Friday, July 31, 2009

Equipment Testing Report Update

Sharon's Report
Sharon loved her Osprey 46 pack. She gives it 5 out of 5 points.
She also tested a Cascade Designs Neo Air mattress. Extremely comfortable. She gives it 5 out of 5 points.

Rod's Report
Clif Bars and Clif Shot Bloks contain brown rice syrup which provides extra energy when you need a boost. I give them 5 out of 5 points.
Vibram Five Fingers footwear worked well for backpacking except when there were sharp stones, sharp pebbles or snow. They made excellent camp shoes. I give them 3 out of 5 points for backpacking, because there were a lot of sharp stones.
Timex Expedition WS4 altimeter watch - 4 out of 5 points.
Tech O Traileader altimeter watch - this watch also has a pedometer (accelerometer) built in - 4 out of 5 points.
Backpackers Pantry freeze dry foods - they have an especially good selection of vegetarian foods. I give them 4 out of 5 points.

642 Miles Hiked

Sharon and Rod backpacking ultralight.

We Camped at Harriet lake

Sharon at Harriet Lake

Blue Wild Flowers

These may be Blue Gentians.

Balancing on a Log to Cross a Stream

A Baby Marmot

Rod Uses His iPod When His Energy Lags

Rod Tests Five Fingers Footwear for Backpacking

They worked well providing I didn't step on any sharp rocks or pebbles. They also made great camp shoes.

Rod Has His Cup of Joe in His Sleeping Bag

Sharon Prefers a Tent, Rod Prefers Sleeping Under the Stars

Rod and Sharon Together

Sharon Airing Out Her Feet

Sonora Pass Area Above the Tree Line

Sharon Crossing a Snow Field

Sunday, July 19, 2009

623 Miles Hiked

Equipment Report Update

Please see my previous report in the May archives.

Vasque Blurs - trail running shoes – these shoes are light, comfortable and gave me no foot problems. I give them 5 out of 5 possible points.

Tilley Hats - I tested the AirFlo, the AirFlo with Insect Shield and the Mesh Hat. The hats kept my head equally cool and offered excellent sun protection. The Insect Shield greatly reduced the number of bugs flying around my head. The permethrin the Insect Shield uses is less powerful than DEET, but it is not absorbed into your blood like DEET is. It features a tuck-in neck/ear shield. I gave them 5 out of 5 points.

Osprey Exos 46 – pack – this pack is light (1 lb. 14 oz.) carries very well. Its mesh back kept my back cool and dry. It was large enough to hold my bear canister. (I give the pack 5 out of 5 possible points.

Titanium Goat Hiking Poles – at 3.2 oz. / pole, these carbon fiber poles are the lightest I’ve seen. Since poles get moved back and forth continuously, the light weight is very important. When the trail is smooth and relatively flat, I don’t use my poles. The light weight is appreciated when I’m not using them. I give them 5 out of 5 possible points.

Technique Update

Also see my previous report from the May archives.

When your pack weight goes down, your enjoyment goes up!

Shaping the Ground to the Contours of Your Back and Side – I sleep just as comfortable without a foam pad as I do in my own bed. The secret is to very carefully contour the ground to fit the contours of my back. These same contours also fit when I roll on my side. With your foot, scoop a depression in the dirt/sand for your butt. Scoop a smaller depression at a right angle for your back. Sit right down in the depression and adjust it for a perfect fit. I make two small depressions for my heels. Place the middle of your tent, trap, ground sheet, bubble wrap or bivy sack over the depression for your butt. The depressing also makes an excellent chair. Be sure to return the ground to its original condition when you leave.

Not using a tent (when rain is unlikely). The view is much better without a tent. You have less weight to carry. You can cook while you are in your sleeping bag = breakfast in bed. The early morning light gets you up for a much earlier start. The mosquitoes haven’t been a problem if I use a little DEET. I am better able to deal with animals roaming around the camp site. Where bear canisters are not required, I place my food in an odor proof sack (O.P. Sak) which I place in my pack and use as a pillow. I use the 6.5 oz. MontBell W/.B sleeping bag cover for wind, cold or possible rain.

Another Grouse

I Hiked for a Couple of Days with My Daughter, Jessie

A Marmot


A Tricky Stream Crossing

The tricky part is to step on submerged rocks without getting your feet wet.

My Camp After Donahue Pass

The Ansel Adams Wilderness is one of the most scenic areas in the world.

A Grouse

Beautiful Thousand Island Lake

My Camp Just Past Red's Meadow

I hike until the sun just about sets, then pick out the most scenic camping spot, usually on a ridge. Without a tent, it is very easy to find a small spot to sleep. I usually carry an extra 2 liters of water for a dry camp.

Pikas Have Mickey Mouse Ears

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Granite and Pines

The scenery just keeps getting more beautiful.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

420 Miles Hiked

I am starting out for a 164 mile roadless stretch from Horseshoe Meadows to Mammoth today. I have mailed three days food to the Muir Trail Ranch. This stretch has the highest elevation and it may be the hardest section of the PCT.

Granite and Pines

Non-Venomous Snake

I left him to sun on the trail by walking around him.

Beautiful Meadow