My workbench

My workbench

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More of the gear talk

I'm now looking at the MLD Trailstar tarp. at $150, it doesn't break the bank (well, relatively speaking), and the hex design with a single pole seems like it should be pretty bomber where it counts. I'd also pick up a set of Carbon Fiber poles, as I still have a disdain for trekking poles, and am still wondering about some form of bug protection.

Anyone have any thoughts? It's big enough for at least two people, possibly more. Trailstar, with a polyCro groundcloth (from GossamerGear), and the six aluminum Y-stakes which I already own...sounds like a winning combination, at approx 20 ounces!

I can't think of any concerns, but if I do, I'm sure you'll read about them.

OH, I also received my ULA Conduit and RainWrap ( 19Oz, including the hip pockets, and it's SOLID. The fabric is nice, and I think I am going to keep it frameless. I have also been thinking about my ground pad, as I am considering using a closed-cell Zrest instead of a ProLite (inflatable) as I had planned. I am still tossing back the pros and cons, but I ama bit worried about the possibility of needing a thousand patches. Then again, what is a good night's sleep REALLY worth?

Screw it, I'm going with the ProLite Short. 11oz, rolls to the side of a Pringles can, and still rocks an R=2.2 (insulation value).

So...I still need:

Bear canister
...Make my stove
Ti or Al cup

OH, and I misplaced my Ti Spork! The awesome folding one which Steve gave me. I'm going to absolutely SCOUR my room looking for it, because I LOVE that thing! I will be hellawicked dissapointed if someone ganked it!

That is all for now. Return to your normal lives.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Accidents, Intentions, Longing and Anticipitation.

I wrecked while riding my board a few days ago. I knocked the wind out of myself, flipped on to, over, onto, and over again; glad to be wearing a helmet. I checked myself for anything broken, both with the spot-check and tuning-fork methods, both came back negative (though the fork hella tickles). So I'm left with some internal bruising (kidney maybe?) on my right side, prohibiting anything more than light riding (no pull-ups, pushups, carrying of heavy packs, climbing, falling, etc). But it was beautiful today, I got a bit of a tan, and it's hard to believe there are less than two months left in the season.

That all being said, stationary life has become increasingly interesting. I've connected with a number of hobos from the old via phonecalls, and hearing their stories puts a lot of things into perspective for me. However, I still stand out as a somewhat clean-appearing, money-having individual. I like it that way, and do not plan on changing too radically.

Of course, I still want to leave. Simply hitching to and from Bozeman, or hitching up and down the valley makes me long for hours spent at roadsides, pondering life and where the next ride may take me. I had started at one point the long and ponderous process of writing down my entire European adventure, but I realize that there is no clear definition between the mundane and exciting. I will be summarizing things, adding detail to that which I feel is appropriate. However, it will likely not be posted here, as not *everything* was 100% appropriate. Censored, it shall appear soon enough.

I am thining and dreaming more and more about the PCT. I had forgotten that there was some footage of the NoCal section in "Into The Wild." Nikki and I were watching it [at work], and she made a comment "Is that really where you're going? That looks amazing." Gahh, I cannot wait! Gear choices are still plaguing me, though my pack, rainwrap, and BCB should be arriving in the mail this week. After having some time in my Hammock (currently strung up in my MTL room), I am rethinking my decision to return to sleeping on the ground, and instead may simply take my hammock. However, this would likely be waiting for me at the foot of the Sierras, along with my bear canister. Hammock + Desert - trekking poles = useless.

I did not realize until today that some of my foreign friends will be leaving in the next few weeks. A few just got evicted from housing for being too noisy (some of the RAs are rather strick), and they may get in trouble for showing up late for work (sucks, but rules are rules. Sometimes). I've been getting humorous messages from two friends here, as well as having cryptic conversations with a friend I met this fall. The common denominator: Yup, women. Of course.

All else aside, Life Is Good. Work is boring, but passes the time. Riding is fun, and I've got plenty of time to ponder over gear decisions. Another common thought which keeps appearing is the possible use of a tarp and separate bug bivy, for maximum flexibility. I really like tarps, but without trekking poles, they can be tricky to set up. Though I suppose if their only function is to keep me dry, I can figure something out...Still, looking@Contrail and Squall Classic. There may be others somewhere...

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Flickr post, and some good hitchin'

I've uploaded the rest of my Egypt pictures, a mere four months later. Go check them out

Yeah, that was me.

I hitched a 90-minute ride in just under 2 hours today. I'm good! And the folks out here sure are friendly...

Monday, February 9, 2009

More PCT thoughts

I called Nunatak today and ordered my BCB. They happened to have one on clearance, medium, with Epic fabric. Perfect! With those savings, I ordered an ounce of overfill, bringing the weight to 27oz, but bringing the rating to a more stable 20 degrees. So for 1 pound, 11 ounces, I've got a 20degree down quilt with a highly water-resistant finish (my old winter bivy was also made of Epic, to give an idea of how water proof it is). This should last me for MANY years.

