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GGG lV a huge success
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Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
GGG lV a huge success on 02/20/2012 00:07:11 MST Print View

Thanks to everyone who came out in the beautiful weather to enjoy themselves in the revelry that is the GGG. Please post your photos and such here to share. You were a great group this year!

The gear to be seen of course did not disappoint. Many mouths agape walking around camp, Awesome.

More children this year. They had a good time as well. Quite a few repeat offenders this time. Nice to see you all again.

The dynamic has changed though. We now have more people than can converge around a single fire anymore. We were more spread out this year. Also this year marked the change that more people came out for both night instead of just Saturday night.

Wide range of topics discussed. Always someone to geek out with.

I really appreciate all the good feedback and words of appreciation and encouragement from everyone. So much so that I'm game to do it again.

You are the reason the GGG is successful. With such a wide range of ages and social and economic backgrounds being able to come together and play nice with each other. So funny to hear from so many how they usually do the solo thing, but were glad to have come to this event.

Special thanks to the cottage manufacturers that attended. Dave from Gossamer Gear was great and had some interesting things to show off. Russ, his son and his brother Lee from Trail Designs were a hoot as well, also bringing a few surprises. Peter Vacco, living legend, and owner of Peter's Headnets always brings a special flair to these events and is always a welcome addition. Dear friend and the knitting powerhouse behind Mountaingoat Hats, Katharina makes every trip a pleasure and spreads warmth one head at a time.

Thanks to Hikin' Jim for the marathon stove demo. A long drive for him as well. I wound up with your cooler.

All my helpers this weekend made my weekend all not work, so thanks to Tony Wong, The Real Jack Elliot, Iceaxe, Cameron aka B.G. for the fantastic home brewed beer. Jay Wilkerson, Dave Lutz(sorry to stick you with the trash, unintentional, but fortuitous),Marc Eldridge, and Josh Billings. Thank you all so much.

Diana V. Pure pleasure, thanks for the single malt. And a proper glass to drink from.

Henry Coe Ranger, Jennifer Naber and the volunteers were easy to work with and appreciated the cooperation they received from our "well prepared bunch".

Thanks again to all of you.

I made some new friends and hopefully hiking partners. I'll keep you all in the loop.

I kept too occupied "working the room" to take any photos. So don't hold back, post yours here.

Got a lot of constructive suggestions for next time from the optimists. If you have some thoughts on how I can make this event better, please don't hold back. PM me if you would.

I look at the members here at BPL as an extended family. I gladly put this together for all of us to enjoy. I'm so glad that 60 out of 70, could have been a few more I lost count, turned out and participated. It looked to me like most were having a enjoyable time, and many said that they were.

To those who were on the fence about coming and did not. Well there is next year.

Thanks again to Ken Helwig for thinking up this event, and getting Trail Designs and Gossamer Gear to show.

Thanks to to BPL for the site/forums that make the largest gathering of your members happen. Even though you seem to be fairly unaware that this event goes on. I think we got some new members for you.

Edited by kthompson on 02/20/2012 15:44:24 MST.

James DeMonaco
(jdemonaco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco
GGG lV a huge success on 02/20/2012 00:26:36 MST Print View

I had a great time, thanks again to everyone that came and to both the kens for getting this thing together every year.

This was my first time at a GGG and I'm hooked, already can't wait for next years!

I forgot my camera, but I managed to snap a couple pics with my phone.



Gear Swap in the parking lot

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: GGG lV a huge success on 02/20/2012 08:52:43 MST Print View

James, bummer I did not get to meet you!
It was a lot of fun this year. I kept telling the other Ken how great the weather was this year. In years past we have had rain, showers, snow flurries...but not this year....sunshine!

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Thanks on 02/20/2012 10:57:02 MST Print View

I am hoping this won't sound like a silly Oscar speech, but I want to call out some of the wonderful people that attended this year’s GGG. Several of these folks I have been lucky to get to know on many of the hikes that I have enjoyed so much. In no particular order and leaving too many out.
My thanks to the Kens, what more can I say, all the hard work and good attitude paid off once again. Jay, always ready to go and a big smile to boot. My friend Josh, happy welcoming Josh with his palace complete with a wood burning stove. Cameron, hard to find a brilliant mind of his caliber combined with the gentlest of souls and never bragging even though he could…. . David Lutz, easy going and always willing to help. Marc Elridge, providing wood ,water and good company for the whole group. Peter Vacco, sharing invaluable information to anyone that cares to learn. Tony, making sure nothing goes undocumented…Jeremy and his delightful son. Jack, fun, funny and ever so resourceful and generous. Greg Gressel, in between his running and training , we were able to keep him still long enough to enjoy his company around the fire. David Wage, another reliable smile and good attitude toward all. Lisa Frugoli and her husband, a wealth of knowledge, indulged me in my plant and soil rantings. Diana V., friendly and kind under a no nonsense go out and get it done attitude! Manfred and his lovely wife, bringing a bit of Europe to the scene, as well as some great gear. Casey with his little son and his wonderful parents; can’t wait to hike with you again. Debbie and her legendary brownies. Matt (Iceaxe) for having such a contagious and uplifting good spirit. The Steuttermans and Lundquists showing us how well couples can do on the trail. Everyone else that shared their company around the fire and contributed to such a positive event, my thanks.

