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Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 01:11:34 MST Print View

BPLers Gathering of Gear Geeks: Henry Coe State Park February 17-19th, 2012

Corral Trail Head to Manzanita Point Group Campsites 2.7 Miles

Manzanita Point Camptsite Elevation 2,270 Ft.

Daytime Temps: 50F to 60F

Evening Temps: 40F to 37F

75 People Signed Up, 60-70 Showed Up

Website: Henry Coe State Park

Park Head Quarters 1

Park Head Quarters 2

Park Head Quarters where parking permits were obtained for $8
Ken Thompson had been working since last year for months with the Park Rangers to reserve two group sites that would accommodate up to 100 people. Ken also arranged it so that we could have two support vehicles to drive out to the sites to haul in plenty of firewood and water. The sites only had pit toilets, no clean sources of water close by, and gathering wood was not permitted. The Rangers were great to deal with and even provided Ken with a combination to a lock to one of the parking lot gates to get access without them being present. Weeks and days before this event, Ken was in constant contact with the staff to inform them of our growing numbers and to assure them that we would be no trouble to them at all.

Trail Head

Trail Head

Old Friend

On the trail with Jeremy once again and my first trip since completing the John Muir Trail with Cameron and him in August 2011.

Jeremy has his priorties when packing

Jeremy has his priorities when packing for a trip like this.

A New Addition to Our Adventures

A New Addition to Our Adventures: Jeremy's Son

Ken greets us at the campsite

Ken greets us at the campsite with this trusty van

Rarely Seen BPL Bumper Sticker

Rarely Seen BPL Bumper Sticker, though people were looking for the Blue Painters Tape on the side of his van saying, "BPL"

Doing a little bit of work to prepare the site

Doing a little bit of work to prepare the site

Cleaning up the facilities

Cleaning up the facilities
Ken provided rolls of Toilet Paper, a Box of Disposable Wipes, and Glow Sticks at night outside and inside the pit toilet to make the experience as pleasant as possible.

Water Jugs Provided

Water Jugs Provided by Ken for all to use
Marc Eldridge volunteer to use his truck to haul in all of the firewood that we would need for the entire trip and 80 gallons of water so that others would not have to carry in water. Without his generosity the evenings would not be the wonderful gatherings that they were to share with old and new friends.

Matt Cutting Wood

Matt Cutting Wood 2

Matt Steps up to Cut Wood

Josh hanging out by Cameron's four Kegs of Home Brew Beer

Josh hanging out by Cameron's Four Kegs of Home Brew Beer

Friday Nights Small Group Gathers by the Fire

Friday Nights Small Group Gathers by the Fire
This was the second time that the GGG was expanded from just an overnighter to two nights. Given that we now have people traveling from all parts of California and from out of State, it made sense to make the event longer to make the trip worth while for those traveling longer distances. Eventually, we would have between 25-30 people coming through out the day and night on Friday. We even had people mountain biking into camp as late as midnight.

Ken with the big stove

Ken with the big stove making and sharing soup

Diane Hauls in the Good Stuff to Share

Diane Hauls in the Good Stuff to Share 2

Diana Hauls in the Good Stuff to Share
This was Diane's first time to the GGG and she hauled in a 60 lb pack filled with good things to share like expensive/good alcohol and dark chocolate.

A Pleasant Night with a Warm Glow

A Pleasant Night with a Warm Glow
Unlike last year's GGG, we had unbelievably mild and good weather. Without Marc's firewood last year, we would have been cold and miserable. This year, the fire was a casual affair that gave all around it time to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.

Kat with others enjoying a fire side chat

Kat with others enjoying a fire side chat

Getting to know each other

Getting to know each other

Red Leader Denis Hazelwood

Red Leader Denis Hazelwood

Hot Dog on a Ti Stick

Hot Dog on a Ti Stick

Denis, Marc, and Ken

Denis, Marc, and Ken H.

Ken H. and Diana V.

