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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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Reflections on Pacific Crest Trail Gear

Permalink - Posted on 2020-03-27 00:46, modified at 01:05

My gear on the Pacific Crest Trail was mostly a gradual evolution from my Appalachian Trail and Long Trail thru-hikes, with some changes to reduce weight and additions for requirements in the desert and the Sierra Nevada.

For the most part, it was successful, in that my gear got me through the whole trail, although some of it did not work out near as well as I expected.

read more (1921 words, 1 photo)


The Wilderness Requires a Surprising Amount of Civilization

Permalink - Posted on 2020-03-20 23:16, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

As much as we call a thru-hike a walk in the wilderness, that wilderness requires a surprising amount of civilization to properly function.

And of all the things that I thought might significantly affect a thru-hike, it never occurred to me that I would be impacted by a plague.

read more (1744 words)


New Challenges on the CDT

Permalink - Posted on 2020-03-09 16:34, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

One of the attractions of the Continental Divide Trail to me is the variety of new challenges the CDT brings. The most significant of which is the “choose your own adventure” aspect of the trail.

read more (1164 words)


Selecting a Start Date and Getting to the Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2020-03-02 02:05, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Having a start date makes a hike much more real: it sets an actual deadline. It’s also much easier to plan for a hike when you know when it’s going to start.

read more (690 words)


Alternates and Route Planning

Permalink - Posted on 2020-02-23 23:58, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

One of the unique parts of the Continental Divide Trail, compared to the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, is the number of alternate routes hikers can take, and how that impacts planning.

read more (1055 words)


Picking a Direction of Travel

Permalink - Posted on 2020-02-17 02:11, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

One of the most important decisions to make when planning a thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail is direction of travel, which is a critical component of selecting a start date.

read more (566 words)


Why The Continental Divide Trail?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-02-08 22:58, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Four years ago today, I made a decision that completely reshaped the course of my life: to thru-hike the 2200-mile Appalachian Trail. In the four years since I first set foot on Springer Mountain, I've also thru-hiked the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, as well as the much shorter Long Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail, all together totaling 5,400 miles.

This year, I will attempt my third epic-length hike: The Continental Divide Trail.

read more (643 words)


What Makes a Trail Beautiful?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-01 02:43, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

About six months ago, I completed my hike of the Benton MacKaye Trail, my fourth long-distance thru-hike. While on the shorter side as long-distance trails ago, the BMT was not without its challenges, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to say about that experience until recently.

read more (1481 words, 9 photos, 1 video)


Day 27: A Sterling Day

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-06 01:25, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Today was our final day on the Benton MacKaye Trail. Nearly 300 miles of hiking brought us from Springer Mountain, in Georgia, to the Baxter Creek Trailhead in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.

read more (978 words, 4 photos)


Day 26: The Oscillating Forest

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-05 01:26, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Our penultimate day on the trail brought us up and over three ridges as we neared the end of our northeast trek through the Smoky Mountains.

read more (1281 words, 3 photos)


Day 25: A Race With The Rain

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-04 02:04, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

With our longest day in the Smokies ahead of us, we got up relatively early to try and beat rain we suspected was coming.

read more (917 words, 2 photos)


Day 24: Snake Charmer

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-03 01:53, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Today may be our easiest day in the Smokies, but it was not without its challenges.

read more (1272 words, 4 photos)


Day 23: Tunnel to Somewhere

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-02 02:10, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Our third day in the Smokies briefly reconnected us with civilization, before veering further off into the wilderness.

read more (813 words, 4 photos)


Day 22: A Cornucopia of Animals

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-01 01:23, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Our second day in the Smokies continued along the Lakeshore Trail, taking us past cemeteries, ruins, a former town, and a veritable zoo of animals, including everyone’s favorite, ticks.

read more (791 words, 3 photos)


Day 21: The Great Smoky Mountains National Tick Refuge

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-30 01:40, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Today, CareFree and I entered the Great Smokies Mountains, beginning the last leg of the trail.

read more (916 words, 3 photos)


Day 20: Zero at Fontana Village

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-29 02:50, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

We had a great of doing (almost) nothing at Fontana Village, after yesterday’s strenuous hike.

read more (168 words)


Day 19: Trail Maintenance Requested. Bring Lawnmower.

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-28 03:05, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

An incredibly hard day of hiking brought CareFree and me to Fontana Village, our gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.

read more (975 words, 2 photos)


Day 18: Overgrown Balds

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-27 00:04, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Our second day back on trail, we made good progress, going further than expected, even though the trail got a bit more challenging.

read more (963 words, 3 photos)


Day 17: Fantastic Sunsets Are Why We’re Out Here

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-26 01:43, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

Finally back on the Benton MacKaye Trail today, CareFree and I eased into the trail with a “short” hike to a wonderful meadow.

read more (891 words, 4 photos)


Hungry Hiker

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-25 03:20, modified on 2020-03-27 01:05

This morning, CareFree and I began our return to the Benton MacKaye Trail. We finished packing our packs, loaded up the car, and headed off on a road trip to Tennessee.

read more (756 words, 1 photo)