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New guy (kinda) here three…
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Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
New guy (kinda) here three… on 02/20/2009 20:29:59 MST Print View

New guy (kinda) here three…

I guess I should have done this too, but I know a lot of names here from other sites and did not think about it until I saw the other posts.

Anyways, my name is Ray (Hi Ray…) and I am a hiking gear-a-holic. (We hear you, Ray…)

I have been backpacking since 1974 and I just can’t stop. Oh Lord knows I’ve tried, how I’ve tried. But then I would find a pack that I had hidden away and I’d be off again, only to return home days, sometimes weeks later. Tired, worn out, dirty, with unexplained black toenails and pine needles in my butt. And yes, the big stress-free grin would be back. I would throw myself back into another work program until the grin would be gone and I thought I was safe, but then I would lapse again.

I even tried moving to Minnesota as I heard there were no mountains to tempt me. But there were all those pictures in magazines, and Coors commercials rubbing my face in the Rockies. Finally the siren call of the Sierra Nevada pulled me back to California where I became more addicted than before.

I tried to learn new ways of coping with my problem, to be smarter. What I learned was just how to get lighter, and how to hike smarter, harder and farther. Which just made me want, no NEED, more, always more. And the gear just keeps getting better. Stronger, lighter, more comfortable, heck the dang geese keep making puffier clumps of down! What’s a power-fill freak to do but buy a new bag and parka?

So here I am. Ready to be judged by a jury of my peers. Please do not look too harshly upon me, even though the grin is there all the time now.

OK, seriously.

I have met some of you years ago on Others know me from Hopefully some of you have seen a tall ugly guy in the mountains of California. That was me.

I am a light weight backpacker, but am not UL. (My bro-in-law Dave is and says it is just a matter of time…) I spend a lot of time above tree-line. I backpack year round and climb and do mountaineering too.

I have been reading everyday and you guys are impressive. Eight pound packs? I was going to say I had one of those in 95 and then I realized yours are packed… I look forward to learning from you all and helping where I can.

And yes, you can call me Ray…

Don (Biloxi) Carter
(donjuan70) - F

Locale: Red Neck Riviera
hey Ray..right this way...hey, hey h.....never mind on 02/20/2009 22:14:21 MST Print View

well welcome ray, you already have figured out the easiest's just in what style you choose to do that walking in, is a whole nuther matter..ask lots of questions,check alot of the articles, the pod casts are really good.go to community gear list and check out list from some of the higher up's in the ul,sul,and DAaaMmmN catagories.good luck and welcome..and RAY "we feel your pain"the 1st step is admitting you have a

Edited by donjuan70 on 02/20/2009 22:15:46 MST.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
New Guy-kinda on 02/20/2009 22:14:44 MST Print View

Welcome Ray!!! I was once a newbie too. I grew up in Newport Beach and I to have a addiction to backpacking. I got the sickness very bad Dude!! Once again welcome to a great website.


Edited by Creachen on 02/20/2009 22:22:22 MST.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
New guy (kinda) here three… on 02/21/2009 07:53:51 MST Print View

Good to meet ya, Ray. And, nice to finally talk to you guys, Jay and Don. Ray, welcome to BPL. I can tell you that after reading Jay and Don's postings for so long that this is an "incurable disease." :) I'm sure YOU already know that after 35 years of backpacking. "But, there is hope." BPL can take the edge... I mean weight off.

Edited by socalpacker on 02/21/2009 07:56:21 MST.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Ray the "Newbie" on 02/21/2009 15:53:54 MST Print View

Ray, This has to be the first time anyone's called you a newbie in a few years. For those on the thread unfamiliar with, Ray is the all-time leader in gear reviews, having posted probably three times as many as whoever is in second place. Welcome to Backpacking Light, my friend, I look forward to your experience and insight here too. Richard

Edited by richardglyon on 05/12/2009 15:22:29 MDT.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Aw, shucks on 02/22/2009 19:04:07 MST Print View

Thank you all, and especially you Richard, I am blushing.
Yeah I got a chuckle there too. But you know what? A lot of this stuff is way new to me. Dave has been wanting me to come over to the Dark Side, I mean light side for a while. (He just wants someone to share the misery of his experiments, like using a thermo-lite emergency bag in the Sierra east-side for three days. I told him it drops below freezing any time of year.)
Of course the way the economy is may not be the best time to re-outfit my gear room yet again! But, hey, they sell backpacking gear by the pound, right? This UL stuff must be cheap then…
I just love getting out in any form, any season, and like sharing with, and learning from, others.

It should be a fun time,

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Aw, shucks on 02/22/2009 21:35:18 MST Print View

Hi Ray

Welcome to the Light Side.

> they sell backpacking gear by the pound, right? This UL stuff must be cheap then…
Yeah, but it gets dearer by the ounce...


Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Aw, shucks on 02/24/2009 16:29:45 MST Print View

Eloquent and humorous?! Welcome!

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re; ele..what on 02/24/2009 21:28:42 MST Print View

I ain't too sure what the first word means, (do I gotta fight you now?) but I have been told I smell like humus… After a long hike of course.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re; ele..what on 02/25/2009 00:32:15 MST Print View

Howdy Ray,

Fancy meeting you here! :)

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Hello on 02/25/2009 12:32:20 MST Print View

Hi Roger,

Hi Ben, there is still lots of snow up at Mt San Jacinto. You ready to go?

I have seen that you have been spreading the Seedhouse SL2 love here too...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Hello on 02/26/2009 11:13:57 MST Print View

"there is still lots of snow up at Mt San Jacinto. You ready to go?"

Picture of San Jacinto from my house this morning.

Mt San Jacinto 02/26/2009

Three feet of new snow in Long Valley. Snow level down to about 5,000 ft. Lows at the Tram Station @ 40F. Going to be windy this weekend. Had gusts last night up to 40mph. No precipitation expected this weekend.

Edited by ngatel on 02/26/2009 11:19:19 MST.