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LM (W2): Caledonia State Park and AT (~20 mi)

2013 brought my resolution to start backpacking in the winter, and as 2014 dawns, I'd like to  extend the invitation to others in our group looking to do the same! At just about 20 miles, and only about a 2 hour drive away from the DC area, Caledonia State Park and the Michaux State Forest presents a moderate loop for people looking to get out and explore the 4th season. I'll be following Michael's plan from last spring, and have included the link below for those who would like to take a look at the maps or the photos from the trip.

In short, our splits will likely be about 10 miles on Saturday, and 9 miles on Sunday. We'll get to experience a little bit of everything, with some time on the AT, a few rocky ascents, and some trail spirits and stories around the fire. After we finish up on Sunday, we'll grab some grub in Gettysburg before heading back to DC.

Winter, of course, presents its own challenges, and the monthly outlook for the area calls for lows in the teens and twenties. If you haven't been on a winter trip with the group before, I'm going to ask you for a gear list prior to the hike. If I don't hear back from you, or if I feel you don't have the right equipment, I will move you off the list. We do have a supportive community, though, so if it's a question of getting one piece of gear to borrow, we'll make arrangements!

I'll firm up logistics when we get a little closer to the hike. I will call it if things look too dicey, or if the temperatures dip too low (this is an introductory hike, after all!). Trip size is limited to 10. Please take a moment to respond to the questions when you RSVP; I look forward to seeing you on the trail!

Link to last spring's hike:

http://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/events/101152462/

Maps: You can download the ones listed below, or else pick up PATC maps 2-3.

http://midatlantichikes.com/rockyknob-quarrygap.htm

http://www.midatlantichikes.com/id60.html



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  • Karan

    A great trip indeed. Definitely got to learn things about backpacking in the cold. Thanks to the organizers Mike and Ben. And thanks to Ben for pointing out that I wasn't using my tent right - now I know :)
    Hope to see you all in the future again!

    1 · January 27, 2014

  • Benjamin

    The trip was great. I brought the iteams that were strongly recomended and had no issues. Walking in snow is a completely different experience and can't wait to get out agian.

    1 · January 27, 2014

  • Dan T.

    It was great to connect with each of you on this trip. The book I mentioned to a couple of you was "The Secrets of Warmth" by Hal Weiss. Very helpful and educational read. Hope to see you again soon.

    January 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    MikeVW, thanks for putting this trip on the board! I had a wonderful time hiking with some old faces, and some new. These were some difficult conditions to stay safe(and comfortable) in. Hopefully we all learned somethings this weekend. Really though, the forecast was dead on, and Id have to say we were on the positive side of Eyore's typical weather conundrums;)

    January 27, 2014

  • Trisha

    Awesome UL trip as usual. Thanks for making us all stronger winter backpackers

    January 26, 2014

  • MikeVW

    This trip really tested our winter mettle, but the reward was some beautiful scenery and a pleasant loop through a picturesque part of Pennsylvania. Thanks to everyone who came out, and may our paths cross again soon!

    January 26, 2014

  • Trisha

    Trisha, David, and Loay are on the Beltway, and should be at the Metro on time :)

    January 25, 2014

  • upasana

    sorry Mike, I have to go to work urgently, so I won't be able to come. I am extremely sorry for the last minute change which I don't do generally.

    January 25, 2014

  • Trisha

    So about carpooling... I live in Manassas but can't drive because my land-yacht is having issues and my back up is my teen's '02 Civic. Any chance I can hook up with the folks coming out of the Centerville (David, LN) Park-n-Ride?

    January 22, 2014

    • Trisha

      Loay, yes. I will meet you at your home address

      January 24, 2014

    • L N

      Trisha, could you email me and David your phone #, just in case either one of us needs to get a hold of you. Thanks!

      January 24, 2014

  • Denise M.

    I can no longer come due to personal problems with my family. I apologize for any inconvenience this is causing the group. Someone snag my spot.

