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  1. Aaron Zagrodnick

    Aaron Zagrodnick

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    toejam

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    John B

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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/24/2015 in Posts

  1. It's kind of an interesting line of questioning to ask if something is necessary. You don't "need" a backpack. You can easily fold a tarp up into a pouch to hold all your gear and hang it from a sling. But not many people would make an argument not to use a backpack, despite the significant expense. Continuing the thought process, you don't need a tent, a tarp is just fine. You don't need a cook kit or water filtration, as you can cook on a fire or boil water to drink. Bottom line, most things in this hobby are optional. We choose to use things that make the experience more enjoyable and
    5 points
  2. A bit of a followup to http://www.trailgroove.com/issue31.html?autoflip=17 I made a return trip to the Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness in October 2017. I had been to this rough badland area before where we saw the ‘King of Wings’ formation, but his time we were headed farther west toward the ‘Valley of Dreams’ area where the ‘Alien Throne’ was located. After miles of driving mostly unmarked dirt roads across the boring plains, we came to a spot in the road where there was one other car, and my GPS showed us to be a little over a mile from the destination. We loaded our backpacks and headed off
    4 points
  3. I know this is an old post, but I noticed that there were no factual data posted about the safety of aluminum cookware. As a critical thinker and an REI employee, I believe that people should make informed decisions based on facts from credible sources, not someone's own personal beliefs. (Disclaimer: This post in no way represents the opinions or recommendations of REI and I am not posting as an employee, but as a private individual.) According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), aluminum is safe to cook with. Aluminum is naturally present soil, water, and the air, but account for
    4 points
  4. So there's a foot of snow on the ground, the temps have been in the single digits (both positive and negative). I should get out and go for a ski, but the NWS says winds of 30+ MPH in the high country. Clearly, the proper thing to do today is start planning a long-distance hike. For section-hiking the PCT, I have relied on Craigs PCT Planner to help me estimate how many miles I'll hike per day and thus how many days it will take to get from one resupply point to another. It does this by having you put in an average pace, hours hiked per day, and an elevation gain factor. It works
    4 points
  5. Hike to Backcountry Hot Springs Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Clearwater National Forest Idaho November 26-28, 2015 Soaking in a hot spring and stargazing on a winter night certainly meets the definition of sublime. When the hot spring is reached after a delightful five-mile hike and you have it all to yourself, the charm of the experience increases exponentially. When there’s just enough snow on the ground to provide a lovely contrast to the lush evergreen forest without causing the slightest inconvenience to camping or hiking, then the setting and experience appr
    4 points
  6. After something like three years of talking about it and months spent making plans, my good friend and hiking companion, Wayne Garland, has finally set out on his attempted thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. In October, at the age of 70, Wayne retired from a long and distinguished career as a Paramedic, providing emergency medical services here in Oconee County, South Carolina. One of Wayne's stated goals for his retirement, was to do a lot of traveling. I think that it's safe to say that he's accomplished that goal already. In the months since his retirement, he's already traveled
    3 points
  7. Four days of water is around 28 pounds if you bring a gallon a day. I have done one backpacking trip in Big Bend near the Mules Ears. We went around New Years in early Jan. I went with 3 geologists, so we hiked from spring to spring using topo maps. We were never on a trail. The weather was great, near 70 during the day and freezing at night. Our rule was if we could not find the next spring at the end of a day we would back track to the last known water.
    3 points
  8. Looks like the Leave no Trace Center just published a post in regards to them taking public input on this issue and concern. If these issues are important to you in regards to social media, or any type of media for that matter, here's the link: https://lnt.org/blog/social-media-and-8th-principle-discussion
    3 points
  9. I like to carry a GPS when I hike or backpack. I usually carry an extra set of batteries for every 2 days I plan to be out. About 8 years ago I started out on a 70 mile loop trail. An hour after I started I checked the GPS and it had quit. Dead batteries. In the next 2 hours I used all the batteries I had and all were dead. I had picked batteries out of the wrong drawer. I was depending on the GPS because I knew I would probably lose the trail about half way. If I was totally lost the GPS would show nearby roads and wet areas. Fortunately paper topo maps and compass don't need batteries. It to
    3 points
  10. Author here. As I said directly in the article "Obscurity, not secrecy." Tell about the great place. But perhaps not give the exact breadcrumbs.
