“Well, I learned something new on this trip,” Cat said as she watched Brandon hoist his backpack to his bent knee before pausing to swing it onto his back.
“That’s the thing about backpacking,” I said. “Every trip, you learn new things.” read more
Fire, when it comes to the natural world, is often associated with loss — the loss of trees, of shrubs, of grasses, of animal life. But it also plays a key role in keeping the forest alive. This year, North Carolina is celebrating that role, proclaiming it the Year of Fire in its State Parks. read more
At a trip planning meeting for our backpacking trip on the AT this weekend, we were about to wrap up when one last thought occurred.
“Oh, and be prepared for the nights,” I added. “They can be long.”
Really, really long.
This weekend, for instance, sunset is at 5:44 p.m. where we’re headed. However, both nights of our stay we’ll be camped low on the mountain, meaning we’ll lose sunlight a good half hour earlier. Sunrise the next morning is at 7:39 a.m. — again, because we’ll be well below the ridge, let’s make that 8. That’s nearly 15 hours of dark — cold dark. If there’s enough dry wood and we can get a fire going, we can shave 2-3 hours off the front end of that. Still, that’s more than half of a 24-hour day confined to a space not much longer or wider than you are, and that you can barely sit up in. That’s why adding be-prepared-for-the-long-nights as an afterthought is more than a small oversight. read more