Tag Archives: wilderness

Continental Divide Trail Gear List and Food

Just over a month to go! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Here I have compiled a list of the gear I will be taking on this trip. I have my Base weight calculated (all of your gear minus the clothes you always wear on your body and consumables such as food, water and fuel). Some items will be variable such as how many water bottles I’ll carry, depending on where I am on the trail. I’m starting with 6 just in case in the desert but will only carry 2 in Colorado and probably other northern parts of the trail.

Backpack and Water Treatment and Storage:
Pa’lante Packs Simple Pack with hipbelts about 15 oz
Sawyer squeeze 2.7 oz
6 1 liter smart water bottles 12 oz
Subtotal 29.7 oz

Sleep system:
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis tarp tent with insect netting 13 oz
6 Aluminum tent stakes 3 oz
Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 degree down quilt 19.4 oz
Gossamer gear airbeam air mattress 10 oz
Polycryo ground sheet 1.6 oz
Subtotal 47 oz

Clothing in Backpack:
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Midweight Crew undershirt 6.7 oz
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Midweight Bottoms 6.8 oz
Go lite down jacket 7.5 oz
Spare socks 3 oz
Enlightened Equipment Sidekick booties 1.5 oz
Outdoor Research Helium II ultralight rain jacket 6.4 oz
Subtotal 31.9 oz

Miscellaneous Items:
Petzl e+LITE Headlamp 1 oz
Sunglasses .7 oz
Toothbrush and toothpaste 1 oz
Compass .8 oz
Tiny Swiss Army knife .5 oz
Sunscreen 2 oz
Tenacious tape, sewing needle and dental floss .2 oz
Mosquito head net .7 oz
Swing Liteflex Silver Trekking Umbrella 8 oz
Subtotal 14.9 oz

Chargers 2 oz
Anker battery 15000 mwh 11 oz
Olloclip macro lens for IPhone .8 oz
Sony Cyber‑Shot DSC‑RX100 II 20.2 MP 9 oz
SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger 4 oz
Subtotal 26.8 oz

Total Base Weight: 150.3 oz or 9.39 lbs
All my gear outside of the pack
All gear inside the pack!

The size of the gear I carry has shrunk considerably since my southbound 2012 Appalachian Trail hike with Buzz Lightyear. I think I was lugging about 45 lbs in my 85 liter external frame pack when I started that hike. I had a machete, fishing pole, slingshot and tons of other useless shit. We had no idea what we were doing or what we had gotten ourselves into! By the time we got to Dalton, Massachusetts my pack was a 30 liter day hiking backpack that weighed about 25 lbs fully loaded (thanks to Tom Levardi for taking us to an outfitter)!

atA happy fool

I am one of those manics that never cooks on trail, I’m way too lazy to want to lug around extra water for cooking, then have to set up a stove, boil things and then clean out pots covered in gunk. I’ll just get warm food when I get to town in a few days. It just makes it that much better! The plus sides of this is I don’t have to worry about refueling, carrying a stove, fuel, pots/cups, or even utensils. No chores or wait time in the morning or at night and I don’t send up a beacon of scent to all the animals in the forest. “If you don’t cook then what the hell do you eat?” I eat whatever sounds tasty at that moment. I have no meals planned out, just a big bag filled with all my food. When I wake up I might eat some carnation breakfast essentials, granola bars, fruit and nuts. In the afternoon maybe chocolate, nuts, fruit, jerky, granola bars, and then the same for the evening.

I bought food enough for 9 boxes to be sent to locations along the CDT where there is either no resupply at all or very meager choices (a gas station for example). That being said, I have stuck to a lot of my usual favorites again like various granola bars, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, jerky, candy, dried fruit, as well as lots of freeze dried fruit this time around. I found a company that sells freeze dried fruit in bulk for very cheap by accident a few months back. Its called Emergency Essentials and it is really more geared towards filling up your nuclear bunker than for hiking, but the freeze dried products are useful just the same. I have tons of freeze dried strawberries, peaches, raspberries and cinnamon apples. They weigh almost nothing but do take up a good amount of space. And don’t worry about not using them for awhile because as the bottom of one of the cans read, “best if used before May 2039.”