Ken H. and Diana V. Savoring some nice Scotch and Good Company

BPL Ladies of the Night

BPL Ladies of the Night: Michelle and Julie

The Men of BPL 1

Men of BPL: Chris S., James DeMonaco, and Doug Coe

Scoundrels of the Night

Scoundrels of the Night

The Morning Routine

The Morning Routine
Laying half asleep in my bivy, the familiar chill of the night greets me at the edge of Dawn. Pulling my quilt tightly around my shoulders and neck, I hope for a bit more warmth to grant me the peace of a little more sleep. Drifting off into slumber, only to awake with the curtain of night to slowly recede with the grey skies lighting up before my eyes, hazed over by the netting of my bivy, my ears hear the cry of a bird and the stirring of bodies and voices around me. It is morning time out on the trail, like so many others that have come and gone before this one. Yet I awake with the comfort that I am not alone and that I am with friends new and old in a familiar place.

Now we are Cooking with Fire

Now we are Cooking with Fire

Golden Surpise

Golden Surprise

Warm Surprise

Warm Surprise

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

The Warmth and Smells of a Good Moring

The Warmth and Smells of a Good Moring

Bacon, it's what's cooking

Bacon, it's what's cooking and it is good for you.

The Real Jack's Backcountry Easy Bake Oven

The Real Jack's Back Country Easy Bake Oven

Easy Bake Oven 1

Powered by Tea Candles

Warm and Fluffy Goodness

Warm and Fluffy Goodness

Are you Kidding Me?!

Are you Kidding Me?! This is Jack's idea of "roughing it"?

Master Chef Jack

Master Easy Bake Chef Jack

Almost Done

Job Almost Done

Rewards of Creative Cooking

Rewards of Creative Cooking

Eric Beer Can

Eric's Alcohol Stove and Beer Can Pot with Silicone Wrist Bands as pot holder

Eric and His Wife

Eric & SaraBeth enjoying breakfast and a laugh together.
Partners in outdoor adventures and crimes that we shall not speak of.

Rick and Phoebe Back Again

Rick and Phoebe Back Again
It was really nice to see Rick & Phoebe again after first meeting them last year. One major difference between last year and this year was the number for families that came out to share in the fun. Also of note was that Jane returned from last year and I was really pleased to see that she clearly had moved into lightweight backpacking with a frameless Golite Jam2. She said that after her experience last year and the generous advice that she gained by talking to people at the 2011 GGG, it helped her transition from traditional backpacking to lightweight backpacking. Wonderful transformation to see.

Photographic the Photographer

Someone is photographing the photographer
Blue Orikaso Folding Bowl

Give Us This Day our Daily Coffee

Give Us This Day our Daily Coffee

Diana V. with an elaborate and tasty meal

Diana V. with an elaborate and tasty meal which she had pre-made at home and placed in vac-sealed bags.

Plenty to Share

Plenty to Share
Diana graciously cooked up extra food to share with everyone

Almost Done

Almost Done

Driving to the Parkng Lot to Greet the New Arrivals

Driving to the Parking Lot to Greet the New Arrivals
After having a leisurely breakfast, Ken T and Kat drove back to the parking lot to greet the new arrivals and to point them in the right direction.

Ken T. Driving Where Others Fear to Drive in an Old VW Van

Ken T. Driving Where Others Fear to Drive in an Old VW Van
Actually, it was really impressive to see Ken work a three point turn on a fire road to turn the van around.

Ken Pointing People in the Right Direction

Ken Pointing People in the Right Direction and letting them know that we had plenty of water at the campsite so that they did not have to haul in the extra weight. Ken also picked up a large plastic bin full of stoves from "Hikin Jim", who is in the blue jacket, to take back to camp in the van for Jim's show and tell on the various stoves in the market.

Kat Takes Some Time to Knit Some More Toasty Warm Hats

Kat Takes Some Time to Knit Some More Toasty Warm Hats on the Ride Back to Camp

The Road Less Travelled

The Road Less Traveled, By a Vehicle

Hike Down to China Hole

Hike Down to China Hole
After Returning Back to Camp, Jeremy organized a day hike to China Hole
Interesting note, despite the name, I failed to see any of "my country people" at this Hole. A bit deceptive advertising with the name of the trail.

