Well not much new here, went for a 9 mile pratice "hike", really a walk around Whiterock Lake yesterday. We took our loaded trail packs and Sheila's new 4 ounce Z-Pack made by Joe Velasco. I did most of it barefoot and I am paying the price today with new blisters on both heels and the balls of my feet. Put on plenty of duct tape, socks and real shoes today just so I can walk almost normal. Feeling pretty stupid too because since we hike in sandals anyways we pretty much don't have any foot problems. I do like hiking barefoot though and once the feet are toughened up I may even hike some of the AT barefoot this summer. We are still getting our gear sorted out and trying to go lighter than last year which is gonna be hard to do. Base weights now are in the 5-6lb. range and thats about as light as you can get without leaving important stuff behind. Sheila's new pack is a dream at only about 4-5 oz. and she says since Joe did some modifications it fits better than any pack she has carried. We have ordered one to be made for me and it will save me another 1 lb 5 oz. over the Golite Jam I carried last year!
On our last 2 hikes at Whiterock we met a Springer bound hiker named Jason (trail name- Two Lions) who is headed out to the AT about the end of April so it was fun talking to him about the trail and seeing the enthusiasm he add like we did this time last year. We hopefully answered some questions for him about the trail and different gear and passed on to him the best advice we ever got before starting the AT and that is... HIKE YOUR OWN HIKE! Good luck Jason....hope to see you again in Maine!