Ramble On

Thursday, November 19, 2009

G&H's AT Shake Down Hike - Part 2

Part 2 – The Gear and Preparation

Earlier this year, Gary and Howard took an overnight hike along Saw Tooth Ridge and Kennedy Peak in the GWNF, but they have been thinking of doing the full AT section in Shenandoah National Park for some time. So this Fall hike covering the northern portion of the SNP AT is a warm-up for the longer section hike, which they hope to complete next summer.

In the past, Gary has posted helpful lists of gear on the Appalachian Outdoor Adventures Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#/pages/Luray-VA/Appalachian-Outdoors-Adventures/97338336006?ref=mf), which I’ve referred to for hikes that require more than the usual preparation. So I asked Gary and Howard about their equipment preparation for this hike, and they described their choices of packs, tents and footwear.

For packs, Gary chose Osprey, while Howard used a North Face pack. Their tents were both North Face gear; footwear for Gary was from North Face, and Howard used a new pair of Vasque Breezes. They carry all of the gear they used on this AT section at both stores in Luray, and are planning to continue these lines after their merger next month.

Even the dogs are outfitted for the trip: Martha and Athena will be wearing Ruffwear dog backpacks, which Howard carries at Evergreen Outfitters. Lilly gets a break from carrying a pack – but even so, the dogs will probably do two to three times the amount of walking on this trips as the humans do – they may go as far as 90 miles while the humans walk 30 miles on the path!

Getting back to the motivation for this hike – Gary and Howard recognized that Page County is a hiking and camping destination for people from all over the world. The visitors aren’t just AT thru-hikers coming down into Luray for a “town day,” there are also people who come to sightsee at Luray Caverns or to visit the Shenandoah River. The pair wants to inspire local people to take advantage of the resources in the area. Gary keeps a list of their outings on the Facebook page – trips to GWNF and SNP are the most frequent destinations, and the SNP AT section thru-hike will be next year’s highlight.

We’ll conclude these posts with Part 3 tomorrow – featuring an "after-hike" update on the experience.

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