Foothills Trail SC - 1st thru hike

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by DadmanSC, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    I often hear people say how they wish they had done x,y, or z. I hear people talk about how I should hold on to certain things while I'm young, like my children's youth. But I can't help but think, What if I was excited about the future, even when I'm older.

    The future and looking forward to things starts with action and so I'm taking my first steps. I'm 31 with 2 kids. I'm going to go on my first thru hike this year on the 76 mile Foothills Trail in Oconee, SC.

    I've camped in the woods with my hammock only a few handful of times. Never hiked more then 5 miles and I'm not in perfect shape. I know I'll struggle, but I know I won't quit.

    I could train and start smaller and all the other things but they seem like excuses at this point.

    Just wanted to share what I'm doing. If you've got any tips or suggestions (outside of safety - I got that - not a thing to mess with) I'd love you hear em. Encouragement and stories welcome too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  2. martin9700

    martin9700 Tracker

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    Fantastic! The only thing really stopping us is us. Tell us more about the hike? How many days? Base weight, etc. All the goodies! Sounds like about a week/10 days?
     
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  3. MommaJ

    MommaJ Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Way to go. Best of luck.

    My excuses are numerous some is just that excuses some are true reasons to wait. But 1 day I will disappear on a long hike and not come back until I want to
     
  4. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    It looks like I might be able to do it in 6 days. Its nothing too crazy but it has the high point in SC too. I've started building a list of my itemized weight. I'm hoping to have a base weight of less then 30lb.
    My stuff is cheap and I'm hammock camping.
    Lugging around a $8 academy sleeping bag too, hoping to keep it dry.
    I'll have my wife and kids come meet me at a few points on the trail and will use that for shedding and adding things that I may need.

    Might have the wife meet me with food as well so I don't have to carry the whole week with me.

    Lots of waterfalls!
     
  5. DirtmanDave

    DirtmanDave Supporter Supporter

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    I have a close friend who has hiked it several times. I planned on hiking it the year of the pinicle (sp?) Mountain fire that closed the trail. Maybe we can do it together. But you'd have to hike slow...I'm over twice your age. :14:
     
  6. martin9700

    martin9700 Tracker

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    30 is high for a base weight, are you including water and food (not normally considered part of the base weight)? Problem is light gear is so expensive. I have a 3 year plan to lighten my base weight, but a lot of that is dependent on me lightening myself!! Want a light pack? Lower your own weight, kiddo! haha

    I have not hammock camped yet either, but have a new hammock to try, it's heavy but ground sleeping didn't work too well for me. Going with a bridge hammock because the gathered end ones seem way to cacoony for me, and I'm a restless side/stomach sleeper.

    Six days sounds really awesome, I will have to look that trail up! I'm way up in New England though so that'd be a good trip.
     
  7. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Dave would be a good man to have with you. If I could do it now, I would also offer. Hope you have a good time. joe
     
  8. DirtmanDave

    DirtmanDave Supporter Supporter

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    Are you going from Oconee State Park to Table Rock or Ceasers Head? If you start at Table Rock and head to Oconee it's more of a down hill shot. You will have about a 32 mile section called "The big middle" or Laurel valley that resupply isn't an option. There are some pretty steep sections but all are do-able if you take your time. Planning 6 days to do 75 miles is a bit of a push if you're a little bit out of shape. I was planning on 6 but taking food for more just in case.
     
  9. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    I was thinking about starting from Oconee, but only because I had read it was easier somewhere. I'll have to look at the other route. I know there's a chance I still don't finish it in six, but I may just have to go back and finish it off another day. I'll have to be back at work. Im working through the guide book trying to plan out mileage and access points for the family. Good to know about "the big middle"!

    I'm going to drive to some of the access points in the next few weeks too so I can have an idea of things.
     
  10. DirtmanDave

    DirtmanDave Supporter Supporter

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    What guide book are you using? If it's the official Foothills Trail Conference guide there is a better one than that. I'll find my copy and let you know the title and author.
     
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  11. DirtmanDave

    DirtmanDave Supporter Supporter

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    These three are what you need for planning. The pocket guide on the right and map are the best. Pocket guide does well with #/days compared to #/miles IMG_20180207_201041.jpg
     
  12. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    Nice! Ya I bought the guide book from Oconee state park on the left. I didn't know there was a pocket guide. The miles and days are definitely the tough part to nail down. Plus where I should be camping and when Does it have West to east specifics in it too? Any idea where I can grab one?
     
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  13. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    Alright martin, you challenged me to get my life together haha so I've got my pack spread out on the coffee table and I'm going to try to get a closer idea. Still have a few small things to buy. You are right though this stuff can get crazy expensive. Especially all the down stuff that people use. I'm banking on that south carolina weather helping me out from getting cold enough to need down.

