1) No, I don't use trekking poles, but when I drew the sketch for the cover, I did it at first without trekking poles, and it felt a little empty. i added the trekking pose simply because I thought it helped the image a little.
And it sorta looks like me, and maybe all my cartoons sorta look like me (sorta).
2) I've done a few UL trips for up to 14 days (13 nights) when I've worked for NOLS. My base weight was at around 10 even, and we had a load of food delivered at the half-way point, so approx. a 6 or 7 day ration period back to back.
I've done a few week long UL trips while NOT in a teaching role. But, I've never actually done a 10-day trip with a UL pack.
I've done PLENTY of longer format trips (more than 10 days) with huge loads (skiing, mountaineering, traditional, etc).
My plan for the summer is to make sure I do a 10-day trip with a pack weight under 25 pounds (excluding water). I don't foresee any problems, I just wanna make sure I do it so I can properly promote the book.
3) Sam is awesome!