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Longstride: Trail Journals

Hiking and Backpacking Trail Journals by John “Longstride” Bafford

A feed by John “Longstride” Bafford

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Day 16: Departure

Permalink - Posted on 2019-05-01 01:51, modified on 2019-05-07 15:18

My back cooperated enough that CareFree and I made it to the next road. But that’s as far as we could go. With great reluctance, sanity (and safety) required that we pause our hike with a little less than halfway to go.

read more (1409 words, 2 photos)


Day 15: Precipice

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-30 01:28, modified on 2019-05-02 14:56

CareFree and I made progress today, but nowhere near as much as we hoped, as my back pain took a major regression. We did hit one milestone, though: halfway.

read more (908 words, 1 photo)


Day 14: Trekking Poles Are Not Salt Licks

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-29 01:34, modified on 2019-05-01 14:10

After two days off, CareFree and I returned to the trail today. While my back is not yet fully recovered, the pain is gone and most of my flexibility and mobility has returned.

read more (667 words, 4 photos)


Day 13: A Lazy Day in Tellico Plains

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-28 01:28, modified on 2019-05-13 03:07

CareFree and I had a lazy day in Tellico Plains, enjoying a museum, and re-planning and obtaining supplies for the next leg of our hike.

read more (409 words, 1 photo)


Day 12: Trail Town Hopping

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-27 01:19, modified on 2019-04-28 13:07

CareFree and I made our way from Ducktown to Tellico Plains today, though not without some effort.

read more (289 words, 1 photo)


Day 11: An Unexpected Ride

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-26 01:07, modified on 2019-04-27 21:44

A plan to hike 16+ miles today did not at all go as expected, thanks to worsening back pain.

read more (764 words, 1 photo)


Day 10: The Flooded River

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-25 01:27, modified on 2019-04-27 17:36

Today took CareFree and I through the small town of Reliance and along the Hiwassee River as the trail turned us east towards North Carolina.

read more (1121 words, 3 photos)


Day 9: Goodbye, Toccoa River, We Hardly Knew Ye

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-24 01:27, modified on 2019-04-25 22:18

Today brought us across one of the great public works projects of the 20th century, as we continue to make our way northward in Tennessee along the BMT.

read more (631 words, 5 photos)


Day 8: Goodbye Georgia, Hello Tennessee!

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-23 01:25, modified on 2019-04-24 17:15

Today was our second-longest day on the BMT so far, 17.4 miles to a campground on the Ocoee River, and continued our streak of barely seeing anyone on trail.

read more (1037 words, 3 photos)


Day 7: The Remnants Of Winter

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-22 01:26, modified on 2019-04-24 14:44

Fourteen miles today brought CareFree and I to our last full day in Georgia, as we continue heading north.

read more (700 words, 5 photos)


Day 6: Roadwalk in the Rain

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-21 01:49, modified on 2019-04-22 15:35

After a nice evening in Blue Ridge, CareFree and I were ready to get back on the trail. Only the drizzle outside and continued threat of rain later in the day slowed us down.

read more (676 words, 3 photos)


Day 5: A Soggy, Dreary Day ... Perfect For Being In Town

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-20 01:32, modified on 2019-04-21 13:19

A rainy night left us a bit damp in the morning (and our tent positively soaking), but the prospect of food, showers, and a warm bed in Blue Ridge lifted our spirits.

read more (912 words, 4 photos)


Day 4: Racing the Storm

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-19 01:35, modified on 2019-04-20 01:37

A very long day today was set in motion by something we can’t yet control: the weather. With a sizable storm aiming at us, we pushed further than we planned in an attempt to stay as dry as possible tomorrow.

read more (2078 words, 4 photos)


Day 3: Three Mountains, Half a View

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-18 01:05, modified at 18:32

Every time I go hiking, I am reminded just how bright a full moon is. With streetlights and indoor living, the brightness of the moon just isn’t clear. Last night was the first time I noticed the moon this hike, and it was every bit as bright as I remember from prior trails, bright enough to walk around without a headlamp and still see where you’re going.

read more (1318 words, 2 photos)


Day 2: “Do you know where the nearest parking lot is?”

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-17 00:56, modified at 14:27

Our second day on the BMT brought us some steep climbs, but also nice rivers and waterfalls, as we began to turn west through Georgia and away from the Appalachian Trail.

read more (1386 words, 4 photos)


Day 1: Approaching the Wilderness

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-16 01:32, modified at 17:36

Today marked my return to Springer Mountain and the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail. And while hiking the AT again isn’t my goal for right now, I must admit, I did have the brief thought of just hiking the AT again rather than hiking the Benton MacKaye Trail, as planned. As much fun as it might be to revisit the AT, though, that’s not why I’m here today.

read more (1456 words, 6 photos)


On the way to the Benton MacKaye Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-15 02:09, modified at 02:15

Trains are the way long-distance travel ought to work. Show up about half an hour before departure, get on the train, and off it goes, right on time. And as long as there isn’t anything weird, you wind up at your destination, also right on time, and with no bumpy turbulence or traffic to deal with.

read more (609 words, 1 photo)


Benton MacKaye Trail Planning

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-14 02:53, modified at 03:10

I first learned of the Benton MacKaye Trail in 2016 while hiking the Appalachian Trail. After I returned home from my AT thru-hike, I decided I was going to hike it, at some point in the future. It became one of the trails I was considering hiking in 2017, and in January of that year, I got a guidebook and maps from the Benton MacKaye Trail Association.

read more (729 words, 1 photo)


Gear on the Benton MacKaye Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-12 22:33, modified on 2019-04-13 12:44

Since no thru-hike is complete without a gear list, this is the list of equipment I’m taking with me on my hike of the Benton MacKaye Trail. This is largely an evolution of my gear from my Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikes. I’ve also written on the details of what gear changed, and why.

read more (381 words, 1 photo)


Benton MacKaye Trail Gear Changes

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-12 22:29, modified on 2019-04-13 12:44

Although my gear worked well for my Appalachian Trail and Long Trail thru-hikes, by the end of my Pacific Crest Trail hike, some of it was quite worn down, and some clearly defective and in need of replacement for the Benton MacKaye Trail.

read more (430 words, 1 photo)