Grayson Highlands Route Planning – Solo Winter Backpacking Trip Pt 3

Creating a Backpacking Loop for my upcoming winter solo camping trip in Virginia’s Grayson Highlands.

For part three of this series, I’ll be going over my specific route selection for my solo backpacking loop, including trails used, potential parking / starting points, and expected camping areas for each night.  The map I chose to purchase for this trip, based on viewer feedback, was National Geographic’s Map #318 for the Mount Rogers High Country Grayson Highlands State Park region of Virginia.

A good portion of this loop will utilizing the Appalachian Trail, within the Mt Rogers National Recreation Area, as well as several other connecting trails within the Lewis Fork Wilderness and Little Wilson Creek Wilderness areas.

I will be doing continued updates throughout the whole process of planning this winter hiking trip. All the way from location selection, specific route planning, packing, food choices, getting there, doing the actual trip, and whatever else may come up in between, so check back for updates!

Location Selected! – Solo Winter Backpacking Trip (Pt 2)

Based on Viewer Feedback I’ve Chosen the Location for my Solo Winter Backpacking Trip!

For the second installment of this series, I’ll be talking about my final choice for the location of the upcoming backpacking trip that I’ve been planning.  How did I make my decision on the final location for my winter camping trip?  You told me!

A very big thanks is in order for all of the super helpful viewers and subscribers that shared their feedback on the previous trip planning video.  Obviously, i had to narrow it down to just one area out of the hundred of backpacking routes that we shared, but I definitely learned a ton of useful info on areas for future trips as well.

For now though, I’m going to focus on the spot chosen for this trip.  Which is, of course, – Oh, come on, you didn’t think I’d really ruin the surprise by typing it here, did you?  🙂


I plan to do continued updates throughout the whole process of planning this winter hiking trip. All the way from location selection, specific route planning, getting there, doing the actual trip, and whatever else may come up in between, so check back for updates!

 

A Tour of Texas – Hiking Big Bend & Mexican Border Road Trip

Join me for a Tour of Texas, from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to a Hike in Big Bend NP, via an adventure along the Mexican border. 

For this adventure, I’ll be travelling (via air) from Philadelphia to San Antonio, Texas.  After landing, the plan will be to grab a rental car and immediately travel 7 hours west, following a route along the Mexican boarder, to Big Bend National Park.  Big Bend holds the distinction as America’s largest protected swath of Chihuahuan desert.  Another of Big Bend’s unique distinctions is that around 118 miles of the Mexican / American boarder lay within it’s boundaries, hugging the deepest point of the Rio Grande.

My plan is to arrive at Big Bend National Park before sunset on day one and make a mad scramble for the Window Trail, which is said to boast some amazing sunset views across the Chisos Mountains.  Assuming I pull this off, my next task will be to awake just before that burning globe comes back around again, and make way for the tallest peak amongst the Chisos Range – Emory Peak.  After that – a quick retreat to the car, a modest rehydration and clean up, and then it will time to hop back in the rental car once again.

Just to keep thing interesting, my plan will be to take an alternate 7 hour route, further to the north, to return to San Antonio.  At that point, I’ll scoop up Sara and head an additional 3 hours west to the Gulf of Mexico.  More specifically, the Corpus Christi region, for some beach front camping, which would be a first for us.

Of course, all of these plans assume that everything goes as expected.  I mean, they never get unexpected or sever weather on the Gulf Coast, do they?  Wait…  do they?

Dutchware Double Chameleon Hammock & Spreader Bar System

Hanging Two Hammocks & One tarp on a single set of Trees using the Dutch Chameleon Hammock with Beetle Buckles and Spreader Bar.

Click here to visit the Dutchware Chameleon Kickstarter Page 

For this video, Sara and I will be experimenting with our new double hammock system by Dutchware to hang both of our hammocks side by side without the need to find 3 or even 4 trees in order to set up without having the two hammocks bump into each other.

The key pieces of hardware that make this possible are the Dutchware Spreader Bar pole with end pins that lock into the holes on the new Dutchware Beetle Buckles suspension system.  When attached at the head end, the spreader bar will keep the two hammocks at a comfortable distance apart.  For the video, we’ll be using a 36 inch spreader bar pole, shorter poles can be used as well, or you can even cut down your existing poles to shorter lengths.  This can help minimize see-sawing, as well as create opportunities to use narrower tarps,

Speaking of tarps, one of the very attractive points of using this system is the ability to pack just a single tarp to be shared by two hammocks.  However, you’ll have to keep in mind that you’re required space will be a bit wider than usual.  This is especially compounded by non-rectangular tarps, such as those cut in the popular hexagonal shape.  Because tarps of those kind are only at their full length along the middle seam, you may find that you’re hammocks don’t quite fit underneath anymore, due to the tapered sides of the tarp.  My 10’x12 Hennessy Deluxe Hex Tarp is a hexagonal cut and suffered this symptom.  For future trips, I may experiment with a narrower spreader bar, or I may just get a dedicated rectangle shaped tarp for use with this hammock system.

Link to Sara’s Instagram: @SarasGreatAdventures , as mentioned in the video.

 

Dutchware Chameleon Hammock – Up CLOSE detailed look

A close up look at the Dutchware Chameleon dual hammock system.  On kickstarter now.  Field test to follow in part two.

Click here to visit the Dutchware Chameleon Kickstarter Page 

Hammock Length:  11 foot for flatter diagonal lay.
Hammock Width: 58 inches

In the video I’ll give a close up table top look at all of the components of the Chameleon hammock.  The Chameleon is a modular hammock system, allowing customization depending on specific needs such as lay direction, top coverage (bug-net, sold winter over-cover, or netless) and various storage accessories.

The feature that interests me the most though, is this hammock’s ability to be set up with two hammocks connected to the same single set of trees, using an aluminum spreader bar combined with Dutch’s new Beetle Buckle suspension system.  This could come in particularly handy for hammock camping trips with my wife.  Stay tuned for the field review!

Product overview from Dutch

“The Chameleon is a full-featured hammock designed from the ground up. Each of the components that go into the Chameleon have been developed by us to create a versatile and modular light weight hammock that adapts to its environment. Because you can remove and change out components, the Chameleon will be the only hammock you will ever need.”

Link to Shug’s video that I mentioned: A Peek at the Dutchware Chameleon Hammock

Link to Sara’s Instagram: @SarasGreatAdventures , as mentioned in the video.

 

Where Should I go? – Solo Winter Backpacking Trip

The Beginning Stages of Planning for my Solo Winter Backpacking Trip.

For part one of this series, I’ll be discussing my upcoming plans for a solo winter camping trip.  I’m currently in the very first stages of planning this trip.  In fact I haven’t even decided on the actual location yet!  Got any ideas?

I plan to do continued updates throughout the whole process of planning this winter hiking trip.  All the way from location selection, specific route planning, getting there, doing the actual trip, and whatever else may come up in between, so check back for updates!