    Biggest problem is how to get this sleeping bag attached to my pack since it's too big to go inside it .
     
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  14. DirtmanDave

    DirtmanDave Supporter Supporter

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    It also has camping spot, watering spots, access spots...a lot of useful information as well as both East to west and west to east information. I got mine at Oconee State Park.
     
  15. Alphaholic

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    I was actually looking at that trail today, I have camped down in Francis Marion and they have a 49mile trail there I think I am going to try before the foothills. Keep me posted because this is on my list
     
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  16. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    Will do. From what I've read it is very well maintained with the main attraction being waterfalls. Sassafras mtn has a great view from the top too.
     
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  17. Pharmer

    Pharmer Supporter Supporter

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    This is exciting. I cant wait to hear the trip report. Best of luck. Good for you for even trying it. I bet you'll get a bug and this won't be the last.
     
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  18. martin9700

    martin9700 Tracker

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    It gets bad, I ended up getting a scale and putting each piece of gear into geargrams.com. It lets you mix and match gear and see the overall weight. Good for seeing where the weight is. If you're hammock camping you might want to go with a quilt instead of a bag. Upper end would be Katabatic or Enlightened equipment, but apparently Costco has a pretty good quilt for like $30 and if the weather is warm that might be all you need! Hammockgear.com has a Burrow 40 and 50 which aren't TOO bad. They should pack down too so maybe space in the pack wouldn't be too bad.
     
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  19. martin9700

    martin9700 Tracker

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  20. Longbeard

    Longbeard Continental Drifter Bushclass III

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    That sounds awesome. Nice distance, long enough to stretch your legs, but short enough where you can see the finish line. Don't worry too much about being out of shape, just set a nice easy pace and everything will be fine.

    Longbeard
    AT 2015, 2018
    PCT 2016
     
  21. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    I've got a section of the AT that I was wanting to do this year but this is on my list this spring. when did you think you were going?..
     
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  22. longhunter

    longhunter Northman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'm sure you can do it young man, I did a roughly 50 mile circuit trip in the Adirondaks at 73 y.o. took me about 7 days totals I dallied along the way but, I did it.
     
  23. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    sounds fantastic,
    get out and do it, enjoy it,
    wish I did such things when younger,
    my current endeavor is to do a 50 mile hike before i'm 50,
     
  24. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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  25. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    Right now it's looking like late April. That's the plan.
     
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  26. SC864

    SC864 Tracker

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    I've completed from Oconee state park to the Gorges section at Bad Creek . My hiking friends are slacking lately. I'd love to thru hike it if my schedule allows , shoot me a PM if you want .
     
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  27. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    late April fits with my plans. it looks like you're getting quite a crew together. I usually hike alone but I wouldn't mind sharing a campsite at night with 1 or 2 people...
     
  28. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Still going Supporter

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    Way to go brother never stop exploring !
     
  29. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    Update: Didn't expect so many people be close by and ready to hike! Sweet! I'm still trying to figure out if a few of my friends are going to go or not, but excited to make a few friends with you guys.

    I want to try and iron out the details with the people that I'm talking to but, it might be fun to get to hike with some brand new people too. Planning on the week of April 22. I may start as late as the 24th to be able to finish the hike with friends or family.

    I tried to weigh out everything I have the other night and it looks like I'm hovering around 20 lbs base weight.

    I'm going to try and do the Kohl's UQ and TQ to drop some significant weight. But also adding some necessities that I didn't have yet.

    Next step is to figure out how much food I need and what weight I should expect to carry with food and water. Any tips or packlist are welcome. 5 nights 6 days is what I'm planning on.
     
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  30. Bosco

    Bosco Tracker

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    Oh my heart yearns to hike that trail again. Especially in early spring when the Oconee Bells are in bloom and the wild Iris push up through the leaf litter. You can't go wrong walking this trail. Have a great experience.
     
  31. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    keep going! it would help to get your base weight (less consumables like food, water, fuel) down below 15lbs if you can. the "big 3" (pack, shelter, and sleep system) should be 10lbs or less...

    don't worry if you're not there though, we can work on that in this thread and I have plenty of equipment to loan if you need it...
     
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  32. Alex Blain-Laider

    Alex Blain-Laider Tracker

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  33. 95YJRio

    95YJRio Scout

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    I am currently section hiking the FHT when time allows. I started at Oconee State Park and working my way to Table Rock. I am about half way through. Living outside of Charleston makes it tough to get up there as often as I would like to. I would like to through hike be I hit 40. Keep up the positive thoughts and I hope that you will post a trip report once done. If I was not so short on PTO with work I would just might have to join you for a leg or two. My ultimate goal is to live in the upstate of SC to be closer to all that is offered up there. I have never been a beach person, give me the mountains and the rivers to call home.