    January 23, 2014

  • upasana

    Can anyone give me ride from Grosvenor metro station?

    January 23, 2014

    • MikeVW

      I'll be sending out one final trip email tonight. As long as you make it to Grosvenor, we can handle carpooling from there.

      1 · January 23, 2014

  • upasana

    I don't know who all are driving........I would need a ride and would share the cost

    January 22, 2014

    • Jin, Z

      Sorry. I will be heading to Philly on Saturday for race training. Another time. Have fun.

      January 23, 2014

    • upasana

      Ok Jenn....enjoy

      January 23, 2014

  • Jin, Z

    Obvious question: There will be a campfire setting up. Right?

    January 22, 2014

    • David D

      I always bring a saw, it must be my most used tool for backpacking. I use this usually http://www.qiwiz.net/...­ but this time around I'm bringing the japanese saw seen here http://goldgear.co/­ under the saw tab.

      January 22, 2014

    • Trisha

      Bless you David! I don't have one and have officially stopping shopping for this trip.

      January 22, 2014

  • upasana

    May I get a spot please?

    2 · January 22, 2014

    • MikeVW

      Upasana, I sent you an email with a gear list request; send one to me or Ben Weaver when you get a chance.

      January 22, 2014

    • upasana

      Trisha, we also did Mt. Rogers together and in fact were on the same car that Tom was driving:-)

      1 · January 22, 2014

  • David D

    I have some extra, fairly lightweight equipment I can lend out.

    January 22, 2014

  • MikeVW

    For those interested, I've compiled a gear list:
    http://files.meetup.com/1502009/Gear%20List.pdf

    It's mostly an approximation of weights from website descriptions, and I may fiddle around with it some more yet. I tend to run warm until I stop moving, then get chilled immediately, so I'll keep my fleece/coat handy. I actually wish I had a warmer bag, but I'm trying to supplement with the second pad and the quilt.

    January 22, 2014

  • Michael M.

    Just a quick, friendly reminder that, if you hold the rank of member or higher, you should pay your $10 in DC UL 2014 dues for this trip, if you have not done so already.

    January 22, 2014

  • Jin, Z

    I will like to join this backpack too if you have a spot for me. It sounds like a great trip. Thanks. Jenn

    January 22, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Jenn, please read through the comments, regarding gear choices and weather we are anticipating. If you're still interested, please email me, or MikeVW your gear list. Thanks! Ben

      January 22, 2014

    • MikeVW

      Jenn, if you could also let one of us know whether you are available to drive or not (and how many you could take), that would be helpful. Car logistics should be firmed up, but we might have some shuffling to do still.

      January 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Mike, I'm dopping off to open up a spot for other folks. (I'm signed up for trips three weekends in a row.) Folks on the waiting list, get on that ish!

    January 22, 2014

  • Trisha

    Yikes!! I don't have snow shoes. (And my store doesn't sell them) Do I need to borrow some? What do I need to ask for? I'm going to post the request on Facebook and see what I get.

    January 21, 2014

    • Will

      Unless there are other lunatics out backpacking, stomping down the snow and making it icy - you shouldn't need spikes either :). They are nice sometimes though. Gaiters are gold!

      January 22, 2014

    • Trisha

      Gaiters, I have as well as an awesome pair of waterproof Salomons which I picked up at an REI garage sale last summer. The next garage sale is Sat Feb 8th

      January 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    ABC finally returned my call. We are golden! I told them we will arrive between 1-2. We will be on ONE check, per their policy. Please bring CASH(mix of denominations)!
    Here is a link;
    http://www.abcbrew.com/brewpubs/gettysburg-battlefield/
    Their menu is online for your perusal;)

    January 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    !PLEASE READ! I spoke with Debbie at Caledonia SP. We have been instructed to park our vehicles at the parking lot ACROSS(south side of RT30) from Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith shop; http://www.lincolnhighwayexperience.org/place/442 which is along RT30 at entrance of Caledonia.
    Debbie said they have about 6" of snow, so no big deal.
    FYI, for every 1k' of elevation, temp drops 3-5F. It is forecasted to be overcast Saturday, so the temp drop will be minimal from the forecasted temps at Fayetteville. Please bring your insulation, if this is new to you, dont skimp. You never realize how cold it can be untill youve been exposed to it for hours. ALSO, I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recomend you bring a second sleeping pad(this is less of a suggestion and more of a polite demand,...its your safety). Walmart, EMS, REI, all sell inexpensive(<$15) foam pads.

