AT hike – trail notes

(This is a backpost from last Friday.)

Dropped off at Unicoi Gap at 12:00 noon.

12:16 On trail

1:30 Indian grave gap

2:00 – 2:20 stopped for lunch half way to Tray Gap ( mile 23 on map)

3:00 summit Tray Mtn

4:30 – 4:50 break north of Young Lick (~mile 7)

5:30 Sassafrass Gap – I wanted to stop at the next campsite I came to that had water, but this one was taken, by someone playing a radio no less. (Harshing my wilderness experience, man!) I went 1/2 hour off trail (round trip) to get water, and continued on.

6:15 Addis Gap – stopped for the night. Decent spot, not awesome like last AT hike. A group of 3 dudes showed up at 7 but I got the best spot. They are chopping fire wood right now.

9.5 miles on the day.


Reflecting on my gear…things I’m missing from a full long-distance loadout:

1. Longjohns – you never know, weather wise.

2. Windbreaker.

That’s it, really. I have this kit fairly dialed in, I think.  I could shave a pound with a UL backpack, up to 1/2 lb on the tarp. But is it worth the money? I’m at 25lbs even, with full water and 4 days food.

Things I totally forgot for this trip:

1. Extra carabiners – needed for hanging bearbag, camp items. Making do with knots, treelimbs. Maybe I don’t need the biners then.

2. Notebook, pen – for journaling, sketching, notes. Batteries are finite, although on airplane mode this can last a few days.

3. Electrolyte tabs. Although I’m getting enough salt from jerky and trail mix.

4. Tea.

Things I’m trying for the first time:

1. Hiking staff, instead of trekking poles. The poles I had were cheap REI brand, with very uncomfortable grips. A good set if trekking poles are $100+. I just don’t see it. But I came this close to getting a set of Z-poles. Very sleek and compact and light. But not adjustable. At the last minute I decided to give the staff a try. It’s adjustable, so great for propping up a corner of the tarp. Also has a camera thread under the pommel to double as a monopod. Tomorrow I might try hiking pole-less, empty handed.

2. Sandals with socks instead of hiking shoes. I got a pair of Teva Terra Fi 3, which have good hiking soles. The socks are REI Ragg socks, thick old-school wool socks (and cheap). So far I like this setup. It eliminates the need for camp shoes – just take off the socks and loosen the straps, and your feet are refreshed and cool. Will need to launder the socks, every couple of days on longer hikes.

3. Canister stove. Previously I was married to alcohol stoves – practically free and practically weightless. But even for a few days of hot meals you have to carry a lot of fuel. Long term, the canister stove saves a lot of weight on fuel. It was mainly price that kept me from trying the canister stove before now.  REI dividend to the rescue.  This thing will boil .5L of water in 3 minutes, too.

That’s it for today. Time to zip up- starting to get buggy.


One thought on “AT hike – trail notes

  1. I love your picture of the trail. My ancestors took the Unicoi Trail into Tennessee and picked up Avery’s Trail – eventually making it to Missouri – i 1816. I’m putting together a family history book for my immediate family and would like to use your photograph. This is strictly for non-commercial use but I wanted to check with you and if you agree, to know how to properly attribute the photo. You may contact me at

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