Departure Into The Unknown…

We are preparing to leave our hometown to head back out West. Darwin has finished his Pinhoti thru-hike and we are both switching gears looking now towards preparing for his PCT thru-hike. As we start packing up the van, I can’t help but find this all a little bittersweet. I have considered Evansville, Indiana my home base the last couple of weeks and obviously have a lot of connections here with friends and family. With our departure just around the corner, I’ve looked back to my past journal entries for some type of comfort…

An excerpt taking from an entry dated October 22, 2014:

Darwin and I have made our decision to leave. This idea that once seemed mischievous and something that was our “little secret” has become reality for us. This idea to travel and hike is growing into something even bigger, of what I can’t exactly say or even try to put into words. We are leaving the known and choosing the unknown. This idea is a decision that others talk and laugh about but never take any further, eventually letting it fade away.

I feel a peace in me that I haven’t felt in a very long time; a feeling of change is working in my innermost self. I will continue to nourish it and help it grow. Whoever this makes me and where this takes me I at least know I’ve more than talked about it, I’m living it.

winner

(Before We Had Any Real Road Or Trail Miles On Us) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

A blog post from Sarah Ruth Jansen that left me pondering life…

Just Finished Reading: Just Passin’ Thru find it on Amazon Here: http://amzn.to/2ECoSu9

Cool Thingys:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Me On Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Most Recent Posts:

Like Any Animal, I Am Aging

Mountain Crossings & Southbounders

The Hidden Life of Trees – REVIEW

 

 

 

(DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!)

Like Any Animal, I Am Aging

 

Thirty-two years ago today I was bald,

I’m now tall and have gray hair.

Like any animal, I am aging.

 

I’m back in the city of my birth,

Running around buildings of large girth,

Unlike the trees that I find pleasing.

 

I visit with friends and family,

And share my adventures from here and there,

Places that some were unaware.

 

I have been sitting and working and waiting,

For a man with a beard and long hair,

To whisk me away to adventurous play,

For my soul is waiting in the wild somewhere.

 

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(Overlooking The Smoky Mountains Trying To Look Regal) 

 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Still Reading: Just Passin’ Thru: A Vintage Store, the Appalachian Trail, and a Cast of Unforgettable Characters find it on Amazon Here: http://amzn.to/2ECoSu9

Cool Thingys:

I recently came across this podcast from The Art Of Manliness in which Micheal Finkel the author of The Stranger In The Woods discusses his time with one of the last true hermits….It’s Super Good! Listen To It Here

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Me On Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Posts You May Have Missed:

The Stranger In The Woods – Review

Mountain Crossings & Southbounders

The Creepies

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This Post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support the channel/website and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!)

Mountain Crossings & Southbounders

Darwin and I spent a lot of time recently in Georgia awaiting the start of his Pinhoti Thru-Hike. We hovered around a few main spots close to the Appalachian Trail one of which was Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap. For those of you who do not know, Mountain Crossings is a big landmark on the Appalachian Trail, the first piece of civilization that a hiker will come to if heading North and the last piece of trail history before finishing if heading South.

When Darwin and I first hit this historic spot in 2015 we were overjoyed at the sight. The thought of a hot shower, clean clothes, and pizza was like heaven. We stayed in the hostel and celebrated our first few days on the trail (hiking thirty miles over the course of about four days was a big deal back then…) with our fellow hikers and said our goodbyes to others. Mountain Crossings is known as the first big drop off point for a lot North-bounders. Thirty miles into a thru-hike is just enough time to feel the extra weight on your back and the growing numbness in your feet.

We were now once again standing in front of this iconic place but this time we drove and felt a little sprier then before. The fog that shrouded the trail past the brick-arched breezeway was no longer a mystery. We knew first hand what awaited those who passed thru it. We were surprised this time to find motorcycles and tons of families surrounding us. We often forget that hikers are not the only beings in the world; the weekend and a blue sky had brought out others all wanting to enjoy the mountain air in different ways. It was disturbing but somehow chaotically beautiful.

We gazed up to the swinging boots and shoes in the trees and waved to them. They seemed to be watching us…dropping on those unworthy of passage… Those boots are almost as famous as the building itself. Some seemed to be ancient, relics of past hiking footwear…or maybe they were just moldy and gross, hard to tell. We entered into the outfitter only to be immediately identified as hikers. Thus began an almost three-week-long chumminess with the staff who both work and live there. All of the staff members at Mountain Crossings are thru-hikers so if you ever miss trail life and long to talk to hiker trash, this is the place to go.

