I mentioned a few days ago that I've been spending a lot of time surfing the net for hiking information. I got my data book for the Florida Trail and maps for the Ocala National Forest for my backpacking trip at the end/beginning of the year. The same day I also got my new lightweight nylon tarp so I can set up tarp shelters instead of always having to lug that tent around. Now I just have to learn to tie knots. I suck at that.
Anyway, in my surfing, I've found a few web sites that I really liked, so I thought I'd pass them on. If you are interested in hiking and backpacking, maybe you'll find something new here that catches your interest. If you have no hiking interest, well, maybe it'll help you get a feel for what I've been up to lately.
- Backpacker magazine hosts a forum on their website. It's by far the most active hiking forum I've found. There's even an active group of Southern hikers who actually know about the Panther Creek Trail that almost killed me in the Cohutta Wilderness. Apparently it really is that bad and it wasn't just me. The Backpacker site has a ton of other nice features in addition to the forum as well.
- I haven't spent much time on GeorgiaHikes yet, but I did get it bookmarked. The sad fact of life is that outside of Cumberland Island, there just aren't a whole lot of trails long enough for backpacking in my part of Georgia. North Georgia is full of trails. South Georgia is pretty empty. Good flat-water paddling, though. Too bad I don't have a kayak or canoe.
- The consolation prize for me where I live is Florida. The Sunshine State was actually recently named the best trail state by American Trails. Sure, there are no mountains down there, but apparently they have an extensive network of green belts and the Florida Trail.
- Another Florida hiking resource I've found useful is Florida Hikes. I've actually found a few of these links through that site.
- Some dude from Knoxville, TN, put together an interesting page with information about camp sites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- In my first couple of hikes, finding food that was palatable on the move was difficult. My appetite is fine for breakfast and lunch, but a lot of typical hiking fuel out there is revolting to me during the middle of a hike. Clif Bars are just too rich. Trail mix is just unappetizing and a lot of other trail foods are too dry. I posted a question to the Backpacker forums about this and someone posted this trail food resource. A lot of the food ideas here are more breakfast and supper ideas, but I'm actually interested in cooking more interesting stuff on the trail than the normal dried packets.
- This was another link I found in that Backpacker post. Moose Goo sounds like something I could manage on the trail. Someone suggested smearing it on a tortilla (flour, I'm assuming) and rolling it up. The cookie version sounds like a potential too. I'm actually going to whip up some of this stuff for my Florida hike at the end of the month.
- I haven't had much reason to research the Appalachian Trail yet. I won't even be heading back that way until the spring at earliest, but I've bookmarked WhiteBlaze.net for when I do. I'm thinking about hiking a section of the trail every summer until I get it all in.
- This guy is breaking up the Florida Trail into weekends and blogging about it.
- I found a link to Ole Slo's Trail Journals page through Florida Hiker. Ole Slo is a retired fireman from up in Michigan who is through hiking the entire Florida Trail (after having walked from Key West to the southern terminus of the FT in the Everglades). I really enjoyed reading about his trip so far. He started back in November and just over a month later he's made it over 200 miles.
- I left out most of my window shopping sites (a boy can dream, can't he?), but McHale Packs are outrageous. They actually custom build a pack to your specifications. The price is pretty much what you'd expect given the lack of mass production in the system. I really like how a lot of them can convert from big packs for long treks to much smaller daypacks. That makes the cost a little less prohibitive. My pack is too big for a day hike and I'm eventually going to have to splurge for a smaller pack for shorter trips.