Rick Horne
(Rick778) - M

Locale: NorCal - South Bay - Campbell
Re: Thanks on 02/20/2012 11:06:26 MST Print View

"Tony, making sure nothing goes undocumented"

And don't forget Tony's awesome fire building skills ------

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Thanks on 02/20/2012 11:47:07 MST Print View

Kat, that was very poignant.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
GGG IV - Four things that made it even better than last year on 02/20/2012 15:38:07 MST Print View


Kat listed already so eloquently all the people who contributed to the success of last weekend's GGG IV, that I won't repeat any names -- besides saying Thanks to Ken & Ken.

Instead I would like to list four things that made this years's event even better than last year's. These four things enhanced the flow of ideas and exchange of best practices for backpacking enormously.

1) Couples -- My wife came along and we met several other couples. It was fun to exchange tips with them. Couple quilt vs. zipped together sleeping bag was only one of the interesting discussions. Seeing the gear right then and there and even being able to borrow a quilt for a while to see how it feels, how drafty it would be in the wind out there is priceless.
2) Kids -- Although we had decided last minute not to bring our children, other people brought them. Exchanging ideas about including children in our favorite past time, about gear that works for kids, etc. was great. Seeing the children at the camp fire with smores made for some memorable moments. Sunday we went geocaching with some children -- it was amazing to see how they picked up their pace when looking for a "treasure box".
3) Scouters -- We backpack as a family and also with scouts. Meeting other scouters and exchanging ideas about how to best introduce scouts to lightweight backpacking, how to convince their parents that the "better rated" sleeping bag is not better, how to offer lightweight alternatives that are not breaking the bank, etc. was very valuable.
4) Vendors -- Gossamer Gear and Trail Designs were present during the weekend. Not only was it great to see some of their new ideas, but it was also exciting to see how open they were to ideas. These vendors were truly interested to hear from the community what works, what doesn't work, what would be a great new product or great improvement to an existing product. On top of that both provided excellent customer service. I got things repaired/exchanged right there, just by asking how I could fix a certain problem.

So for next year. I can only encourage any of these four groups to show up in bigger numbers. More couples, more kids, more scouters and more vendors will make next year's event even better.

Thanks again to everyone who came and thus made GGG IV a success.


James Castleberry
GGG IV - Four things that made it even better than last year on 02/20/2012 16:09:16 MST Print View

Claire and Kano had a great time doing geocaching with you and Michelle. They just finished telling their grandparents all about it. Thanks so much for a wonderful time. Looking forward to next year.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: GGG lV a huge success on 02/20/2012 18:37:57 MST Print View

Thanks to everybody for making the weekend such a good time! It was great to chat with and meet many of you. Julie and I had a blast. We're already looking forward to next year and hopefully a few trips with some of you between now and then. Here's some of the pics we took....

The primary gathering area

The Kens and others chatting with the Trail Designs folks (I think)

Jack cruising down the hill

The good stuff. Thanks again, Cameron!

The secondary gathering area in campsite #10

Setting up the Trailstar

Smallest Tarp

Highest Tarp

Most Uniquely Pitched Tarp

Josh's smokin' setup

A view inside Josh's pyramid

Cooking with wood

Gathering around the campfire

No event is complete without some colored lights


Julie's flaming silhouette

Fire Fighting
Fire Fighting

More fire

Bed time for MorganBed Time

Edited by csteutterman on 02/24/2012 23:19:12 MST.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
good times on 02/20/2012 19:16:58 MST Print View

Hey everyone! I just wanted to say how much fun you all are! I had so much fun hanging out in my tent around thethe woodstove with you guys and around the campfire. Good stuff. Big thanks to ken Thompson and Ken Helwig. Also big thanks to Mark for the water and wood( and the late night entertainment).Those hammocks can be tricky after you've had a few. And Cameron! Man that was grand to have 4 kegs of sweet homebrew on tap! Thanks again. Was super fun meeting the trail designs brothers. So approachable and fun to hang with. I love their products so we had much to talk about. So let's do it again! Too many friends to mention but you are close to my heart! Thanks again.