    3 points
  11. Let me give you some perspective from a law enforcement officer: 1. If you are camping illegally and practicing LNT ethics, I might give you a warning and tell you to be elsewhere come the next day. 2. If you are camping illegally and practicing LNT ethics, but disregarded my posted sign that said NO CAMPING, it will cost you about $200. There's a reason that sign is there. And you'll have to break camp in the middle of the night. 3. If you are camping illegally and not practicing LNT ethics--booze, bonfires, litter, cutting down trees, etc, you are going to make a hefty contr
    3 points
  12. My suggestion would be to choose a destination that's compatible with what you're looking for. As an example, I often hike with a dog, and personally I like to choose my own campsites each night rather than stay in designated or reserved sites on a schedule. As a result of one or the other you don't find me in the National Parks very often and instead I tend to look for wilderness areas where dogs are allowed on the trails / in the backcountry and camping requirements fit my style a little better.
    3 points
  13. First semester of college. A friend and I decided to summit Utah's Mt. Timpanogos (in the dead of winter). Rented snow shoes and an ice axe (with no knowledge how to use either), ended up spending a long cold night just a few miles up the trail on a steep side slope in chest deep powder. No shelter. Blizzard. Avalanches rumbling down all around us (covered our tracks) through the night. Ya, I'm lucky to be alive. Hundreds of backcountry miles later, I now have a profound respect for nature!
    3 points
  14. I saved up enough vacation this year to go on a three week road trip. The plan is to do two-night, three-day trips. I'm still working out all of the specifics because I'm trying to meet up with friends in a few places, but right now this is the plan: Start in the Needle Mountains in Southern Colorado, then head to the Flagstaff or Sedona area. Afterwards I will meet up with some friends south of Salt Lake City and find something cool to check out. Next I head to the Jarbridge Wilderness in Nevada, then North to the Sawtooth Wilderness followed by some time in the Wind River Range (Aaron,
    3 points
  15. The Readers Digest version. This is probably my 5th backpack trip. Ever. A quick overnighter and another grand adventure in the books. 16+ mile round trip overnight backpack to see what I have dreamed of. Trail Notes: The Range of Light. Every step uphill is a step closer to Nirvana. Every dog on the trail was warmly greeted with a "Hi Baby!" How can my hips have outgrown my mummy bag?When the weather man says no rain, be sure to bring a rain jacket...always. Because it will rain. Because it will hail. Spur trails are an adventure in themselves. Bouldering! Sometimes, one is not really los
    3 points
  16. Here is my trip report blog post on the Scott Paul Loop backpacking trip with my 9 month old Aussie, Brook. She experienced snow for the first time, the video in the post will give you a glimpse of a 9 month old Aussie having a wonderful time.
    3 points
  17. Can't sleep in the backwoods? Easy solution: join the Army or Marines, you'll learn to sleep anywhere and everywhere. OK, that may sound a little dramatic, but the science behind it is worth exploring. If you're able to, start by taking naps in less than ideal places. The couch, the floor, bathtub, you get the idea. It doesn't have to be long deep sleep at first, just a quick 20 minute nap to get your body used to falling asleep on harder surfaces. And don't just do this the week before your hike, do it on a regular basis. If if your body is used to only falling asleep in a pillow toppe
    3 points
  18. A trip Aaron, myself, Mike Henrick (fellow TG contributor) and my friend Mark. It was TrailGroove theme jaunt in many ways. http://www.pmags.com/ferris-mountain-wsa-walkabout
    3 points
  19. My friend and I took on the recently refurbished Wild Rogue Loop, which shares the Rogue River Trail in Southern Oregon. This trail fulfilled all of the requirements I was looking for in a Springtime backpacking trip. It was a 5 hour drive from McMinnville to get to the Foster Bar Rogue River Trailhead, but good roads. Now is the time to backpack in the Rogue River Valley before the extreme heat sets in. The flowers were exploding, bug activity was low and temps were perfect. We saw a bear and were rewarded by the view from Hanging Rock. Last year the Siskiyou Mountain Club with hel
    3 points
  20. I wanted to share a few things about the experiences I had while over there. All in all, it was a great trip. the first several days were constant rain; there has been historic flooding in the region over this winter and I aw a lot of flood damage across the area. The weather finally broke and we managed to get out and see some of the countryside. One thing I like about England is that they have public footpaths throughout the country. There are marked paths, even through private property, that allow you to basically hike to and from any given point in the country. I spent a lot of t
    3 points
  21. I rarely hike with other people, and I don't carry one for a number of reasons: (1) SPOT-style devices with a "check-in" ability create an expectation that I check in, and an opportunity for false SARs called by others. (2) PLBs are expensive. (3) A PLB is only relevant in the rare situation that you are unable to self-rescue, conscious, able to survive until SAR reaches you (potentially overnight), and in a location with satellite reception (better than cell, but not ubiquitous). (4) PLBs encourage the expectation that you can push a button and a helicopter will show up to save you. Pl
    3 points
  22. As this trip was in the planning process we were going to trek 14 miles. We ended up going roughly 9 miles. The terrain for the portion is moderate with some steady inclines and declines throughout it. We started at Prospect road bridge where a 1.5 mile portion of a loop trail (can't remember the name of it) leads to the NCT. We went from there to Jennings Environmental Education Center. The weather was fair enough throughout the day that we actually came across other people on the trail. Some were cross country runners. Others were day hikers. I packed my Kelty RedCloud 90 at 25 pounds with w
    3 points
  23. Wow, can some of us make a day-hike into a really complicated affair. How about? .... Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence. - John Muir
    3 points
  24. The big negative is having them in your hands all the time, which is annoying and takes away from the simplicity of walking outside. But at some point, early 50's for me, I decided the benefits of staying upright were worth the annoyance. I've had tents that use my poles and like that setup. Let me add to the contention.;) I adjust my poles shorter than most people. Mine are just below waist high. This way I don't do curls all day with them and they are less likey to break. All the mountain guides I've seen keep their's shorter than most non-professional hikers. You should try it. I also get r
    3 points
  25. This is one of those backpacking topics that really gets contentious. Leather Hiking Boots or Trail Runners?White Gas or Propane? To trek with poles or not? And really, there is no one correct answer - it all comes down to personal preference. Where are you backpacking? Will there be a lot of water crossings? Is there a lot of elevation gain and loss? Are you young or old? What is your physical condition like? My preference happens to be to hike with trekking poles. I don't like the "downs" and having a set of trekking poles I can extend and reach out in front of me helps me navigate d
    3 points
  26. I would suggest not thinking about useful vs necessary as the standard for considering a purchase, but rather risk vs. reward or discomfort vs. comfort. This is basically the decision we make with all of our gear... tarp, tent, or hammock? Inflatable sleep pad or closed cell foam? Cook on a fire, carry a jetboil, or use a pepsi can stove? You get my point. When it comes to trek poles, I believe the reward and comfort factors are significant. In addition to all the features mentioned above, they provide a 3rd (or even 4th) point of contact with the ground, which provides added stability o
    3 points
  27. If possible, get an inexpensive pair of ski poles used. Try them out. See if you like hiking with poles. If not, you are not out of much money. If you like them, you can (possibly) get something better.
