Next Meeting:   January 15, 2014 


Program:            Biking the Berlin Wall Trail in Germany and

                 Hiking in the Sachsische Schweiz National Park

                  By Chris and Margit Krato


 The Vulcan Trail Association




Joyce Kilmer Trip Report – “A Newbie’s Perspective”

Trekkers: Hugh, Lem, Tom, Catherine, Tony, Frank, Jake, and Seth

Hello. My name is Jake. Many of you don’t recognize my name and rightly so. This trip was not only my maiden voyage with the VTA, it was also my first backpacking escapade ever. Lem asked if Seth and I would do the trip report and we thought it best to relate the weekend’s events via my observations as a ‘newbie’.

First, I though my pack was heavy. With food, gear, and a tent, I struggled to the top. But after watching Lem gain the summit toting the “suburban of backpacks,” I have to reevaluate my notions about weight. Who says ultra-light is the only way to go?

Second, always pack a “pee-bottle.” Without it, you might have to face such things as rain, snow, or maybe a black bear (which, according to Dr. Tony, you might have to fight until one of you dies). A grizzly is different, but whatever kind of bear, if it follows you, it’s crazy, so be prepared to fight: it wants to eat you.

Third, it’s not the cliff at Wildcat Falls that’s frightening; it’s the sudden holy-cow-it’s-cold water at the end of the plunge.

Fourth, you might think backpackers rough it when it comes to food (look at the freeze-dried section in your local outdoors store), but I have two words: “shrimp ‘n grits.” Enough said, well, maybe I should mention the grilled tuna steaks, the hummus, the guacamole, the sausage and shrimp gumbo, the potato soup-iron-chef match-up, and the delectable desserts (who would’ve thought cheese on apple pie was good? But it is!).

Fifth, rain sucks.

Sixth, when you think you’ve been going uphill, you haven’t. Wait until Tom and Catherine tell you to rest and take a sip of water, then you can panic because the first hour was not “The Purge”; that’s hours two and three (if you’re as fit as Tom, Catherine, and Tony). I, however, trying to keep up with their three-hour speed, had a difficult time breathing.

Seventh, there’s always firewood to be found (even if Lem and Hugh have to climb down a hillside and rip dead tree up by the roots at Hangover).

Eighth, know where you’re going (if you don’t Frank might jokingly welcome you to Stratton Bald when you’re actually at Hangover).

Finally, the hike down is always easier than the hike up.

All of that to say that this was a great experience. I learned a lot, and can’t wait to get out and do it again!


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Last modified: 02/27/08