Monthly Archives: July 2013

What’s been going on?

DSC00894Dolly Sods group photo, 4th of July weekend, 2013.  That’s me on the far right.

You know, the main thing about having a blog is, you gotta have something to say, a point to make.

I was writing my blog at work, when I was extremely bored, but then…I retired!  So now I’m fully retired, not just from the Army but from civil service also (yea!!!), so you’d think I’d have more time to write the blog, I did also, but it didn’t turn out that way “what-up-with that?”

Normally I’d talk about a trip or some incident on the trip or if I’m lucky, I’d rant (that’s what I do best) about something stupid somebody did on a trip.

My hiking group (obsessive compulsive backpackers  has done quite a few hikes this past winter, spring, and now summer, so I have a couple of stories to tell.

I actually made a list of topics last week, but I put it in my shirt pocket on our trip to the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia, and it got soaking wet (sweat, not rain) and I set it out somewhere to dry and now can’t find it.

One of the problems with ranting too much, is that I need to develop hiking buddies that are close to my age (will be 61 in Sept- Jeezus! no wonder I’m so tired and ache all over) so I have to be careful about whom and what I rant about, or I’ll wind up hiking by myself.

Another thing is, I like doing some hikes over and over again, for various reasons, and there’s just not to much to tell, or the blog just becomes a trip report.

We’ve had some sucky weather recently, at our annual hike from Grayson Highlands State Park to Damascus, we encountered extremely strong wind, rain, Ice falling from trees, – no shit – up on the Mt Rogers section of the AT, first weekend in May, pouring rain, totally fucked up, but a great adventure! Of Course!!

Then we went to the Dolly Sods Wilderness (north section), a long Memorial Day weekend; and -no shit – it was 37F and winds we’re sure greater than 50mph when we got out of the car, I almost froze to death at camp, also this was the first time in my life I used the technique of heating water in a canteen and putting that in my sleeping bag, night time temps dropped down to upper 20’s, but my bag was a 40-45F down bag.  This totally sucked!  It doesn’t help sleeping when you’re now worried about a bottle leaking into your down sleeping bag and ruining all of the loft.

So, we re-planned the Damascus hike for the 4th of July long weekend, but in route changed over to Dolly Sods because of the torrential rains happening all around Grayson’s and Damascus.  This time we were BLESSED with much warmer weather, blue skies and FANTASTIC swimming areas and the best campsites EVER!  Dolly Sods has to be my new favorite place in this area for views and camping.DSC01167

In February a group of us did a loop up at Grayson Highland State Park (borders Mt Rogers National Recreation Area, has a wilderness, national forest, etc.) Lucky to have snow on the ground and blue skies – we lost a hiker, yes it’s true, my first time losing a member of the group, some braggart who boasted knowing the place like the back of this hand, totally disappears, in the snow.  We sent someone to look, we never saw him, never found him..then we went home, true story.   That’s just the teaser, maybe I’ll blog on it later.

Our early May trip to the same place found us losing ANOTHER guy (trailname cheesebelly (ugh)), between camp 1 and 2 a 10 mile BEAUTIFUL section through the park, but he showed up at about 8pm, while we were still wondering if somebody should go look for him.

Instead of blogging, I’ve been making videos & slideshows, go to YouTube and search on ‘philreedshikes’.  I just bought Adobe photoshop elements and Adobe premier for videos, and they are FANTASTIC, great stuff to make videos with, becomes my addiction.

We were in Damascus for their annual Trail Days, which was almost a total bust; rain, low turnout, but then a car plows into the crowd during the hikers parade resulting in panic and chaos!  But, fortunately,  in the end, looks like no one was seriously hurt, thank goodness, but that just about ended the festive mood for good.

The big thing going on right now, is my annual trip to do the Maroon Bells 4 Pass Loop, Aspen, Colorado the second week in August.  AND we’re doing a hike from Pinedale, Wy up in the Windriver Range to Titcomb Lakes (Basin), the first week in August – a twofer;

Both these hikes are considered by many to be in the top 10 most beautiful hikes in the country if not the world.  This makes #3 for Maroon Bells, it would be #4 except year before last, heavy snowfall, late melting, made us change plans and go hike up to the CDT high up in the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado.

We’ve also done some hikes up to McAfee Knob-Tinker Cliffs, Tar Jacket Ridge a few times, and backpacking 101 trip up to Cold Mountain, which was supposed to be a warm springtime hike, but wound up with snow on the ground, followed by rain; I should rant about how the people planning the hike bailed at the last minute and didn’t show up, the good part is my bud’s Gunny, Biscuit, and Cropduster showed up and saved the day!!

More later, I need to go find or recreate my topic list, these blogs can be a lot of work!