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New Map!  As of August 2006 I have created a new map showing the loop.  It's a 1376 KB color pdf, best printed on 11x17 paper.  I scanned it at 300x300 resolution so you should get good results if you print it.  Click here to see it.  Don't bother with the link to the map above, it sucks.

Emigrant Wilderness, July 2000

Background

This trip was my first introduction to backpacking in the Sierras, although I was used to living out of pack after my cross-country bike ride and had done many day trips (such as Half Dome, Mt.Whitney, etc.)  However, this time I would be out for 4 days and 3 nights with Henrik, a co-worker whom had the plush corner cube next to me since I had started at Gerwick in November of 1999.  I was a novice but didnít feel like one. 

Prior to this trip I had read an influential book on lightweight backpacking by Ray Jardine, so Henrik thought that I had some pretty crazy ideas.  In  place of his boots I had running shoes and instead of an internal frame pack I had a frameless sack that I could crumble into the size of a melon and had sewn yellow pockets on the side of.  I had also made a synthetic quilt based on instructions given in the book.  It was simply two sheets of ripstop nylon that I sewed together on three sides, inserted sheets of synthetic insulation, and then sewed the fourth side shut.  The idea is to save weight by eliminating the bottom since, once compressed, doesnít provide insulation.  It was slightly wider at my shoulders than at my feet and covered me whether or not I was sleeping on my back or side. 

Other than that, our equipment was fairly standard.  He had an inflatable pad while mine was foam.  Each night he would take of his boots and change into Teva sandals while I left my shoes on.  In the morning he would tape his feet and put on heavy socks while I had thin cycling socks that didnít go past my ankles.  We used the same tent that served me well during my ride from Oregon to Virginia one summer ago.  Trekking poles were usually in his hands while mine dangled free.  Regarding food, we brought my Teflon coated aluminum pot and used my Snowpeak canister stove.  During the bike trip I had used a non-coated aluminum pot and a liquid fuel stove.  Upon completing the ride I made the switch.

For food, Henrik was in charge and we had bagels for breakfast and lunch with freeze dried meals for dinner.  Cream cheese and salami accompanied the bagels.  We also had the usual snacks consisting of M&Mís, energy bars, etc.

It would make a better story if something went wrong, but nothing did.  My equipment worked flawlessly, although my shoes were ready for the trash by the end of the trip (This would turn out to haunt me a week later, as I ran in the San Francisco Marathon with my brothers shoes, that were Ĺ size to small and I had never worn before).  The pack held up, I didnít get any blisters, and I was warm enough at night with my quilt.  Actually, writing this text in January of 2004, it is without no small amount of smugness that I report that my only step towards the dark side (heavy backpacking) has been the purchase of trekking poles.  Henrik, on the other hand, has slowly but surely been paring down his weight.  One of my goals in life is to get him backpacking in running shoes, I think I will be ready to die a happy man if that happens, but he sure is stubbornÖ

And about the trip, it was FANTASTIC!  Everything was great, the scenery, weather, and company (you owe me for that Henrik).  Actually, not 15 minutes after starting the trip Henrik told me not to be worried if I happened to find the small jar of Vaseline in his pack as he used it to keep his butt cheeks from chaffing due to accumulated salt from back sweat.  OK Henrik, whatever you say! Too much information!

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