Big Hikes for the year based on when I have time off:
Backpack Zaca Ridge Distance: 3-5 Miles (6-10 Miles roundtrip). Elevation: 2200′
Backpack Ocean View Summit Loop 6 Miles Round Trip – 600 ft gain – Loop Trail
Backpack to Duck Lake 8 Miles Round Trip – 1362 ft gain – Out-and-Back Trail
Backpack the Boy Scout’s Trail in Joshua Tree 8 Miles Round Trip – 600 ft gain – Out-and-Back Trail
Backpack to Panamint Dunes 8 Miles Round Trip – Out-and-Back Trail (Stargazing)
Backpack to the “Waterfall Camp” in Desolation Wilderness 10.5 Miles Round Trip – 840 ft gain – Out-and-Back Trail
Backcountry Camp at Big Basin’s Sunset Trail Camp 12 Miles Round Trip – Out-and-Back Trail
Backpack the Bear Valley to Coast Camp Loop 15.09 Miles Round Trip – 2834 ft gain – Loop Trail
Backpack Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest 15.5 Miles Round Trip – 1775 ft gain – Out-and-Back Trail
Backpack Ansel Adams’ Banner Lake 15.6 Miles Round Trip – 1307 ft gain – Out-and-Back Trail (Stargazing)
Climb Cone Peak in Big Sur (Sea to Sky Backpacking Route) 23 Miles Round Trip – 5300 ft gain – Out-and-Back Trail
Backpack atop Donohue Pass 25 Miles Round Trip – 2456 ft gain – Out-and-Back Trail Spend a night atop one of the highest passes along the JMT/PCT. Take in views across the Eastern Sierra and down through Lyell Canyon. You’ll have the opportunity to bag Donohue Peak (12,023 ft.) or Mt. Lyell (the tallest in Yosemite at 13,114 ft.).
Backpack the Rae Lakes Loop 46 Miles Round Trip – Loop Trail
Backpack from Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney 47.51 Miles Round Trip – Point-to-Point Trail
Backpack the Pine Ridge in Big Sur, North Coast Ridge Loop 50 Miles Round Trip – 3000 ft gain – Loop Trail
I have finally been doing some traveling in the last year, and after healing from this concussion for 6 years has left me incredibly antsy to be, and to do!! I have really noticed when I am traveling is when I have been the happiest, and when I come “home” (I am not sure where I want that to be right now) I get bored, frustrated and grouchy. This has happened several times, and I decided this week to really sit down and focus on what has been going on for me. Should I be happy and content after a trip, and not antsy 2 weeks after I am back?
Before my concussion life was more about work and music, and my music ended up taking a back seat to my work a lot more than I wanted it to generally. I would work 50-80 hour weeks, and pushed myself hard to grow professionally. I worked towards funding my travels, and I worked to save up for buying a house. I think there was always the idea of having a family in the back of my mind, with exact no specifics except I wanted to be prepared. Even though I was working toward something, looking back I can honestly say I never felt really happy for most of those years. There was my passion for life, but not a lot of joy around how my days looked on a deeper level. There were moments of success, but also a lot of moments of me just feeling empty and alone in a room full of people. I was always looking for something more, I was always looking to push myself harder, trying to get my hands around some invisible trophy that I never really did find.
About the time my 1st concussion happened it seemed like the universe had been talking to me, but I hadn’t been listening well enough. A had closed down a green startup that I had nurtured amd busted my ass for almost two years to try and create. The stars were not aligned dismantling the team I had built, and stepping back had left me feeling defeated and pretty depressed. About a month later the relationship I was in fell apart. If felt like things were falling apart in my world, and felt deeply sad by all the loss I was experiencing. The loss of my legacy project, the loss of 2 years of work, the loss of a friendship with a business partner who I thought was a dear friend, the loss of a relationship with a girl I really cared for. Things felt grim in my heart, I was sucking wind, and I knew I was in a rough space. I needed to find a way to reset. After some soul searching I booked a flight for India. I figured I would just go sit in an ashram until I could figure out my way through the storm that my life was resembling. 72 hours before I was supposed to leave for India a car T-boned me while I was out doing errands getting ready to leave.
