TIBS and I (Capt Obvious) wanted to share our reviews of the lightweight down jackets we carried in 2018 and will most likely be carrying on our 2019 continuation of the Appalachian (AT) Trail (Make sure you check out the video at the bottom). Now the reviews… ladies first. Read More
An Old Dog on the Trail – Where your brain says you are 25 and your body says “Are you kidding, your 80!”
In 2017, my daughter told me she and her husband were going to Katahdin, Maine. I had nothing “doing,” yeah, why not? We had climbed 2 mountains the previous year in the Adirondacks. Later I found out we were walking – “WHAT, I thought we were going by car!”. What the hell I thought, it beats sitting on the front porch watching cars go by. Let’s do this. Read More
While walking the various trails at Smithville State Park we noticed some flooding that just did not make sense just off a bend of the Rancocas River. Our thought was “Wonder if a beaver is hanging about?”. Sure enough as we round a bend what should our little eye spy? Something made of sticks? Yep, a brand new beaver house. Charlene talks about our furry little friend on this short video and I wonder if he has bigger plans.
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Don and Char
Bass River State Forest/Lake Absegami Yellow “Poppy Allen” Trail
Carpeted in leaves
Quiet in fall/winter
Free parking off season
Cons: can be very wet in places
Mosquitos and Ticks in spring/summer
Weekends are packed with people in summer
People not policing after their dogs
This almost four (4) mile “easy” walk is just off Stagecoach Rd outside of Tuckerton, New Jersey and has plenty of parking off season, prepare for a whole different circumstance in the summer when campers, daily visitors, and beach goers (nice size lake with facilities at the park). The trail, one of many in the park, is extremely well marked and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife with bathrooms available mid hike as well as the start. Park is open dawn to dust however I have been here for moon-light hikes without any issues. There are also overnight camping, lean too’s, and cabins available with reservations. The trail can be found in the All-Trails app and gets a 4.3 rating from users.
Bottom line: Absolutely a beautiful trail in the New Jersey Pinelands and for many locals a go to location. This short hike gets two thumbs up from TIBS and has become her go to as well to strengthen her foot after five months of healing.
Cons: Hard to put on in wet
Doesn’t store in own pocket
Concerns about durability
Elastic at waist
In 2018 I was just days away from leaving for the AT and I did not have a synthetic jacket in my repertoire. Last minute I saw the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket and made a call. They had a size large, only one, left in stock and it was Virginia Tech colors… purple with and orange interior. Not my first choice but doable and they offered me a “military discount” since I did retire from the US Air Force so I pulled the trigger. They overnighted to me and with no time to test the jacket, in my pack it went. On the trail I noticed some good and not so good features about this jacket. It kept me warm, seemed durable enough, but I do baby it, however if I was damp it was a bear to get my arm in the sleeve. Also the elastic waist would be much more versatile if it had draw strings. For the extra half ounce or so of weight this would make the jacket an A in my book. And, while the jacket packs really small I wish it would stuff into its own pocket like my Ghost Whisperer does. While I’m wishing I wish it was a reservable jacket to take advantage of the customizable colors available.
Overall I give this jacket a B+ and it will be in my pack for our 2019 AT continuation hike.
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As many of you know at the end of June my darling wife Charlene, heretofore known as TIBS, ended her Appalachian Trail through hike attempt by walking over 5 miles with a severe limp. At the time she thought it was a simple bruised foot, however the Orthopedic Doctor and the Radiologist disagreed. Seems the daily trudging had taken its toll and TIBS was diagnosed with a fractured Cuboid bone in her right foot and traded in her Altra Lone Peak for an air-cast. Fast forward four months and TIBS was given some great news, she could put her Altra back on (she changed from the Lone Peak 3.5 to the Timp 1.5 – TIBS will do a review shortly) and head to Physical Therapy. Weekly visits and copays have almost finished and TIBS and I took at short hike to check out the foot. We headed over to Bass River State Forest and hit the yellow “Poppy Allen” trail. The trail is flat, well cushioned, as long as you miss the tree roots and pine cones, and well traveled. This day the weather was cool with little or no wind and partly sunny, simply put a nice day for a walk. About four miles and just over an hour later we finished the loop and jumped back in the truck for the ride home. TIBS’s foot is a little sore but this is more from lack of use than anything else. A couple more weeks of PT, a few more test hikes, and TIBS will be ready to start prepping for the AT “part deux”. Be on the look out for TIBS on the trail and keep an eye out for her next rant, um er I mean vlog.
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As 2018 draws to a close Charlene and I wanted to recap 2018 a little. Let’s see…. we started the year enjoying some snow on the Mississippi coast, visited museums in Tallahassee, Mardi Gras parades where Charlene racked in the beads, visited my Aunt Jeannie and family in North Carolina (twice… what can we say, she’s a great cook), hiked 450 miles of the Appalachian Trail, traded in our big Airstream for the small Basecamp, went to Maine, changed our BBQ for a Firedisc and visited West Point as well as Annapolis. Whew, just typing that made me tired. It’s been a whirlwind for sure. What does 2019 hold for us? Back on the Appalachian Trail, taking sailing lessons (we want to say the Caribbean Islands and more in the coming years) experimenting with new recipes, camping, exploring, and more changes to the Airstream and a review of the gear we will be hiking with are good possibilities. Maybe we’ll have to buy an older sailboat and have you all help us fix it up and record the prevoyage fun. But most of all we want to wish everyone a fun, family filled holiday season and hope all your dreams become realities.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and have a great Festivus. See you next year,
Charlene “TIBS” and Don “Capt Obvious”