I'm Back

My Wonderland Trail project has been all consuming, taking months of work and most of my spare time. Finally at the end, I am ready to put this behind me and move on to other things. I accomplished what I set out to do; create the most comprehensive video chronicle of everything Wonderland.

Back to the Gym

It's time to get the bod ready for serious abuse this coming season. I've written on utilizing the gym before, but I have to mention the usual trends. This doesn't apply to the under 30 crowd, but for the 40 plus segment: lots of standing around, leisurely peddling, walking on the treadmill slowly while hanging on, etc. I'm amazed that so many people can finish a workout yet not have a bead of sweat on them. My philosophy is this: use every second while in the gym, be efficient by moving from one exercise to another, and if doing aerobics....you gotta sweat! Sure, any exercise is better than none, but I don't comprehend how someone can get on a treadmill or bike and not reap the benefits of actual aerobic exercise. It's not just about the muscles, if you want to actually garner significant benefits by spending time in a gym, then there's the anaerobic threshold, lactic acid threshold, interval training, and long workouts that encompass the whole body concept. If you don't push up to or beyond your personal limits, then you will never improve. If that's one's goal, then this is fine, but for me I have a long term plan which involves being very active well into my 70's. Being very active means having the base to run for hours, to push limits when and if needed, to have reserve strength any myriad activities. That means sweating in the gym.

Fastpacker's Notebook Updates

I have had excellent luck in constructing specialized systems or equipment for my exact needs, like the B4, custom camera bag, and even the 3 camera pole system I used for the Wonderland project. On the docket this year is a pack. One may think there's a gazillion packs out there already, and in fact I have many Gossamer Gear packs plus others that fit the bill nicely for certain activities. What I'm looking for, though, is a pack that will exactly fit these needs:

Ventilated to a avoid excessive sweating and claminess against the back and shoulders

Non-bouncy to allow for running

Organized so that everything I need for the day is readily accessible without need to remove the pack


Ability to carry different load sizes

Simplest design possible

My specific use is for Fastpacking, going long distances per day, carrying no more than 10-12 pounds, including food and water, but customizable in it's configuration. I am gathering materials now and hope to have a working model within a month or so.

Another item I need to get on is the Pole Mitts. Everything I do comes from specific needs or problems. I tend to get cold fingers or hands, mostly from light precip and/or winds, depending on the temperature of course. I also want something that will keep my outstretched arms (sticking out of a poncho) protected while using poles. Made from breathable cuben fiber, my design covers the arms from the elbow but is open on the bottom for maximum ventilation, and the mitt portion enables me to cover both the hand and the pole (obviously open on the bottom). This gives me the option to use them in conjunction with gloves if the conditions warrant, but will allow me to pop out maintain dexterity without removing them. I should have these constructed and tested before April.

Hiking Partner Loss

Cassie in the OlympicsLastly, I have a huge adjustment this fall. My daughter is graduating HS and continuing on to college. We've had outdoor adventures every year since she was 3 or 4. She is my steadfast hiking partner, able to motor forever without complaint, suffer with the best of them, yet enjoy every moment she spends outside. We've hiked the Wonderland, taken soil samples at Olympic National Park in October, done the Northern Loop trail in one shot, hiked the PCT in the Goat Rocks, climbed St. Helens and Adams, gone cross country in the Olympics conducting marmot surveys, been snowed on, rained on, stuck on an unplanned bivy, cross country skied in the Methow Valley....well, the list is very long. We are currently planning a graduation trip somewhere, perhaps in Europe, and she wants to hike the Wonderland again. Hopefully she can join her old man occasionally in the future and actually cook for me.