Category Archives: backpacking with cub scouts

Appalachian Trail, Walking On A Dream – May 2, 2015

Took a hike with my son and our dog last weekend. Had an interesting start to the backpacking trip and nearly perfect weather for our camp out. Here is the dream version of the video.

Benton MacKaye Trail Trip Video – March 8, 2015

We had nearly perfect Spring weather for this hike last weekend in North Georgia.  My dog slept for most of the next 24 hours after our 9.7 mile loop hike on and around the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness.  Spring has finally sprung!


This is a winter hike to the Len Foote Hike Inn that we did with a group of dads and sons from St. Jude Catholic Church. Kudos to the staff at the Inn – who provided outstanding customer service during our visit. What a great place….

Working Off Thanksgiving Dinner – An Overnight In Panthertown Valley

After fattening up on Thanksgiving dinner, The Camel meets us in North Carolina for a hike in to Panthertown Valley.  No one is more excited than the Boone Dawg who is craving some time in the backcountry.  And we are blessed with sunshine as you can see from the the shadows in this photo.

The weather has been cool this week with snow showers and ice that is still lingering in the valley.  Here is a giant piece floating near Schoohouse Falls.

Our preferred campsite is taken.  So we shift to this area under a bunch of pine trees which is close to Panthertown Creek and has some nice fishing holes for the kids.  Wonder if the fish will bite with the temps in the 40’s?

The kids also try their luck at Schoolhouse Falls, but the verdict is that it’s too cold for the fish to bite – or quite possibly their fishing skills.

So we head back to the campsite and make the boys some hot chocolate.  It’s a winner – as you can see here.

The next morning, we hike out under sunny skies and work to dodge the snowmelt that has collected on the valley floor.  All three kids end up with soaked feet in the process!

And all goes well on the hike out, until we are about 15 minutes from the trailhead.  The leaves are wet, the hill is steep, and Will goes down with a knee injury.  Someone call the medic …

Or step-up and carry his pack out!  Dang, I feel like I am carrying a baby.  Fortunately we are not far from the trailhead and I still have some Thanksgiving Day calories to burn off.

What a beautiful day for the drive back home.  Here’s Lake Toxaway in the distance at about 4000 feet.  And the kids are already “angling” for a return trip!

Spring Has Sprung, Time For A Hike On The Benton MacKaye …

After a unseasonably cool winter, the weather finally broke and we decided to take the kids out for an overnight hike.    We did this one on a Friday night to avoid conflicts with spring sports and with spring break.  Here we are at the parking area at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail.

The dog is more excited than anyone and is hauling his own food, water, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  All in – the dog’s pack weighs about 8 lbs – nearly the same weight as my empty (and aging) Dana Design backpack!

Here we are climbing to Long Creek Falls along the A.T. and headed northbound.  The trail is nice and wide in this area and it is a pleasant walk to the waterfall and junction with the Benton MacKaye Trail.

There is a father and son from Orlando camped here when we arrive, and three guys camped nearby at the junction of the A.T. and Benton MacKaye Trail.  For a Friday, there’s a lot of action on both trails today.  We see a number of thru-hikers, and a number of larger groups that are day hiking.

But once we break off on the B.M.T., the crowds diminish and we walk to our campsite without seeing a soul.  It’s nearly 5:30pm when we arrive and there’s a group of four that are searching for lost items from the Army Rangers that train in this area.  They spot a water cache down the hill and are convinced the Rangers are training later tonight.

With the sun dropping in the sky, Ira and I walk back down the mountain to get water while Rob and Ken collect firewood with the kids.   It’s been in the 60’s today, but it’s due to drop in to the 30’s after dark.  So a campfire is a must – and after we pitch our tents we start cooking a late dinner around 8pm.

The kids are showing no interest in sacking out after dinner, but a brief rain shower has them heading for the tents at 10pm.  By now, it’s getting cold – especially away from the campfire.  Time to “mummy” up.

And the dog is tired too, but not cold enough to zip up in his sleeping bag – at least yet.  He’s content to sack out on top of mine!

But after a couple of rain bursts, it passes and the adults return to the campfire at a lower decibel level.  We hang out while the kids sack out … and we pay for it in the morning.  They are up early!

So after a quick breakfast, we are packed up and on the trail by 10:30am.  Many of the kids have soccer and baseball games today – or we would have hung out longer.

And as we hit the trail – we find out that Friday night was the right night to be on the B.M.T.  There is a 68 mile trail run right through our campsite this morning and many athletes and their supporters are in the area as we hike out.  There are also a lot of day hikers and backpackers on the A.T. and it’s the busiest that I’ve ever seen it in this area.  I feel fortunate that we had the last 14 hours with a campsite and the B.M.T. to ourselves.