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Yearning for adventure and beauty, longing for moment of peace, hoping for a breath of fresh air.
Announcing our 2020 Photography calendars, with stunning photos telling of these incredible precious and fragile places we call the wilderness of the West.
Last weekend we hiked 25+ miles from Staircase in the Olympic National Park via Flapjack Lakes to Gladys Divide. From there we summited Mt. Gladys and went further. Traversed off trail, bushwhacking to Black and White Lakes and back to Staircase in under 8 hrs.
This is the gear that got me there and back.
I have a nutrition pack and probably should use my bladder more, would make sense, right? I’m nostalgic, though. I have used SIGG water bottles all my life, I once sold them in my shop a long time ago and I still love the taste of water in metal bottles way more than out of plastic canisters. On hikes, I normally bring two one-liter bottles with me, filling one with water, and the other with an electrolyte mix. I am considering bringing one more on longer hikes. They do the job.
(Update: Was trying to find a place where you can buy the bottles online, but it looks like SIGG completely dropped the U.S. market, bummer.)
I am still using, and still satisfied with the shoes I was given for volunteering at the Reinhold Messner event in Seattle earlier in the year. Yes, those shoes are still not boots, but they still serve me well. Yes, they got wet this time, even with Gore Tex, but we hiked through sections of rain water soaked trees and brushes. The shoes took a beating. All of us got completely soaked, but I never felt uncomfortable in those shoes, and certainly didn’t complain after having watched MERU a couple of weeks ago and learned what trench foot is. Shudder.
Poles are absolutely essential on trips like these, they really are. And although those poles brought me up there and back, I can’t stand them. The inner vibration of the complicated mechanism that extends them and the wrist loops are over-designed, I can never tell if I am using them correctly. Here is my full takedown.
I never in my life really had good clothing for outdoor trips. I always got away with simple pants, a t-shirt, a sweater of sorts and a rain coat. Last year I bought a down jacket and contemplated bringing it on trips like these. “It’s too nice”, I tell myself. I should be wearing it to work, rather then out on the trail. Boy, am I happy to have this thing with me. It’s super light, packs small and keeps me warm. It’s a light down coat, so it won’t work throughout the Winter, but right now in this temperature, a coat like this is perfect. Right now, you’re still getting completely soaked from sweat on the trail, especially if you hike at the speed we did, but then the wind picks up and the chill hits your bones and you need to act and get yourself warm.
I want 5 of these. I sweat profusely all the damn time and hate when you take off your backpack and your back is completely soaked. Check that, it’s even worse when you have to put that pack back on your back. To combat this terribleness, I started taking lots of shirts with me. Wear one, sweat through one, take it off, replace it with a new one and let the other one dry. During the Summer that’s easy, just drop the wet shirt on a warm rock in the sun and the fast drying material dries the shirt in minutes. Not completely dry, but enough to put it back on. When it’s colder and wet outside you can’t do anything to dry a shirt. You just need to replace it with a dry one and soldier on. Bring a plastic bag to keep the rest of your stuff in your backpack to get wet from your collection of wet shirts you are accumulating.
If you’re hiking on well-marked trails, the features of Topo Maps+ can feel a bit overkill. You know where you’re going, you don’t need to check the GPS on your phone every 5 minutes. It can be fun with the kids and I talked about this at length here, but on this trip we went off trail, bushwhacking a route across several ridges in low visibility. I downloaded the high res map tiles before heading out. At all times, the GPS tracked us accurately. We trusted the app to guide us along the right topo lines to circumvent steep drop offs and we reached the trail exactly where we wanted to. If you’re using the app constantly like we did for 2+ hours, the battery suffers, so be mindful of that when you’re relying on the phone to keep you safe in the backcountry.
On long hiking/trail running trips, you need the right fuel to keep you going. Good food is great, but sometimes what sounds good in your kitchen doesn’t really cut it on the trail. Especially when you’re pressed on time and you’re trying to cover miles. For those days, you need food that works like fuel. Easy to chew, easy to digest. You can feel the nutrients immediately hitting your blood stream. The Cliff Shot Bloks are perfect gummys for this occasion. You can overdo it on these though, and you stomach will hate you for a bit. So take them with measure.
I never leave the house anymore without a zip lock bag of the most delicious mix of salt and sweet.
Think I need to bring something else? Tell me what you usually bring on your hikes on Twitter.