Hiking the Dix Range Pt 1 – Adirondacks 3 Day Backpacking Trip | Hammock Camping

Join Sara and I for 3 days of Hiking & Hammock Camping on a Backpacking Trip in the Adirondack’s Dix Mountain Wilderness.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Part 1 covers our hike in to camp, setting up our base camp with our two person hammock camping system, and some campfire chat while we make a campfire, do camp chores, and cook some backpacking food.

Hiking the Dix Range Part 2 will be comprised of mostly hiking and summits, as we ascend from camp up onto the Dix Range to hit the Beckhorn (a subsidiary peak of Dix Mountain) and the summit of Dix Mountain itself.

GPS Data for this trip will be released with part 2.

Trailhead and Parking Location

Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot, 675 Elk Lake Rd, North Hudson, NY 12855
44°01’15.0″N 73°49’40.9″W

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Base camping with a ton of camping gear vs ultralight backpacking.
  • Finding & legal camping spots in the Adirondacks.
  • Pros and cons of using a bear canister. These are not legally required in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, but we had one anyway, for reasons discussed in the video.
  • Hammock camping with our dog, Denali.
  • Outfitting our Dutchware Chameleon Hammocks with the Double Dutch Bugnet system.
  • Hammock under quilt attachment using of Chameleon hammock’s underquilt hooks.
  • A look at the MalloMe Camping Cookware Set for backpacking food preparation.
  • Building a campfire and cooking some of of favorite backpacking appetizers and dinners.
  • Sara reviews a flashlight…

Trails Used Day 1

  • Parked at Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot.  This is a decent sized lot along a gravel road on the way to the Elk Lake Lodge.  If the lot is full, you may park for free at the Elk Lake Lodge, a bit further up the road.
  • Elk Lake to Dix Mountain Trail
  • Pass the Slide Brook Lean-to . The Slide Brook LT and camping area makes for a popular base camp for hikers hitting the Dix Range. We chose to push on a bit (under 2 miles) to the lesser used Lillian Brook lean-to area, which as some nice, legal campsites that are a bit more secluded.
  • Pass the sign for Lillian Brook LT and continue a bit further.
  • Setup camp along the Elk Lake Trail, after the Lillian Brook LT and just before the large bridge crossing Lillian Brook.  As of 9/14/17, this site had a yellow “Camp Here” disc, designating it a fully legal spot, despite it’s proximity to a small stream nearby. The stream is probably a convenient water source when flowing good, but we opted to get our water a 100 meters or so down the trail by the Lilian Brook bridge.

Dix Range Adirondacks Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Total Mileage:  4 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 633 feet
Day 1 Gross Elevation Loss:  339 feet

Notable Camping / Backpacking Gear Seen on this Video

Our Dog’s Backpacking Gear

Backpacking Food

Stay tuned for Hiking the Dix Range Part Two where we depart camp and head for ridge.

Hiking Big South Fork Pt 2 – Tennessee Hammock Camping & Backpacking Trip

Join me for 3 days of hiking & hammock camping on a backpacking trip in Tennessee’s Big South Fork Nat’l Rec Area.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. BSF Part 1 is mostly in the woods and at camp and is more of a hanging in the woods, conversational type video. Part 2 covers days 2 and 3 where I traverse into the higher regions of Big South Fork, hitting the ridges for views of the Cumberland Plateau’s sandstone bluffs and Big South Fork River.

For more details on the first day of this trip, check out my Big South Fork Pt 1 blog post and video.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page, or via this link for direct download: Big South Fork Backpacking Loop 2017 GPS Data – Sintax77

Big South Fork John Muir John Litton Backpacking Loop Route Overview – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Bandy Creek Visitor Center, 151 Stable Rd, Oneida, TN 37841
N36° 29.275′ W84° 41.837′

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Place Holder

Trails Used Day 2

  • Break camp along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail
  • Continue north on the Laurel Creek Fork Trail
  • Make a left (east) onto the John Muir Trail (the next 2 miles will cover the bulk of the elevation gain for the day)
  • Make a right (west) onto the Fall Branch Trail
  • Setup camp along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail (less than a 100 meters after crossing the creek / bridge.  There is a campsite immediately next to the creek as well)

Day 2 Total Mileage: 15.2 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain: 1,616 feet
Day 2 Gross Elevation Loss: 1,266 feet

Big South Fork Day 2 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Trails Used Day 3

  • Break camp along Fall Branch Trail
  • Continue south on the Fall Branch Trail
  • Make a Right (north) onto the John Litton Farm Hike Loop Trail (heading south will ultimately bring you back to the parking lot as well).
  • Continue south onto the road (gravel, then paved) until you arrive back at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center Parking Lot.