There is this saying I had heard about going to India, I laughed when my friends and strangers told me about it. What everyone I met told me is, you don’t go to India till your supposed to. I will be honest I didn’t believe it, until the moment I was sitting in that major intersection a few moments after the accident. Two ways to think of it. A car ran a red light and hit my door. Yes duh well that had obviously fucking happened. The universe is saying no, now isn’t the time for India. In that moment I was overwhelmed, but later on I thought about what people had said to me. It was a bit weird.
So no India. I stayed at a friends who was out of town for a quite a while, and healed up from the car accident. I had some memory loss, had cracked a few ribs, and my left leg had gotten a bit dinged but physically I was going to probably going to be okay. Mentally though I was still trying to deal with everything I had been feeling, and I felt like even worse now.
What everyone I met told me is, you don’t go to India till your supposed to.
Fast forward 6 months. I decided to go abroad again, and this time (perhaps because I was a bit leary of India…) I decided to go to Indonesia. It seemed like going somewhere to study music, and to try to regroup was still a good idea. Somewhere that was cheap, warm and beachy still (not india) was appealing. I booked my flights 6 months after the car accident, and left 2 weeks later. I was still feeling really off and depressed, but had hopes that this trip would turn things around.
The word Bali has a Indonesian meaning which is, “Island Of The Gods” (Let’s also say I know there are typos everywhere the blogs, thanks for bearing with me. That I am even writing is something of a miracle). I remember pretty clearly landing in Bali, and exhaling with relief that I had made it their with no further incident. That whole saying about India was still ringing in the back of my head, I was happy to put those silly ideas behind me, and be in Bali.
Bali was amazing. I loved the mellow pace, I loved the chill hard working people, I loved the heat, I loved the Music! I ended up getting some balinese gamelan percussion music lessons while I was there (although I had already had a prior interest). I toured around the countryside, and after a few weeks decided I would go on a trek by myself all the way around the island on a scooter. I had a scooter in San Francisco, and I had always been on two wheels (Bicycle, Motorcycle, Scooter) for most of my life. I wasn’t arrogant, but I felt capable. I loosely planned a trip around the island, upgraded my scooter and helmet, and got ready to leave the fantastic countrysides of central Bali. The day before I left to go on my trip I ended up having a brief conversation with my ex. I think some part of me was still hoping we could sort things out, but it was clear to me by the end of our conversation that what we wanted was very different. Neither of us was wrong for what we wanted, we just wanted different things. The next day I left for my adventure.
There is long version of what happened on that day, but because I am writing about why I want to get a Van to travel in, I am not going to go into the full details of everything that happened that day. That is a separate posting, and I will do that when I am ready. I know sharing about Concussions and how mine affected me is important, and I will do that more in time. A lot of people have family, or friends who have dealt with the subject, it’s not easy not knowing what someone goes through, and it’s always different for each person.
What I will share is that someone cut me off on the highway while I was driving on my scooter (Was not my fault). I yelled and thankfully the guy that cut me off jumped off his scooter, and wasn’t hurt at all. I did end up hitting his scooter, and doing a superman into oncoming traffic. I flew about 20-25 feet and hit the ground hard, head first, and then hip and knees. Luckily 15 minutes before the accident I noticed my helmet was loose and I tightened it. I am pretty sure I saved my life, because if the helmet had come off I don’t think I would have survived. I blacked out and when I woke up people were screaming and yelling around me trying to direct traffic around the accident. Not so luckily I had to get stitches in both my knees, gotta love jungle rot(In a jungle clinic with no pain meds), suffered a severe Level 3 concussion (which I didn’t realize until later), almost broke my hip, and was covered in cuts, scrapes and huge bruises. In addition, there was the negotiations after the accident. A chicken, a goat, and a pig, and $250 dollars, and that was before the “police” arrived. It is pretty much always the tourist fault if there is an accident in Indonesia, and you are driving. You have to pay off everyone involved, even if it wasn’t your fault. All that said it somehow all sort of worked out. I know I am lucky to still be here in one piece.
