Showing posts with label gossamer gear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gossamer gear. Show all posts

Off Trail Gossamer Gear Blog Contribution

  I & other Trail Ambassadors, wrote a small piece for the Gossamer Gear main site blog.  The subject is walking off trail; which holds a special place in my heart, in good times and in bad.  Go on over and check it out!

What do you think about the article?  Did it speak to you?  I would love to hear from you in a comment below!

olympic off trail
Photo used in write up, snapped during a 10 day traverse of the Bailey Range in 2013.   Shows us approaching the Elkhorn Glacier.  Ragamuffin, Mount Childs and Mount Olympus can be seen (left to right).   Featuring Liz Thomas

Sharing Wilderness - Walking through the Seasons

Read beginning of story.

I would have two days to rest my right and now left feet. A combination of the climbing fall injury and the new wounds acquired from walking so many miles in very wet trail conditions. I was so focused on getting to the destination I failed to take proper preventive care during my last walk. The top 1/3 of both feet were missing skin, epsom salt to the rescue - as well as duct tape and super glue. All three would get me trailworthy once again. This would be a start of 4 consecutive
weeks in the Olympic alpine taking photos and video.

After months of planning and communication via the internet a group of Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassadors, as well as some friend, were standing on the front porch of the farm in Port Angeles. We had no real itinerary yet, but would sit down with a group of maps and go over a plan that worked best for everyone involved. Once going over all the route variations we had a real plan.

The group decided on one central location to park the vehicles. Trip would be a loop style hike, with a small dogleg out and back walk. We would be out for 7 days and 6 nights. Our campsite selections would give the more energetic parties an option for some peakbagging out of a base camp. We would also be using basic land navigation skills as some of the sections would be off trail in remote and fragile places in the Olympic National Park interior.

Weather forecast had us sunny the first day, then turning into wet conditions with thunderstorms and early autumn temperatures in the alpine. It was a good thing I warned everyone during planning that the Olympic Mountains can turn from fair weather to early winter type conditions overnight. I have a motto here - plan for worst conditions, but hope for the best.

three forks trail
Starting our 7 day loop walk into the Olympic Mountains.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla & Kumo - Differences

  Was in need to ditch my heavy weight traditional backpack, so I reached out to Gossamer Gear for help.  Not only did the pack need to be durable, but help repel all the water that falls here in the Olympic Mountains.  Also to have pockets to carry water, snacks or whatever else the trip demanded, giving easy access at anytime; without removing off my back.  Strong enough to carry up to 2 weeks of food comfortably on my shoulders.  When my son & I do trips, wanted to be able to fit extra items into my pack, keeping weight out of his.

  Just finished my second full hiking season carrying the Gorilla.  Spent over 100 nights in the wilderness within that time.  Carrying 14 days of food w/ Bear Can & Ice Axe last year.  Then 10 days of supplies w/ tripod & camera gear this season.  Encountered 4 season conditions while on and off the trail.  Snow, Rain, Wind and brush were not uncommon, even swam across a river last year wearing the pack (not recommended).  None of the contents in the internal compartment ever received moisture (not rated waterproof).

Gossamer Gear Gorilla
GG Gorilla in the upper Bogachiel on my recent Divide to Coast route.  - shared on Instagram.  Water & Pyramid pole right.  Tripod & snacks left pocket.  Shelter in the back pocket when wet, well as stove, ground cloth, stakes, eye protection and maps w/ tide chart.   Bag, food and camera equipment in the main compartment.   

Summer Update: Gossamer Gear - Group Trip

  Just finished up a 7 day loop hike with some friends.  We had a mixed bag of weather; from winds to heavy rain and even some lightning.  Did some peak bagging, sections of off trail in the alpine and a handful of mountain passes.  It was great sharing the Olympics with friends I've known for awhile on the internet.  Getting them all together to do a backpacking trip was just awesome.

Name drop

Note:  All photos and trips reports will be released Winter 2013 in a multi-part series titled 'Walking through the Seasons'. 

Backpacking rainbow
The group gets blessed with a rainbow, as a storm passes through.  

Gossamer Gear Minimalist Review

  Lighting your pack is a never ending evolution it seems.  I've done a great job at getting my overnight kit dialed in, but my smaller trip gear has seemed to be less of a priority.  As winter closed in.  It was time to get my day pack in order.

  For years have used a tradition bag that can be found at almost any outdoor shop.  I was in need of something not designed to carry heavy loads.   Did not want my pack to slop around my body when doing trail running or scrambling.   

Gossamer Gear Minimalist
Exploring Chaco Canyon, NM with my Gossamer Gear Minimalist

Forgotten Trail of the Elwha Valley

  I have pondered a forgotten trail that the Olympic National Park has abandoned years ago.  Personally discovered through hiking forums, talking to various locals, hiker blog and old 1935 USGS map online.  The name of this forgotten route is; the Long Creek Trail.  (see disclaimer below)

  The incoming weather forecast looked very wet; with an incoming small cold front.  Wanting to see this 'trial' with my own eyes.  Decided to go ahead with the trip anyways.  I have a little saying, 'If you can backpack in an Olympic winter, the rest of the year will be a cake walk.'

  So I set off on another Olympic adventure, this time with a borrowed on/off road motorcycle.  This would be my form of 'cheating' to get to the trailhead.

Ultralight backpacking gear
Packing for the trip.  How organized? - shared on Facebook 

Toleak Point Backpacking Trip in Winter

  This last Autumn I received a Facebook Event invite to join a group outing on the South Olympic Coast.   I of course accepted; since the coast is my favorite winter place to hide out from modern life.

  The plan was to walk 6 miles south on the coast during low tide.  Set up a base camp and day hike out different directions for some old fashioned exploration.  In order to catch the tide; the rest of the group would have to leave their residence early as 2am.  Then meet me in Port Angeles at 5am in route to La Push, Wa.   In order to meet them;  I cycled 5 miles into town from the farm.  Nothing wakes you up; like just above freezing temps on a bike.

  A cold front was forecasted moving through the Olympic Peninsula.  This would be a perfect opportunity to test my new Locus Gear Khufu Sil in rain and wind conditions.

backpacking Olympic Coast
Group headed south on the Olympic Coast at first light.

Sol Duc Divide in Autumn - 30+ Days in the Olympic National Park Section 6

Start at the beginning of story?

  Several months ago while snow and rain were still falling in the lowlands of western Washington, I received an email in my inbox from Grant from Gossamer Gear.

  He expressed that he would be in the area for a hiker conference and was wishing to check the Olympic National Park off of his bucket list.

  In a return email I let him know that I would be finishing up my trail series '30+ Days in the ONP' around that same time.

  This would be a  perfect way to finish this trail series.  Since Gossamer Gear has supported me so much in my adventures this year,  I was honored that he asked and of course, I agreed.

Gossamer Gear backpacking
Just crossed over Spread Eagle Pass which is a section of the Bailey Range Traverse - Grant showing off his custom Black on Black 2012 Gorilla 

Backpacking Tyler Peak - Olympic

  My original plan was a bit different than what turned out. I however still had a nice time exploring the Alpine.   Experiencing a mix of weather from High Winds, Sun, Snow, Rain, Hail (see video) and more Sun.  It was good for my body to get acclimated to being in the Sun for days.  Dreams of Alpine Traverses this Summer.

  It was nice sleeping in the Alpine so early in the season and not walking on Snow.  First trip like this for me in 2012.  Even seen a Black Bear in the Alpine at a full run.  I wonder what he was running from?  I was the only one up there at the time and there is no way he would of seen me up in the rocks?  Out for a morning jog perhaps? (no photo of Black Bear)

tyler peak
Buckhorn Wilderness, Mt. Constance, Royal Basin, Mt. Deception, Mt. Clark, Mt. Johnson, The Needles and Grey Wolf Ridge 

Elwha Trail Backpack in Winter Conditons

  This would of been perfect conditions to Trail Test the 2012 VFF Line.  Unfortunately I didnt get my Seeya and Spyridon LS until after I got out of the Back Country.  So that will have to wait until a further trip.  Bummer.

  The Elwha Valley ended up being our groups Plan B Route since the Coast was under a 22' Wave and Coastal Flooding.  Top that off with gust of 39mph with 29mph sustained.  I like to take pictures at the Beach, but am not a Ocean person.  Even tho I live on a little Sailboat.  Doesn't that make sense (hahaha)

  So we got hit pretty hard with around 48 Hours of Heavy Rain, Slush and around 6 inches of Snow.  In that time we got hit with a few inches of rain.   The trail turned into a walk up to 3 inches of standing water in places.  Needless to say, most of the time was spent trying to keep warm and dry.

poncho hiking snow