Tag Archives: thruhike

Day 13. Beauty abounds.


Frenchman creek to county road 343 
16.1 miles 

Since we have no need to hurry we sleep in. Hit the trail around 7. It’s a nice sunny morning hike as we walk past some lakes and get views of a nearby valley which has smoke floating in it. Must be some forest fires nearby. We’ve heard about some on the news but can’t remember where they are. 

Gotta love the still water’s reflections

Distant forest fire smoke hangs in the valley

We make it to a creek and have second breakfast there. Two other hikers with ultralight packs are also eating there. The girls go ahead while I continue to eat and filter water. I make a mix is crystal light and maltodextrin for the hike up the hill. Maltodextrin is a high calorie carbohydrate that is easily processed in your body to energy and can be drank on the go with no need to stop for food. It’s a 2500 foot climb up the hill and very steep. The sun is blazing and it makes for a challenging hike. I put on my music and smash up the hill as fast as I can for awhile just to see what I can do. I keep a fast pace for a mile or so until I pass the girls and then it’s just too hard to catch my breath and I slow down for the rest of the climb. Feels good to really push yourself sometimes. You get an exercise high. I listen to Disney songs until the top. 

Bird of prey apparently are attacking people here.

Right where I belong

A metallic wood borer. Buprestidae family.

I wait up top until rapunzle shows up. She points out that there is a trail to a nearby bald so we drop packs and hike up it. There is a panoramic view of mountains all around. Mt. Yale is nearby and other distant 14ers are visible. We can also see several forest fires in the distance. We check the news and it looks like the fires aren’t too close to the trail. We hike back to our packs but don’t see Leah or Blistfull. Another hiker says the rushed on by.

Coming up the bald with Mt. Yale in the back.


It’s more than a 3000 foot descent to a creek where we run into Leah and Blistfull who had thought we were in front of them so they were rushing to catch us as we were rushing to catch them! They didn’t see our packs in the shade. Oh well! We eat lunch and fill up on water and then walk an easy 3 miles to an awesome campsite near cottonwood creek around 3:30. We all jump in the icy water and cool off. It is still hot out so we warm up fast. We eat dinner and all get very drowsy and want to sleep even though it was a short day and only 4:30. We lounge around staring off into space and watching ants take away the flies we kill. There is a huge ant mound in our camp and all dead flies and crumbs end up in the mouths of the workers. 

In the evening Leah’s friend Ed shows up to help her get new shoes and surprised us with a watermelon as trail magic! We feast on it. It’s so fresh. Soon he starts cooking his dinner on a big pot on an old school MSR white gas stove. Pizza is his dinner. He lubes up a pot with olive oil, puts in some dough he made and cooks it. Then he adds pizza sauce, tons of cheese, and pepperoni. It smells so good. Then he makes another one for us! It’s doughy, melty and absolutely delicious. Some serious trail magic! We hit the hay soon after our treat. 

Down down down

Leah with the honor of cutting the watermelon. 

Day 12. Collegiate East.


21.9 miles 

Twin lakes dam to Frenchman creek

We woke up from the cabin, ate oatmeal for breakfast and then the lady at the cabin drove us to the trail. The morning was warm and breezy. It’s fun hiking with new people and the ladies are a high energy, fun loving group. We hike until we reach the CDT/ CT branch point in the trail for the collegiate west and east routes. I decided to do the east route because my knee is still tender and if I need to get off trail there are many outs. Also if I do the CDT next year I’ll do the collegiate west route anyway. Mush decides to take the west route, while Rapunzle, Leah, Blistfull and I take the east route. We say bye and I think they’re going to meet back up in Salida. 

Sara (Blistfull), Rapunzle and Mush

Ohhh! A yummy bolete!

Never mind…..

Cool longhorn beetle

Rapunzle on the dry side of the mountain

Sego lily! 

The hike in the morning is in a pretty dry, sagebrushy area with cacti and yucca showing their faces on the decent towards clear creek. The air is hot and the sky is blue. We make it to clear creek which is a beautiful, crystal clear and fairly large creek and take a lunch break. 

Monument Plant

Bristlecone Pine

Then it’s a steep 4.5 mile climb up to the top of a ridge. My knee is hurting but not in the same place as before and not as painful as before. We take another break up top and look at the nice views. Then it’s back down 1000 feet and back up 1000 feet to the top of a second ridge where there are some bristlecone pines growing in the breezy open areas. Bristlecone pines as you may know are the oldest living non-clonal organisms on earth. Some trees in California are more than 6000 years old. There were still mammoths alive and walking around back then. 

I meet a hiker named Chelsea who looks like the classic hippy. She’s got dreads, piercings, and a chill happy go lucky attitude and rocking and old school military style external frame pack. She’s waking the trail after coming from the PCT where the snow in Washington was too deep to do anything. Since she had no maps she decided to hike northbound that way she runs into lots of hikers so she can ask where to find water, trailheads, etc. Whatever works! 

Great wildflowers were abundant much of the evening. Here are a couple of the lookers.

Whipple’s Penstemon

Silky Phacelia

We make it to the creek we wanted to camp by only to find no place to camp so we continued on another 2 miles to Frenchman creek where there is plenty of rushing water and campsites where 4 other hikers are already set up. We eat dinner together, chat and I help Rapunzle patch a hole in her sleeping pad. It worked! We snuggle in our shelters away from the abundant mosquitos and hit the hay.

Day 11. Going With the Flow.


Miles: 0
Vail to twin lakes

We all wake up around the same time and talk about who’s going where. I’m still undecided if I want to go to Utah with Handy Andy, south with Snorkel and Bigfoot or back to Golden with Chance and John Z. I also check the rideshare section of craigslist to see if I can grab a ride west to any interesting destinations like Yellowstone, Bend, Oregon, California, Idaho or wherever. All leads in this department lead to a dead end except for a guy offering to take me west through Salt Lake City but he wants to stay there a few days. I look his number up on Facebook and find him. Looks like it could be sketchy so I pass. 

I finally decided to head to Twin Lakes which was in the direction Snorkel and Bigfoot are heading and they offer me a ride. I give them my wedding clothes and my 2 lbs camera that I haven’t really used much to mail home. They drop me at the store in Twin Lakes where a bunch of other hikers are sorting through resupplies and hanging out. As I pack my food away I meet 4 girls named Mush, Rapunzle, Blistfull and Leah. We talk about how awesome the hiker box is in the convince store. I grabbed a bag of walnuts and macadamia nuts, Nutella packets, coffee packets and some high quality toilet paper. The ladies made off even better with good jerky among other goodies. They say they’re heading to a cabin they rented a few miles up the road and said you can come if you want. I figured one more day off couldn’t hurt, I’ve got time to kill and friends to make! The cabin owner shows up and we pile into the back of his pickup. A short ride up the winding mountain road and we reach the place. We’re staying in a building called the “Barn.” 

The place is amazing. The “barn” is a sweet cabin with a full kitchen, 4 beds, a futon and wifi. Outside is a hot tub, and 50 feet away is an icy mountain stream with a cobblestone beach and fantastic views. We get settled in the place and watch the hoards of hummingbirds fight over the feeders. Then we check out the stream. I hop in to get a bit of a refresher. It is freezing cold but the sun is so hot it doesn’t take long to dry and warm up. 

Not a bad view from our cabin!

Dwarf Fireweed along the icy stream

We roast some marshmallows over the stove just for fun and then have a feast of a dinner with our extra meals and some eggs and bacon the girls bought at the store. I throw in my two packs of olives and a big summer sausage. It’s a scrambled omelette, hash browns, bacon, couscous and rice dinner. We gorge on the food and pretty much eat all of it. Then we hang out and digest. Leah is doing some crazy yoga like stretches and I try to do the same with pretty good results! The flexibility comes in handy again. 

We get sleepy before dark and I lay on the futon making a video on my phone for Twinkle and our buddies to have a good laugh. 

Day 10. Twinkle and Grace’s wedding.


Miles: 0

Another morning of sleepy, hungover people wandering downstairs, except this time Nathan, one of Twinkle’s good buddies has a bag full of Mcmuffins and hash browns from McDonald’s! Good man! We eat these and lounge around. It’s fun meeting and talking to hikers you have heard about but haven’t met. It was fun to get to know Snorkel and John Z more after having heard their names in stories and YouTube videos. Then it’s back by the lake to play some more frisbee and watch Twinkle fly his drone. It is so cool to watch this little machine hover and fly around. It’s linked to his iPhone where he can snap photos and videos and see a live feed of what the drone sees. It soars into the sky and we see ourselves shrink to little specks on the screen of his phone. He’s going to have his friend video his wedding with it and another drone for some unique wedding shots. 
We carpool to the location of the wedding which is at a ranch in a national forest. The roads to get there are some very rough gravel but the journey is worth it because the location of the venue is right on a mountain lake looking out to some Rocky Mountain peaks. What a place to have a wedding. 

I fiddle around, chatting to other wedding guests as more trickle in. Soon the hors d’oeuvres are coming around. Chips and salsa galore, cookies and best of all, macaroni and cheese baked in a tiny cast iron skillet. Everyone pockets the little skillet for reasons we can’t really explain other than it being a tiny cast iron skillet. It isn’t practical to cook any amount of food except maybe one egg, it weighs almost half a pound, but we are all certain that we want this thing. 

We gathered around a viewpoint of the beautiful scenery where there were benches set for the wedding. Teresa Martinez, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition director was the MC. The vows are so sweet many people start tearing up. I hold back the tears as well. These two are clearly perfect for each other. 

The newlyweds first dance. 

As dinner starts its open bar and we indulge and feast. After dinner it’s dance time and we all are in the mood for dancing. I feel so free in my group of people. The songs switch from slow dances to Ke$ha and back. A bit of a dance off circle forms and I just have to do the leg behind the head and dance around trick. Two hiker weddings I’ve performed flexibility tricks at! I’m available people. Handy Andy is dancing with that perfect hair flipping around, Chance and John Z are hiker dancing. After an hour or two of dancing, which seems way to short because it was so fun, the party shuts down and we head back to the bachelor pad. 

Kicking myself in the head at Dirtmonger and Bearclaw’s wedding.

Leg behind the head at Twinkle’s wedding.

The hikers! From top left to right: Bigfoot, Chance, Handy Andy, Grace, Twinkle, Scudz, Dustin. Bottom left to right: Badger, John Zahorian, Guthrie, Snorkel and Sheriff Woody. 

Day 9. A True Zero. 

Miles: 0
We all seem to wake up on our own and make our way downstairs where there are ultralight sleeping pads all over the floor. When backpackers unite there is always gear talk and trail stories. I enjoy this so much. It’s like I’m really in my zone, where I know what’s going on. A bunch of us walk over to a nearby lake and play ultimate frisbee and toss a football around for an hour or so and the play sand volleyball with some other people. Volleyball is my favorite sport to play. I love launching myself and smacking balls. 

There is a horrifying mounted deer head in the house. 

In the afternoon we all pile into cars and head over to the wedding rehearsal which is also accompanied by a fantastic dinner and drinks. We gorge on tacos, cake and margaritas. I do some of my flexibility tricks for friends who remembered me doing them on the trail as a gag and a bunch of kids are fascinated and try to mimic my moves with little luck. After dinner, Chance, Bigfoot, Snorkel, John Z and I try to squeeze in a short hike in the sagebrush covered hills near Vail. We run up a steep and dusty hill until we get a view. The cool desert air and smells of sagebrush makes me extremely nostalgic for the PCT desert. I loved the desert. I loved every bit of the PCT. 

Chance enjoying a margarita

Back at the house we play some games and drink some beer until we’re too tired to do so. Things get a little wild. Chance and I watch John Z preparing his pack that Handy Andy built for a fastest known time (FKT) attempt on the Colorado Trail. He is unrolling fruit roll ups, taking the plastic off, then rerolling them and stacking them neatly in a ziplock bag. It looks like several pounds of fruit roll ups. He’s also hiking the trail unsupported, which means he is carrying with him all the food he will eat for the entire 485 mile hike, never going into towns or resupplying at all. He needs to finish the trail in under 10 days, in other words, he has to average about 50 miles a day… 
Twinkle twerkin

Not real sure what’s going on right here

Day 5. 4th of July

Miles: 5.1

Total: 109.2 

We woke up and lounged around all morning. We watched Independence Day, and I always forget how much I like the bizarre plot of the movie. We heard that there is a parade though Frisco starting sometime around noon. We decided to go to The supermarket to resupply and I bought a knee brace. The store was weird in that they didn’t sell any produce at all. Sad but oh well. Then we walked across the street to the Native Roots Colorado store where they sell cannabis. I had to check it out! The store was pretty cool, it had a room where medical cannabis is sold and a room for recreational products in every and all configurations. Bud, edibles, tinctures, patches, dabs, shatter, salves. You name it, it was there! You stand in line and wait until a salesperson can give you their undivided attention at a specific booth. I asked all kinds of questions about different strains and what they do. I talked about how I was doing the Colorado Trail but my knee kept hurting and the guy said oh man you should get a salve! It’s a THC and CBD in mixture of coconut, avocado and a bunch of other oils. It was cheap and I have nothing to lose! We took the free bus back to Frisco and hopped off right into a Fourth of July parade. We gotta stay for this! Floats go by and throw candy and Popsicles at us. A red bull girl gives us some sample tangerine red bulls. People on some of the floats scream, “Love the shorts man!” at me and toss me candy. 

We see what looks like a garage sale with a bunch of crappy junk out on a table when a guy comes out and says see anything you like? Only somewhat interesting this is a large burl cut from a tree but clearly we aren’t buying that. That’s when another guy that’s clearly drunk comes out and starts talking to the three of us. He glances over at me, looks at my American flag shorts and tells me, “You’re a fucking homo.” His teeth are rotting and he starts yelling about how he’s getting “fucked up in there.” His friend tells him to please go back inside. Then he asks Gordon and Christian if they are cops and sticks his dirty finger into Gordon’s nose. Then he does the same to Christian. I dodge his attempt to do the same to me. Finally he says, “Okay you guys smoke right? Well here I’ve got these” as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pill bottle, trying to keep it hidden in the crowd of people. “These are marijuana pills, they’ll fuck you up. Just asking $20 a pill.” The pills were clearly some kind of prescription drug, not weed pills. No thanks. As we walk away Gordon says, “I’m pretty sure we just met the biggest asshole in Colorado.” We walk around the festivities and fill up our water bottles from a spigot on the back of a gas station before getting on the bus back to our trailhead. 

We only hike out about 5 miles up and out of the Breckenridge/ Frisco area. We find a sweet campsite with just enough space for our tents next to a. Old stream that has a beautiful primrose plant blooming in it. We make a fire and hang out until it’s dark. 

Day 3. 

Miles: 26.9

Total: 81.9

Last night was one of the eeriest nights I’ve ever experienced. Though it started to rain at dusk, it stopped after an hour or so. I slept until I woke up at almost exactly midnight to darkness and total and absolute silence. Not an insect, a drip or breeze. There was no sign of anything being in existence beyond my shelter. I don’t think I have ever encountered absolute silence. The loudest thing I could hear was my own heartbeat and it sounded so loud that I thought it was footsteps of an animal outside my shelter. But when I held my hand over my heart, each “footstep” corresponded with beat. I began to psych myself out. I was convinced that there was something walking around out there. In reality I think it was my heart beating which made my jacket brush ever so slightly against my quilt, making a “footstep” sound in constant intervals. Anyways I ended up staying awake for 2 more hours until I drifted back to sleep. 

I woke up and was ready to go at about 6 am. Just then it began to rain again 😩. Cody said he was going to stay and watch Dragon Ball Z on his phone until the rain stopped. The morning hike went by quickly and the weather began to turn for the better. The sun came out several times and was warm enough for the insects to become active. I found a cool blister beetle eating some flower petals. A small storm came through just before I reached Kenosha pass. I waited it out under a tree. Soon after, it became warm and sunny and views of the valley and distant mountains were epic. I saw a grouse from afar and approached it to see if I could get a good photo. The bird let me walk to about 5 feet from it and it just clucked like a chicken and puffed up. At one point it spread its wings and jumped at me while making a whoosh noise and startled me as it no doubt intended. The it went back to eating grass seeds and flowers. 

At Kenosha pass I took everything out of my pack to dry and while doing this and eating a man came up and talked trail with me. His whole family was doing a section of the trail over the next few days. He gave me some extra food and soon after that a lady came and chatted with me as well. She ended up giving me water, food and taking my trash! What a spot for trail magic! Thank you!!! With my spirits lifted I headed out to the south. After a short climb the mountain views became astounding. I listened to my favorite songs while gazing out across plains and mountain ranges still ornamented with snow.
Hiker “yard sale” where I dry out my gear 

It got cloudy and cool just before I began a large climb up to Georgia Pass. I thought I may be able to get up and over the pass today if the weather cooperated. As I filled up on water at a creek I began to feel a gloom in the forest. Cool, moist and lonely. I started the climb and my right knee began to hurt. I took some ibuprofen and kept on going up. A few miles from the top, sure enough a storm rolled in and dumped rain for 45 minutes or so, giving way to a steady, soaking rain for another 3 hours. I felt uneasy about camping alone in this gloomy forest, all my gear soaked and body chilled. I made it to a campsite area 2 miles from the top of the pass where two other hikers were already set up in their tents. I asked to join them and set up my tent swiftly. I meticulously arranged everything in my tent the way I wanted because it was only 6 pm and now I had nothing to do. I played on my phone, listened to music and then passed out around 7 pm. 

I managed to zip my hair into the zipper somehow.

About how I feel. Happy and broken finally warm and dry

Day 2.

Miles: 27.7
Total: 55.0

It rained steadily from 9 pm until 3 am keeping me awake for long periods of the night. Even though my shelter shed the rain perfectly, so much condensation built up inside it dripped cold water on my face all night and my down quilt got damp. I stayed very warm however. After 3 am, I slept great until I woke up as it got light out around 5 am. My shelter was saturated inside and out and my quilt was damp. The morning sky was half blue, half clouds. I was hopeful for a sunny day. Jess was still sleeping and I didn’t want to wake her so I trekked on.

The morning walk was rather pretty as the ground was still saturated even though clearly drought adapted plants grew everywhere. Light beams from the sun made cool patches of lit up fog. The abnormally wet weather led to interesting mushrooms popping up in the forest. I passed probably a dozen tents set up just past where we slept. Around noon I made it to a creek where many other hikers were filling up on water and eating lunch. As I joined them the sun came out for almost an hour, just long enough to dry all my gear out! Just after my lunch break a storm brewed and I got to use my umbrella for the first time! It worked fantastic. It kept my body completely dry from the waist up. It also covered the top part of my backpack. The storm only lasted about 20 minutes and then it was sunny. I can get used to that! 

The trail then climbed gradually up a mountain. Along the way I stopped again for a snack near a creek with some other hikers. Just after I arrived another storm rolled in and it began pouring down rain. Luckily I was sitting beneath a big pine tree that had a dry spot underneath it and I avoided getting wet at all even without the umbrella. I waited out this storm which also lasted about 20 minutes and then it was sunny again. The rest of the climb to the top of the mountain was steep and soggy. Cool plants grew up there. I saw bunchberry, twinflower and my first Calypso orchids! Unfortunately they were past bloom. I reached the top of the climb at 10,600 feet without too much trouble. I definitely noticed it was harder to catch my breath on the way up but other than that no problems. Some miles after that the trail opened up into a beautiful meadow with all kinds of neat wildflowers. I stopped to get some more water and have another snack when the third storm came in. This one only lasted about 15 minutes and then it got sunny again. The rest of the walk was in a high altitude meadow and was easy hiking. I met a thru hiker named Cody who was looking for some water and then the two of us started walking together. He was going to stay at a campsite noted in our guthook app. 

Three different orchids!

TwinflowerShooting Stars!
We decided to camp there together. Cody makes his own ultralight gear and has a cool shelter he stitched himself as well as a small backpack. We set up came and ate lots of food while chatting about hiking. There’s some mosquitos here but not bad enough to wear deet. Were camped at 11,000 feet so it may get chilly tonight! As I climbed into my shelter it has begun to rain again… Looks like I’m in for another damp night.

Day 1. Views from the Start

Day 1Miles: 27.3

Total: 27.3

Nathan dropped me off at Waterton Canyon trailhead around 7 a.m. There were three other thru hikers starting just then as well. The first 6 miles of the trail are on a gravel road up a canyon and apparently bighorn sheep are commonly seen there, unfortunately I didn’t see any. The road walk was pretty rough on my legs as the hard flat surface has no give. The views of the canyon walls kept me happy though. There were also some cool windflowers like showy milkweed in bloom.

Near the end of the roadwalk one of the hikers, a girl named Jess, from this morning caught up with me and we started talking and hiking together on and off during the morning. Talked about gear, jobs, past hikes and adventures. We leapfrogged much of the morning. 

After the road became a single track hiking trail I ran into a girl named Jasmine who was on her first big hike ever. Seemed like she was having a rough start but she was in good spirits and we ate lunch together. 

Just after that I ran into Olivia, a girl who grew up in Kenya and then moved to the states. She was a very cheery hiker and liked to point out animal tracks and marvel at the wildflowers. The two of us hiked together and had the usual hiker talks until we met Jess tending her feet. After a break with some nice views the three of us hiked together for much of the afternoon and evening. It rained a little bit during the afternoon but became hot and sunny in the evening. We walked through a large old burn zone which provided tons of 360 views of lush grass with boulders and wildflowers mixed in. There was Colorado Columbine, some beautiful milkweed unknown to me, and a variety of desert/ arid loving plants. After about 20 miles Olivia decided to call it a day and set up camp. Jess and I continued on as we are both of tight schedules.

We saw a spider wasp swoop in on a huge spider and start stinging it and paralyzing it. The wasp will then drag the poor spider to a burrow where and egg will be laid inside it. The larva will hatch and eat the spider alive from the inside out. Damn nature, you cruel.

Near the end of the day we were both bonking and struggled to get in our last miles to a water spigot on a fire station. Along the way we were treated to a partial rainbow however. After we filled up on water we walked another half mile to a flat area near the trail and set up camp and ate dinner. It’s starting to rain a little now. We can see the big mountains we will climb tomorrow just a few miles away shrouded in clouds. Knees are very tired but everything else feels good. How about some sun tomorrow?!

Colorado Trail Thru Hike Gear List

It’s almost time for my next thru hike and I’m getting so antsy and excited I have to post something, so I’ll do a rundown of my gear list for this trail. The Colorado Trail is a 485 mile long trail from Denver to Durango, CO and has an average elevation of over 10,000 feet. This makes the trail unique among the long trails in America in that it is almost always in high mountains where environmental conditions change quickly and thunderstorms roll in like clockwork in the afternoon. The temperatures on this trail will obviously be much colder than a lower elevation hike. Even though it will be July for most of my trip, freezing temps can still occur and chilling wind and rain are always a threat. The high elevations also means there is less oxygen to breathe and I’ll need to adapt in the first few days to this difference. I also only have 21 days to hike it so I need to have a light load and walk at a fast pace to get to Durango in time get back to Denver and fly home!

Much of the gear I’m using is the same as my Arizona Trail thru hike and some of the gear is the same as my Pacific Crest Trail thru, but I also like to try out new gear to see how I like it and if it can become part of my backpacking staples. Some of the new items I’m using include a down quilt, a new air mattress, and a chrome dome umbrella.
Here is my gear list. I’ll go into detail about some items below.

Backpack and Water Treatment and Storage:
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack 28 oz
Sawyer squeeze mini 1.7 oz
2 1 liter smart water bottles 4 oz
Subtotal 33.7 oz

Sleep system
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis tarp tent with insect netting 13 oz
6 Aluminum tent stakes 3 oz
Gossamer gear airbeam air mattress 10 oz
Gossamer Gear 1/8 inch thin lite foam pad 2.5 oz
Polycryo ground sheet 1.6 oz
Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 degree down quilt 19.4 oz

Subtotal 49.5 oz

Clothing in Backpack
Undershirt 7.2 oz
Long johns 6.9 oz
Go lite down jacket 7.5 oz
Spare socks 3 oz

Subtotal 24.6 oz

Miscellaneous Items
Head light with batteries 2.8 oz
Sunglasses .7 oz
Small bic lighter .4 oz
Mosquito head net .7 oz
Toothbrush and toothpaste 1 oz
Emergency Poncho .5 0z
Swing Liteflex Silver Trekking Umbrella 8 oz

Subtotal 14.1 oz 

Chargers 2 oz
Anker battery 15000 mwh 11 oz
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Camera, Raynox DCR 250 Macro lens, case, battery and charger 30 oz

Subtotal 43 oz

Total Base Weight
164.9 oz or 10.3 lbs

Pack with all the gear laid out!

It all comfortably fits in the pack with plenty of room to spare for food.

This time around I decided to switch to using a down quilt after I have seen many of my friends use them and be very happy with their performance. It weighs significantly less and is much more compressible than my 15 degree sleeping bag I used on the Arizona Trail.

I’ve also swapped out a rain jacket for an umbrella mostly to see if it will really work. I have back up poncho in case it turns out to be a miserable failure. Why an umbrella? Well it weighs in at just under 8 oz, so it weighs less than my current rain jacket and does the same job. It also has many other benefits such as protection from the sun, being able to use a smartphone or camera in the rain, and being dry while at the same time ventilated, meaning not sweating to death while hiking in the rain as you would in a rain jacket.

I’m also moving back to an inflatable air mattress after using a z lite foam pad on the Arizona Trail. I found it to be much less comfortable and it did eventually get smashed down and lose some insulating power. I also will be around a lot less cacti and other spiny plants which pose a threat to the air mattress. I plan on using a plastic groundsheet when the ground is moist in concert with the 1/8 inch foam pad and gossamer gear air beam to keep warm in any condition.

I’m also once again hiking in Brooks Cascadia trail runners. This time its the model 11. We will see if they can live up to their 8 predecessor after the 10s fell apart in days.