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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hiking out to the falls

 I am not sure if any of you have ever visited "The Great Smoky Mountains" but I would say they are a unique set of mountains.  They are different than Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming (OK so that are the major mountain states I have been to so far).  The Smoky Mountains really do have that kind of feel of Smoke to them.  There are all sorts of water falls that are easy day hikes and one of the more popular is Laurel falls which you can see in the photo above.
 Laurel falls is a 1.7 mile hike up on a paved trail.  This trail is like a highway with lots of people going up and plenty going down.  Once we saw the falls and took our pictures my wife and I wanted to head up another 1.5 miles to see remnants of the old growth forest.  Remember these mountains were clear cut back in the day for their timber and just a handful of the old trees are still around and we wanted to be able to touch one.  Now, this hike was the highlight of the trail.  It was a more natural trail and when you get up to the old growth trees it is full of breath taking views and just a quiet and peaceful feel to the area.  The picture above is my wife and son looking at one of the old growth trees we came across.
 Once we were in the old growth section of the trail we decided to do the final .9 mile hike to the top of the mountain.  We stopped for lunch along the trail and had some nice PB and Jelly sandwiches and apples.  I had all this in my MountainSmith fanny pack with plenty of space to spare.  Plenty of water, hand sanitizer, test strips, back up meter, napkins, survival gear, fire starter, glucagon pen, compass, flashlight, pen, paper, maps, trail mix, and glucose tablets were also in my pack.  I will tell you what, that little fanny pack is the best thing I have ever tested.  I keep trying to push it to its limit and it keeps asking for more.
 Here I am at the end of the 4.0 mile hike and the top of Cove Mountain.  I am pointing to the .1 mile trail to the fire tower and ozone station thing.  Yes, I know that my fanny pack, sunglasses I just found in my truck, blue jeans, and dorky pose that I am a true nerd.  Always remember that when you are out in the wilderness comfort and functionality is the most important and how you look does not matter.  Why suffer trying to look good for the bears when you can be comfortable and have a good time and show everyone how dorky you can be.  There is always the saying that "Cotton Kills" and that is true in more extreme environments but remember that cotton is also comfortable.  Why do you think under wear, under shirts, t-shirts, and jeans are made from the stuff.  It feels good on the skin.  The weather was a good 50's to 70's and usually I would bring a long sleeve shirt but this time I went crazy and left without any long shirt.
 I wanted to show how diverse these MountainSmith bags are.  You can see I have two side pouches and on one side I keep my water bottle and on the other side I figured out it is nice to keep a few apples in to snack on while hiking.  Fruit is real good to have because it gives you water and just a nice amount of sugar to keep your numbers in the good range.  Then the MountainSmith bags are at least twice as solid as any North Face, Camel Bag, or other brand bag is.  The zippers are solid and the material is heavy duty and all the straps and draw strings are use full, functional, and are built to last.  Every time I use this bag I fall more and more in love with it.
On our way down we had the most funny experience ever.  In the picture above you can see a gentleman and on his right hip he has a pistol hanging on his belt.  My son spotted this and tells my wife and I.  So my son and I come up with a plan to get a picture of it.  Now, my wife has one of those IPhone and she was listening to her tunes in one ear and halfway paying attention to us.  While I am trying to take pictures of the cool gun she sees me and keeps putting her hand over my camera so I can't get the photo.  Then while we are walking down the trail I keep trying to get photos of this cool gun and all of a sudden the gentleman thinks he sees a snake on the trail and pulls out the gun.  My wife freaks out and turns to us and in her "I have headphones on voice" she says out loud, "He has a gun."  My son and I look at her with those question marks above our heads and ask her what she thought we had been talking about and trying to get photos of for the last 10 minutes.  She just thought we were trying to get photos of people she says?  We could not stop laughing the rest of the half mile walk down and from then on we joked how she just looks at us and when we talk we must make those sounds that Charlie Browns teacher makes.

1 comment:

  1. I was very excited to read about your Mountainsmith lumbar pack and I thought something like that might be useful to me in planning for my first hiking and camping experience. I ordered one online tonight. It's like yours, but one size smaller. I bought it on Sierra Trading Post's website, and as a new customer, I got it marked down and then another 20% off, so $37. I think I'm going to love it!