Hammocks Vs. Tents

Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock

Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock near Davidson River, NC

During 2014 I started to get interested in hammock camping. When I first started backpacking in the early 2000s I primarily used tarps, more recently I’ve begun using tents because I like the extra protection and simplicity, but until last year I had no experience with hammocks…Continue Reading


Big East Fork and Shining Rock Wilderness

Shining Rock Wilderness

Shining Rock Wilderness

Most of my hikes this winter have been in very wet and foggy conditions, but this weekend was an exception. With the good weather I wanted to go somewhere with views.  The Shining Rock Wilderness is known for having the some of the best views in North Carolina due to the lack of trees.  Continue reading…

Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower Loop

Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower

Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower

I have found that the Southern Appalachians are often somewhat disorienting because there is no treeline even at the highest elevations.  It’s usually difficult to see where you’re going or where you’ve been.  Maps are great, but there is nothing like getting visual perspective on the surrounding landscape and how far you’ve actually walked during a hike.  I like to hike in the winter when the leaves are off the trees, but even then the tree cover is so thick that it’s often difficult to pick out specific details.  The best way that I’ve found to get clear views is to hike to fire towers.  Continue reading…

Middle Prong Wilderness

Looking SW towards the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Balsam Mountains

View from the Green Mountain Trail in the Middle Prong Wilderness

On Monday morning, 12-2-2013 I headed out towards the Middle Prong Wilderness area in Pisgah National Forest.  Middle Prong is a relatively small Wilderness area and is alot more remote than it’s larger neighbor, the Shining Rock Wilderness.  I parked at the pull off on Highway 215 just South of Sunburst Campground at 10am and started hiking. Continue reading…

BMT Noland Creek to Smokemont

One of many bridged crossings of Noland Creek

One of many bridged crossings of Noland Creek

After 4 exams in 10 days I had a bit of a break for Thanksgiving so I headed out to hike the Benton Mackaye Trail between Noland Creek(The Road to Nowhere) and Smokemont Campground in Smoky Mountain National Park.  This was my 2nd section of the BMT, it’s about 26 miles with 5500 feet of elevation gain.  The forecast called for lows in the teens and highs in the 30s and 40s with a good chance of freezing rain on Tuesday. Continue reading…