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Our Next Outing...
On September 21 we've invited the newcomers at Covenant College to join us for a local hike - Bluff Trail starting at Covenant College. We'll walk to Craven's House, and shuttle students back to the college before returning to the church. This will be a fairly short hike - about 5 miles - and it's mostly level or downhill.
This is one of our shorter hikes, the trail head is relatively close to the church, and, according to Lynn, college students don't like to get up early on Saturday morning, so we'll leave the church parking lot around 9:15 AM (instead of our normal 8:30 departure time). We'll meet the Covenant students at Carter Hall at 10 AM and head for Craven's House. We'll plan on lunching in the vicinity of Sunset Rock (they don't allow picnicking at Craven's House). I anticipate being back at the church between 3 and 4 PM.
I find myself a little short on time this month, and since we're about to start back into the cooler season, here's part of an article from an earlier newsletter.
Hiking, like any hobby, can get as expensive as you like. As with most activities, nice equipment can make it more enjoyable, but I don't recommend mortgaging the house just yet.
Let's talk about winter outfitting, starting from the top: You'll want a hat that will help warm your head, but still breathe. A wool/polyester blend toboggan fits the bill nicely. Think of rain protection as well. A rain hat works, but I've seen (and used!) umbrellas on the trail.
Layering clothes are the key to comfort. I like two or three layers for my upper body while winter hiking, with perhaps a fourth layer to put on while at rest. The bottom layer is typically a light or mid-weight thermal material, the second and third layers add warmth (and pockets!), and the fourth layer provides wind and rain protection. You can add and remove layers as you travel to adjust for changes in temperature and exertion levels. Zippered top layers allows easy ventilation.
I typically will have one to two and a half layers of pants. Depending on conditions, I'll either have a pair of comfortable pants with rain pants for rain or wind protection, or thermal "long johns" with a pair of comfortable shorts over them (looks funny, but feels good!), with the rain pants available for weather protection.
A few words about fabrics: While cotton is a wonderfully comfortable fabric, and the knitted cottons can provide good thermal protection while dry, in cold weather wet cotton can be a killer! The thermal underwear I've referred to previously are man-made fabrics. Polypropylene, Thermax, Thermastat, and Capilene are fabrics that come to mind. These fabrics "wick" moisture away from the skin, while cotton absorbs sweat and rain, and holds that moisture against the skin. When the water cools off, it starts absorbing heat from the body. Water the same temperature as air will absorb heat from the body 20 times faster than air.
Wool will provide thermal protection while wet, but it doesn't wick the moisture away like the man-made fabrics, so is usually less comfortable. I have a wool sweater that travels with me frequently, but I typically only wear it in camp.
I recommend two pair of socks - a pair of very thin "liner" socks worn under a pair of thick hiking socks.
A pair of good walking shoes will probably do initially. I do not recommend thin-soled shoes - we're not usually on paved trails. Water-proof boots become important if you're going to do a lot of hiking on wet trails, but I hesitate to recommend going out and buying boots costing from $90-200 unless you're sure about your commitment. Reasonable hiking boots/shoes can be purchased for under $50 (Hi-Tec brand comes to mind), and offer an intermediate step.
I mentioned rain gear earlier. This is useful not only as rain protection, but as wind protection for some of those cold, windy days. You can spend a lot of money on rain gear, so I recommend you consider your purchase well before buying. If you're not going to be in rain, a light jacket will usually do. Many people carry a plastic garbage bag as an emergency rain coat.
Don't forget gloves.
You should plan on carrying a day-pack of some sort, such as a book bag, in which to carry your lunch and all those extra clothes. Lip balm is handy to have, as well as a trowel and toilet paper (see me if you need an explanation.) If you're worried about your kids wandering off, it's a good idea to equip them with a whistle. Teach them not to use it except when lost. You'll also need something in which to carry drinking water.
Next month (10/19) will be a little different from our normal hikes, so I wanted to give everyone some early warning. We're planning on watching the sunset from atop Standing Indian Mountain. The trailhead is about a two-hour drive from Chattanooga, so we'll be getting back into town fairly late. We'll have two hikes available - a strenuous 5 mile route from the Nantahala River to the top, which Dave Ridge will lead, and a short-but-steep 1.75 mile hike up the Appalachian Trail to the top of the mountain from Deep Gap.
The Fine Print...
We're collecting $2 per seat, maximum of $5 per family for those riding in the church vans. This will help offset the cost of operating the vans.
Please give me any suggestions you might have for hikes, logistics, or content of this newsletter. PLEASE!
Future Hike Dates:
As of now, we're planning on a hike every third Saturday, these dates (locations subject to change): 09/21/96 (Bluff Trail), 10/19/96 (Standing Indian), 11/16/96 (Cloudland Canyon), 12/21/96 (Savage Gulf), 01/18/97 (Virgin Falls), 02/15/97 (Jack's River), 03/15/97 (North Chick), 04/19/97 (Gee Creek), 05/17/97, 06/21/97, 07/19/97, 08/16/97, 09/20/97, 10/18/97, 11/15/97, and 12/20/97.