Sunday, April 26, 2009

A beautiful day

It was sunny and mid 60's, so I took my first long hike since tearing up my leg in January. It's been three months, so it's time.

I headed down to Santa Cruz and to Wilder Ranch State Park to get some hills that were steep enough to test the leg, but not loose and scrambly stuff that might end up re-injuring me. I spent two hours hiking uphill, and two hours hiking back, taking plenty of time to smell the flowers or at least photograph them. Because I stuck to the well-groomed two-track I didn't see any wildlife, but did get some flowers, I'll see if I can add one or two of them to this post later.

On my way uphill, I met a man and his kid, maybe 9 years old, coming downhill on their mountain bikes. The kid was oozing blood from his knee, and the man asked me if I had a first aid kit. Of course I did, duh, I'm not an idiot. So he put antibiotic ointment on the knee and taped gauze pads to it to stop the bleeding, and they set off again downhill towards the exit. Now, why any supposedly rational adult is going to take their kid into a situation like this without carrying a first aid kit eludes me, it would seem to me to be just basic common sense responsible parenting. But I suppose common sense just ain't so common, sigh...

So anyhow, everything worked. At the end of the hike I was tired but the leg was still working fine, all that %#!# physical therapy and stationary bicycling and walking around the block stuff seems to have done the trick. A few more practice hikes and I should be ready for a backpacking trip. Luckily all my backpacking gear is ultralight, so that an overnight trip is just 25 pounds including food and water...

-- Badtux the Feeling Better Penguin


  1. I'm trying to picture a penguin on a hike, and it's a wonderful image. I'm so glad that you could do this, Badtux.

  2. so very cool. i often take a lot of good natured ribbing for my tendancy to "overpack."

    it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt and i am the one who has stuff to fix it.

    or, it's a crisp morning and i'm the one who has the coffee grinder...

    glad to hear that you're on the mend tux.

  3. It was especially irritating since the guy had a daypack on that's a lot bigger than my Camelbak double-humper (which has a space behind the bladder chamber for a few odds and ends), so he clearly had the capability to haul a first aid kit with him. It's mountain biking. Cuts and scrapes are to be expected. He set off as if riding on a suburban street, and was miles from the nearest assistance (the ranger station at the base of the hill). With no cell phone service. Gah!

    People like that are like the people who whine about taxes and try to evade paying them by any means possible, then drive to work on roads paid by... taxes. They're moochers with no sense of responsibility. And his kid was suffering for it. Sigh.

  4. It was ten dollar dump day yesterday so that is what I did. My only hike was to the front of the line to see what others were getting rid of.

    I would like to hike into the hot springs but the trail in is still closed due to winter storms.

  5. I am longing to get to my precious Granite backcountry but alas the snow is still there . I snowshoe too but 25 miles to "the lake" is a bit extreme at this point in life . 25 lbs ! Man you are a minimunlist ! I've been accumalating lightweight gear for years and I can't get close to 25lbs , more like double that . Of course the dog food and my 6 inch stainless steel .357 cal bear repellant do add to the pack . At altitude I have to carry a full tent and rain cover w/ ground cloth but that tops out at a measly 4 and a half pounds . Stove is just a butterfly but I still have a working Primus 8r from like 1970 . Talk about tough ! Still 25lbs , man I gotta repack !
    an amazed (and weighted down)

  6. Tent: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo, 1 1/2 pounds. If above tree line, Tarptent Lunar Solo (and two hiking poles that I'd be carrying anyhow), 2 pounds 1 oz. Ground sheet: Tyvek,
    Backpack: Gossamer Gear G4, 1 pound. (Compare to your current backpack which weighs 4+ pounds).
    Sleeping pad: Thermarest Ultralite, 3/4 length, 14 ounces. If expect temperatures near or below freezing, add a Gossamer Gear Nightlight Full to that for another 14 ounces, otherwise my backpack and its foam back-plate serve to keep my feet off the ground.
    Cooking: Snow Peak Gigapower isobutane, Snow Peak titanium cup.
    Food (for an overnight, four meals on the trail): bean soup flakes, instant rice, protein bars, hot chocolate mix, hot sauce (repackaged into small plastic bottle), rod pretzels, pouch tuna. (Just an example, I have lots of other possible off-the-supermarket-shelf foods I could do).
    Water treatment (for an overnight): Chlorine dioxide tablets. For longer trips add MSR Hyperflow filter, 8 ounces.

    Clothing: What I'm wearing, plus two additional pair of socks, one briefs, and one t-shirt. All synthetic for quick drying. Montbell ultralight down inner jacket 8oz. Fleece shirt. Ultralight rainwear for outer windproof/waterproof layer. Appropriate hats for the weather (fleece for cool weather, sun hat for warmer weather).

    Sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering Ultralight, 1 lb 13 oz.

    Plus assorted things like lighting (Petzl Tikka XP, plus Fenix P2D), first aid kit, matches, twine, stuff sacks, duct tape, pocket tool, etc. All the gear and clothing ends up weighting about 18 pounds, then food and water brings that up to 25 pounds. If going into bear country, the BearVault Solo adds 2 pounds to that. But having seen what bears can do, it's 2 pounds that are worth it.

    Note that this is *not* snow-worthy, the low-slung Lunar Solo sheds wind fairly well but snow would collapse it. I avoid extreme weather. I can't carry enough water with this lightweight backpack for long desert trips either, I grab a "real" backpack and load up with 35 pounds worth of gear and water for that. A 5 day trip is about 30 pounds with all the food I take. I will say that it is a whole lot more fun to backpack with 25 pounds on your back than with 35 pounds, it's like you're carrying nothing, whereas 35 pounds is pretty much my limit for comfortable backpacking. 45 pounds... that's just nasty. As for 50 pounds... huh.

    Maybe you just need to update to gear you don't buy at REI... especially when it comes to backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags, where the REI stuff is *way* heavy. Also look at your comfort zone and go to the minimum needed to be comfortable. For example, the closed-cell Nightlight foam pad vs. the Thermarest ProLite 4 vs. a full-sized Thermarest, I found I can't sleep on the closed-cell foam pad, but the shortie ProLite is plenty for me to sleep well on. If you're still hauling a full-sized Thermarest with you just because you think this is what you 'spozed to be doin', that's a couple pounds to chunk right there...

  7. umm, mine made it into a decent college, despite my fuck-ups.


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