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I would like to share my 2 night solo hike 2 weeks ago on the AFT(Allegheny Front Trail) in central Pa. This was my first hiking trip since my Boy Scout days 45 years ago (C&O canal).
A call to a friend living in the area mentioned I would find a 4in snow pack and the night time temps around 20* with that in mind my equipment consisted of a LLBean pack weighing in at a whopping 7lbs, my DIY GE hammock, my suspension is 2 10ft straps 12in Amsteel Continues loop and 3in 1/2in PVC marlin spikes, a Warbonet sock 0* HG UQ, a LLBean synthetic insulated 20* SB for a TQ, and a PL extra blanket,Chinook light weight tarp, DIY alky stove, 10oz of Heat and a DIY Bushbuddy stove for back up. My food bag weight was about 5 lb, (I’m always afraid I'll go hungry). 2 pairs of extra wool socks, ripstop wind pants, base layer long johns, a fleece pajama bottoms for sleeping, a fleece cap and mittens a light fleece jacket, also a LLBean prima loft jacket. I started out wearing cotton hiking pants and the fleece jacket. My pack weight 40lb OUCH!! plus I carried 2 ltr bottles of water. My first big decision was what to wear on my feet. Its 39* with a 4in snow pack???? I went with my Sorel pac boots mainly because they are water proof.
1st day: My planned trek was the SE half of the 40ml AFT.A late 2:30pm start hiked until 5pm, traveled about 5ml, temp where dropping and it was windy. I moved off the trail about 50 yds into the brush. Set up my hammock
gathered kindling for a fire. Dinner was packaged Sardines and Mash potatoes in Frozen Zip bags. My DIY Alk stove worked great. Night temp went down to 18* didn't sleep well. I think it was the Sardines.
Day2: Breakfast was hot coffee, hot Kashi w/Proten powder in a FzBag. Got on trail 9:30. Temps started creeping up by lunch it was 45*. Stopped at the Ralph Majestic Vista for lunch. Terrain was moderate hilly. Was
hoping to hike around 10-12 miles so I'd finish early Sunday morning. Wasn't the case with the snow, hills and my pack weight. I had only traveled about 7ml. By 4:30 I was pretty spent and I was in a low flat area close to water and knowing I was going up I called it a day due to
temps my feet and pack boots where very wet. Set up,built a fire. Dinner was packaged rice in sauce and Beef Jerky. Temps at 7:30 50*. Dried boot packs over fire and inserted packaged hand warmers overnight. Slept great
Day3: Up at 6am breakfast was coffee, Instant Oatmeal with DIY Dyhd Apples and On the trail 9am, trail started up hill and slow until 11am then went down hill and stayed down along the Pine Creek with a wall of rhododendrons on both side towering over my head. I remember thanking God for creating something this beautiful and sharing it with me. It was windy and Temps
50* I finished the 20 ml loop at 3:30 pm with not much left in the tank.
Over all I enjoyed the adventure, the trail was beautiful and challenging maybe a little too challenging for my level of experience. I would compare it to the Triathlons I’ve done, you cover the coarse but you
didn't see much of it. The boots where wrong but my feet would have been a lot wetter. Next time I hope to have a lighter pack. Force myself to take less food. Did I mention I brought back over half my food. Take more
fuel, I ran out so I used the Bushbuddy. I would still carry it. I didn't bring a small water bottle. If a need a drink I had to stop take the pack off because the pouches with the Ltr bottles are on the back side, that had to be the most aggravating part of the trip. Also I would bring along a pair of camp shoes.
I printed out the Topo map DNR offered wish I would have taken time to do some Land Nav. In spit of my lack of hiking experience the trip was great, and I learned a lot mostly how important gear weight is.
Hope you enjoyed reading and seeing the pics.
 

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Looks nice. Three of us took a hike on the Black Forets Trail in September. Tough trail by Slate Run and Pine Creek. Planned up to 3 nights, but only did 2 night since it rained from the second night and on so we hiked the extra miles back to Slate Run where the car was parked. Right after Christmas same three hiked the AT for an overnighter in Michaux Forest. About 4 inches of snow on ground and temps 20 during the days and wind about 10 - 20 mph. Much colder at night. I had bought all new equipment before the hike in September (no cotton). I also had extra food from first hike, but not the second. I guess I was thinking 1 night on the train how hungry can you get? Don't need the extra food or weight. It is pretty nice getting back out there. I was like you, haven't hiked or camped since the mid 70's as a Boy Scout.
 

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By the way your hammock looks like it's tied to a samll tree. Must have bent a lot during the night.
I was thinking of getting a hammock, but instead went to a tent with a nice pad.
 

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Michaux Hunter said:
By the way your hammock looks like it's tied to a samll tree. Must have bent a lot during the night.
I was thinking of getting a hammock, but instead went to a tent with a nice pad.
I think the tree I'm hanging from is not in the frame. I will hang from a tree as small as 1 1/2 inches with my straps about 6 ft high if its a healthy tree and not have any bending. Obviously the bigger the tree the less chance of ending up on the ground. IMP sleeping in a hammock beats sleeping on the ground
 

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Here's few tips for hiking in cold weather: first, use a small tent, or even a tarp to make a tent, instead of a hammock. A hammock lets all your body heat seep away, without the insulation of the ground under you. For breakfast, get up, break down your camp, hike a mile or two and then have breakfast. You will be much warmer and more comfortable. If you are worried aout insufficient food, take a bag of ramen noodles for each day. They weigh nothing and can be eaten raw from the package. Good hiking!
 
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