During our time in the area, we provided trail magic to about six South-bounders who were staying in the hostel. It was a good feeling to be able to provide a few hikers with much-needed calories and cold beer. We had been on the receiving end so often I was glad to return the favor. We stayed up a little past hiker midnight with this crew swapping trail stories and talking of trail legends like Baltimore Jack. Their perspective of the AT was fascinating, I recommend every Northbounder to talk trail with a Southbounder after each has hit the final summit. It’s a very different hike for a SOBO…

It was a beautiful scene that evening, one only a hiker could appreciate. Empty beer cans piled up, Cosmic Brownies littering the counter, the smell of sweat and soap hanging heavy in the air, and the warmth of the room heated mostly by our bodies and laughter but also a small heater…it all wrapped us up in a cocoon against the cold night air.

 

 

 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Currently Reading: Just Passin’ Thru: A Vintage Store, the Appalachian Trail, and a Cast of Unforgettable Characters find it on Amazon Here: http://amzn.to/2ECoSu9

Go Girl Product Review : Still In Testing Mode!

Cool Thingys:

Want More Info On Mountain Crossings? Check Out Their Website Here!

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail – MORE NEW ITEMS IN STOCK!!!

Me On Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

3/13/15 Mountain Crossings Hostel

The Hidden Life of Trees – REVIEW

Going Home

 

(DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!)

 

 

 

Darwin’s 2018 Pinhoti Trail Thru-Hike

Pack

ZPacks Arc Blast-  https://zpacks.com/products/arc-blast-backpack?aff=7
W/ Shoulder Pouch –  https://zpacks.com/products/shoulder-pouch?aff=7

Shelter

ZPacks Duplex Tent- https://zpacks.com/products/duplex-tent?aff=7
8 Ti Shepherd Hook Stakes – https://zpacks.com/products/6-5-titanium-hook-stake-w-red-head?aff=7

Sleep System

EE Revelation 20 Quilt – http://enlightenedequipment.com/revelation/

ThermaRest Neo Air (Long) – http://amzn.to/2nSABeB
Trekology UL Pillow – http://amzn.to/2H6IqFe
Goosefeet Gear Down Socks – https://goosefeetgear.com/products/down-socks/

Cook System

BRS UL Stove – http://amzn.to/2snl8rw
Vargo Ti 750 BOT – https://www.vargooutdoors.com/titanium-bot-bottle-pot.html
Sea to Summit Spork – http://amzn.to/2EgADXC
8oz Fuel Can – http://amzn.to/2EWbLSh
Bic Mini Lighter – http://amzn.to/2Bnzyeb
Zpacks Cuben Food Bag (w/line) – http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/bear_bag.shtml

Water Filtration

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter – http://amzn.to/2G4aiZo
2 – 1L SmartWater Bottles
1 – Cnoc Vecto Water Container – https://amzn.to/2JRNEtb

Electronics

UCO Air Headlamp (Modified) – http://amzn.to/2sp0RBQ
Anker PowerCore 10000 Charger – http://amzn.to/2xtBijq
Canon G7X Mark ii – http://amzn.to/2xnpSMt
GorillaPod Action Tripod – http://amzn.to/2Eh3oDv

Extra Camera Battery – http://amzn.to/2Bluffa
Iphone 7 Plus – http://amzn.to/2G1dzIM
Various Charging Cables

Clothes

Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket – https://zpacks.com/products/vertice-rain-jacket?aff=7
EE Torid APEX Jacket (7D prototype) – https://enlightenedequipment.com/torrid-apex-jacket/
EE Wind Pants (7D prototype) – https://enlightenedequipment.com/copperfield-wind-pants/
Ice Breaker Merino Wool T – http://amzn.to/2smmmmP
OR Transcendent Down Beanie – http://amzn.to/2nQZ7g4
Zpacks Vertice Rain Mitts – https://zpacks.com/products/vertice-rain-mitts?aff=7
OR Liner Gloves – http://amzn.to/2CbzJ95
Darn Tough Socks – http://amzn.to/2Ex7mXZ

Clothes Worn

Columbia SilverRidge Lite LS Shirt – http://amzn.to/2ocpLAv

Nike Pro Running Shorts – http://amzn.to/2wH3KQ8
Nike Pro HyperWarm Tights – http://amzn.to/2Cc4NW6
Buff – http://amzn.to/2G3M8y4
Mesh Back Hat
Darn Tough Socks – http://amzn.to/2wMlULm
Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Shoes – http://amzn.to/2xWDNfC
Dirty Girl Gaiters – https://dirtygirlgaiters.com

