Test Hike #2: Sugarloaf Mountain
Sunday, February 28, 2016 11:01 pm

Friday morning, I had a weird dream where (among other things) I was leaving my childhood home, to drive myself to the AT trailhead (apparently via some warp in the fabric of space and time that would get me to Georgia in 20 minutes), around mid-day (so, not even getting a full day's worth of hiking in), after a quick detour to the food store to pick up my first week's worth of food.

(I promise, I'm going to be substantially more organized than that when it's actually time to leave.)

On Friday afternoon, I spent a few hours at REI and bought most of the clothing I'll need on the trail.

On Sunday, loaded up my pack with the clothes I bought. The pack currently weighs in at 18.6 lbs dry, 26.6 lbs wet (~4 L of water, four nutrigrain bars, and a dehydrated camping meal). Still need to get a tent, which will probably bump the dry weight to 21 lbs, so I may have to start looking for a way to lighten the load.

I hiked 10 miles at Sugarloaf Mountain, which was considerably more strenuous than the trails I followed last week near Great Falls. The pack felt a bit heavier, but it was still entirely manageable. There were some sections of the trail, though, that I'm not sure I would have been able to have completed while wearing the pack, had I not also had trekking poles. Google Earth claims my hike today had an elevation gain (and drop) of 2600 ft, compared with 1200 ft for my hike last week. (The AT Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls State Park has what appears to be about 2000 ft gain over 9 miles, so I should be able to easily handle that!)

I'm becoming a bit more confident that I'll be able to do this. (Physically, anyway.) The weather is expected to be nice tomorrow and Tuesday, so I'm going to go out again at least one of those days and try to push a longer distance. Forecast is for rain on Wednesday, so hopefully I'll get to try out my rain gear. (Though, I likely will need to get at least one more waterproof bag; I'm not sure the extra stuff sack that came with my sleeping bag is waterproof.)

While at Sugarloaf, I met and chatted with two people who were planning section hikes later in the year, one of which had previously hiked most or all of the trail. In retrospect, I probably stood out like a sore thumb, being one of very few people on the mountain today wearing a clearly-oversized pack for a day hike.

I seriously need a new hat. The one I have has zero ventilation, and I think it's cooking my head.

I apparently managed to lose one of my water bottles, which is unfortunate, though I do have several others I can replace it with. I'm unclear as to when it disappeared, though. I was pretty sure I had it with me when I put my pack into my car as I was leaving, but it wasn't anywhere in the car. oh well…

I'm currently looking at digital scales and battery packs, and slowly coming to terms with the fact that I may not be able to bring enough battery power with me to run the GPS on my phone all day (to record my path).