Monday, May 17, 2010

Bicyle trip on the C&O Canal

A group of 7 men from Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond Virginia got together to go on a 35 mile bicycle ride of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O) towpath. The ride started in Washington DC just below the Key Bridge to about 17.5 miles north toward Harpers Ferry West VA.

The trail paralleled the C&O canal and consisted mostly of compacted gravel and was relately flat.

Much of the canal is not in service but there are parts that are restored to original condition.

Our group ranged from the fairly young to some of the more mature.

One member of the group carried a cooler full of water, he converted a child carrier trailer into a camping, hiking and biking equipment trailer.

The trail passes Great Falls a very popular waterfalls in the area.

Many of the restored locks have taken on other multiple uses. In this picture a group of kayaks practice going over the falls of the locks backwards.

In another area a river boat reenacts how goods and materials were transported up and down the river through the lock system.

Great fellowship was had by all:

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Solo hiking

I have been solo hiking for about 5 years. Not that I necessarily want to hike solo but because most people that will hike my pace are either still working or not in shape to hike. My last hike has taught me to always keep some dry clothes to sleep in. Always have a means of communication for times of emergency. I carry a cell phone and a SAT phone. Keep close tabs on the weather. Gloves even if they get wet can keep you from getting frost bite. The chill factor from high winds can drop temperatures well below the freezing point. Force yourself to eat and drink lots of water. Pack as light as possible and then lighten up even more. Keep sun tan lotion on at all times. Smart wool socks are well worth the price. A hat for night time can help keep you warm. A down jacket will save your life at night in extreme conditins. Always keep your hammock dry, the tarp can stay wet but keep the hammock dry. Keep your synthetic clothes away from flames and high heat, they melt. Water proof shoes are great in snow and slush. Be sure to keep God close to your heart. And remember Phil 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Survival on the rail

When hiking long distances a hiker must be prepared for all types of weather. Recently I experienced such an ocassion while I was backpacking from Erwin Tenn to Damascus VA, an eight day hike. The second day I would cross over Roan Mountain over 6500 feet in elevation. I started on Monday with heavy rain which turned to heavy rain and high winds. The second day I put on dry clothes and hours later I was soaked again. As I began to near the top of Roan Mountain it began to hail, sleet and snow. It snowed 3 inches and the trail was a swimming pool of frozen ice and slush. My hands were completely numb and it seemed like hours since I felt my toes. It was snowing so much I missed the shelter on top and had to pitch my hammock half way down the other side. I had nothing dry except my Eddie Bauer down jacket, my down quilt, polar tech hat, and hammock. I hardly slept the night, nude except for my jacket, and I never did gain circulation of my toes and fingers. The next morning the temperature was in the lower teens. Everything I had except what I was wearing was frozen solid. My pants, socks, shoes, and shirt were so frozen I couldn't put them on. I got out my alcohol and esbit stoves. I tried thawing out my clothers by suspending them above the alcohol stove. I managed to get most of the clother thawed out except my boots. Because most of my clothes were synthetic I managed to burn a few holes in them before they were wearable. For my boots I placed the esbit stove inside the boot and melted the ice. But along with melting the ice I managed to melt part of the boot also. I had a hard time untieing the hammock lines and repacking. I hiked to the main road and took a zero day at a hostel in Hampton, Tenn. I continued my hike but I saw very few of the through hikers that I had been hiking with the previous day. They either quit or took several zero days to recoup. When we hike we must always be able to make a decission when enough is enough and with me it ended 3 days early because that night took so much energy from me that I could never regain enough to complete my hike.

Burned holes in my socks.

Burned boots with melted tops.

Esbit stove

Stove inside my shoe

Life saving down quilt by Speer.

Hat for night time wear.

Eddie Bauer Down jacket.