Long Hunter.........................Trail Rating.............Outcasts Total: 150.4 Miles
Volunteer Trail...6.0 Miles.........Easy
The Outcasts decided to start out the hiking year with an easier trail that we had already checked out. We took a vote and Long Hunter won. We had a couple of guests on this hike. My Dad and a fellow firefighter joined us. This would be Marco's first backpacking trip. He might have had a couple of questions, a few doubts, and definitely a few concerns. Basically he called me every day for the three weeks before the hike. He did take the hike serious and broke out the scale to weigh everything that he had. After we were misled by Marco about the conditions of the water in the lake, we carried all the water that we would need. So after adding food and water, he came up with 30lbs for his first hike.
The weatherman said that we would be having some cold weather coming in so we packed a little extra warm stuff. With the history of our hikes, cold is not a surprise. As it turned out the weatherman, surprisingly enough was wrong and it never did cool off. It was beautiful hiking weather and we really enjoyed getting out. My Dad came in the night before.
Troy and I wanted to keep with the tradition of staying up all the night before the hike making fire calls. We got off work and headed to the trail. Troy went home and picked up his dog. I went home and picked up my Dad. Marco went home with me just encase he came up with some more questions. Greg went to pick up his son, but as some of us know teenagers have a way of making life difficult. I got a call later saying that neither of them would be joining us today on the hike due to disciplinary problems. Been there, done that!
We signed up at the ranger station and met Troy at the trail-head. The dog and four of us headed out. The hike in went pretty much uneventful. We met a lot of dog walkers on the Day Loop, but had the Volunteer Trail all to ourselves. There were five other hikers that came in later that evening and took the other campsite. We never saw or heard from them after they went by our camp. After we soaked our feet in the lake, we set up camp. Marco got a chance to check out the hammocks. I found me a flat rock by the lake and took a little nap. When I got up I found that Troy had followed suit in his tent.
We had our dinner, which was made up of some experimental meals. Everything turned out OK and we all got full belles. When darkness caught up we got the campfire going and sat around and told lies. I called it an early evening and Marco said that I didn't have any problem getting to sleep. He said that my tarp was going up and down with my snoring. He was quite glad that I wear a breathing machine at work.
The next day on the way out we got to see a Black snake and Box turtle. Being the one to start all of this lightweight backpacking, We were quite amused that after hearing something hitting my plastic bottle in my pack pocket, I found a railroad spike that I had picked up in the Smokey Mountains last July and never took out of my pack. Actually I was trying to show everyone how tuff I was and threw in a little iron.
After all of the complaining about everyone walking too fast at work when we exercise, Marco took the lead and left everyone behind. I was expecting him to want to skip the extra couple of miles on the way out, but when it came time to pick the way when the trail split, he was all for the long way out. Marco has been back into gear talk since we got off the trail so I think that he may actually join us again. We had a wonderful hike, but missed our partner Greg.