Jay, Jeremy, and Justin on the Trail

Jay, Jeremy, and Justin on the Trail

James Taking a Photo Along the Trail

James Taking a Photo Along the Trail

Beware of Evil, Rabid Newts

Beware of Evil, Rabid Newts

Shack or House Destroyed By the Stream/River

Shack or House Destroyed By the Stream/River
Guessing that this dated back to the 60's or 70's by the look of it.
Looked like a bad location as it was right next to the river/stream.

Colorful Details Along the Trail

Colorful Details Along the Trail

Odd One Room Structure Out in the Middle of Nowhere

Odd One Room Structure Out in the Middle of Nowhere

Jeremy Making Burritos While His Son Helps Out

Jeremy Making Burritos While His Son Helps Out

James Preparing His Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove

James Preparing His Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove

Vargo Hexagon Stove

Vargo Hexagon Stove
Ti Version 4.1 oz.
Stainless Steel Version 7.4 oz.

All Fired Up

All Fired Up

Cameron's MLD Cuben Monk Tarp

Cameron's Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Monk Tarp

Monk Tarp

Cuben Fiber -.7 oz version 4.3' X 9'
4.2oz or 3.7oz without LineLocs

StratoSpire 1

Doug Wolf's Henry Shires StratoSpire 1 33 oz.
With Yellow Neo Air Sleeping Air mattress
Tim Marshall Revelation K cuben fiber quilt, rated to 40 degrees.
Doug says, "With clothing was able to sleep comfortably through overnights in the mid-30's."

Enlightened Equipment Quilts

StratoSpire 1 with Double Doors

Double Doors on Stratosphire 1
Henry Shires Tarptent

ZPacks™ Hexamid Solo Tent or Tarp

Hexamid Solo Tent or Tarp
Hexamid Solo Tarp - 3.3 oz (94 grams)
Hexamid Solo Tent w/ Screen - 8.8 oz (250 grams)

Hexamid

Zpacks.com

Marc's Creative Hammock Suspension

Marc's Creative Hammock Suspension

Marc's Setup

Marc says about his setup, "The hammock is a DIY with a piece of 1.1oz/yd ripstop nylon. I bought a piece 5'x12', hemmed the edges and tied it in different lengths to see which would work best. I think it ended up being 10.5' when I finally finished the end channels. The structural ridge is a little over 9'. I made some nacrabiners and dynaglide whoopie slings and some 1" polyester tree straps which I sewed loops on the ends. I cut some small bamboo for shackles. Got a Te-wa freeze underquilt with 2 oz. overfill and a ZPacks cuben hammock tarp w/doors. I used a Western Mountaineering Highlite for a quilt and the Goosefeet down booties, pants and parka and a Blackrock down beanie for sleeping."

Marc continues, "This is way more info that you probably want so I will summarize:
A DIY 1.1oz/yd ripstop nylon with dynaglide whoopies, 1" polyester straps and bamboo shackles. Te_wa Freeze underquilt with 2oz. overfill and a Western Mountaineering Highlite for a top quilt. Quite comfy."

It's Green

It's Green 2

Kevin's 2011 six moon designs skyscape scout.
Kevin says, "A great tent at 34 oz and a mere $105 price tag."

Ken Trying On a New Head Net

Ken Trying On a New Head Net

http://petersheadnets.com

Peter's Head Nets
The Story : Years ago .. Peter handed the design concept and patterns to his friends @BackPackingLight.com. BPL contracted production to SimBlissity, of who's Brett Tucker improved them by developing the crown and lightening things up a bit. Eventually SimBlissity lost interest in sewing Head Nets, and after a polite amount of time, Peter entered commercial production. It's all good.

Peter Helps Ken Out

Peter Helps Ken Out

Headnet UL Style

Headnet UL Style
Estimating weight at 0.33 oz, which is the weight of the discontinued BPL Headnet

Tarp & Bug Shelter 1

Tarp and Bug Shelter 2

Photo #10 Unknown Tarp & Bug Shelter....think it is a Gossamer Gear Tarp

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo 23.0 oz.
Six Moons Design Lunar Solo

Caldera Cone

Ti-Tri Caldera Cone Sidewinder

Debbie

Debbie came out last year just for the day with a big box of brownies and this year she came out with even a larger box that was a huge hit with everyone

Addictive Chocolate Goodness

Addictive Chocolate Brownie Goodness
I was so busy running around taking photos, I managed to miss out on these tasty looking treats.

