Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Winning Combination

Here's my rule for keeping a light backpack on long-distance trips: Keep the weight of your three essentials (pack, shelter, and sleeping system) under 10 pounds.

I recommend:

- Pack: Granite Gear Nimbus Lattitude (3.8 lbs.)
- Shelter: MSR Hubba Hubba (3 lbs.)
- Sleeping bag and pad: EMS Mountain Light (1.5 lbs.) and Thermarest Prolite (1 lb.)

TA-DA! 9.3 pounds total. Next, find a pal you can share a tent with and divide that shelter by 2.

Happy trails!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Millstone Hill Touring Center

Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont is still my favorite place to ride ( But look out trails, there's a new number 2 in town. Hmmm...a new #2? That didn't come out right.

Anyways, Millstone Hill offers some excellent riding. And in the spirit of backyard adventures, we shot up to Grand Lookout at the end of a 2-hour ride. This sunset over Camel's Hump and the valley below was so worth not being able to see a thing on the trail back down to the car. Boy was it dark - and muddy!

And for those of you who want more than just some romantic sunset pictures, check out the shot of the bridges at the top of Millstone's newest trail: Rollercoaster. WOWza.

Happy trails!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Soda Can Stoves 101

T and I subscribe to lightweight backpacking. We've each been known to carry less than 20 pounds on long-distance trips, food and water included. One of our secrets is to hike with a pal (you only carry half the gear). Another is this awesome little soda can stove. We've had ours since 2005.
These are also called denatured alcohol stoves because they burn isopropyl, or denatured, alcohol. You can get the fuel at a hardware store, or in a pinch you can burn 90% rubbing alcohol from a pharmacy.
We bought our stove (and a pot stand) on eBay for $10 from some guy in Canada who was making them. Since then, T has learned to make them himself: a necessary skill in case you step on yours while out on a trip. Last week we had a few friends over and made some stoves.

Step 1. Drink 2 beers.

Step 2. Make the cans into a stove.

OK, so there's several more steps than that. If you want to know them, guess you'll just have to attend the next workshop. Until then, happy trails.

Does Anyone Else Have This Problem?

We have A LOT of gear. It's a good problem to have, I suppose. We fashioned a ski rack out of an old CD tower. This is the unspoken brilliance of iPods: they free up our CD towers for other more creative uses.

T and I are cleaning and organizing gear today; but we'll get out for our singletrack fix later this afternoon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

First Foray into the Whites

Tristan and I have never really hiked in New Hampshire's White Mountains. I know. WTF? Well, last Thursday we ducked out of work and took advantage of this summer's elusive sunny day to do a loop on Franconia Ridge. We hiked up the Falling Waters Trail on to the AT and then down the Bridle Path. We summitted Little Haystack Mountain, Mt. Lincoln, and Lafayette. It was magnificent! We can't wait to get back over there.

p.s. When I say "sunny day," I mean partly cloudy. I've lowered my expectations.