After thoughts and gear

Monday May 9, 2016


The trail was spectacular. I would definitely do it again. It was a total of 76.2 official trail miles. We started the trail at Oconee State Park and ended at Table Rock State Park. That enabled us to do the easier section of the trail first while our packs were full of all the food we would consume for the week. Plus it allowed us to work out some of the muscle soreness we would acquire during this trip without killing our selves in the very beginning.
Things I learned along the trail.
Peeing in the woods is very messy. I did find one system that worked for me without being too messy and I am sure the more I do it the better I will get, but it is a tough learning curve.


I liked my running skirt with built-in underwear the best. I could move the underwear to the side and place my pibella (female urination device) and go. No TP needed and very mess free as long as you got the FUD positioned right. Which is key!  Plus the skirt kept everything hidden, no girlie parts exposed. And the pibella is light, only 1.5 oz. Now the stinker was if it was cold and I need to wear pants. I had a couple of accidents when trying to go with the pants on. With the running skirt on I could just pull pants on and off without having to show my girlie parts to anyone who happened along on the trail, but was tricky trying to pee. I would have to pull the pants part way down then move my underwear to the side and get the FUD in place and some times I couldn’t get it in the correct position and I would dribble pee down my leg, which is very uncomfortable and gross. So I was trying to think of a way to make this better and I think I am going to try wearing tights and cutting a small hole in the crotch where I can just pull everything to the side. I will let you know how this goes.


Tents get very dirty when it rains! It really stinks having to pack up a muddy and wet tent. I have heard how packing up a dirty wet tent sucks and I was a little prepared. I brought a pair of disposable latex gloves for this occasion. I just wished I had a ground cloth under the tent. They are much easier to fold up than a tent. So next time I think I will use a ground cloth.
You burn a lot of calories while hiking and if I had more food I would have eaten more. I didn’t go hungry but I would have liked to eat more for more energy. Most of my meals were easy to rehydrated and I was happy with them.
I had one pair of gloves and they didn’t keep my hands warm enough. I wished I had brought my mittens. If it is really going to be cold I think I will bring both gloves and mittens. Gloves to wear while I pack up my gear and mittens to wear while I hike.


Things in my pack that I did not use.


I brought 2 pair of underwear and didn’t wear either pair. I had the underwear in my running skirt and didn’t need the underwear to wear with my pants, because I could just wear the pants under the running skirt. I still think I will bring one pair in the future, but definitely not two.
I didn’t use my rain gear, but I would never leave that behind. Unless I was hiking in very warm weather I may leave the rain pants behind.
My total pack weight was around twenty pounds with my food and water. You can check out the link below to see what I took with me.

I carried all my own gear except for the tent, which Jim carried. We could share much of the gear so we split it up. While Jim carried the tent, I carried the cook system, first aid kit, and water filter.

On our way home Jim stopped at an outfitter we saw along the way and Jim found a tent that he thought would be more comfortable than ours. It was an 8 man tent that you could just walk right into. You don’t have to contort the body this way and that way just to get in and out of the thing. I’m just glad he is the one who carries the tent. I wasn’t going to carry this monstrosity!


Day 4

Thursday May 5, 2016

I don’t think it got as cold as we thought it would last night. When we woke this morning it was 56 degrees in the tent according to Jim’s altimeter watch. The day remained cold. It didn’t get much above the the 60’s and was windy which makes it difficult to stay warm. When we are ascending we get so warm and sweaty and you really don’t want your clothes to get wet from sweat so we would take our jackets off. Then when descending you start to get chilled so you put your jacket back on. We were dressing and undressing all along the trail today.


Lake Jocassee

We had some really challenging terrain today with lots of steep climbs. Some of them putting me into a minor panic mode. I wished I had gotten some pictures of the steep stair climbs we did today, but my focus was 100% on ascending or descending safely.

Virginia Hawkins Falls

We hike about 12 miles before stopping to break for lunch at 1:30pm. We just couldn’t find many good places to eat out of the wind. We finely stopped at an amazing waterfall overlook (Virginia Hawkins Falls) to eat but didn’t stay longer 40 minutes before we got to cold and needed to move on.


There were so many amazing bridges along the trail. In the picture above is a 225 foot long suspension bridge. We have already crossed two other shorter suspension bridges. Some of the bridges were completely made out of  trees that had been cut in half or limbs from the trees.

I’ve discovered that I function much better with a long lunch break. I  just need to give myself a good rest and refuel well. Since I didn’t get that today at our  lunch break I made Jim stop again a couple of miles down the trail. I finished my lunch that I didn’t get to eat all of at our lunch stop and brush my teeth. I also got to clean out the trail debris from my shoes. Again! This has become a multi day occurrence. At a stop this morning I took off my shoes, removed the debris,  brushed off my socks and put my shoes back on.  WHAT THE…I say to myself??? I could still feel debris, but everything looked clean so I took off my socks and they were loaded with debris. My shoes and socks had the look of a kid who had been playing in a sandbox!!!

This is our three man tent. We originally started out with a two man tent, but quickly got rid of that for something bigger.
This is our three man tent. We originally started out with a two man tent, but quickly got rid of that for something bigger.

We hiked another mile and found an awesome camp site so we decided to stop a little early  so we could enjoy a campfire tonight. This is our first camp fire on the trail.  It was a great nigh for a fire. It really cooled off tonight. I think it is going to be a COLD night.

We ended the day early at 15 miles. We saw another couple backpacking,  two solo woman backpacking and two day hikers throughout the day today.
Not only did Jim make me an awesome campfire,  but also treated me to a…drum role please…WARM BATH!!! Of course it was done hiker style…hot water and a bandana, but it was PURE BLISS!!! This guy loves me and treats me like a queen sometimes. I  love this guy and…he looks so sexy because he hasn’t shaven in a week and is all scruffy looking.