Monday, June 29, 2015

Connecting Route between the Springfield Hills to the Lodi Marsh Segments of the Ice Age Trail

Cool temps and overcast skies made for a perfect day to knock out the connecting route between the Springfield Hills and Lodi Marsh Segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. After parking at the new Springfield Hills parking area, I rode my bike the 8.1 miles (13 km) to the Lodi Marsh parking area. I hiked back to Springfield Hill, hopped in the car, and returned to Lodi Marsh to retrieve my bike.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Backcountry Camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

As we drove to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, news images of the injured face and head of the 16 year only boy pulled from his hammock by a bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National park June 6, 2015 replayed themselves in my head like an unshakable song. If they boy's father hadn't jumped the bear, hadn't given it a few good punches, the 16 year old might not be alive today. Typically I sleep well on backpacking trips. I wondered if I would get any sleep on this trip, or if night noises and passing shadows would magically transform into bears.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Smoky Mountains 2015 Backpacking Menu & Food Prep List

One of the most important parts of a backpacking trip take place before the actual trip. We're talking food prep and menu planning. To prepare for our 4-day, 3-night trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I packed enough food for a week, or so it felt. My prediction, we'll eat all the snacks and breakfast food, but a number of the dry meals will be left untouched. It's just not convenient to fire up the camp stove in the middle of a hike. Especially if it's too hot, too rainy, or there's just not a good spot alongside the trail to throw down and do some cooking.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Inexpensive Lightweight Fruits and Vegetables for Backpacking, Hiking, and Paddling

Food options just keep getting better for hikers and paddlers. When I started backpacking, affordable light-weight fruits and veggies were unavailable. The best I could do were raisins and "dried" apricots along with sneaking in a fresh apple. I am delighted to report stumbling upon a great source of lightweight, low cost fruits and vegetables. Target now carries Simply Balanced™ freeze-dried fruits and vegetables for a lower price than the freeze-dried fruits and vegetables available at outdoor sporting goods stores.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June Hike on the Gibraltar Segment of the Ice Age Trail

While hiking the Lodi Valley / Baraboo Hills Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail last winter, I decided to save a couple special miles to hike with my family. The Gibraltar Segment offers gorgeous views from the hills overlooking Lake Wisconsin. It also leads to the  Merrimac Ferry crossing on Lake Wisconsin, which happens to be a required portion of the 1,000+ miles to have officially hiked the Ice Age Trail.