Sleeping arrangements & Food

So the guys have been on the trail since Sunday. Some of the most common questions my family get from non-hikers and non-outdoorsy folks is questions about their food and shelter. My husband Dennis is a hammock sleeper and purchased a custom hammock from Dream Hammock; my son is using a Duplex tent from Z-packs, as he likes to be more grounded. Pretty sure it’s more of a phobia of being a neatly packed human burrito for the bears. 😀 I too have a custom Dream Hammock that I used when I hiked in Red River Gorge. It was my first hike, but I feel like I would prefer a tent like my son for the extra room with a sleeping pad. I have some lower back issues and after a long hike, I like to be stretched out and no matter how we get my hammock hung, I feel like my spine is succumed to being curved instead of allowing me to stretch out all straight.

As far as food goes, it’s definitely not gourmet! The least complicated the better, which is usually dehydrated meals consisting of potatoes, pasta, rice, easy mac, ramen noodles, electrolyte packets to add to water, Mountain House dehydrated meals (which end up getting pricey); weight matters. Everything the guys are carrying; their food, clothing, shelter, sleep gear, water being carried on their backs is the lightest of light and their overall carrying weight with their bags all packed probably amounts to around 24-28 pounds on the heavy side. My sons bag weight before they left, without water was 24 pounds.

Here is their set up from their first camp on the trail to give you an idea of what their set up looks like!

What could go wrong getting there?

Also hiking with my husband and son, is Brad, who is a good friend & coworker of my hubbys. As with the dynamics of any trip, this took a ton of planning. I was going to drive them down to Georgia, but we decided against it (mostly me lol). Instead, we decided to book a one way flight for the guys and found a FANTASTIC deal on hopper. The one way tickets to Atlanta was under $80 a piece. They were set to fly out Saturday, March 12th at 7am from Cleveland. Brad ended up going up to Cleveland a day early and booked a room and invited Dennis and Aaron to stay if they wanted since their flight was early. The weather was not planning on being too cooperative with the snow Friday into Saturday morning, so I drove them up Friday. Their flight ended up getting canceled at 1 am.

No biggie! We decided to look at car rentals and just book a car. Did you know that debit cards are not accepted to rent a car (because it must be different money than credit card money)? Apparently you have to have a credit card. Money you don’t actually have is better to them than the money you do have in your checking. My husband had a credit card, but it had my name on it so they wouldn’t let him rent a car. To remedy this, I drove all the way back up to Cleveland on Saturday morning to walk inside to swipe my credit card. What a headache.

They got into Atlanta Saturday evening late; booked a room. Finally on Sunday, after rental car return, they jumped on a train and then were shuttled from REI to Amicalola Falls were they began their journey to Springer Mountain!


Thanks for visiting my blog! That’s kind of a generic intro so I’ll try to spice it up!

My name is Shannon and I decided to use this platform to document some of my family’s adventures. We try to have a lot of them, keep life full of new experiences and live outside the normal 9 to 5. Is there any other way to live in this world?

I have been with my husband Dennis for the last 22 years and we have 2 sons, Aaron and Joshua (ages 16 and 18)–Josh is about to turn 17 next week! I know that it’s said, it goes by quick when you’re raising kids, but it really does.

Nevertheless, my husband Dennis is an avid outdoorsman who is constantly pushing limits with his adventures. He loves to hike, hunt, fish, camp, kayak…..As we’ve been raising our family he’s turned our boys onto the great outdoors. I kind of feel like he’s been breaking me in to his shenanigans over the last 22 years, ever-so-slowly. His have-to-be-in-nature SOME sort of way or another with his fishing and hunting season each year; turned to he and his cousin Chris, randomly one winter making a hunting camp on our family land. These fools camped one weekend out in the dead of winter with very little preparation; it was below zero (-20 wind chills if I recall); these crazies made a makeshift camp and tee-pee structure. That turned into them being super ill-prepared survivalist style hikers with all kinds of heavy gear to try out. I also cannot forget Dennis and Chris kayaking on the Intercoastal Waterway all the way to the outer banks (video in the links). From there, they realized quickly if they were going to brave the outdoors and do hiking trips or kayaking fishing trips etc. they would have to be better prepared. That’s a basic summary to where we are today. At this point, Dennis has gone on so many random (make your wife anxious, perhaps we need to upgrade the life insurance) type of adventures. Some of his hiking trips have included Lake Vesuvius, many hikes at Red River Gorge (which was my first hike ever of around 30 miles), The Triple Crown, The Laurel Highlands, The White Mountains (twice), The Buckeye Trail, some of the PCT, and the AT. Dennis has been adamant regarding wanting to do the whole Appalachian Trail some day.

His dream also became an ambition for our oldest son, Aaron. We told him when he graduated high school we’d plan for them to hike the AT. He graduated in 2021. After a lot of talking, a whole lot of sacrifice and planning, we made good on our end to make it happen and on March 13th, they began their journey on the trail. I created this blog to document this adventure and plan to try and share our past and future journeys as well.

About me; aside from being outnumbered in an all this masculinity, I refer to myself as the “Head Chica of Operations”, AKA mom and wife. I am also an Occupational Therapist Assistant turned to nursing student. As a therapist, I work PRN in skilled nursing facilities when I can; but I am also in my second semester of nursing school. When I am done, next year May 2023, I will be an RN. Which is crazy to me! But it’s exciting. For now, I am adjusting to being almost alone while Dennis and Aaron are on the trail. I am definitely not alone; it’s Josh and I now holding down the fort. He’s got school and so do I. Our house is definitely a LOT quieter! I can’t discredit all my great friends and family, but…yes this is an adjustment. I’ve never been apart from my husband or children for more than a few days or a week or so in the last 22 years. These next few months are going to be different. Here’s a photo from a couple years ago, but I just love it. It looks like I’m waving these two off to their adventure. 🙂