Good gear for the Benton MacKaye Trail
I’m halfway through my northbound thru-hike of the Benton MacKaye Trail and it has surpassed my expectations on so many levels. Once I’m done hiking and have a real desk and keyboard I’ll go into more details about this beautiful, lesser known sister of the southern Appalachian Trail. For now – at 5 am camped at a remote creek and pecking on my phone screen – I just want to offer a few thoughts on what the trail has been teaching me.
Umbrella and clip
My umbrella is a winner, especially with the clip to fasten it to my backpack. There’s been a good bit of rain on the BMT, but it’s not always strong and sustained. Instead it seems to come and go in waves of clouds and moisture. Constantly donning and doffing a rain jacket and pack cover (since my pack is nylon rather than water-shedding DCF) would be a chore that puts me off my hiking rhythm. Instead I can hike under my umbrella, with both hands free for my trekking poles. And it’s a psychic lift not to have rain pounding directly on my face and shoulders. It also allows me to take photos without getting my camera wet. And on the hot sunny days it’s kept me cooler. So: umbrella “for the win.”
I’ve never taken camp shoes before, but have enjoyed them here. I had some toe discomfort – blister under a nail – early on, and my sandals helped me recover faster. But more importantly, the BMT has multiple creek fords, and it’s been great to be able to quickly slip off my Lone Peaks and socks and use my lightweight Teva-like Hurleys in the water. And my feet have felt wonderfully refreshed and rejuvenated when I’ve put my shoes and socks back on.
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