Thursday, August 6, 2009

Going to California ((tag: hst2009)

While I am not expecting to find a girl with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair like Led Zeppelin sang about decades ago I do fully expect to have a grand time exploring a new portion of the country. Who knows maybe I'll strike it lucky and those wistful musing of the song will come true for me, but like most adventurous travelers who went seeking their fortunes 150 years ago I reckon I will have to settle for something less. Unlike most of those people I won't be selling everything to make this trip, I am not seeking a fortune in gold, and the whole trip will only last a couple of weeks. I fully expect to come away though with a wealth of new memories and that will be very worthwhile.

I'm going to join 4 other people and together we will hike about 75 miles along the High Sierra Trail. This will be a completely new area for me. Sure I have backpacked in the mountains before but I haven't been to this area and from everything I have been told I am looking forward to this trip.

I will be going moderately light but not incredibly light. It looks like my total weight, the from skin-out weight, will be about 26 pounds. This includes an average of a liter of water. At worst I'll start out closer to 28 pounds as I may end up adding more food to my kit then I think I will right now. I could have lightened up this load a few pounds with some different gear choices. For example, I was originally planning to use my Gossamer Gear Maraposa backpack but have instead elected to use my McHale Speed Bump which is about 2 pounds heavier. But I think the Speed Bump will be more comfortable over the weeklong trip.

For those that care my key gear choices look like this:

Shelter - I'm trying out, for the first time, a Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar. I'll bring a 6x3 foot piece of Tyvek to serve as a floor. This shelter is, in some ways, overkill. It's certainly more spacious than just one person needs. But I like my space. I also am hoping to get a sense of how well it works on a long trip because I fully expect to take it to Scotland next year should I be able to take part in the TGO Challenge (I'll substitute the Tyvek floor with some sort of bug bivy). This will weigh in at about 700 grams with a complete set of stakes and plenty of guyline (including extra lines in case some lines fray).

Sleep System - My GoLite Ultra 20° Quilt combined with my Pacific Outdoor Equipment InsulMat will form the basis of my sleep system. Since I am planning for temperatures that could dip down well into the 20's I am bringing along my down balaclava from Nunatak and synthetic fill Integral Designs Hot Socks.. I will also have a set of Smartwool longjohn pants and top. This is almost certainly way more sleep gear than I need. I sleep warm. But the pants will serve double duty in early morning or evening before the day really warms up into the warmer temps.

Clothing - I'll typically be wearing hiking short, a t-shirt and/or longsleeve shirt (Thorofare shirt), Keen sandals, Tilley Hat. I'll be carrying some socks, a Cocoon Pullover, the longjohn tops and bottoms (maybe I'll ditch the top as excessive).

Food - Nothing to exciting here.

Other Stuff - I'll be taking my usual crop of electronics: Canon Powershot camera, iPhone 3GS, Samson Zoom H2 audio recorder, and a solar charger that may or may not do much good.

With any luck I'll be able to stay in touch with everyone via the intrusion of cellular towers into the wilderness. Personally I will be a bit surprised if I have coverage but who knows perhaps being above treeline will make a difference as I trod through the mountains.  Keep an eye on this Posterous blog but don't forget to look for the possible AudioBoo audio podcast. Also look for me on Twitter, username: kenknight.

Posted via email from Ken Knight's posterous

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