Shake Shake Shake
I went for my first winter shakedown camping trip this week, and man oh man did I learn a lot. So the gear that I’m working with right now isn’t what I’m bringing on my thru hike (I’m waiting for my sponsorships to send me that gear). But I thought I would test out some cold weather camping. We arrived at Woody Gap on the AT around 4pm, hiked the 1.5 miles to the summit of Preacher’s Rock, set up camp, watched an incredible sunset,and then hung out by the fire as the temperature continued to drop. We ended up sleeping in 29 degrees and below is a list of things I learned–
- I need some sort of wind resistant pants. I was wearing 1 layer on my legs- compression pants. Wow what a rookie mistake. My legs were frozen because of the wind.
- When you wear 5 jackets, you feel like Randy from A Christmas Story, “I can’t put my arms down!!”
- Boil hot water, pour it in your Nalgene, and put it at your feet in your sleeping bag.
- Don’t hangout in the base layer you hiked in. It’s wet from sweating and you don’t want moisture on your body.
- Do some jumping jacks and eat something fatty before getting in your sleeping bag. Try not to get in while cold. Heat your body up first.
Not only was the trip eye opening regarding the cold weather, but I also met some pretty cool people. The best part about the backpacking community is how friendly people are. Several groups stopped by to say hello and chat. I actually acquired my trail name by two guys who stopped by to hangout by the fire during their night hike to Blood Mountain (they had 6 miles to go in the dark, more power to ya). It was their first multi day backpacking trip, we were all chatting it up, and I was giving them random pointers that I’ve learned from all my research while planning a thru hike. They then proceeded to name me Mountain Top Guru (MTG for short). I laugh at it because I am by no means a guru, I just literally read about the AT all day everyday. #Dedicated.
There’s no better feeling than waking up on top of a mountain to an incredible view. I very much look forward to more shakedown camping trips. What are some of your tips for sleeping in cold weather? Cheers to life and happy trails!
Facebook: Ashley Schellhase
E-mail: [email protected]
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