I noticed a small tear in my Spruce Run jacket the other day. I'm not sure how easy it will be to sew it up (the shell fabric is Pertex Quantum, which is soft, light, and slippery as hell!), or possibly patch. I am going to call REI and ask their advice, and may also head into town to check out ProLiteGear (, which happens to be in Bozeman.

So here is the gear I still need to buy:

C.A.M.P. Corsa axe
Thermarest Prolite Short
GossamerGear Squall Classic ( 27oz, two-person shelter made with Spinnaker!
Pole for the Squall, along with a polycro groundsheet.
Long-sleeve shirt
new trekking pants
BV500 Bear Vault (still debating BV500 versus BV450...)

Oh, and I also ordered a new pack. ULA Conduit (, along with a rain wrap (REAL MEN WEAR SKIRTS!). I will carry the rain wrap with me the entire trek.

So in the next few weeks, I should have all of my gear here, assembled, and I can begin my training regime with my correctly proportioned pack and weights. I am resisting the urge to pick up a scale, reasoning that numbers are only important to others.

That being said, according to my approximate calculations, my base weight will hover around 13LBs, including my axe (which will double as a potty trowel...I know, gross misuse of gear!).

I have been going back and forth on resupply strategies. My food/diet should not be so much of an issue, as it seems that most of my high-calorie needs can be taken care of by common items (I need to start crunching the numbers on this stuff, but the honey/gnutella/peanutbutter/corn flour combo seems like it packs one hell of a punch. More importantly will be my bear canister (which BearVault will actually deliver to the trail at the head of the Sierras!). Actually, I think I'll likely be carrying everything else with me.

Another important question is maps. I will likely be printing out larger-than-normal scale maps to use in the socal desert sections, with the reasoning that the trail is fairly well marked. The Sierras seem to be the only spot where details maps are necessary (as well as an altimeter, as my experience in Switzerland taught me) to navigate the snowfields of the Sierras. So large-scale, 100,000:1 or so maps should be sufficient for the rest of the sections. I'll have two compasses (digital and analog), an altimeter, and no time limit. It's an adventure, after all!

I am re-evaluating my food/cooking strategy after reading some of Erik The Black's pages on nutrition. Honestly, unless I can find a lightweight method of cooking, I may forgo my pot in place of a 600ml or 900ml Ti mug. It will boil water just as well (better, most likely) than a pot, and it saves on another piece of gear which I don't need to take. Well, we shall see.

Other gear: still need to make a decision on socks (Hey, I'll be walking on them for 2600 miles!), pick out (and pick up) an umbrella, and get some polarized shades (CVS, no need to splurge). I'm actually tossing the idea of bringing my MP3 player with me, but as it stands right now, it's a horrible idea. I don't need another 4 months with the same music, and it will be nice to not worry about electronics. Maybe a harmonica....

Oh, yeah, Permits. Need to get on those. I'll be carrying my Passport and license with me as my ID, along with an ICE card (laminated). I need the PCTA thru-hiker permit, the CA fire permit, the Canadian entrance permit. I think (hope?) that's it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Enjoying Life

So, this title came to me while reading a friend's profile on Myspace. I have recently been "added" from a friend of my parents/the family. Hmm, I wonder if I should have Zee remove those pictures from Korcula...Oh well.

Snowboarding has been great. My board already has plenty of scratches, but on truly deep scars. I seem to be riding my backup without a full complement of screws...I noticed one missing on my right binding yesterday. Oops, wonder where that went?

I'm having a fun time with the internationals around. Even though I don't speak Spanish/Afrikaans/Portuguese/Hindi, we get along pretty well. It's actually mostly hte Americans around here whom bother me. Most of the seasonal workers are a bit...inbred.

But work is easy, I'm excited for a few things coming up, one of which is the Dummy Jump (Tomorrow). Jules and Travor, along with some help/direction from Courtney, assembled my "Hank The Bank" idea onto a pair of old skis/boots/bindings from Rentals. Molly and Kodi decorated Han k this afternoon while Nikki and I ran drops (Ok, we really didn't do a whole lot of work tonight). I attached Nikki's wonderfully drawn floating eyes with some picture wire, and got back to work (StP, Digihitch, facebook, fark) until we finished and bailed. Rick and Koda (the dog-like small creature which only barks at me!) showed up and entertained us with food (I had already eaten my home-made chili, but accepted the Peanut Butter M&Ms [sans salmonella] for dessert), and stories of one of fellow Northstar coaches and the extremely responsible Snowsport Instructors (Side note: I ran into Claire tonight. She seemed to be having fun); I need to check out the Family Fun Park one of these nights.

Ran into Sophia M on the way home from work, chatted, had a Guiness at home, headed to the Black Bear (AKA the Black Hole, Black-out-Bear, The Taker of Souls, etc.) and hung out with some friends. Actually, the place was packed, even ran into one of my co-workers there.

And, here I am. Relaxing, and drifting off to sleep rapidly.

Oh, and I'm buying a ULA Conduit pack. That'll bring my base weight down to 13 pounds (Conservatively). I'm thrilled, and need to start spending some cash.