I had a chance this summer to go on a 3 day hike through the Smokies with my friend Dan. Dan and I met on the Colorado trail thru hike and he’s been traveling the world as a backpacker ever since.
The vegetation was lush and there were many wild flowers and mushrooms along the way. I’m looking forward to going back soon to try foraging for food and fishing the rivers.
We did about 40 miles in total. This was my first 3 day hike using a hammock and tarp set up instead of sleeping on the ground in a tent. I am hooked. I don’t think I will ever go back to sleeping on the ground if I can help it. I’ll do a gear list and backpacking techniques post eventually, for now I’m just getting this blog started.
For now, I can tell you that I do not believe you need an expensive hammock or tarp set up to dwell in a quality shelter on the trail. I’ve taken this set up on a few other trips. One of which caught me in a 5+ hour rain storm.
- a small travel umbrella
- 12′ square tarp KELTY NOAH brand
- a $30 hammock I bought off Amazon
- some paracord and a few good knots
I stayed dry as a bone, slept comfortably, and had a quick set up and take down. A few advantages that I found with a hammock set up:
- better sleep and less back pain in the morning
- when you have to wake up and piss in the middle of the night, you can just lean over the side of the hammock and do your business. I can’t tell you how much nicer that is than getting out of your sleeping bag and tent to accomplish this.
- more room- you can raise your tarp up as high as you want and the 12′ square means I could have a party under there
- the hammock can be used as a swinging chair- very nice to sit back in
Overall this trip really inspired me to get started section hiking the Appalachian Trail. While I loved living in Texas, Tennessee offers me the nature I’ve been missing in my life.
If you have any suggestions for trails to check out in my area, let me know! Also, I could use some help identifying those mushrooms. I know the orange one is a chicken of the woods, but I’m not sure about the other ones. Let me know what you think!
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