Overnight! Two days off work! It's gonna be fun!
Sally had a last minute conflict, so I'll be going alone. I am, however, I'm taking Journey, my mixed-breed dog. I don't know how many people will be on the AT this early in summer and in the middle of the week. If it's sparse I will feel better with my dog along, especially overnight. She's a friendly oaf but has been knownto put the fear of God into strangers who got too close. Didn't bite, but few people want to test a barking, growling 50 pound dog.
Today I plan to start at the Bears Den Hostel and hike 8 miles to the Blackburn Center, which looks like a good spot to spend the night, plenty of campsites, water, critter-safe food-storage. There are 2 water sources en route, so there will be plenty for both Journey and me. Then tomorrow I'll hike back to Bears Den and drive back home. I can do 8 miles. I run/walk that far all the time for "fun," triathlontraining.
I can't believe how much gear I'm taking for just overnight. Actually, what I'm taking is everything I'd take on a thru-hike, just less food. I won't need everything (extra clothes etc.) but might as well pack it all for a true shakedown hike. Base pack weight is 25#. With food and water, 30. My food is onthe heavy side... since it's only 2 days I'm taking some fresh foods, apples, carrot sticks, stuff that's heavy but it's only for 2 days. Plus I have food for Journey. Super-healthy trail mix: raisins, walnuts, Cracklin' Oat Bran. It's yummy!!
I'm excited -- first AT hike since last summer, first one in Virginia!
Appropriate Thru-Hiker's Companion pages
Sleeping bag & liner
Therma-Rest sleeping pad
Groundcloth (INside tent because of Journey's nails)
Tent & rainfly, which I've sealed and waterproofed since my last wet campout (t-storms predicted overnight)
Cookset & fuel (denatured alcohol, stored in outside pocket)
2 lunches, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast; trail mix, cheese crackers, beef jerkey forsnacks; double usual daily serving of dog food
Extra clothes (double as pillow)
"Night Kit" -- contact case & solution, mirror (check for ticks), tooth and nail brushes, teeny toothpaste, nail file for rough spots, soap (Ivory), comb, light to hang in tent, book pages, reading glasses, regular glasses to back up contacts
Pit-stop kit (trowel, TP, squirt bottle, Purell)
Murphy Kit (first-aid and repair stuff, salt tablets, benadryl, Journey'srabies certificate)
Epi-Pen (I don't do bees very well)
Water bottles, pocket water bowl for Journey so she doesn't drink out of the water source and get dog drool in it
Sharpie for new trail friends to sign my shirt (I'm starting a "HikingFriends" shirt)
Really -- stuff you need overnight is the same as stuff you need on a long-distance hike, except that on a long hike you take more food. Other than that, everything's the same.
I'm outta here!