Hiking Camping Gear

The Icey Osceolas Icey Solo Day Hike on Ice…

The Osceolas

The Osceolas

My most recent mountain therapy excursion included checking out the two Osceolas this past weekend.  I usually don’t do 4000 Footer day hikes and I haven’t ever done one without camping.  Mainly because driving 5 hours in a day to hiked for 6 is for yuppie trash and people that don’t own tents. However, it was December, an exception to my own rule and I found myself alone and with a free day and I figured I would do a quick cold weather gear check and test the legs out on something short and simple.  By that I mean the mileage and vert is less than I am used to, however I loaded up a 30lb pack and the conditions were definitely a surprise…
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Categories: 4000 Footer, Hiking Camping Gear, Mountains, New Hampshire, Trail Report, Trip Report | Leave a comment

Tripyramids + Whiteface + Passaconaway Overnight…

Sunset Pano

Back to the mountains and this time it  felt overdue.  Since we bailed on the previous weekend due to rain, we decided to stomp out a four peak trip after throwing around some two peak trip ideas that would have been less than acceptably arduous.  The weather is getting nice so time to crank the vert back up around 6,000 feet per trip which was our average for last year.  We decided on this trip after reading tantalizing tales of the carnage that is the Kate Sleeper Trail and having never done a Sandwich Range hike, this was new terrain and views for us.

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Hiking Camping Gear, Mountains, New Hampshire, Photography, Trail Report, Trip Report | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hancocks & Kayaking the Pemi River…

Halfway through our brutal two night Semi Pemi Loop, D. Mak and I decided we needed a much deserved break from backpacking and do a day hike and car camp for a change.  We headed up Friday 9/17/12 with no reservations and few options, grabbed a site at good old Campton Campground, a place we were familiar with from last years Franconia Ridge trip.  After setting up camp, we headed back toward town and grabbed a bite and a few beers at Woodpecker’s Pub while we waited out a rain storm and for Pete Boy and Gus Longtrail to get in town.  Shooting pool and listening to a blues band while crushing $2 Tuckerman Pale Ales definitely beats the rain!

The next day ended up being much nicer than forecasted and we headed up to the Kanc and Hancock trailhead and started the trudge.  This was quite an enjoyable hike with nice stream crossings bursting with different kinds of birds;  a Cedar Waxwing flew right over our heads.


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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Hiking Camping Gear, Mountains, New Hampshire, Waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking Trail on the Cannonballs…

Friday Night – 11/12/12

First Night: 1.54 Miles & 1056 ft vert

This past weekend Gus and I packed up and headed to Lonesome Lake Hut on a frosty 10-15 degree night.  We made the quick one hour hike to the Hut mostly in the dark with our headlamps off and the nearly full moon lighting the way off the 4-5 inches of fresh snow from the night before.

Overnight Cannonballs Loop

Overnight Cannonballs Loop

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Camping, Hiking Camping Gear, Mountains, New Hampshire, Trail Report | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Night “Semi” Pemi Loop…

July 20th – 22nd, 2012

Day One:  8.2 miles & 1419 feet of vert

With an exceptional weather window, a stoked D Mak and I bounced out of work early on Friday and blasted off to Lincoln to bust out a two day Half Pemi Loop variation.  Starting off on the Pemi East Side Trail at exactly 4:20 pm, we cruised through an empty Franconia Brook Campsite and crossed the East Branch Pemi River which was the lowest I’ve seen it thus far.  Since we had done a Bonds/Twins Loop on our last trip, we decided to do this variation of a Pemi Loop instead over 2 nights to accomplish a few things, namely visiting 13 Falls Tentsite again, bag Galehead & Liberty which I was missing for my NH48, hit a few small sections of AT I needed for my NH section, and to backpack all of them for my 48 4000 footer Backpack list which I recently decided is my new goal. When I sat down and looked at the map, I realized that doing this trip would put my backpacked peaks within a few of my total peaks.

We set a fast pace up the Franconia Brook Trail with the sun beaming through the trees and mosquitoes nipping at our heals, arriving at 13 Falls Campsite 8.1 flat miles later as the sun began dropping behind the ridge to the West.  Setting up my new Hennessy Ultralite Backpacker Asym Zip Hammock for the first time proved to be a bit of a pain since I suck at knots.  We had a late dinner in the dark, went and hiked the falls, sipped some Knob Creek, and watched some shooting stars before turning in.

Day Two:  14.1 miles – 6206 ft vert gained – 4495 ft vert lost

The next morning we got a late start after scoping out all the falls.  They were sadly about a quarter of the volume of water as my last trip there 7/4/2011.

13 Falls Water Comparison

13 Falls Water Comparison Year Over Year

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Categories: 4000 Footer, Hiking Camping Gear, Mountains, New Hampshire, Waterfalls | 1 Comment

Review: Black Diamond Trail Shock Trekking Poles…

These are the first poles I ever bought or even tried. Next to getting hydraulic Cyborg legs these are the best thing for hiking.  Ever. They instantly turned me into a four legged mountain goat.

Took them on a 7 mile fastpack initially, and I was flying down wet rocky trails faster than I could free fall. These give you the balance and confidence to make some INSANE steps and jumps you would have never tried without them!  If your into crazy technical hiking  these are must haves.  I also have a questionable ankle that always gets sore and this negated that completely.  Also great for skirting around a large muddy or wet section of trail and for water crossings.

Upper body workout is impressive as well, I read they take 25% of the work off of your legs.  Spreading out the exertion kept me from taking breaks every 20 minutes. The shock absorption is a nice bonus, grips are great. On downhills I was putting 20-30 lbs of pressure on each pole and they held it like champs. Putting that much weight on them GREATLY diminishes leg impact. Pairing them with my Osprey Aether (60) with its pole storage straps made coverting to scrambling or walking flats super fast.

Some tips I picked up: Use the wrist tethers correctly and spread your weight through your wrist as well as your hand; you can make your lead pole longer than the other; sometimes using one pole is better than both; alternating your leg and pole arm on hills is clutch – try to maintain that form and you will crush uphills and get a serious workout.

If you are on the fence with a pole purchase ask yourself this: Would you go skiing without poles?  Its really the exact same difference.  Also if you go hiking with a friend that doesn’t have poles or good gear, letting them use one will greatly improve the odds of them hiking with you again.

Categories: Hiking Camping Gear, Review | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: REI Flash 18L Pack…


Very Versatile Pack…

I bought this for a Montana snowboarding trip after I realized my beloved REI Traverse 30L was just too bulky for riding on chairlifts and too heavy when full. I really just needed something for water, snacks, a scarf or facemask if it got warm, and other small things.  XC skiing in Glacier National Park it was PERFECT, nice and lightweight. Snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain, I strapped my helmet to it at the bar at the end of the day and threw my goggles and gloves in it.  I get antsy about losing my gear so this is my new BFF on the slopes.

Honestly most of the time I forgot it was even on my back which is perfect when you are riding or skiing.  Plus it has a built in chest strap whistle that is loud as all hell in case of a backcountry emergency.

When my trip ended, I turned this inside out and packed all my dirty clothes into this and put it in my suitcase, segregating it from my clean clothes. The stuff sack dual-functionality make this a genius little bag and the price is nice at around $30.

5 stars already and I haven’t even used it for hiking yet!  This is also hydration compatible (probably could handle 1-2L) and has two small interior mesh pockets.  Will likely use it for a reserve pack for friends when day hiking or a beach bag for sure.  Recently been using this as a gym bag for my keys and jump rope.

Hellroaring Peak, Whitefish Montana

Hellroaring Peak, Whitefish Montana

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Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX Trail-Running Shoes

These are so comfortable that they’ve replaced my come-home-from-work slippers. The shoelace system is the SHIT.  One pull and they STAY PERFECT, pop the lace cinch into the hidden tongue pocket and it doesn’t bounce around, get loose, or get snagged.  I have had mega issues in the past keeping my shoes and boots tied while hiking and snowboarding.

I’ve taken them trail running and boulder scrambling and they’ve been great; lightweight, breathable, and awesome grip.

Just did some post blizzard city running and they performed impressively.  Sprinting on ice and snow, I hardly slipped once and feet did not get wet. Only thing to watch out for is getting sweaty feet in the cold, they are so breathable my feet get chilly, not a fault of the shoe though and a positive in the summer when it will be hot.  Another option is the midtops of the same design.  I tried these on as well and they are very light and just as comfortable but not high enough for good ankle support.  After getting these I also got the Salomon Quest 4D boots which are incredible as well as a great pair of Salomon Boa Snowboard boots (to replace my old Salomon boots).

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