long-distance hikes in the contiguous United States?

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I suppose one would have to stop and ask themselves why anyone would want to attempt such an arduous challenge?

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For me I guess it all goes back some 45 years to that summer vacation when my family traveled to the Smokey Mountains for the first time. It was so different then compared to today’s modern version.

I can still remember it all as if it were just yesterday – the mountainside hotel in Gatlinburg, TN, painted pale blue, complete with heated-pool and arcade game-room, the fresh smell of the mountains that just seemed to reach out beckoning you onward into the woods, day-hiking along the Pigeon River and that moment when I stepped into a small crystal-clear pool to only find myself utterly surprised, neck-deep in water, or the incredible moment when we stopped the car at a mountainside overlook, located somewhere in the National Park, and as we stood there looking over the mountain ledge at the valley below, a single Monarch butterfly just flew in from nowhere and landed on my mother’s shoulder.

 

There was just something incredibly stirring in the absolute newness of it all, the surreal moments of nature and beauty, even if captured and only now are memories, and how blindly easy it was to be a kid and just take it all in.

 

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In many ways I feel as if a small part of me was left in the mountains, which at times has felt unsettled, left undone, waiting for my return. In other ways I feel an even bigger part of the mountains was left inside me, for this moment, for now, beckoning me onward, to return to the woods, to be one again not just with the Pigeon River, or the many overlooks and landscapes from my past, but with more, so much more, more of the paths and trails, the streams and rivers, the mountains and valleys – the many wonders just waiting for me to go and explore.

 

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Many of those who have done so before me will tell you “Hike Your Hike”. For me, it’s time. It’s time for me to “Hike My Hike”, and I invite you to come along with me, to be a part of all, to virtually leave a part of yourself in the mountains, and take a part of the mountains with you.

 

As I paraphrased in my last post, “I (am) ready to hike. … I (want) to see what (is) out there. All over America … people (will) be dragging themselves to work, stuck in traffic jams, wreath(ing) in exhaust smoke. I (will be) going for a walk in the woods. I (am so) ready for this.”

Are you?

 

See ya on the trail!

– Kelly

 

Note: This blog entry is “Kathyrn approved”

 

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
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ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Thanks for checking out my blog!

I’m just getting started and honestly spending a great deal of time just figuring out how all of the back-end systems integrate together. I’m not sure which will be more challenging, actually hiking the trails or being able to document, photograph, video, and blog all of the adventures along the way.

You can visit any of the social media links below to follow along on your platform of choice, as I prepare for my journey and quest to complete the hiking Triple Crown: Thru-Hikes of the AT, PCT and the CDT.

If you “Click” the YouTube link below, please be sure to hit that “Subscribe” button so you can be one of the first 100K subscribers!

Lastly, be sure to check back often as there is so much more to come …

– Kelly

 

Contact Information:

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter