I’ve been in Boise for 20 years. In Boise I taught a backpacking class at Boise State U for 12 years, and a class in winter mountaineering and camping for 12 years also. I was a scout leader in my son’s boy scout troop. He is an Eagle scout now, and our time in scouts was great. I continue with our troop as a leader of backpacks.
Gear Buying for New Backpackers This is a guide for adults who are new to backpacking and want to get gear for this fun sport. This advice comes from me having started backpacking in 1967, been active in mountain rescue, nordic ski patrol, peak climbing, backpacking and mountaineering, and teaching college classes in backpacking for […]
My gear is ever changing, but this is my current group of gear, whether for the JMT or for a weekend hike. In the pack REI Flash 62 pack 3 lb 1 oz Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt 14 oz Exped sleeping pad 1 lb .4 oz STS inflatable Pillow 2.4 oz Western Mountaineering […]
By late afternoon, we had all regrouped and departed from the trailhead near the Tuolumne Meadows campground. We were filled with anticipation of the adventure that lay ahead and yet also trepidation as to whether we (and our equipment) were up to the challenge. There were no cell phones, and many times during the trip we would be as many as 24 hours away from assistance. Read more →
After we got our food supplies at the Reds Meadow Resort food drop we had to pack our trail lunches, which included meat (salted and sliced dried beef ) from a glass jar, a chunk of cheese about 3″ x 2″ x 2″, one chunk per day, peanuts, raisins, candy bar, and iced tea mix. After our experience the first week, a lot of our people were buying extra food such as powdered milk, cereal, French bread, instant pudding, bread mixes for baking, and extra candy for lunches. By 3 PM or so clouds had built up and by 4 PM we were ready to take off. We wanted to get away from Reds Resort a few miles and make camp before it rained. Read more →
Conrad and Steve were pissed that the whole group except them had gone down the road to a cafe, and pigged out on wonderful food. To make it up to them they were promised a free breakfast and shower at the café the next morning, but they still felt betrayed. I guess if we were thinking we would have brought them something the night before. God it was good to be full of good food. What a peaceful sleep we had! Read more →
Day 22: After the drunken blowout at the Onion Valley cafe, the next morning we went in the cars of Ken Primmer, my folks and Kevin’s family to Big Pine for breakfast, and to restock on extra food and to replace worn out equipment. I had a fantastic greasy breakfast, and it totally filled me. Read more →
I found a way to turn a $10 knife into a $20 knife, using about $10 worth of brass Corby bolts and some mountain mahogany wood slabs. This project didn’t make sense economically, but it was fun and turned out nicely. Read more →
Doing the JMT is easy. Selecting the gear is easy if you have been backpacking some. The hard part is logistics and choosing and packing food, which is the subject of this post. For our 2016 JMT, we had a 7 day section that we’d start with seven days of food in our packs from Cottonwood. We’d meet up with horse packers at Charlotte Lake and get another 7 days worth of food, which would last us to Muir Trail Ranch. There we would pick up 4 days worth of food to get us to Red’s Meadow. There we’d pick up 3 days of food to get us to your exit point, Tuollumne Meadows. Read more →
I got to go with our old scout troop, Troop 100 in Boise, for an October hike to the White Cloud Range. The first night we camped at the car, and my tent was glistening with ice crystals when I went to bed. I think it got to the low 20s that night. Read more →
We got to experience another trip in the Sawtooths this August. Joining my wife Tuckie and I were daughters Ciera and Laura, Laura’s boyfriend Jason, and long time hiking buddy Kevin and his lovely wife Suzanne. Kevin and Suzanne got a head start as we were delayed by detours caused by the Pioneer fire. They hiked toward Toxaway lake the first day, and we 5 (shown below) started the next day. Read more →
My gear is ever changing, but for the JMT hike it was pretty similar to this group of gear. This photo is Jim’s gear, which includes the tent we shared. I carried the stove and cookset. We both carried solar panels and batteries, also bear canisters, chairs, and similar clothes. The base weight (gear in the pack, but no food, fuel or water) of my stuff was just shy of 20 lbs. If you figure 2 lbs of food per day, on the stretches when we carried 7 days worth of food, my max weight would be 34 lbs, plus 16 oz for fuel, and one liter of water. Read more →
I guess preparation for hiking the whole 220 miles of the JMT started about 7 months before the start of the hike. At that time I had to figure out an itinerary and how many days I would commit to the hike. You need an itinerary because when you apply for a permit you have to specify where you will camp each night. Once you start on the trip, you can camp anywhere, but for the permit you need an itinerary. Read more →
Jim and I wanted to make a camera slider that was light enough that we could take it on the JMT. We made one that weighed about a pound (1 lb 5 oz), and works well with cell phones and gopro cameras. It cost $25 for the motor at Servo City. Here is the slider being explained when we were at Crabtree Meadow while hiking the JMT, and a few examples of videos made with the slider.
Marc Dilley of Marc Dilley Photography showed me a technique in Photoshop which is advanced for me, easy for him. Here is how Marc uses the Mask feature.
(Marc) I am using this image of Colchuck Lake in the Cascade Mountains of Washington to discuss some basic elements of exposure, composition and how those two field skills relate to processing an exposure (or, in this case, two exposures). Read more →
Marc Dilley, of Marc Dilley Photography has been nice enough to try to teach me a little about the technical end of photography. Here are his thoughts on how to get incredible depth of field in a photo, such as that seen in the photo below. Read more →
This loop hike in the Sawtooths is a classic, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. I got to visit the area with the Fujino family, friends from when our boys were in scouts together. Starting at Petit Lake, we hiked over the hot dry hill to join the Hell Roaring trail, and from there on past Farley Lake, to a small lake just short of Toxaway Lake. There is a great waterfall at this little lake, and we enjoyed a restful evening there. Read more →
I’m on about the 4th Caldera cone cooking system, and maybe the 10th stove I’ve used overall, so I thought I’d share what is the best of all the stoves I’ve used in 45+ years of backpacking. The Fusion Sidewinder Ti-Tri split cone stove system, made by Trail Designs, the maker of Caldera Cone stove systems. The Ti-Tri refers to the wind screen being made of TItanium, and the stove having the capability to use three different fuels: alcohol, esbit, and wood.
If the snow is not deep enough for a snow trench, a quinzee is another option for a snow shelter. A quinzee requires about 5 times as much work to make as a snow trench, but its somewhat fool proof. If all the snow you have is 8″, you can still make a quinzee. Some scout troops make these and mistakenly call them “snow caves.” Read more →
Buying gifts for the ultralight backpacker can be difficult, because you don’t want to buy stuff that she/he won’t like. So here are my picks for cool things for the ultralight or lightweight backpacker, or for a person heading in that direction. Read more →
If you are camping in the winter, a shelter made of snow is tremendously warmer than sleeping in a tent. Different types of snow allow different kinds of snow structures to be built. One very practical shelter for when the snow is deep is a snow trench. How much time you have, if a storm is expected, and if you are going to set up a base camp are considerations. A covered snow trench can made in a couple of hours, and protect you from 40 below temperatures. Read more →
We had a family backpack in which wife Tuckie, son Jim and girlfriend Jenna, myself, daughter Laura, Kevin Anderson and his daughter Jenna, and my old hiking partner Conrad participated. The destination for the first day was Thousand Island Lake, in the Mammoth area. We were reminded of how out of shape we were as we struggled up the dusty trail on a hot day, bound for 10,000′ Thousand Island Lake.