Appalachian Outing


Identifier: 20091117-AppalachianOuting
Purpose of outing: Hike
Advancements: Hiking MB
Mode of travel: Car
Planning horizon: Weeks
Capacity: 80
Distance: 65 mi, 96 min
Location: Blackburn Trail Center, Loudon, VA
Contact: Troop 1501
Dates: 2009-11-17 - 2009-11-18


Planned: Leave church around 4:30 PM Friday. Drive to Blackburn Trail Center arriving around 6:15. Camp Friday night at Blackburn. Depart Blackburn 8:30 AM Saturday, hike to Bear's Den Hostel (8.4 miles) At least one adult move a car to Bear's den. Actual: Departed about 5pm. Left car at Bear’s Den the night before. Planned: Saturday 3:00 PM backpackers arrived at Bears' Den. Camp. Adults position car Near Mount Weather. Actual: Arrived at Bear’s Den just before sunset around 5:30. Vertical distance of the climb and difficulty was greatly underestimated Planned: Sunday 8:30 backpackers depart Bear's Den arrive Mount Weather (7 miles) about 3:00 PM retrieve cars depart for home. Actual: Just about as planned. Finished as a light rain began to fall.


Planned: If we are able to field a group B, they can drive to Bear's Den Saturday morning or...circuit hike near Sky meadows and drive to Bear's den Sat PM. Otherwise they can join us Fri Eve at Blackburn. Actual: Group B adult leadership emerged and formed a program around orienteering about the Bear’s Den facility. They had outstanding hot grub with some leftovers for the very tired Group A hikers.

  • Head lamps for setting up. The broad beams made night into day, esp for setting up camp and looking for a pit stop.
  • Light ground cloth helped keep the bottom of the tent only lightly soiled
  • Synthetic clothing: as much as I sweated, the "body armour" type shirt I wore dissipated moisture rapidly, and the light fleece likewise.
  • Shell/mesh pants were more comfortable as night clothes than the Patagonia capaline longjohns. During the day I only wanted for cargo pockets, but they were as comfortable as dry cotton sweats. If I wore cotton, I would have been considerably hypothermic.
  • The variety of camp stoves we had was great, and I liked the Jetboil's convenience and compactness.
  • Walking staffs helped take a lot of stress off my legs, esp. going downhill.
  • Liner socks were worth their weight in platinum.
  • Fall backpacking meant NO BUGS!!
  • Bear bags work for coyotes as well.
  • Each day's distance covered was just right to give us a great sense of accomplishment, considering the weight of our packs.
  • The plan was extremely well made and executed, and the predicted landmarks of interest were still awesome when we encountered them.
  • Saturday night's rendezvous was fun fun fun, and all the aches and pains of the day were gone by morning.
  • Camelbacks should be standard issue for all backpackers
  • Everyone brings a couple of songs for each night... and a ghost story.... and three jokes... or more.
  • Assign a timekeeper to work with an assigned plotter to determine ground covered, and remaining time and distance to set camp before nightfall.
  • A light rain fly to gather if rain should have come on the first or second evening (like one that was up on Saturday evening!)
  • A wide brim hat might have warded off the light sunburn or windburn I received (even though it was overcast).
  • Fruit, fresh or dehydrated, and vegies to balance our meals.
  • The stream water looked so good I would have carried less water and filtered more. I am going to get a good filter for next time.
  • Ounces really do turn into pounds on the trail.
  • Points of interest take time to savor, and are a great way to motivate the troop into starting off earlier.
  • Cameras and light weight binocs...
  • Quiz the boys on emergency scenarios and other contingencies they could encounter when the time is right.