One of the items that I’m super excited for this time around are a variety of Salazon chocolate bars. They were created by a thru hiker and all have salt in them. The idea was that tasty chocolate could also be salted to help keep a hiker’s electrolyte levels up while at the same time eating one of  a hungry hiker’s favorite foods. They taste so freaking good.

I’ve also got a new camera this time around. Its the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 ii which is the camera Twinkle Toes and Bigfoot use on their adventures. I’ve played around with it a little bit and am stoked to use it on trail.

Less than a month to go! I can’t wait to meet other hikers and get back to doing what feels so right. Walking slowly across the varied surface of a planet and observing the other organisms that we inhabit this rock with.

Bark Beetle Hunt in the Core Arboretum Turns Up Many Neat Critters!

While collecting the bark and ambrosia beetle traps that were set up in the arboretum I noticed lots of insect activity everywhere. It had just rained all night and morning, but it was warm and the sun was now peaking out. I’ve found that this is a great time to look for all sorts of critters. Amphibians start walking around, box turtles, snakes and especially the insects. They sit on leaves in patches of sun that makes it to the undergrowth. I took note of two logs in particular because they were both recently dead beech logs and I checked them out for ambrosia beetle activity. Ambrosia beetles are small, wood boring beetles that make little galleries inside trees where they raise a brood in chambers. Each chamber has a larvae that feeds on the fungal symbiont that the mother introduced into the wood. The mother often times even guards the entry hole into the log!  

A small round hole in the bark where the female bored into the bark. 

  With the bark removed we can see this is an ambrosia beetle because it continues its bore hole right into the wood. A bark beetle would bore a hole through the bark and then make the squiggly lines you see in a barkless log.It takes some digging o find the brood chambers!   My professor was able to get this beautiful chip out with some nice brood chambers coming off the main tunnel. There are even 2 pupae still in it! 

  Ambrosia beetle larva Ambrosia beetle pupa

The first log had few signs of ambrosia beetles but it did have many other insects all over it and under its bark. Several ichneumon wasps were probing the wood with their huge ovipositors. Under the loose bark I found lots of Silvanidae beetles which feed in fungi. I also found some darkling beetles and a nice sized pseudoscorpion! 

The second log, which was really a whole mature beech tree that had snapped about 10 feet up and then was held up by neighboring trees was ambrosia beetle heaven. All kinds of beetle heaven really. More Silvanidae, rove beetles, lots of buprestidae exit holes and even larvae after I pulled back some bark. Ichneumon wasps also took quite an interest in this log too and I even saw two wasps with pseudoscorpions clamped to their legs! I’ve read about this but never seen it! A good way to move from log to log I guess. Anyway this log was filled with ambrosia beetle holes so I came back after my lab work was done and chiseled out some ambrosia beetles. I was able to extract many adults from several species that I have yet to identify. Also when I came back to this log I found the king of click beetles. The Eastern Eyed Click Beetle! Its HUGE (for a click beetle.) It must be one of the largest beetles around. About as wide as your finger and about 2 inches long and the coloration is just brilliant. A piece of art that grows in wood, feeding on Cerambycidae larvae.  

  Eyed Click Beetle!   Pretty big! 

Now here’s something new to me. Poison ivy being infected by a rust fungus! It’s called Pileolaria brevipes. There is hardly any information on it more than I could tell just by looking at it so I went ahead and collected it. 


The fungus has deformed and enlarged the stem and it is releasing tons of brown spores. Back at the lab I put it under the microscope and snapped a picture of the spores. Even poison ivy gets lesions. Pretty neat! 

   A Pileated Woodpecker is always a cool thing to see!  

    Raindrops in the sunshine of a sugar maple leaf.
    Pleasing Fungus Beetle!  Six Spotted Tiger Beetle  Now this guy is cool!   Chillen yo.  Until next time!