    2 · January 22, 2014

    • MikeVW

      Thanks for checking with the park; was thinking of giving them a call today, and I see the lot on Google Maps. I'll second Ben's advice on the sleeping pad, since not only is it extra insulation for sleeping, but it's nice to have for breaks/at camp. I'd also add the importance of a good pair of sleeping socks or down boots to keep your toes warm overnight, though a hot water bottle will also do wonders.

      January 22, 2014

    • Michael M.

      A second pad not only adds security (if another pad fails), but they will also give you comfort for standing or sitting around camp. Also, I find I have lots of times where I use the extra pad as a thing to place things on in the snow, or just to sit on while putting (frozen) boots on, or whatever.

      January 22, 2014

  • MikeVW

    Please note, I've updated the trip description to reflect the updated forecast. If you're trying to decide about taking that extra layer, my advice is to take it. I'm going to keep an eye on the forecast through Friday, and reassess as we get closer. Too much snow or too big a wind chill just to hike isn't worth group safety, in my opinion.

    January 22, 2014

  • MikeVW

    Just a note to those on this trip; I may be moving this to a W2 designation. Between the snow and colder temperatures forecast for the weekend, it's not just going to be a walk in the park. Please consider your readiness carefully over the next day or two and update your RSVP accordingly. I'll post updates as I get more info.

    1 · January 21, 2014

    • Denise M.

      By the way, it's approximately 14 degrees and we have about 6 inches or more...I think it's just flurries now. :)

      January 21, 2014

    • Denise M.

      Gusty so it's drifting quite a bit in the open, I'm certain the mountains have gotten more than Gettysburg.

      January 21, 2014

  • David D

    I have a pair of Kahtoola spikes size L I can lend out, and Hillsound trail crampons size XL which it looks like I ll be using with the bigger, heavier boots considering the temps and snow.

    January 21, 2014

  • Will

    I was looking forward to finally spending the night in the single digits (really!!) but we've decided to go chase the snow in an effort to get in some XC ski practice before Maine. Sorry for the late drop out. Have at the open spots waitlisters!

    January 21, 2014

    • Trisha

      I don't have snow shoes, but will try to borrow. I do have MicroSpikes.

      January 21, 2014

    • Trisha

      I'm like Will, I need to work on my street creds, so a night in the single digits is highly coveted. I'm still in.

      January 21, 2014

  • Denise M.

    You should see it up here in Gettysburg right now...up to 10 inches by 10 pm & coming down steady. It'll be a pretty & true winter backpacking experience. If Accuweather is correct, we may be getting a bit more Thursday, I believe...

    January 21, 2014

    • Denise M.

      So far it's about 3 inches, approaching 4, drifting and not stopping but slowing down a bit. :D

      January 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      That's good to hear. In Lancaster we have over 6" already. So, it's lighter your way

      January 21, 2014

  • Brian

    I see there's a bunch of folks sitting on the waitlist for this trip. If you're looking to get out on the trail next weekend, Beast Mode (Joffrey) recently posted another great Low Mileage trip with plenty of slots available doing the Trout Run Circumnavigation - http://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/events/161268892/. I realize for some of you the logistics don't work for the Trout Run trip, but if they do, I'm sure Eeyore and Unicorn Dust won't feel slighted if you switch trips and will be just as happy as me to see more people be able to get out with DC UL for the weekend.

    January 19, 2014

    • MikeVW

      * :)

      1 · January 21, 2014

    • Denise M.