Having two concussion within 6 months I would later find out was really, not good. The accident and the concussion symptoms that came with it this time, were 10 times worse. It was debilitating. I ended up being in Bali for 3 months after because my brain was swelling, and getting on a plane was a no go. I was sleeping between 16-20 hours a day. I couldn’t remember anything anyone said 1 second after they said it. I fell when I walked, had zero sense of balance, and usually threw up from the dizziness just trying to get to the bathroom so sometimes I crawled. I soiled my clothes multiple times a day, because I never new when I had to go to the bathroom, until it was literally happening. I had constant drilling headaches that felt like a car pinning your head against a brick wall, revving it’s engine 24×7. I couldn’t handle much light, or sound. I couldn’t remember when I had eaten, or if I had drank anything. I couldn’t remember what words meant, what words I needed to use to explain how I was feeling, I couldn’t understand body language, or facial expressions. Everything was a blur. I was alone in a world without time, words, or meaning.The days and nights passed with my mind burning on fire, and the rest of me in pain. I was surrounded by beauty, in hell.
Luckily the people I had stayed with before my accident, were kind enough to help me for the first 2 weeks after the accident. I will never forget how kind they were. I was in a bad spot, and they really tried to help me. Somehow with their help, I found a meditation/ yoga center and rented a suite their. They helped translate and explain what had happened to me, and the people at the meditation center tried to help me as much as they could for the following 2 1/2 months. I remembered thinking here I am in Bali, in a meditation center… India, hmphhh.
I can’t really say how humbling those months were, but they were the most raw and savage months I have ever experienced. There are no words for how it felt sleeping in the shower, and waking up only to hose myself down. Falling every time I walked, pouring water down my shirt when I tried to drink, biting my tongue, chocking on food because I forgot to chew, not being able to respond to basic questions. There were no words for how alone I felt. I had hit –sub ground zero internally. I do remember looking out at the rice fields while laying on my porch thinking, ” Did India follow me, and why am I still alive?”.
What happened after that I will share as time goes on and I feel ready. What I will say is that it has been a really tough journey to get to here (where ever that is). When I came home from my last trip at the end of December a few weeks ago I realized I am still trying to sort out what it means to be me. No matter how many steps I take forward there are pockets of information I just don’t have. I never realize it till after, and that can make things hard. Everyday I am learning so much. New words, new facial expressions, what a kiss feel like, and so many new emotions that I don’t know.
Concussions you can’t see, it but it’s the equivalent of having every bone broken in your body, except it’s every Neuro connections in your head. Everything you have learned how to do, gone in .1 seconds, and no one can see it but you. A serious concussion is like having the devil jam a lit cigar up your ass for some potentially unlimited amount of time, meanwhile you walk around with people talking, and nodding at you thinking there is nothing wrong, because they can’t, “see it”. I don’t think people are unaware intentionally, but unless you take time to read and educate yourself, all the assumptions you make can end up really being hard for someone dealing with a concussion.
There are new situations that pop up everyday. Sometimes those situations are really demanding and hard for me, because I have no idea of how to deal with or sort through them. It has has been really hard work coming back from the concussions. It has been tougher though dealing with peoples expectations of me. Most people have default ways of interacting with each other, and when you don’t know that language, interactions are hard. People can be judgemental, and it really just sucks when you feel rejected because you don’t know what to say. People project a lot onto each other without even realizing it, let alone being willing to deal with, or be responsible for it. All those expectations get hard to carry, especially when you are just trying to figure out how to live, and maybe stick your toe in the door jam of love.
So back to the beginning of this conversation, why a Van? Most of my life I have done what I thought I should do, not what I reallyyyy wanted to do. The last 6 years has been a non stop ascent out of darkness. I have lost years of sleep, and have exhausted myself getting to where I am now. A lot of people in my life are asking me what are you going to do for work? What is next, what about this, what about that? I want to explode when I hear things like this. I am thinking I just worked my bloody ass off for 6 years to just get to this point, I want a fucking longggg vacation… I need a minute to breathe.