Day 3 Total Mileage: 6.1 miles
Day 3 Gross Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Day 3 Gross Elevation Loss: 313 feet

Big South Fork Day 3 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Trip Grand Totals

Total Mileage for Trip: 28.4 miles
Total Elevation Gain for Trip: 3,076 feet

The gear list used for this trip along with discussion on each item can be found in my accompanying 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List Blog Post and Video.

Hiking Big South Fork Pt 1 – Tennessee Hammock Camping & Backpacking Trip

Join me for 3 days of hiking & hammock camping on a backpacking trip in Tennessee’s Big South Fork Nat’l Rec Area.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Part 1 is mostly in the woods and at camp and is more of a hanging in the woods, conversational type video. In BSF Part 2 we will traverse into the higher regions of Big South Fork, hitting the ridges for views of the Cumberland Plateau’s sandstone bluffs and Big South Fork River.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page or by clicking this link for direct download: Big South Fork Backpacking Loop 2017 GPS Data – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Bandy Creek Visitor Center, 151 Stable Rd, Oneida, TN 37841
N36° 29.275′ W84° 41.837′

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Feeling like a lost idiot on the trail.
  • Camp setup priorities when arriving at camp.
  • Setup / breaking camp in the rain.
  • Continuous Ridgeline usage and setup for quick and easy tarp deployment.
  • Low carb backpacking food options for carb conscious or ketogenic diets.
  • Starting a campfire in the rain.
  • Campfire cooking some meat on a stick.

Trails Used Day 1

  • Parked at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center
  • Started on the Oscar Blevins Farm Loop Trail (located in the corner of the parking lot on the opposite side of the road from the visitor’s center)
  • At the Intersection, turn right onto the Collier Ridge Bike Loop. This is where I mistakenly continued straight, which would have taken in a circle. Luckily, I realized earlier enough to turn around and head back to the intersection.
  • Turn left (north) on the gravel road. From looking at the map, I could have avoided the short road hike by hopping on the access Jack Ridge trail, which appears to be found either right near where I popped out on the road, or a little ways down that road to the right.  Continuing on the road seems to have saved me a decent amount of hiking though, which made up for my wrong turn earlier,
  • Turn right (east) onto the next, smaller gravel road.
  • Arrived at the sign for Jack Ridge Loop Trail and headed left onto
  • Black House Branch Trail
  • Right on Laurel Fork Creek Trail
  • Setup camp by the waterfall pool along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail.

Big South Fork Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Total Mileage: 7.25 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 860 feet
Day 1 Gross Elevation Loss: 1,256 feet

The gear list used for this trip along with discussion on each item can be found in my accompanying 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List Blog Post and Video.

The Backpacking Trip that Never Was – Hiking the Susquehanna River

Getting our Bear Grylls on. Hiking with a full overnight backpacking load-out & zero intention of actually sleeping outside.

When an iffy forecast caused us to cancel an overnight backpacking trip we had planned about four hours from home, we decided at the last minute to still get outside.  Only instead of a full backpacking trip hours from home, we decided to grab our already packed gear and hit a local spot for a day in the woods.  Backpacking meals, hammocks, a tarp in case it rained earlier than expected, etc.  The only thing that wasn’t in our plan was to actually sleep out there.  And then things didn’t go to plan.  Again.

In the end, it was a great, fun day.  Certainly not what we expected, but better than sitting on the couch (well, all day at least).  We got some exercise, Sara had some of our favorite camping foods, and I got to test out some gear and packing techniques.  The moral of the story?  Do weird stuff.  Sometimes it pays off.

Trailhead Parking Location: Rock Run Grist Mill parking area. This is a decent sized parking area by the Rock Run Grist Mill at the intersection of Stafford Rd and Rock Run Road in Susquehanna State Park.

GPS Track Data for this trip can be found on my Trip Data Page.

Total Mileage: 4 miles
Total Elevation Gain: A whopping 225′

Susquehanna River Day Hike Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Notable Gear Used

Packit Gourmet Pico De Gallo salsa and Pasta Bolegnese
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Denali’s Collapsible Dog Dish – Doggone Dish
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack
Generic Canister Stove
ALLPOWERS 21W Solar Charger
Notch Hat (Classic Multi-cam Operator model)

Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
Primary Camera – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Hammock Camping with my Dog – Seneca Creek Hiking & Backpacking Trip

Join my dog Denali and I for some Hiking, Backpacking, and Hammock Camping in the Seneca Creek Backcountry.

For this hiking adventure, my pup and I will be visiting the Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek National Recreation area, within West Virginia’s greater Monongahela National Forest. Our route will be a “lollipop”style hike – meaning we’ll use an “out and back” section of trail from the Spruce Knob trailhead parking area to connect with a series of other trails that form a loop. After completing the loop portion of the hike, we’ll backtrack out using the same section of trail from day one.

The Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek Backcountry offers around 60 miles of trails (marked with blue blazes) with an elevation range of 3,000 to 4,800 feet above sea level. The beginning of this particular loop is actually the highest point in all of West Virginia – Spruce Knob – standing at and elevation of 4,861 feet. Below is a list of trails for each day, along with stats for elevation gain and mileage.

Trailhead Parking: Spruce Knob Parking area (right by the observation tower).

Parking Notes:  No parking fees or overnight permits are required.  There are restrooms and bear-proof trash bins available for use.

GPS Track Data for this trip can be found on my Trip Data Page.

Trails used, Day 1

  • Huckleberry Trail
  • Hornton Trail (just for a short bit)
  • Judy Springs Trail
  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • Hammock Camp along Seneca Creek.

Day 1 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 6.5 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain:  221 feet (pretty much down hill all day)

Trails used, Day 2

  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • High Meadows Trail
  • Lumberjack Trail
  • Join back up with Huckleberry Trail
  • Arrive back at Spruce Knob Parking Lot

Day 2 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 10 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain:  2,173 feet (pretty much up hill all day)

Notable Gear Seen in the Video

Denali’s Hammock – 2T’s Hammock Chair from Dutchware
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Denali’s Collapsible Dog Dish – Doggone Dish
Dutchware Chameleon Hammock
Hammock Gear Burrow 40 Top Quilt

Hammock Gear Phoenix 30 Underquilt
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
Vargo Windscreen
Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack

Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
Primary Camera – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Winter Camping with a Sled

For this Backpacking Trip, we use a Pulk Sled to go Winter Camping in the Deep Snow of the White Mountains.

Mike and I originally planned to do a long overdue return trip to Mt Crawford for some winter backpacking and camping, but as is usually the case, the notorious weather of the White Mountains thwarted our efforts.  With a higher summits forecast from the White Mountains Observatory calling for -60° wind chills due subzero temps combined with high winds and gusts upwards of 90 MPH, we opted to stick to the lower elevations instead.  So we shelved our higher elevation idea to camp on Mt Crawford, and instead started scouting for a new location on the fly.

Basically, we were winging it in terms of trip planning, but fortunately I was armed with a full set of White Mountains AMC maps to keep up safely prepared on whatever trail we ended up cast upon by the winter hiking gods.

In the video we do some snow campsite selection and setup, tons of firewood collection, snow furniture building, campfire cooking, trail sledding on the rather steep Airline Trail, and overall just plain having a fun time out in the snowy woods of New Hampshire for a few days.

Downloadable GPS data for this trip and others can be found on the Trip Data Page.

Winter Sled Camping Route Overview – Sintax77

Time of Year
Mid February

Parking Location
Appalachia Trailhead Parking Lot
44°22’17.6″N 71°17’19.9″W

Trailhead
Appalachia Trailhead on Presidential Hwy (Hwy 2), Randolph, NH

Trails Used, Day One

  • Valley Way Trail
  • Randolph Path
  • Airline Trail
  • Setup Camp near Airline Trail
  • Located in the middle of the triangle formed for the Airline, Randolph Path, and Valley Way Trails.We used this campsite with significant snow pack on the ground so leveling out a decent platform for a tent was no problem. Based on my experience in this general area on previous summer trips, I would assume it would not make a very accommodating tentsite without snow, due to the steep and rugged terrain.

Day 1 Mileage: 2 miles
Day 1 Elevation Gain: 1,122′

Winter Sled Camping Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Trails Used, Day Two

  • Airline Trail
  • Return to vehicle at Appalachia Trailhead Parking Lot

Day 1 Mileage: 1 mile
Day 1 Elevation Gain: 6′ (pretty brutal, I know)

Winter Sled Camping Day 2 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Notable Gear Seen and Used in the Video

AMC White Mountains Full Map Set
Camp’ brand backpacking Snow Shovel
MSR Whisperlight Universal Stove (we were using white gas)
MSR Flex Skillet
Coghlan Camp Grill Grate
Nemo Losi 3p Tent
Z-Lite Sleeping Pad (Yellow pad used for bench, I stacked it on top of a Big Agnes Q-Core SUL pad for sleeping at night)
Therm-A-Rest Pro Sleeping Pad (Mikes sleep pad)
Hammock Gear Burrow 0° Top Quilt
Scandinavian Gear Backpack (my red pack)
Gregory Palisades 80 Backpack (Mike’s pack)
MSR Denali Ascent Snowshoes (my grey snowshoes)
Atlas 10 Snowshoes (Mike’s snowshoes)
Coghlan Fire Sticks (Fire starter used on day 2)
Sled – I’m honestly not sure what brad it was, but below is a pretty highly rated, heavy duty gear sled listed on Amazon.