The Prodigal Sons Return

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I am going to breakdown our trip to Colorado in two parts, the backpacking and the sight-seeing. The trip overall, was fantastic! We left the airport in Knoxville, TN at around 5:00am arriving in Grand Junction, CO at 10:30am. We had reserved the cheapest rental car we could and was suprised at getting a brand new Nissan Frontier crew cab 4×4 truck. Pictures and videos to come on the rental truck excursions!

Our backpacking schedule was to leave for Blue Lakes on Friday morning early and we got started right on time. We arrived at the trailhead, a lot farther away than we thought, about 10:00am. I think my pack weighed in at about 25 lbs. for this trip. We had food and clothes for two nights and three days that added up to more than what i thought.

The hike in was one of the most difficult hikes I have been on to date. The elevation, 9,000 at the trail head and over 11,100 at the camping area, was definately a surprise. I had a hard time catching my breathe on multiple occasions. We literally went 1/4 mile before we were really sucking air! The very last video is a time lapse video from Darrin’s GoPro HD camera of the entire trip up. Very cool stuff!

Enough chit-chat, I will add some pictures and videos. Feel free to comment or ask questions.




Laurel Falls Dayton,Tn


So we had another opportunity to get outdoors this weekend and do a hiking/backpacking trip to the Laurel Falls area in Dayton, Tn. After work on Friday Kelvin and myself set out to see what this hike had in store for us. This hike is one of our favorite places to go mainly because it is not very far away maybe 45 minutes from where we work and about 40 to 45 minutes to hike back to where we camp at. So after we get to Dayton we decide to go and get a burger and onion rings from the Sonic down the road so we didn’t really have to cook anything for that night. So, after our supper we headed to Walgreen’s to get a couple of things then on to the trail head. Get to the trail head get our gear on and off we go and after about a mile or so we get to out first set of switchbacks and get up through part of the trail and we hear some kind of ruckus coming from the woods and gives us a good scare and a big ol’ turkey comes flying out!
There were a few trees down along the trail from storms but it wasn’t as bad as I have seen there by any means. Once we get up these switchbacks and across a metal bridge the trail splits to go to Laurel or to Snow Falls and we head toward the Snow Falls area campsites. After being here so many times you kind of know where you like to camp and lo and behold the one I like was there. Set my pack down and sit down to rest for a few and what do I see a bunch of yellow jacket bees! So, we head just over from there to set up camp. So after resting for real this time without any buzzing around of yellow jackets we start to set up camp. Kelvin brought his hammock with a Tyvek tarp that Darrin (aka McGyver) let him borrow and I brought my one-man Sierra Designs Lightyear 1 tent. Once this was done we gathered our fire wood that we needed and then we was off to filter some water for the evening. The water filter that we used was the new Sawyer Watering Filter System that Jason (aka Rainman) let us borrow. Once this was complete it was time for us to get our fire going and I had brought something new to try as my fire starter. It was made with melted wax and a cosmetic pad that I dipped it in and put it on wax paper to dry then they are ready to use. After all this is done we relax around the fire and eat some good homemade smoked beef jerky that I had made. So early this morning I get up around 5:30 and start a fire and wake up a bit we set out to go to the 3 bridges going toward Snow Falls and then we headed on to Laurel Falls to check it out. Then after fighting all the hornets nests going to the Falls we get there to check it out and it was flowing fairly well I thought. After our little expedition and fighting the hornet’s nests again we get back to camp to pack all of our gear up to head back to civilization. So we head to one of our favorite places to go after our hike to refuel and that was Mo Mo’s BBQ and it didn’t disappoint. So after all this rambling on about our trip I am now going to post some photos from our trip along with some videos of the water filter and the fire starters! So until next time I will see you on the trail.

Kelvin’s setup


My setup


Stacked rocks along the way


Old Mine


Skull Rock I like to call this one


Massive rock along the creek


Laurel Falls


Kelvin @ Laurel Falls


Me at Laurel Falls


On the way back to the real world! A sweaty mess I was man it was hot!


Now a few videos from our trip! First is the Sawyer Water Filtration System.