Scratch that, I need a few years to breathe.
I do remember looking out at the rice fields while laying on my porch thinking, ” Did India follow me, and why am I still alive?”.
All this leads to last June when finally I started traveling again after 6 years, and found a rhythm that I liked. Waking up in nature, immersing myself in nature all day, slowing down, opening up just a tiny bit more every day to a beautiful soul I had met. No gigantic wins, just lots of tiny little moments that felt in integrity with some deeper part of me. From picnics in the forest, to laying at the lake, hikes during the day, to snuggles at night. I felt like my heart was saying, smile brain, this is it buddy. Inhale this. I came home from that trip, and I realized that things had changed. I had finally found the road I had been stumbling around trying to find for a long time. That trip was 5 months ago, and when I came back from Canada it felt all wrong. I felt like I was leaving a person I wanted to be with, and a space I wanted to be in.
That trip give me a new awareness, something of a compass. I realized I need to move forward and inhale life, and every sunset and laugh I can. I am hoping that the mountain passes will blow me in the right directions, and into some more forest picnics, and lazy days by the lakes. Regardless, I am excited about my Van 🙂
The idea of a Van is perfect. I can ship it anywhere in the world, I can sell it if I want to, or I can use it as a mobile house in any country. I have been studying Tiny house building for 4 years as a hobby, and Tiny House Vans. So for the next few months I am going to focus on what I will need to travel the world, and which Van will suite my needs, be the easiest to repair, ship, and be the best buy for my dollars. Although shipping it might be expensive, if I am somewhere long enough I think it will pay for itself in spades. If I end up wanting to rent a place somewhere or with someone, I can always do that and keep the Van for more fun adventures.
So there goes normal right out the window. That shit was boring anyway, and never very fulfilling. Time to move forward, and on to embracing the best version of my goofy, weird self!!
Full Time World Traveler? Yes! I will have a dozen scoops of that. Thank you 🙂
I have been thinking a lot about how to get myself into the shape I want to be in. Last year I tried a lot of things, but didn’t keep it simple. This year I want to keep it really fucking simple. I am off gluten, sugar, caffeine, liquor and most dairy (oohh goat cheese you temptress). I am trying to go to sleep earlier, and get up earlier. I am focusing on enjoying getting in shape, no scales, no negative self talk.
I think I am just going to just set 3 goals and chip away at them inexhaustibly.
Right now I can do maybe 3-4 miles hiking, by the end of the year I want to be able to do a 20 mile hike comfortably.
Right now I can ride 3-4 miles on my bike, by the end of the year I want to be able to do 60-70 mile bike ride.
Right now I have a bunch of ideas for songs I want to write, by the end of the year I want 3 finished songs for the new record I am going to complete in 2021.
There’s a lot of things that go into creating each of these goals, but rather than make it complicated, these are my 3 Primary goals for the year.
I have decided that taking on 3 Habits might really help support my 3 goals. If my habits don’t shift, my actions won’t, and that is not an option this year. The three habits I finally decided on were based on my past experimentation’s with trying to motivate myself.
Those 3 habits are :
1) Daily morning meditation
2) Daily Morning stretching & Yoga
3) Learning Spanish
Before I do anything, I do these 3 things!
Race Cars are designed to have massive amounts of horse power, for speed, so they can win on the track. I have come to realize my mind is a beasttt of a Race Car, and the only thing that can control that car is my soul. When I meditate and do yoga I move into a soul consciousness, and I see things differently.
My problems become lessons, with chapters. It has taken me a long time to understand and try to move from that awareness, and I can’t tell you how many times I still get reactive about situations instead of being more patient with others and myself.
When I live in a Soul conscious state of awareness, my race car mind wins me fucking races.
Without soul consciousness I run in fear, between the horns of the crazed bulls in my mind. Like a race car spinning out of control on a track. My first 2 habits clear my mind, my third habit focuses it. When I leave my house I am clear, and grounded in a deeper awareness. Everything that happens that day is will be to teach me. The slow driver in front of me to teach me patience, the rude person at the grocery store to teach me kindness. The universe isn’t out to get me, it’s out to improve me. If I just slow down and look at things little deeper, behind everything is a lesson.
Developing that consciousness is the gift my concussion gave me.
On a more obvious, and wayyyy less esoteric note I know that going to bed early helps, and am working on getting that woven into this schedule. Right now I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the changes, but it takes change, to change!! As such, I am sucking it up and getting it done. It takes 60 days to create a habit, I have 45 more days to go!!!
Space is not a place, but the freedom to exhale yourself into each second as it occurs.
Emptiness is not a threat, but the fruitfulness of every moment. In this moment is everything.
Why Music, Hike, Bike?
My love for music began when my mother started placing her headphones on her stomach every night when I was just a wee watermelon in her stomach. I can still remember the vibrations, and hear the sounds from the records she used to play. I fell in love the first time I FELT music. Music was the first thing I can remember consciously knowing. I started playing the drums when I was 5 (technically quacker oat boxes filled with rocks and sand, pot lids, all set up like a mini Drumset!). Rhythm has been my trusted friend, constant companion, and a compass through life. I play anything I can bang on Drumsets, Djembes, Congas, Timbales, Bongos, Timpani, Hang drums. My love affair with music has never faded. Sound and Rhythm are two of my favorite forms of oxygen.
I did some great camping as a kid with my dad. We had our favorite mountains and we traversed them together with our back packs till I was about 10. We would hike in silence for hours often times, and then for no apparent reason my dad would randomly start acting ridiculous, dancing around like a goof, and cracking jokes (that I didn’t usually get). A random dance competition between us happened several times, and I am pretty sure we scared every animal within a 10 mile radius of us away. Thinking back, all our hooping and hollering must have really been a ridiculous sight. We are both pretty ridiculous given the right opportunity. My dad is an adventurous guy, a mans man, worked on the apollo rocket, was a brilliant mechanic, an amazing musician, loves dogs more than humans, and makes a mean bowl of Oatmeal. He will always be a big time nature lover. I miss the scary stories over a campfire, jumps in freezing cold crystal clear lakes, and mountain lions walking around our tent. Those were moments I will always remember, and cherish.
My mom was the same way, she’d go hiking in Yosemite for weeks by herself. I don’t think my dad knew what to think when he met her, she definitely gave him a run for his money. She was a musician, had an amazing voice, could rebuild a VW bug engine in an afternoon, and she kinda just shined everywhere she went. People loved her. There were a lot of days I can kind of half remember with my mom, that were like perfect summer days in the mountains. When she passed on from breast cancer I was 14. I just remembered feeling like I lost my best friend for life. I have missed her every day since. She was a badass, extremely talented, and the kindest person I have ever known. I was very lucky to have her for the 14 years I did. She taught me a lot, especially about love.
It’s been a long time since I have been in the mountains for an any extended amount of time. I haven’t camped nearly enough since my adolescence, not until last summer when I went to Canada. I fell in love with the Rockies, one trail to the next, and a couple long treks later I found that place/space inside myself that I had felt when I was a kid camping with my dad. Sitting, dangling my legs over the side of a Mountain, free, and completely at peace. I ended up staying in Rocky mountains a lot longer than I intended. When it was time to go back to California it felt like I was being ripped away from apart of myself that I had lost, and desperately needed. So yes, the mountains… I need them. To boot I met a beautiful girl with a giant heart, that’s inspired me like no one ever has. I had my first kiss all over again, and I think I was very lucky, because she is a pretty good kisser 😉
I learned to ride my bike before I learned to walk. The first time I road my tricycle I was 3, and I was allowed to ride my tricycle in the house. Believe me when I say I turned it into my own private Autobahn track! A lot of toes, and paws ran in desperation when I would come tearing through blind corners around the house. When I wasn’t playing music growing up, I was on my bike flying up and down hills in my neighborhood, and eventually all over my city. My Bike inspired and fed my already curious nature to reach out, and taught me to push myself, and be fearless. I fell in love with finding new places to explore every weekend. Adventure after adventure, wind at my back, sun in my face. I fell in love with the journey. I fell in love with propelling myself to a new place to sit, and watch the sun go down.
There are Mountains to climb, songs to write, and roads my bike needs to see. With adventurous in the heart and on the horizon I am determined to grow, and remember all the things I learn along the way.
So many things have changed in my life over the last 7 years, there have been a lot of ups and downs. A lot of struggles, and a lot of trials. I can’t really explain why I have decided to hike the 2,650 miles of the PCT next year, but what I can say is I just feel deeply called to put my feet on this trail and walk. I have been though the statistics, and know the completion rate is low, the terrain unforgiving, the climate changes extreme. At the end of the day it’s just something I feel I need to do, like breathing.
I thought a lot about if I should do the PCT, Te Araroa, AT, or the CDT first. In the end California is my home in this country, and it just feels more organic to have my hike start where my roots are from, and where I have been based out of for most of my life. I can’t say that all 4 trails don’t appeal to me, because they definitely all do for very different reasons which I will share in the months ahead. The decision is clear though, the PCT just feels right, for this hike I want to be in my own backyard.
I recently read an article about Warren Buffet. In the article he spoke of the one habit that successful people foster, which is that they say no to almost everything. Last year I struggled with saying NO to some circumstances, and people (who were often well meaning, but not helpful) that I found very draining. Thankfully this year is going differently! I am saying No when I need to, and to things that don’t leave joy in my heart. No is as important as Yes, and for me right now maybe more important. Focusing on what fills my Tank, and saying YES to integrating those key things into my life on a daily basis is what counts, and where my energy is directed. Saying No to people and situations that are draining, not grounded, not inspired, and that don’t leave me smiling.
Yin and Yang is about balance, internal balance. It is about cultivating the spaces that you live in, and making sure they help you feel nurtured, teach you to grow, and help you stay balanced. I am committed to exploring wonderful people, experiences, and adventures that bring me into balance with myself, and that help me move forward toward my dreams. In some sense this hike is very much about me taking the bull by horns, and deepening that balance and strength within me. It’s also about me reaching out and exploring all the unknown beauty around me that speaks to me, while meeting other like minded people who feel the same pull to nature. There is a simple truth in nature, and a depth I just don’t find anywhere else.
In the end this journey is about me learning to trust my brain and body again. To recenter in that strength, learn to let go, and move forward into this moment with no more regrets. The PCT is where I want to bury and let go of the concussion that took 75% of memory and 6 years of my life. This trail is where I want to prove to myself that I am ready to start writing the next book of my life, closing the last chapter of this book and finally moving forward.
I don’t expect this journey to be easy. I expect to be challenged constantly, to have to overcome my fears on a sometimes second by second basis. There will be mountains to scale, and rivers to cross. Sunny days, and rainy days where I have to hike through mud sometimes along high mountain passes. I expect to wake up to sunrises I will never forget, and laugh with new friends I will know for the rest of my life.
It’s definitely taken me some time to get to the point where I was comfortable with posting all this publicly. I am usually a bit introverted about my thoughts, but sharing the journey of life is a good thing, and maybe one of the most important things we have to offer each other.
Who would have thought climbing around the Rocky Mountains in Canada last summer would have lead to me hiking the PCT? One thing is always leading you to another in life, and it’s funny how that works out.
A lot more content to come in months ahead as I have already started buying gear, and will be starting to share my reviews soon!
Thanks for joining me on the adventure of a lifetime! I am really excited for this journey, all it’s sweetness, and without a doubt all the challenges that will come with it. I know there will be some laughing and crying, but that’s life. It’s good to be alive!
In the mountains, and on the trail of life.
Inspire me with breathe, which holds quantum duality. Inspire me with movements made of granite, that leave a bleeding trail of truth behind. Inspire me with wisdom that understands strengths partner, is weakness. Inspire me with depth, which is always framed in bravery, and hung on high mountain passes. Inspire me with what your willing to learn, while simultaneously refusing to ever quit. Tomorrow when I wake up and stand in front of the mirror, Inspire Me.
I know over the next 3-6-9 months I will need to keep myself motivated, and the only way to do that is to have goals to hit. I am sure there are people who can wing it, but I am not one of them. I need goals. Goals and Cheese Pizza!
So what’s in my Hiking backpack for the year?
I think it looks something like this, but fair warning this is my rough draft. I expect things to change based on my schedule, weather. Life will happen, and plans will change.
I am not an experienced hiker as of yet, I am a modest beginner with pretty decent research skills. I have been watching dozens of youtube videos, and reading a lot of blogs and magazines, and for me these are a few of the ideas that stood out. I will be adding more thoughts as the year progresses. If you have any ideas, or advice please feel free to leave it in the comments below.
Mental Preparation like watching documentaries and reading books written by people who have hiked the specific trail you are training for to get a better, more realistic view of the trail. You can also tailor this information by looking for someone with a similar background and physical abilities to you. And don’t underestimate the power of contacting former thru-hikers via phone or email. Many are happy to help mentor an aspiring hiker.
Beach Hiking with backpack. It supposed to builds the muscles that protect your knees and ankles. My goal is to add around 2 pounds a month. Hopefully by the end of the year I can handle a 20-30 pound Backpack.
Swimming for additional cardio. Running under water with a rock for lung capacity, and also psychological, and mental fortitude and confidence
Yoga for flexibility and strength
Free weights for focusing on the areas that I need to get stronger for thru hiking.
Pushups, Pull Ups, Hips, Dips
Hikingggg, shakedown hikes with LOTS and lots of hiking with elevation gain in mountainous areas.
Hike with all your gear, just like you will be for your Hike-Thru.
Garmin InReach Mini – $314.99 / Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables two-way text messaging using the 100% global Iridium network (satellite subscription required). Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center (satellite subscription required). Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more by using the free Garmin Earthmate app and compatible devices. Optional inReach weather forecast service provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or paired device; basic and premium weather packages available
Dirty Girl Gaiters – She uses all profits from this dirty business to “pay forward” and “pay back,” donating to worthy non-profit causes
Altra – Best Thru-Hike shoes for wide toe box. Thru-Hikers shoe of choice!
Vasque Saga GTX – Most comfortable hiking boot I have ever worn, and I have long narrow feet with high arches. It’s hard to find shoes that work for me. These boots are pretty waterproof too when you buy them, I would recommend still treating them with some sort of waterproofing. I have immersed them in streams multiple times in a hike and my socks stayed dry. However, according to the manufacturer they are NOT water proof. LOVE these boots.
Camp kicks – Crocs or Chacos. Air out your stinky feet at camp after a long day on the trail.
Ursack Bear Bags – $90-$150 Bear bags are made of ultra-high-performance UHMWP fabric (Ballistic Fabric) and designed to prevent bears from getting your food.
Bearikade Weekender – $255 The Bearikade Weekender is just the right size for 2 people to escape for the weekend. If used as a personal unit, it can supply you for up to 6 days. Specifications: Weighs just over 31 ounces, 9″ diameter base by 10.5″ length, 650 cubic inch volume.
BearVault BV500 Food Container – $79 Keep bears from inviting themselves to your feast! The BearVault BV500 container features simple access, light weight and large volume. 2 lbs. 9 oz./ 8.7 x 12.7 inches
Fenix HL60R USB Rechargeable Headlamp – 4.3 oz. (121g) excluding batteries / Fenix HL60R Headlamp delivers a maximum output of 950 lumens, beam distance of up to 381ft, and a runtime of up to 100 hours from just one rechargeable 18650 Li-ion battery. The Fenix HL60R is one of the best rechargeable headlamps on the market. This feature rich headlamp is equipped with neutral white LED for better color rendering, a side switch to activate the five brightness levels, and the red reading light. The HL60R is an all-season headlamp designed with an all-metal housing and waterproof up to 2m underwater.
ARB-L18-3500U Built-in USB Rechargeable Battery – Best Headlamp battery!!! ARB-L18-3500U is a high capacity 18650 Li-ion USB rechargeable battery with a built-in micro-USB charging port. It also includes a protection circuit in the anode to help prevent short circuits, over charge/discharge and over heating. These USB rechargeable batteries can quickly be charged without the need for a separate charger. This not only save you money from purchasing a charger, but also convenience of not having to carry around another device. Warranty Period: 12 month from date of purchase
SLONIK 1000 Lumen Rechargeable – 4.19oz / 2x CREE LED Headlamp w/ 2200 mAh Battery – Lightweight, Durable, Waterproof and Dustproof Headlight – Xtreme Bright 600 ft LIGHTWEIGHT, The Slonik is a 1000-lumen rechargeable headlight capable of reflecting a 220-yard beam without distorting the natural colors of the illuminated objects. Detachable and adjustable, 5 different light modes: detach the light to fit it in your pocket. Swivel it up and down 90 degrees. Adjustable nylon headband for a snug and comfortable fit. Switch between 5 different lighting modes with a single button. 100,000 Hour lifespan, 48 Month Warranty!!
There are so many, and honestly once you do some research the best thing to do is go try them on, and see how they fit (pro tip grab a 20 pound weight and walk around the store with some weight in your bag). Beyond that it’s about weight, and if your backpack is waterproof. In no order here are a few I found that seem pretty good.
Granite Gear Crown2 60 Pack – $199 Women’s Bag 2 lbs. 5.8 oz. / women’s backpack is an ultralight, weather-worthy, multiday backpack. Great Buy for the extra waterproofing they offer. This is my #3 Packback choice! Some waterproofing and still well made with good pockets, and extra hooks for poles, and an ice pick.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear – $345 Weight:2.00 lbs | 32.00 oz/ Capacity:55L 3400 Junction. The high-tech cuben fiber material helps keep this pack at a flat 2 lbs. The material is so water-proof, you can usually get by without using a pack cover or liner at all. It’s one of the only waterproof bags on the market. This is my #1 Packback choice!
ULA EQUIPMENT – CDT – $145 Weight:1 lb 8.0 oz Capacity:54 L / A very well balanced pack – not too minimal, yet not too excessive. Similarly, 54 Liters is a great size for thru-hiking – not too small to carry a week-long food supply, yet not too bulky. This pack has a very simple and rather non-existent frame which makes it only ideal for light loads (under 20 lbs). Complete with spacious hip pockets, side water bottle pockets and a massive mesh front panel. Main issue is it can only hold 20 pounds of gear and isn’t very weather proof.
ULA CIRCUIT – $255 Weight:41 oz Capacity:68 L / Weighing in at less than 41 OZ, this pack has great load carrying capabilities, comfort, and durability of the Circuit pack. If you have your total pack weight down around 30 pounds and want to feel the freedom of traveling light, this is the pack for you. The Circuit has been the most popular pack on the Pacific Crest Trail for the past 3 years according to the Halfway Anywhere annual survey of PCT thru hikers. The Circuit pack utilizes a 1.2 OZ carbon fiber and Delrin suspension hoop in conjunction with a dense internal foam frame and a single aluminum stay to give you excellent back panel support, maximum load control, weight transfer, and pack rigidity without limiting your range of movement. The Circuit can be ordered with a 12″ to 18″ adjustable harness system that works great for kids.
SWD – LONG HAUL 50 – $275 Weight:1 lb 9 oz / Capacity:60 L / The Long Haul Full Suspension comes with 50L of internal volume along with 10L of external pack space. The suspension frame is comprised of 2 removable aluminum stays, enabling it to carry heavier 30 to 35 lb loads. S shaped shoulder straps, trekking pole attachments, cushy hip belt and waterproof material make this pack a winner.
GOSSAMER GEAR – MARIPOSA – $260 Weight: 2 lb 0.7 oz (Med) / Capacity:60 L / Gossamer Gears’ Mariposa is one of my favorite ultralight backpacks. It is a simple pack with a perfect amount of external pockets and loops. The Mariposa has a top loading flap that is super easy to buckle down and is adjustable for varying load capacities. The flap’s zipper pouch makes small items, like your map or a snack that don’t fit into the hip pockets, very accessible. This is my #2 Packback choice!