      Ha ha!!! NOOOO! I JUST got a spot on this one! And I remember my lessons from last year, I PROMISE. ;)

      January 21, 2014

  • Michael M.

    Anybody work downtown? If so, over the next few days, I could hand off a pair of Yak-trax and a few T-shirts for delivery to Denise this weekend.

    1 · January 21, 2014

    • Denise M.

      Thanks Michael...if not, I'll be seeing you in February. :D

      January 21, 2014

  • Joan Colton F.

    Will & I are going to "chase the snow" in preparation for our trip to Maine in February. Hoping to catch the next introductory hike!!

    January 21, 2014

  • Trisha

    Thanks for posting. This was very helpful and I feel I will be fine. My only concern is my pocket rocket stove but now o feel comfortable

    January 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Trisha, when we get to camp, throw the fuel can in your jacket for a bit. Sleep with fuel can inside your sleeping bag. The MSR pocket rockets get flaky below 32F.

      1 · January 20, 2014

    • Will

      Good rule of thumb for most fuel. I find alcohol lights easier if you warm it up in your jacket first also.

      January 20, 2014

  • Trisha

    Thanks for posting. This was very helpful and I feel I will be fine. My only concern is my pocket rocket stove but now o feel comfortable

    January 20, 2014

  • MikeVW

    This thread may suck you in, but it's worth a read to see what our veterans think about winter weather hiking: http://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/messages/boards/thread/28473282

    January 20, 2014

  • MikeVW

    In terms of driving, I think most of our cars will be in play. We'll need 4 coming from Grosvenor (13 people), and 3 people will be meeting us at the trailhead. For those of you riding, please bring gas money for your driver! ($10-20 per person would be fair since this is a short drive)

    January 19, 2014

    • L N

      I can either ride with someone or drive. If driving, I can take up to 3 others. I'll be coming from Fairfax/Centreville area

      January 19, 2014

    • Iru

      I hace no car, so I would need a ride from Grosvernor metro, happy to share cost! Thanks Mike for thinking all these logistics ahead!

      January 20, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Trisha asked for a gear list. Here it is,...tentatively based on this forecast- http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/hdfForecast?query=17931

    List- http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=16952
    This list DOES NOT HAVE; food, or my "adult refreshments". I will be bringing rum and pepsi. I would highly encourage others to bring their spirits of choice as we will be hanging around camp for some time. Dont pass on carrying it, and then regret it when everyone is "spirit-izing";)
    For food, Ill prob bring cold pizza for lunch, as its easy to manipulate with gloves on, and stores well(it can be smashed). For dinner, some dehydrated meal, plenty of snacks, and prob some cosmonaut ice cream. For breakfast Ill have hot chocolate and a shake. When breaking camp, Ill eat some type of bar. I dont like hot breakfasts on trail.

    January 16, 2014

    • Brian

      Doubling down on what MikeVW said about getting enough calories (where did you learn that from Eeyore? ;) You definitely need more in the winter than for typical 3-season trips. Another tip - keep track of the temperature and how comfortable you are in a particular set of clothing. After a few trips you'll feel much more confident in knowing what you'll need for the forecasted conditions (and eventually know how far you can push a particular item of gear)

      January 19, 2014

    • MikeVW

      Yeah, I heard it from someone on the trail, but I didn't catch his name...it just sounded like a jumble of letters ;)

      January 20, 2014

  • David D

    Anybody driving up from northern VA outside the beltway ?

    January 19, 2014

    • L N

      I'll be coming from Centreville

      January 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I highly recommend bringing something like this to store your Nalgene(not gatorade bottles) https://www.40below.com/products_detail.php?ProductID=27
    EMS sells a version of these, Im sure REI does as well. One would do the trick. There is plenty of water on this trail, so it would be no prob to refill your bottle if you run out. If you carry more than a liter, wrap the other bottle in your clothing, inside your pack.
    Speaking of getting water, anyone using a pump filter, or a gravity/sawyer type, please take precautions to insulate and not allow unit to freeze. Once frozen(they break on a microscopic level), they will NOT treat water.

    January 16, 2014

    • MikeVW

      Of course, you can also keep the bottle next to your body if you don't want to carry the weight :)

      January 16, 2014

    • David D

      I made cozies out of reflectix insulation.

      1 · January 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I don't know what I was thinking! We will be near Fayetteville, Pa, not Frackville, Pa
    Here is the correct forecast;
    http://www.wunderground.com/q/zmw:17222.1.99999

    January 16, 2014

  • Trisha

    Could the more senior folks post their specific gear so the newbies have a clue?

    January 15, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Trisha, I'll try to post a gear list by end of weekend. I will be packing some older gear(read,"heavier"­) of mine.

      January 15, 2014

  • MikeVW

    Just a heads up; Ben Weaver will be helping on trip logistics as well. You can email either of us if you have questions on gear, the route, etc.

    January 15, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'm stoked to come along! Everyone, feel free to message me as well. The shelter for Saturday

      January 15, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Whoops! Birch Run Shelter, our saturday evening destination is wonderful! Junker, a PATC Ridge Runner cares for it, and you'll see, always clean, and well maintained. Gives Jim S.(Quarry Gap Shelter, another fab shelter) a run for his money. This shelter comfortably sleeps 8 on bunks, and some on the floor. There is a lot of room for tarps, and tents. The water source is a stones throw from the shelter.

      January 15, 2014

  • Trisha

    Old school back up is to pre-plan a bunk mate. The leader should randomly match up people and if one person feels uncomfortablely cold, then he or she knows that it's been pre-approved to go to another tent to share body heat. I did this once after snow apocalypse. Awkward at first but we slept and lived to laugh about it.

    January 15, 2014

  • MikeVW

    I would like to make sure as many people as are able to go on the trip have the opportunity to do so. If I've reached out to you, please take some time to respond (especially if you're holding a spot!). If your plans have changed, please take a moment to update your RSVP. I'll be sending out a few early details this coming weekend.

    January 9, 2014

    • Dan T.

      As an extra safety measure, my car will be parked at Shippensburg Rd (barely more than a mile from Saturday night camp) and can be stocked with some extra gear - in case needed.

      1 · January 15, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Mike, reply sent.

      January 15, 2014

  • MikeVW

    Still a little early to predict where the weather will be next week, but we're trending a little colder than this week at the moment. Overnight lows might be in the teens. Most peoples' gear lists seem fine, but if you have questions/concerns about what to bring, let me know!

    January 15, 2014

  • Denise M.

    I'll come if someone drops. Literally 20 - 30 minutes away from home.

    1 · January 15, 2014

  • Jasmine

    MikeVW: Let you know that I just send you my gear list. :)

    January 11, 2014

  • MikeVW

    Also, just as a reminder to our members, if this is your first hike for the year, please take a moment to pay the $10 to help keep our site running! Applicants do not have to pay for their first outing.

    January 9, 2014

  • Trisha

    Michael, I updated my profile with my winter clothing items. That is, Mes vetments d'hiver

    January 2, 2014

    • MikeVW

      Thanks, Trisha! Your gear list looks fine for this trip, but let me know if you need anything else or have any questions.

      January 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Super excited to join my first trip, and hope this turns out to be the one!

    1 · January 7, 2014

  • Michael M.

    Full in about six hours for a winter backpacking trip. Chapeau, Eeyore!

    3 · January 1, 2014

10 went

  • MikeVW
    Veteran Plus Member (2) (Eeyore) ('16), Assistant Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Benjamin
    Member
  • L N
    Member ('16)
  • David D
    Member
  • Jasmine
    Member
  • Karan
    Veteran Plus Member (2!@) (B.A.) (B-XVIII) (16), Co-Organizer
  • Dan T.
    Member
  • Trisha
    Member ('16)
  • A former member
  • A former member

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