One of our other favourite pieces of gear was our Enlightened Equipment Accomplice quilt. It's a double quilt, that is completely customisable. We got the tall, and had ours rated to 10degrees Fahrenheit/ -10degrees Celcius and we have zero regrets. It was warm enough, still under 1kg (2lbs) and it has only once got soggy because us, all our gear and the entirety of the mountain we were on were all soaking wet (it is filled with dry down, which definitely helped I think). It doesn't even smell bad (I have no idea how that is, but seriously, two stinky thru hikers in it every night and no odour). I ended up getting a thermal bag liner, because Bourbon sleeps much warmer than I do. That was a perfect compromise for us. I could be a little warmer, but we could both sleep any which way inside the quilt still.
I like sleeping with one leg bent, which you can actually do comfortably in a quilt, and Bourbon is a side sleeper and says he got way less twisted up in the quilt than he does in a typical sleeping bag. When we hike together, I doubt we will ever take anything other than this quilt now. Even when it got ice crystals on it, or lots of dew, 5 mins in the sun and poof, the down would fluff back up and the skin of the bag would dry out.
The downsides are few but worth noting: in a quilt, if you don't sleep in thermals there is a high chance you will be sleeping straight on your sleeping mat. Which makes for a sweaty night's sleep if your mat is plastic. We actually have sleeping mat "sheets" at home that we usually use, but we left them behind on this trip for the sake of the extra 2oz. In warmer temps I will definitely sacrifice the extra weight for that little bit of comfort. Occasionally I would also wake up with the drawstring from the neck of my side of the bag wrapped around MY neck. Not a great feeling. Once I get home I will stitch that loose end down with my sewing machine so it can't happen any more.
If you have ever tried sleeping with a partner with your sleeping bags zipped together you'll know just how frustrating that can be. I happily report this is almost as comfy as the duvet on our queen size bed at home, and give it a solid 10/10 would recommend. #enlightenedequipment #eeaccomplice
Best in show on the CDT goes to this diminutive Icebreaker Chase Headband. I carried this instead of a beanie for the entire trail. I added a beanie in Northern New Mexico and the South San Juan, but then went straight back to using just this as soon as I started pushing the beanie off during the night.
Honestly, it was the most heavily used item I carried in my pack. It could pull down over my eyes to keep the sun out, kept my head warm, weighed almost nothing, took up almost no space and was cool enough I could wear it whilst I was hiking. That was really its biggest benefit. It helped keep the cold air out of my ears and off my forehead, but didn't make me over heat like a standard beanie. I will never hike again without one of these in my pack.
The Little Miami Scenic Park trail is along the old Little Miami railroad. This photo shows an aging railroad structure.
From a sign on the trail:
"Chartered in 1836, the Little Miami Railroad reached Milford in 1841 and Loveland in 1844. It was the first railroad in Clermont County. John Kugler supplied the ties for much of the 6.15 miles of track in Clermont County, In 1860 President-elect Abraham Lincoln rode the train on his way to his inauguration. The railroad played a significant role in the Civil War by carrying troops and supplies to nearby Camp Dennison. On July 14, 1863 General John Morgan and his raiders derailed a train near Miamiville. The fireman was killed and 150 Union recruits captured. The railroad became a part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system in 1870. Trains ceased operating in 1962. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources purchased the right-of-way in 1979 and from 1983 to 1999 developed a multi-purpose paved trail from Milford to Xenia."
Due to a very busy summer, it has been awhile since the last time I was able to hike the Buckeye Trail. Because the much-anticipated Phish festival Curveball in Watkins Glen, NY was canceled due to water contamination, I had some extra time on my hands. Rather than sulk around the house in disappointment because of the canceled festival, I decided to hike the Buckeye Trail with my wife Alice. We had a great 6.4 mile hike as I continued my journey on the Little Miami State Park Trail.
We started in Milford where I left off in late June. As you can tell from the sign in the picture, Milford is the intersection of many great trails - some local and some national. It was special to be at a place where so many great trails intersect.
The trail continued on the bike path and is completely flat. We saw so many cyclists on the trail. It is wonderful to see so many people enjoying the outdoors!
I met three new guy paddlers this trip - making a total of 7 men who were VERY helpful with the heavy lifting - add 4 of us women, we were a group of 11. Art, the organizer of this trip - and several other cycling and hiking events @hammerhead and I have been part of - is so capable and amiable and just a lot of fun to be with. He's the guy second on the left sitting on the rock of the inner circle. We'd had a good day; hiking; competing who was most accurate at throwing rocks to knock a plastic bottle off a ledge; couple of the guys did go out for a crazy-windy paddle; relaxed and read - and after this photo got busy making a bonfire on the beach and cooking supper. This is the life!