Category Archives: Backpacking

March = Thru Hiking: 2016 Edition

Well, it’s March again. Sadly, I am yet again NOT starting an Appalachian Trail thru hike this year. *sigh*

This is what it would look like if I was. But don't feel too bad for us, we're heading to Glacier National Park in July!

This is what it would look like if I was. But don’t feel too bad for us, we’re heading to Glacier National Park in July!

However, thousands of people are, which is totally, totally, totally awesome.  As this blog does each year, we shall live vicariously through others!

This year, instead of following multiple thru-hikers, we’re going to follow just one journey.  A couple – Julia and Kevin (or Giggles and Bacon as it looks like their trails names shall be) – from South Jersey’s own Moorestown set off a few days ago on their own epic quest to thru-hike the AT.

Like our good friend Dr. Dave (or Rowdy) back in 2014, these two are hiking with a mission – Every Step for Peggy.  They are hiking to raise awareness and funds for the National Brain Tumor Society.  This is near and dear to their hearts, as Julia’s mother Peggy passed away in 2014 from a brain tumor.

If you can, I encourage you to support their mission by donating to the National Brain Tumor Society:
http://www.braintumorcommunity.org/

You can follow them on Facebook, where they are putting up pictures on a regular basis:
Every Step for Peggy Facebook Page

They also have a youtube page where they’ve uploaded a video of their first few days:
Every Step For Peggy Youtube Page

Great write-up in the Moorestown Sun:
Moorestown resident and partner walk the Appalachain trail in honor of Peggy Lebonitte

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Filed under Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, Hiking, Outdoors., South Jersey

Introducing the South Jersey Trails interactive map!

southjerseytrailsmap

It took a long while to get this sorted, but all my hikes (100+ of them), canoe trips, and in-state backpacking trips (Including the Batona Trail broken down by day), and sites of interest are now on one big, friendly Google map. This should make it WAY easy to see exactly what hiking trails are in your area!

For the full size map, click here

 

 

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Filed under Backpacking, Canoeing, Hiking, History, Outdoors., pine barrens, South Jersey

Backpacking Isle Royale National Park, Michigan – Day 3

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Stoll Trail – Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Days – Day 3… day hiking with Tree Rider in tow
Distance – Day 3 – About 6 miles total for the day, the heart of which was the 4.3 mile Stoll Trail.
Total for trip – 8 miles of backpacking (Rock Harbor to 3 Mile Camp and back), plus another 8 miles of hiking (mostly Stoll Trail)
Type – Once on the trail, a loop
Difficulty: 4 of 10
Total score: 9 of 10

Website – Isle Royale National Park
Open – April to November, 24 hours a day.

Terrain – hills, swamps, forests

Trailhead – 48° 8’45.96″N, 88°29’10.77″W (No need to look for it, the ferry will drop you right off there. This day started at 3 Mile Camp – 48° 7’26.16″N, 88°31’48.28″W

Standouts – The highlight of this park is 165 miles of backpacking trails in one of the least visited national parks in the country.  Highlight of the Stoll Trail is being out on the point, with its rocky drop offs.

Markings – Painted blazes, very clear trail.

Map – If you’re planning on going, I can’t recommend enough getting the National Geographic trail map. I’ve used these on all my non-AT national park adventures, these maps are accurate (I mean, it is National Geographic) and durable, the two things that you need in a map.

Day 3 – Stoll Trail and Ferry back to civilization!

Description – Our third and final day on Isle Royale, we woke up less than a half mile from the ferry.  Which wasn’t coming until 2 PM.  Adventure time!

My wife stole a march on us, waking up with the sunrise and taking Tree Rider on a hike down the Rock Harbor Trail, which is supposed to be the best spot to spot moose.  She managed to see one, although he was making a run for it when she spotted him.

Early morning hike selfie.

Early morning hike selfie.

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Backpacking Isle Royale National Park, Michigan – Day 2

isleroyaleday214

Rock Harbor Trail and Tobin Harbor Trail – 3 Mile Camp to Rock Harbor & the Stoll Trail – Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Days – Day 2 of 2 days (plus a third day to day hike)
Distance – Day 2 – 4.4 miles backpacking and a bit over 3 miles of hiking.
Total for trip – 8 miles of backpacking (Rock Harbor to 3 Mile Camp and back), plus another 8 miles of hiking (mostly Stoll Trail)
Type – Back part of an out-and-back, with a loop at the end.
Difficulty: 4 of 10
Total score: 9 of 10

Website – Isle Royale National Park
Open – April to November, 24 hours a day.

Terrain – hills, swamps, forests

Trailhead – 48° 8’45.96″N, 88°29’10.77″W (No need to look for it, the ferry will drop you right off there. This day started at 3 Mile Camp – 48° 7’26.16″N, 88°31’48.28″W

Standouts – The highlight of this park is 165 miles of backpacking trails in one of the least visited national parks in the country.

Markings – Painted blazes

Map – If you’re planning on going, I can’t recommend enough getting the National Geographic trail map. I’ve used these on all my non-AT national park adventures, these maps are accurate (I mean, it is National Geographic) and durable, the two things that you need in a map.

Day 2 – Rock Harbor Trail & Tobin Harbor Trail – 3 Mile Camp to Rock Harbor Campsite (4.4 miles), plus a bit of the Stoll Trail

Description – Day 2 dawned bright and early.  We ate some breakfast, broke camp, and started backpacking down the trail.

We only had one more night on Isle Royale, so we opted to do the safe thing and backpack back toward the ferry.  This way, we wouldn’t be stuck in a race our last day to make the ferry before it departed.

isleroyaleday203
isleroyaleday202
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Backpacking Isle Royale National Park – Day 1 – Michigan

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Rock Harbor to 3 Mile Camp & the Stoll Trail – Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Days – Day 1 of 2 days (plus a third day to day hike)
Distance – Day 1 – 3.5 miles backpacking and 1 mile of hiking.
Total for trip – 8 miles of backpacking (Rock Harbor to 3 Mile Camp and back), plus another 8 miles of hiking (mostly Stoll Trail)
Type – Out and back, with a bit of a loop at the end.
Difficulty: 4 of 10
Total score: 9 of 10

Website – Isle Royale National Park
Open – April to November, 24 hours a day.

Terrain – hills, swamps, forests

Trailhead – 48° 8’45.96″N,  88°29’10.77″W (No need to look for it, the ferry will drop you right off there)

Directions – 14 Waterfront Landing, Copper Harbor, MI 49918 (ferry departure)

Parking – Paid parking available at the ferry terminal.

Standouts – The highlight of this park is 165 miles of backpacking trails in one of the least visited national parks in the country.

Markings – Painted blazes

Map – If you’re planning on going, I can’t recommend enough getting the National Geographic trail map.  I’ve used these on all my non-AT national park adventures, these maps are accurate (I mean, it is National Geographic) and durable, the two things that you need in a map.


Day 1 – Rock Harbor Trail – Rock Harbor Lodge to 3 Mile Camp (3.5 miles)

We woke up bright and early, packed up camp, and drove the short two miles from Fort Wilkins State Park to the tiny town of Copper Harbor, Michigan.  We were, as per usual for us, ridiculously early for the Isle Royale Queen IV Ferry.  Why were we up so early?  Because we were taking a 3 1/2 hour ferry ride across Lake Superior to the least visited of the 59 national parks in the USA – Isle Royale National Park.  In an average year, less than 20,000 people visit this park… or roughly the equivalent of how many people are in any particular Wawa at 8 o’clock on a weekday morning.

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Appalachian Trail – All of Maryland – Day 4

marylandat416

The Plan:

Back in 2013, two buddies and I set out to hike Maryland in four days.  We did this mostly to enjoy our time on the trail, and didn’t do any big mile days, despite friendly terrain.  Our trek could be done in three days pretty easily by pushing through where we stopped the last night (heck, thru-hikers are know to do this stretch in one day to complete something called the Maryland Challange), but take your time and enjoy this really nice stretch of trail.

Check out Maryland AT Day 1 for background info on this one

DAY 4:
Ed Garvey Shelter to ATC Headquarters, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia
START –  Ed Garvey Shelter
FINISH – ATC Headquarters, Harper’s Ferry, WV
DISTANCE – 7.0 trail miles (8 miles or so for the day)

Day 4 – Last day on the trail!  While it’s always sad to have a trip come to an end, we were thinking about non-freeze dried food in Harpers Ferry, which kept us moving.  This was the easiest day – 7 miles total, practically no uphill at all, beautiful views at Weverton Cliffs, and the easiest walking imaginable along the three flattest miles of the AT along the C&O Canal Townpath.   We finished the trail at one of the landmarks of the Appalachian Trail – the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters in beautiful Harper’s Ferry, West Virignia.  We then wandered down the road back into Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, where we ate hamburgers and nachos to celebrate, then made it onto the national park’s bus to get back to our car.

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Appalachian Trail – All of Maryland – Day 3

Rise and shine!  It's Day 3 of backpacking across Maryland on the Appalachian Trail!

Rise and shine! It’s Day 3 of backpacking across Maryland on the Appalachian Trail!

The Plan:

Back in 2013, two buddies and I set out to hike Maryland in four days.  We did this mostly to enjoy our time on the trail, and didn’t do any big mile days, despite friendly terrain.  Our trek could be done in three days pretty easily by pushing through where we stopped the last night (heck, thru-hikers are know to do this stretch in one day to complete something called the Maryland Challange), but take your time and enjoy this really nice stretch of trail.

Check out Maryland AT Day 1 for background info on this one

DAY 3:
Rocky Run Shelter to Ed Garvey Shelter
START –  Rocky Run Shelter
FINISH – Ed Garvey Shelter
DISTANCE – 9.1 trail miles (about 9.4 miles for the day)

Day 3 was a relaxing day after our push the day before.   We could have made it out to Harpers Ferry pretty easily, but wanted to stay here because this shelter was named for Ed Garvey, author of Appalachian Hiker: Adventurer of a Lifetime, published in 1971 as the first Appalachian Trail thru-hiker memoir (Note: My copy was a quarter at a yard sale, my wife has good eyes!).  I’d finished reading it the year before, and who wants to rush back to civilization anyhow?

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