Other

Cnoc Vertex Carbon Cork Trekking Poles (Modified) – http://amzn.to/2EVMoQn
ZPacks Ditty Bag – https://zpacks.com/products/small-dry-bag?aff=7
Leuko Tape (wrapped around Poles) – http://amzn.to/2src0Cg
Spyderco Knife – http://amzn.to/2wHxmwZ
Deuce of Spades Trowel – http://amzn.to/2EhAV0p
Small First-Aid Kit
Chapstick
Toothbrush w/ Paste
TP (Shit Tickets)

 

 

(DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS THAT IF YOU CLICK ON ONE OF THE PRODUCT LINKS, I’LL RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. THIS HELPS SUPPORT THE CHANNEL/WEBSITE AND ALLOWS US TO CONTINUE TO MAKE CONTENT LIKE THIS. THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT!)

 

The Hidden Life of Trees – REVIEW

I was given The Hidden Life of Trees as a Christmas gift from a friend. She and I along with another close friend experienced the breathtaking giants of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park back in November. Although Darwin and I had been there before these two friends had never been, so it was wonderful to see their awe and delight when we walked through the park among the giant trees that resided there. We all felt an energy in the air, that life and conversation was happening around us but not exactly from the people visiting the park. The Hidden Life of Trees seems to confirm our feelings there is so much more to trees then leaves and bark.

 
The book is written by Peter Wohlleben a forester for over twenty years, author, and simply put, an extreme tree hugger. Over the course of three hundred pages, Wohlleben describes the life cycle of a tree, its inner struggles and outer battles in such a way that the reader is able to learn from him, but is not bored to death. You may at first be thinking, “What can be exciting about a tree?” and Wohlleben reveals exactly that. At first, I must admit I was a bit hesitant for fear of being overtaken by big words and textbook style writing but this was not the case. Although Wohlleben does discuss the science behind his book and the studies that prove his narratives, I found myself instead immersed in his writing and eager to turn the page for more.

 
Throughout the entirety of the book, trees are given human characteristics, which I found helpful in understanding Wohlleben’s ideas, scientific studies and the facts he presents on various tree affairs. This aspect is what makes this book so interesting in the first place and is basically the whole concept of the book; trees, in fact, are like people too. After reading this book, I have now found myself stopping during hikes and trying to pick out various tree species, trying to witness the going ons of the community I stand in and view the trees as “individuals” standing around me. Using words like “mother” and “sibling” to describe their relationships with one another, Wohlleben gives the reader an understanding of how tree species are related and work with each other helping both the old and the young of their kind stay healthy and prosper.

 
Every family has friends and of course, those unfortunate foes. Such is the same for trees. Wohlleben discusses how trees are assisted and often encouraged to flourish by various fungi, insects, and animals. As every human often relies on the support from a friend, trees do as well and in some instances would die without such help. A life of a tree is one of a race and survival of the fittest. A once peaceful relationship with another living organism can turn into a fight for light, space, and food. Unfortunately for the tree, they cannot just walk away. They are tied down by their roots, leaving them sometimes doomed to slow death match of whom they are on the losing end being eaten by the inside out.

 
Although Wohlleben discusses the trials and tribulations of common trees this book is not simply a narrative. It is structured in a way that allows each chapter to build upon the other (later chapters often referring to the previous) and presents information in very layman’s terms. If you have only seen one tree in your entire life, you will surely be able to comprehend the science and further observations rooted in this book. The only thing that I feel should be mentioned before reading would be the fact that some species of both animal and plant mentioned are specific to areas outside the United States. This, however, I found less of an annoyance but more of a challenge to learn and explore more of the world around me.

 
Wohlleben will guide you to a secret world you have only looked upon before but never really seen. Within the first chapter don’t be surprised to find yourself highlighting topics of interest and researching them further. Wohlleben with his personal research and experiences will answer questions about trees you didn’t know you had. When you again gaze upon a tree, you will take in the struggle and daily dramas that play in around its body. You will recognize what a great marvel it is that one stands before you that you stand among its family. You will realize we are not so unlike the trees.

 

If you would like to read this book be sure to check out your local library or you can find it online via amazon using the link below along with more of Peter Wohlleben’s books: http://amzn.to/2C0KVoU

 

 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Coming Soon! Peeing Standing Up

Cool Thingys:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail – NEW ITEMS IN STOCK!!!

This Is Me On Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Book Reviews You May Enjoy:

Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner – Review

 

 

(DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!)