12 Gifts for Hikers, Day 1

By |December 12th, 2014|12 Gifts, 2014 posts, AT, Bigfoot Trail, Current, PCT|Comments Off on 12 Gifts for Hikers, Day 1

12 Days of Trail Gifts For Under $50
Gift One: Cheap Good Sleep

A new floor:

Window Film Groundsheet (or polycryo from Gossamer Gear)          Weight:2oz               Cost: $5-$15

If your hiker likes to sleep under a tarp (floorless shelter), or is a cowboy camper (out under the stars), they need a ground sheet. My favorite ground sheet is a rectangle of Window Film. It looks like saran wrap and it’s super light weight, about 2 ounces will cover 4’x6′.

Window film isn’t super durable, but if treated gently a piece can last 500-1000 miles. It’s always nice to have a fresh extra waiting in a bounce box though, so you might want to splurge and get the multi window pack or a roll when you head to the hardware store. ACE has “cut to fit” window kits, which are nice because you can choose the dimensions of your floor.


A mattress enhancer/ seat/ yoga mat:

1/8″ Thinlight pad from Gossamer Gear           Weight: 2.5 oz                Cost: $16

Your hiker will be stoked to have a little extra insulation from the cold ground at night regardless of if they sleep in a tent or a tarp. This full length pad has become one of my favorite pieces of gear. I sit on it at almost every break, I put my shorty mattress on top of it at night, and it’s great for stretching & yoga. In winter this matt works great to insulate air mattresses from the snow. It can be folded and packed on the top of your pack, adding rain protection & helping to keep your perishables and water a couple degrees cooler.

For more substantial […]

Stoking adventure fire: 5 books to get you through winter

By |December 10th, 2014|2014 posts, AT, Current, Japhy Ryder, PCT|Comments Off on Stoking adventure fire: 5 books to get you through winter

Last week up at the mountain it rained on top of a beautiful fresh pile of 11 inches of fluffy powder. When I went to bed I had been excited to get up, gear up, and head up to Mt. Bachelor for my first day of the ski season. Reading the report in the morning dashed my hopes- all that beautiful snow was now encrusted by a lens of heavy snow.

The snow mess meant that instead of having a wonderful morning of playing in the mountains I was going to have to turn my focus back to the endless ruble pile of my own personal life maintenance. Adam and I recently returned home from a few months of work down in the Mojave, and we have stacks of mail to sort, a yard to clean up, firewood to split, map sets to edit, a kitchen remodel to plan, huge lists of projects to sew, build, create … The to do list is huge and overwhelming.

Distractions under these circumstances are welcome. I need reminders that adventures and free time exist. Following an adventure or two, watching movies about hiking, and reading books about fresh air and freedom are my remedy for feeling overwhelmed. Below I have listed 5 of my favorite books to help stoke your expedition fire and stave off the winter blues. Happy armchair adventures!

5 adventure books to get you through winter:

Rowing to Latitude, Jill Fredston

I discovered this book years before I started thru-hiking, and it planted some kind of seed that wouldn’t die. This book helped me realize that people do crazy sounding adventures- like rowing around Alaska- year after year. Jill and her husband, Doug, treat their summer adventures just as […]

White Blaze haze

By |January 27th, 2011|2010 posts, AT|Comments Off on White Blaze haze

Here is a journal entry I wrote about a week after finishing the AT:
Last night I flew back across the country over all that beautiful land, but it was enveloped in darkness. My usual plan when I get on an airplane is to try to get the most out of the ticket price by seeing as much as I possibly can. If I don’t wind up with a window seat I beg and plead with my row mates, and if they don’t yield I crane my neck over them and the adjacent row to maximize my view. Darkness drastically reduces my plane experience unless there is a full moon, so last night, instead of my usual face plastered to the window I had my nose in a book all the way back to California, missing all those glorious peeks and canyons.
It feels SO good to be back here in the west. I have lived on the Appalachian Trail for the past 3.5 months, but it was never HOME. The AT was the only trail of my Triple Crown where the “embrace the brutality” mantra was necessary for me. Up in Maine it felt like the trail had been by planed by someone with a massive inferiority complex. The white blazes would lead me past mellow saddles and tree covered slopes out to the rockiest points and ridges, up to the summit of every 3000 ft tree covered knob they could possibly hit. The worst part for me was getting up to the “summit” and looking out at the endless green bumps and lakes. I felt claustrophobic and disoriented at every peak- where the heck was I? Where was I going? Why was I going […]