    3 points
  28. The movie of A Walk in the Woods comes out this week... anyone planning to see it? http://www.walkinthewoodsmovie.com/
    3 points
  29. I have been overdue to post this report. I did this 4 day/3 night backpack for the fourth time over July 4 holiday weekend. It entails 28 miles and about 8000 feet of vertical gain and loss over 4 passes as you circumnavigate the Maroon Bells of Colorado's Elk Mountains (near Aspen). I led a trip for the Colorado Mountain Club (myself and 5 others), leaving Friday morning July 3 from the Denver area at 7am, and arriving at the trailhead at Maroon Lake at noon. We had planned to hike up to just below our first pass (west maroon)--about 6 miles and 2000 of vertical. However, we stopped abou
    3 points
  30. Take a deep breath and smile. Then ask them if they're OK. Then continue hiking. Not sure why you let this get to you... And stop hiking in those torn clothes, with a limp, and with a grimace on your face...:-)
    2 points
  31. poison ivy....I was blessed with being immune to it. My dad wasn't. he um...forgot the necessary TP once and grabbed the wrong leaves. That was a hard lesson to learn, knowing and recognizing your local flora and fauna. (yes - 90-92)
    2 points
  32. Last week I hiked a 50 mile loop in the Pecos Wilderness. I highly recommend this area in the Southern Rockies. Of the 50 miles, close to 20 was above treeline meaning plenty of great views. I saw nearly 3 dozen elk and 18 bighorn sheep. This area is the densest cluster of 12,000 foot peaks in NM and about 5 or 6 are accessible from the route including the 2nd and 3rd highest Truchas and North Truchas Peaks at over 13K. I have the full trip report and well over 100 photos at my blog at the link below. I don't get paid for the blog, I just enjoy sharing my travels in the mountains. h
    2 points
  33. Is an InReach available where you are? They rely on sattelites, and they allow for two way communication via text, unlike the Spot, which only allows you to send message out. I solo hike, and keep in touch with my boyfriend this way--I send a message to him when I set out, when I get to camp, when I leave camp, and when I'm back to the car. It can be difficult to get a signal deep in a river valley, with lots of tree cover, but still works well. There is an SOS button for when you are really in trouble. It also will bluetooth to a smart phone, which I prefer because it has an easier inter
    2 points
  34. How is everyone doing? Been backpacking most of my life and I currently live in the Appalachian Mountains. Looking forward to learning from everyone here.
    2 points
  35. We wanted to do a short backpacking trip in Yosemite with our daughter, and we were lucky enough to get a walk-up permit for a pass-though to Glen Aulin. We knew this route, since we'd hiked in last year, and it met all of our criteria: some nice views, lovely walking along a river, the opportunity for some real solitude, and easy enough that we could do the hike and still get back home to Napa on our way out. And did we mention that permits were available? Off we went. The trail along the Tuolumne River is full of deep pools, cascades, and spectacular waterfalls. We enjoyed ever
    2 points
  36. Our trip to Glacier was fantastic. The shuttle system was ideal for accessing most of our hikes. Although we had the 734 map and Nat Geo maps, and Moon and Falcon hiking books, the places we went were pretty straightforward. As a bonus, we met up with some long time park locals who hiked with us. If I can sit still long enough to post, I'll get a quick trip report out.
    2 points
  37. Hi I replied to you last night but for some reason it never posted.... So this post has my name written all over it. I too was a first timer in Yosemite last weekend-Memorial Weekend. Despite everyone telling me how crazy I was for choosing to book this trip this on such a busy weekend- I am glad I did. I have always always wanted to go to Yosemite and I finally got to check it off my list! We reserved a campsite in Lower Pines, the valley is definitely crowded but this campsite was nice, and people were respectful, I noticed other campgrounds were a little more compact, this was pe
    2 points
  38. Hey there, new to the forum...backpacker, fisherman, hiker, search & rescue volunteer, writer, photographer. Looking forward to perusing the forums!
    2 points
  39. How about trying to answer the question he asked. He's carrying gear for three people and you reference thru-hikers carrying 20lb packs??? Seriously?? TxAggie was clear in his question about his level of experience and what he is trying to accomplish. In your several responses I see nothing of relevance in your advice offered. Instead of offering your snarky attitude to a new poster to Trailgroove, maybe read the poster's question more carefully first before responding.
