Saturday, February 27, 2010

Springer Fever

Its been nearly five months since I have returned from my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, and as spring time draws near, every part of me yearns to return to the life I had once lived. Given that another thru-hike isn't feasible (at least not yet) a short-term trip will have to tame the inner urge. The solution? The Foothills Trail.

The Foothills Trail is located in western South Carolina, and stretches 76 miles from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park. I first heard of the Foothills Trail while hiking the AT. The trail reportedly takes you by or near several waterfalls, alongside historic and scenic waterways and over the highest point in South Carolina (Sassafras Mountain, 3400 ft.).

In preparation of the hike, I have re-vamped my hiking gear in an effort to lighten my load and make the trip easier on my knees. My goal; a base weight of 10-12 lbs. I'm not sure yet if I'm actually going to make my goal but I'm off to a good start. My first two major steps:
  • I have replaced my old Osprey Ariel 65 (4lbs. 15oz.) with an Osprey Talon 44 (2lbs. 5oz.).
  • I have replaced my Thermarest Prolite 3 (1 lbs. 4 oz.) with a Thermarest Z-Rest (10 oz).
As the start date grows near I will get my bag packed and re-evaluate my needs.

I'll be leaving March 7, with my favorite hiking companion, Grommet, to head down to Oconee State Park. The hardest portion of the trail is over Sassafras Mountain, located in Table Rock State Park, however the first 30 miles of the trail from Oconee State Park is relatively flat. Therefore, both Grommet and I have decided to start in Oconee State Park thereby carrying the heaviest load over the easy terrain and have our packs near base-weight when climbing over the hardest section of trail. The entire trail should take five days to complete, however, anyone whose read my AT journal knows nothing ever seems to go as planned. Time will tell.

1 comment: