Here's my collection of true stories about hiking adventures,
backpacking trips, and rafting down rivers (with a bicycle).
The video below is from a trip up Waugh Mountain in October of
2011. The rest of my stories are on the pages described below,
with perhaps a photo or two. Maybe they'll inspire you to try
a few different kinds of wilderness adventures.
My Tears Froze at 20,600 Feet
Well, they would have frozen, if I had hadn't stopped crying
before getting that high. It was fifteen degrees below zero at
the summit. Climbing Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador was one of the
most difficult things I've done. With only ten pounds on my back,
it definitely qualifies as an ultralight backpacking/climbing
adventure. You can read the whole story on the page; Ultralight
Mountain Hiking and Mountaineering.
Backpacking by Moonlight
I took the long way to Mount Whitney (2 people per day instead
of 200). In five days and nights I never saw a cloud in the sky.
I awoke in the middle of the night , every night, to start down the trails by moonlight.
This was my last hiking adventure with a heavy pack and hiking
boots. I felt silly carrying a separate "summit pack"
to take to the top, and soon after converted to ultralight backpacking.
The story is on the page, California
Hiking In The High Sierras.
Lightning at 14,000 Feet
My first hiking adventure with ultralight backpacking gear
was in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. I had a light down
bag, a tarp, and seven days of rain and snow. I managed to stay
dry, hiked 110 miles. and bagged five "fourteeners"
along the way. For the rest of the story, go to Colorado
Hiking; Ultralight Backpacking in the Wenimuche Wilderness.
Lightning on the River
When people looked up from their breakfast, out into the dark
morning, they saw me in a flash of lightning. I was floating
by on the river in an inner tube, with an umbrella, during a
thunderstorm. What could I do, but wave at them? "Unpredictable"
has to be in the definition of adventure. You can read this story
on the page, Dirtbagging.
Is That a Day Pack?
They were surprised to see an eleven pound backpack on the
Appalachian Trail (this was many years ago). I was surprised
to see six inches of snow on my tarp in May. This was a test
for my down bag and running shoes too. To see how it turns out,
go to North
Carolina Hiking the Ultralight Way.
What's That Noise in My Head?
The first time I climbed a mountain, I learned that we had
to carry our poop back down with us in a little bag. I also learned
that it can be painful to have less oxygen in the air. My friend
decided against becoming a mountaineer around 11,000 feet, but
I went on without him. You'll find the story on the page, Climbing
Bicycling Down the River
miles on a six-dollar thrift-store bicycle, a mile pushing the
bike through the woods, three hours hauling logs, and I was ready
to raft down the river. Five hours floating, a mile pushing the
bike through the woods, and I was ready to pedal the thirty miles
home again. It was a long day. You can read about it here: An
Ultralight River Rafting Adventure.
Getting Lost on Lost Mountain
No joke; I was headed for Mout Aetna but ended up on top of
Mount Lost Mountain. There are some good photos here showing
the tarp and other equipment I use when backpacking. You can
see those (and read the story) here: Gear
Testing and Getting Lost.
Grassy Tundra in the Winter
I didn't expect to be hiking above tree line in winter on
grassy meadows, but I decided to humor my friend who wanted to
take a hike up high and possibly summit a peak or two. We were
in running shoes and light jackets, and you can read the rest
of the story right here: Winter
Hiking in the Colorado Mountains.
I have a photo of my feet hanging out over the edge of he
summit of Mount Bushnell that goes along with this page: Scrambling.
Getting Close to Nature
Check out the photo of the mountain goat licking my hand on
this page. It was on Mount Shavano in the Sawatch Range of Colorado:
The Mountain Goat and I.
Four Feet of Snow
Deep snow in mid September stopped my ascent of Crestone Peak,
but I camped near the South Colony Lakes, carrying just nine
pounds total on my back for this trip. You can read about it
here: Lightweight Hiking Story.
Come Rain or Snow
This page relates my exeprience in the Sangre de Christo Mountains,
on a long day hike, and has some tips for this kind of trip:
The Long Distance Day Hike.
More Hiking Adventures
Hiking in Michigan: A mini hiking adventure to try out some
new lightweight equipment and techniques in the woods and sand
dunes along Lake Michigan.
I still have a few hiking adventures that I haven't written
down. Like the one in the Yellowstone back country involving
a May snowstorm and a grizzly bear. I also have a few adventures
that I haven't experienced- yet! So be sure to check back for
more in the future.