    2 points
  40. I ended up buying a Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Spark women's bag for myself and a Eureka Silver City Series bag for my son. Think they'll both be great!
    2 points
  41. First, a quick tip. Don't underestimate the importance of a good sleep pad, beanie, and gloves for sleeping warm. Even in mid-50's all 3 can be very important for staying warm and sleeping sound. So, picking out a bag can be crazy confusing. I will say this, I own several different bags and I have never had a bag that didn't do the job. The more expensive bags certainly have extra features and comforts. It's usually little features such as easy of using the zipper, fabric feel against the skin, and obviously carry weight. I took a minute to scan the outlet section of REI.com, and fou
    2 points
  42. I agree, so let me expand on my earlier comment. I go backpacking with Scouts, and generally the group runs from 12-24 people. In Scouts, we always tent with a buddy. My tent buddy doesn't use ear plugs and will alert me if there are any problems. We take a lot of precautions to ensure that our sleeping area is safe - bear bags or vaults are stored far away from our camp; we cook and clean a good distance from our tents; even water bottles and bladders are stored away from tents because people use lip balm that transfers to those plastics (we follow the Bear-muda Triangle procedure). So in
    2 points
  43. I liked Into the Wild, and somewhat outdoors related in a western themed type way - put me down for Dances with Wolves and the Lonesome Dove series. (Can't press play on that last one or I'm locked in for the entire thing) Specific to hiking and backpacking though...still need to see Wild...but while they haven't rolled through your local AMC theater I've watched a couple videos online related to the CDT that I thought were really entertaining and may have used a lot of corporate time and bandwidth back in the day - Cookie and Paul's CDT hike and @Disco's The Walkumentary:
    2 points
  44. Reflex, guessing you're still planning to purchase a separate tent for car camping...if so any chance your kid would ever join for any short backpacking trips along the way? Not sure how tall you are, but I like a little more headroom and especially across the width of the tent if I can get it - all my shelters have 45"+ peak heights, but it may not be an issue in your case. Sounds like you've ruled out single wall, but if it were me and I was looking in this price / weight range for a double walled, solo tent I'd consider the TarpTent StratoSpire 1. Don't let the tarp part of the T
    2 points
  45. I have no knowledge of the 6 Moons tent but between the Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum and the Copper Spur UL2 I would recommend the Copper Spur. With the Fly Creek tent, you have to crawl in and then turn around to orient yourself properly, and that is tough if two people are using it. The Copper Spur has dual side entries, making entry and exit easy . The Copper Spur also has two decent sized vestibules to keep gear for both out of the rain. Good luck with choosing a new tent.
    2 points
  46. I resigned from my job in May, moved back to Oregon and have been backpacking for the last 2 months. My final backpacking trip before returning to work turned out to be the most exciting. Here is my post of the West Coast Trail backpacking adventure on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This was truly a unique adventure and a fabulous conclusion to a couple months of backpacking. I value the memories of these backpacking trips as an important investment in my retirement. http://higheredtechtalk.org/2015/08/30/the-west-coast-trail-vancouver-island-bc/ Video from one of my private beach campsi
    2 points
  47. I was attempting to offer constructive advice. I was not trying to be flippant, snarky, or cute. I would have expected SOMETHING could be gleaned from the John Muir quote. I took the OPs scenario into account when offering what I did. Here are the givens: 1) a feeling of overwhelm from the cacophony of gear suggestions needed(advised?) for a day hike 2) the OP specifically described his/her typical day hiking situations a. typical fair weather , a "very mild climate", lacking extremes of temp. Knowing it's the Central California Coastline should take into account wind, rain, and sun protecti
    2 points
  48. Nostalgia! Oh, for the good old days!
    2 points
  49. I agree with both Aaron and Happy - take both. I use the bladder while hiking, and I use the bottle for breaks. And, I use the botte for my Nuun tablets - easier to clean out.
    2 points



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