a b
GGG IV Jolly Good Fun! on 02/20/2012 19:42:44 MST Print View

The wonderful thing about our little hiker community is the way you get to meet some of the best friends you never knew you had.
You are the best!
Here is my photo essay of BPL's GGG IV in chronological order (kinda).
.Sunset on Thursday at Henry Coe HQ
.Henry Coe State Park; the largest state park in California
.The hike in.
.Friday morning
.Cameron's tarp
.Early arrivals
.Ken and Cameron "priming" the keg(s)
.Bear Paw Wilderness Designs custom cuben tarp
.Tony Wong readies the fire pit
.Misty Morning at GGG
.The Gear Geeks Gather
.Jack's Tin foil covered cardboard and tea candle powered "Holly Bake" oven
.Jack Cooks Bacon...
.Jack Cooks Eggs
.Jack's Blueberry muffins are done!
.Woodstove in a customized Pyramid tent
.If it had been lasts year's GGG we would have split the seams inside this Mid!
.Yep, the best equipped Mid at GGG!
.Floating pyramid.. trippy dude!
.Poncho tarp
.Flamingos are cool
.Cuben is everywhere!
.Kat P.'s Hang
.Trail to Poverty Flat
.Recent Burn
.Henry Coe
.Poverty Flat
.China Hole
.Stone Hut near Madrone Spring
.Hikin Jim's collection
.Trail Designs Crew shows off a 4 year old 2 quart Ti Tri wood burning stove
.A Steak being cooked over a Trail Designs Ti Tri woodburning stove
.Around the fire
.The backpack made from an IKEA shopping bag.. so cool!
.The Gear Swap
Thankyou Ken, Ken, Cameron, Kat, GG man, Jack, Jack, Mark, and so many others...
Thankyou so much everyone for making me feel so welcome at GGG.
Kegs were drained, gear was geeked over, some hiking was done, some eyebrows were burnt, some hurling was had (it's okay Mark.. i wont tell a soul!)
I had a total blast!

Edited by Ice-axe on 02/20/2012 19:52:59 MST.

Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
Re: good times on 02/20/2012 19:53:38 MST Print View

Good times! That's a good way to describe the time we had. What a great group of people. I enjoyed seeing a couple of old friends and making a bunch of new ones. A particular delight was sharing food, beverages, and stories of the trail. It was a bit overwhelming, but wonderful, to see and to touch so much gear that I had previously only read about. A big thanks definitely goes to all who helped make this event a reality, especially Ken and Ken.

Several of you asked about my combination kayaking and hiking adventures. As promised, I have posted some information about them in this
BPL forum thread.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
GGG IV a Huge Success on 02/20/2012 20:49:01 MST Print View


Edited by Creachen on 02/20/2012 20:51:22 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: GGG IV a Huge Success on 02/20/2012 21:20:42 MST Print View

@ Jay, lol!

@ Manfred, Good suggestions all and duly noted.

Keep the pictures and words coming. It went by so fast...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: GGG IV a Huge Success on 02/20/2012 21:24:20 MST Print View

Jay, who was the bearded imposter?


Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: GGG lV a huge success on 02/20/2012 21:27:17 MST Print View

A huge success indeed. Thanks for making this happen.

Friends, it was great spending time with you all. Be in touch about future trips.

My highlights:
- I had an amazing encounter with a Gray Fox on the drive in. It stopped me to play in the road. Bounded all around, spun in circles, ran up to my open car window, play some more. It stayed for a minute.

- Meeting the tribe. Ya'll are awesome. Let's do it more often.

- Hiking an abandoned road on Saturday with fellow BPLers.

- Cameron's homebrew made from a rare/boutique variety of hops.

- Finishing the weekend with a ~40 mile loop in the Orestimba Wilderness. Coe's trails and roads are disappearing due to lack of use. I was a stone's throw from millions, walking valleys and ridges that see fewer people than obscure Sierran locales.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: --G.G.G.-- IV a Huge Success on 02/20/2012 21:34:26 MST Print View

Hey Bob that's no impostor. That's our Beer Guy.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Great time at GGG on 02/20/2012 22:02:59 MST Print View

It was great meeting everyone this weekend. I kept talking to person after person and without exception everyone was friendly, had interesting stories to tell, and were great company to hang out with around a campfire. I hope that some of the Bay Area folks will get together again for a trip sometime soon... Ellen and I try to make it out at least once a month if not more and are always looking for people to come along. Don't hestitate to drop me a line if you want to get together for a trip sometime.

Jack- how was Orestimba? I've been meaning to make it out there for awhile, but for me it's probably a 2 night trip and I haven't gotten around to devoting a 3-day weekend to it yet.


David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Great time at GGG on 02/20/2012 23:23:14 MST Print View

I had a great time catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. I look forward to hopefully hiking with everyone before next years meetup. It is outings like this one that makes this online community special. Thank you Ken!

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Re: Great time at GGG on 02/21/2012 00:42:41 MST Print View

Orestimba is great! It's a uniquely Californian landscape, and one that's under appreciated. I walked three long river valleys and up and over two ridge systems. The reputation for steep trails/roads in Coe is well deserved. It can be extremely steep!

My trip had little shade outside of the oaks in the river valleys. I believe that all of the water is seasonal, and much of it is cow polluted. One lake that I visited had quite the diversity of water fowl.

It's not a place that most would devote more than a weekend to. Therefore it's well suited for distance backpackers. Since there are so few of us, and few people know about the area, and fewer people care for the vegetation types, it's hardly traveled.

I'd say the only traffic that it gets are from people heading to Mt. Stakes the long way. A couple of people a year (most on Coe's "Backcountry weekend"). Some areas are trafficked by ranchers (Paradise Valley for one) but I'm not sure about the rest of the region.