Blue Ridge Laughing – walking around in America

I just returned from an 85 mile trek through the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.  Although I missed the peak of fall foliage, I was still rewarded with some spectacles of yellow and orange.  I also saw the other statue of liberty.


There were some interesting experiences and encounters.  However, those are going in the new book.  I learned from our advisory board (a group of publishers and agents) in grad school (these peeps) that they will not consider anything previously published anywhere, ever…even in an obscure blog.  So, you’ll have to wait until I write the book, hopefully sell it, and it gets published.  Then, you can read all about hostile crows, night hiking, pallet manufacturing, a guy named Bubba, gangs of cows, and the kindness of strangers.  How’s that for a long range tease?

For now, here’s some pics and some gear reviews.

DCIM100GOPRO  This sign was randomly in a field far from any structure.

DCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRO Shhh, stealth camp (not in the old barn.  I just thought that was cool.)

DCIM100GOPRO With no intention, I still ended up visiting my white blazed friend, the A.T.

I tried one new piece of gear and some new food this trip.  I recently got a Black Diamond Cold Forge jacket.  Combining down and primaloft, it is light, very compressible, won’t become a useless brick if wet, and it is warm!  With evening temps dropping into the low 30’s at higher altitudes, I used this as in camp insulation, and it made the dinner prep, moonrise watching part of the day very comfy.  It also makes a nice pillow.

I don’t typically eat a lot of freeze dried “backpacker” food, but I am a fan of Mountain House meals when I do.  This trip I tested Backpacker’s Pantry and AlpineAire meals.

On the plus side, both have high caloric content (after a 20 mile trek, you want all the calories you can get.)  Umm, that is the end of the positives.  The pantry meal had 51% of the RDA of sodium per serving.  I eat a whole two serving meal so I received over 100% of my daily sodium from one ridiculously salty bag of pasta.  I drank over a liter of water just to choke it down.  The foil packaging is also heavy and bulky.  The AlpineAire meal, conversely, is relatively low in sodium and has much more packable packaging.  It is also like eating soggy Styrofoam, nearly devoid of flavor.

I will stick to my own pasta and hearty soup concoctions.  When I do splurge on a backpacker meal, I’ll also stick to Mountain House.

Stay tuned this week for a special guest appearance in the thoughtvomit.  I interviewed my friend and lobster freeing partner in crime, Kelly Stone Gamble for the imminent release of her novel They Call Me Crazy.  Check out her website here.  And buy this book.  To quote veggietales, “I laughed.  I cried.  It moved me, Bob.”

And finally, here’s the greatest band in the history of the known universe performing one of my favorite songs.

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2 Responses to Blue Ridge Laughing – walking around in America

  1. charlieopera says:

    You’re gonna have to teach me all this hiking stuff for next year, brother. Love the band … excellent! -90 today … 76 more

  2. D.R. Leo says:

    Fear not, grasshopper. You shall become one with the wilderness.

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