    Cheers!
    Torry
     
  34. DadmanSC

    DadmanSC Tracker

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    Alright I am officially head first into the DIY UQ and TQ. It took all day to de thread this thing. Going to try and sew in some loops along the side to run some shock cord. Hoping to take it out in the next week to see how it will hold up. I've got basically all my gear lined up and weighing in right under 20lbs including trekking poles.

    I'm thinking I'll be close to 30 lbs with water and food. Or hoping at least.
     

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  35. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    any progress?..
     
  36. grey mouse

    grey mouse Scout

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    Are you going bushcrafting or backpacking? This post will lean towards the backpacker side of information and you can adapt as needed. I see that a lot of people have thrown in some good information so let me toss in some more. I am currently planning next years seven day hike at Linville Gorge at the Shortoff trail. One big enemy (weight wise) is the weight of your food and stove. I strongly suggest a simple fancy feast stove and titanium pot combo or something like this https://www.traildesigns.com/products/evernew-900ml-short-ul-pot-sidewinder-ti-tri-bundle . Also, we have really enjoyed packet gourmet meals but I will list some different ones below. I prefer to cook real meals when aloft but if I'm out for a long trek or several days I have to do dehydrated. Another weigh my crap website that is good for storing winter and summer versions of the same pack is http://weighmygear.com/join/thank-you/. It allows me to quickly look at what I need from past seasonal hikes and allows me to print out a packing sheet so that I don't forget anything.

    Let me introduce you to my little friend https://www.gaiagps.com/. This app will let you download a map of the area that you will be in and save it to your phone for areas without cell phone coverage. I often go places where there is absolutely no hope of a cell signal but this little baby works off of gps. I use it when fishing on my boat to mark my favorite places, check my boat performance in the curves, and so much more. When I use it backpacking with no signal it shows an active map that I can check as often as I like or never. The best thing is that I simply walk into my office, sit down, and it's already downloaded and view-able without me doing anything. Lastly, it draws so little power especially if you set your phone in airplane mode and forget about it.

    Speaking of electronics. My one sin (weight wise) is my Anker power bank (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Anker-Powe...221167&hash=item1ca4965474:g:ysQAAOSw-wJaLvQc) for longer trips. I scored it on ebay for a mere $40 ! Beware of fakes (I did not research the above link). It has plenty of storage and if you use a usb powered/chargeable flashlight you can go without extra batteries. I use a Nitecore MH20 (my edc light) for everything. That light has served me well for almost three years of daily use at work and I have never had to purchase another battery from failure. This light can be charged via cell phone charger using the usb input from the Anker. Since your wife will visit you you can use a dual charger in the car and utilize the dual charging ports on the Anker for fast charging during her visit.

    Another less talked about subject so far is your pack itself. Remember that comfort is your friend and weight your enemy. Now I'm no gram weenie mind you but my lovely pack weighs in at 5.4lbs alone ! Will I ever buy an ultralight pack ? Probably not as I really really love my pack and at nearly $400 delivered I can't afford too many and also I love the warranty. From what I hear the ULA Circuit (https://www.ula-equipment.com/product/circuit/?avad=180150_e115ac13d) is quite nice. I use an Osprey Aether 85L (actually 88L inlarge size) with the brain/daypack option (https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/aether-ag-85-AETHER85.html).

    Lastly, the one thing that I see backpackers skimp on to save weight is their first aid kit. You can get by with some skill and a few items but...BUT...I will never sacrifice safety when alone in the woods for days. That's just me personally and most likely due to my health issues that require special attention. Since I'm on blood thinners I have to have clotting sponges (expensive), 50-60 pills just for my normal daily doses ( one week supply), nitroglycerin, and so much more. I would not ever imagine getting caught without anti-diarrhea medicine lol. Fourteen years of military has made me keep a trauma kit with me and my backpacking kit is no exception. Mine weighs in at just over two pounds with quick detach molly (snatch and go) for quick deployment.

    Food Options:
    1) https://goodto-go.com/collections/food
    2) https://www.outdoorfoodshop.de/en/beef/8-pasta-carbonara-from-adventure-food-8717624621314.html
    3) https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/bla-band-outdoor-meal-freeze-dried-food/32951
    4) https://www.dirtygourmet.com/red-beans-and-rice/
    5) https://www.alpineaire.com/us/us/products#/1
    6) https://www.hungryhikers.com/collections/meals
    7) https://www.packitgourmet.com/
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  37. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    it looks like Dadman has left the building...
     

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