Fire starter video

At Laurel Falls

The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

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I arrived home from work to see my newly ordered Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter. I have been mooching water filter use from my friends for a long while, it’s time to get my own I suppose. I have read several reviews and I think the Sawyer has won over most filters in price as well as weight. I will do a more in depth video or blog post upon returning from our trip, but for now, I will post a YouTube video from my fellow blogger Stick. He posted this first look video a while back. The video is HERE


Why do I hike?

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Why do I hike? I recently read an article along the same lines as this so I said to myself, why do I hike? It is rather simple really. I love getting out and seeing all the great natural beauties that are out there in this area. From the great mountains that I have seen along the way to the beautiful waterfalls cascading down. Now at some point I am wanting to try and do more than just a overnight backpacking trip, but haven’t made it to that point yet due to just being so busy with my everyday life. So I really don’t know how I would hold up on a multi-day backpacking trip, but I so want to find out. Enough about that for now but one of the reasons that I have found to be true about hiking is that there is such an solitude and calmness while on these adventures that words are just hard to describe the feeling as you are out there in the woods resting along side a mountain stream just listening to the water just passing by, it is so calming and makes you relax. From the camaraderie with my friends and just not having a worry or care in the world for that moment in time. As you are away from all the modern technology that the world has to offer these days, which are many, it is like you are threw back in time by having to depend on what the land gives to you in one sort of way. You also are putting your body through a vigorous torment to get to that place to get your pay off, which is the pin ultimate when you get to the end and get to admire such beauty. There are many days right after the hikes that I can hardly walk but looking back I would not change a thing about it. So this is just a few of my thoughts on why I hike and there is probably some more I could think of but I think that is all for now. So why do you hike? Let us know some of your thoughts and comments on the subject. I will leave you with a few of my pics and videos of hikes that I have been on and let us know what you think. So until then hope to see you on the trail…..

Big South Fork Honey Creek Overlook Winter Overnighter

Me at the Cliff Tops at Mount LeConte Great Smoky Mountains

View on way to Mount LeConte

Laurel Falls Dayton,Tn Over Nighter

Me on top of Laurel Falls Dayton,Tn

Top of Laurel Falls Dayton,Tn

Tents at Laurel Falls Dayton,Tn

Laurel Falls Area

Myrtle Point Mount LeConte

Cliff Tops Mount LeConte

So yeah this is why I hike! How about you? Have a great day and we will see you on the trail…..


Ramsey Cascades GSMNP

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We decided to venture into the Great Smoky Mountains for the weekend. Darrin, Tommy, and I were looking through the Little Brown Book of GSMNP and discussed which area to go in to. We thought we would give Ramsey Cascades a try and I have to say, it was a very impressive hike. The waterfalls were great and I actually really enjoyed the VERY large trees along the way. I think they were tulip poplars and the biggest I had seen in this area of any kind. I am attaching a YouTube clip taken with Darrin’s GoPro camera. The video is long at over 50 minutes, but it takes you from beginning to end of our trek.


Gram Weenie Pro Review

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This is the Gram Weenie Pro alcohol stove by End2End Trail Supply. This is a little excerpt from their site.

The newest generation of Gram Weenie PRO is here! The all new Gram Weenie PRO features a rolled crimp construction, eliminating the rivets that used to hold it together. This has created smooth lines and a dependable, seam free seal that won’t fail.

The Gram Weenie PRO is the bigger brother to the original Gram Weenie stove. Taking inspiration from all the larger bottle stoves on the market, the PRO fills the nitch between the original Gram Weenie and the Thru Hiker stove. The PRO sports a 1 ounce fuel capacity for approxiamately 11 minute burn times. The PRO was designed for solo hikers who need to boil 16 ounces (2 cups) of water, while maintaining a compact, lightweight kitchen.
Stove Weight: 0.7oz (19 g)
Height: 1.75 in (3.8 cm)
Diameter: 1.75 in (4.4 cm)
Fuel Capacity: 1 oz
Burn Time: approximately 11 minutes/1 ounce fuel
Primer Pan Weight: 0.1oz (2 g)
Designed to boil up to 16 ounces of water

Here is my video review: