Delicious blackberries on Max Patch
Since returning to NC from our month-long trip to CO on the 15th, it’s been fun tagging along with Lily on her various adventures. After the 1st annual MTA triathlon at Lake James last weekend, we made our way to Max Patch. Uwharrie and I dropped Lily off near the summit and she made her way north on the AT to meet section-hiking friend Frindy. Meanwhile, we drove to Hot Springs and started hiking south in a key-swap scenario.
Our plan, “fast-pack” to I-40 and get picked up by Lily on her way from Hot Springs, reminded me of a 2009 trek with a similar MC Hammer-esque title. The car’s thermometer registered 91 degrees in the shade of Hot Springs Sunday afternoon. We passed hikers sweating their way down (!?!) the 3500’ climb of Bluff Mountain. We held out hope that we’d find relief from the heat at higher elevations.
Besides our escape from the brutal heat and humidity, I looked forward to testing out some experimental homemade lightweight gear for a potential thousand-mile fast-pack next summer. My old BMT pack, with a base weight (minus food and water) of 3.5 pounds held, among other things, a 3 oz. kitchen, a 3 oz. bug bivy and a new in-line water filter system to try out for the first time in the field.
Perhaps most exciting, the ongoing trial of a pair of “icebreakers” (so named as a pioneering homemade running shoe) proved to be fairly successful in that the shoes didn’t disintegrate and fall off my feet during this 30-mile trek. Research and development will continue. But with the end of summer less than a week away, time will once again be in short supply!
Fast Enough, Frindy and U-dog
U-dog wants her own bug bivy
Climbing Max Patch
Icebreakers after 50 miles...