Lisa Snags a Brownie

Lisa Snags a Brownie while Hikin Jim Breaks Out His Collection of Stoves to Show

Jeremy Attends to Important Issues

Jeremy Attends to Important Issues

Cameron brought four different types of beers that he brewed for people to try:

"Two were vienna malt lagers, intended to showcase the flavor of the German malts. Two were westcoast style pale ales, featuring organic brown rice from the San Joaquin valley. One made fresh to showcase the Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand, another aged 8 months as an educational experience to see how the same beer tastes without the hop aroma." -Cameron

Gatewood Cape

Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape 11.0 oz Poncho Tarp/Shelter
My friend, Linda, has one of these and it handled a 13 hour rain storm on Mt. Whitney just as well as my MLD Poncho tarp, but has the advantage of providing more room to sit upright, but at the expense of a little more weight.

Gatewood Cape 2

Six Moons Design Gatewood Cape

Denis Hazelwood's Big Sky International

Denis Hazelwood's Big Sky International

Not Shelter is Complete without on of These

Not Shelter is Complete without on of These

Big Sky International 2

Side View of Red Leader's Big Sky International Tent

Jeremy's Squal 2 Tarptent

Jeremy's Squall 2 Tarptent 34.0 oz
Tarptent Squall 2

Gossamer Gear Tarp

Gossamer Gear CubicTwinn Tarp???? 5.5 oz

Zpacks Tarp

Photo #14
Zpacks Tarp
Katabatic Quilt???
Caldera Cone, Short Neo Air?, and Unknown Yellow Foam Pad

Zpack Cuben Tarp

Zpack Cuben Tarp

Chouinard Shleter

Ron & Lisa's Chouinard Shleter, before they were know later as Black Diamond

Stuff Bag

Stuff Bag for Shelter Showing Old Company Logo

Dave From Gossamer Gear

Dave From Gossamer Gear on the Right in the Green Jacket
Russ from Trail Designs on the Left in Blue Shirt

Dave From Gossamer Gear 2

Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo

Gossamer Gear Swag

Gossamer Gear Swag
Dave was nice enough to hand these out to people at the GGG
Rite in the Rain All Weather Min Notebook
Gossamer Gear Stickers- take less, do more
Gossamer Gear

Unknown Geen Cuben Tarp

Unknown Green Cuben Tarp, Unknown Owner

Old Integral Designs Poncho Tarp

Old Integral Designs Poncho Tarp????

Old Integral Designs Poncho Tarp 2

Old Integral Designs Poncho Tarp 3

Kat's Crib

Kat's Crib

Older GoLite Mid Shelter

Older GoLite Mid Shelter
Bearikade Carbon Fiber Bear Canister
Neo Air

MLD Trailstar

Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben TrailStar 10.5 oz

Cuben Trail Star

MLD Cuben TrailStar

MLD Duo Mid

MLD Silnylon Duo Mid 16.0 oz

MLD Duo Mid 2

Side View of Duo Mid

Silnylon TrailStar

Silnylon TrailStar 2

Silnylon TrailStar 3

Mountain Laurel Designs Silnylon TrailStar 16.0 oz

Jason's Shelter 1

Jason's Shelter 2

Jason says of his shelter, "The name of the shelter is the Appy Trails, Mark V. Cheap at $120 and his largest size. He has 1 at $99 that is called the Mark III. I loved the Mark V and reviewed it on the BPL sight. 4/5 because everything, just about, could be better. But I would call it a 5 when you include cost!"

Appy Trails Backpacking Tents

Big Agnes Shelter

Big Agnes Shelter

Black Diamond Shelter

Black Diamond Shelter- HiLight Tent???

Richard's Hexamd Solo Tarp with HexaNet Solo Bug Shelter

Richard's Hexamd Solo Tarp with HexaNet Solo Bug Shelter 10.2 oz approximately

Rick Kicking Back with a Chair & Book

Rick Kicking Back with a Chair & Book
Note: He was smart enough to bring a chair this year...I need to learn from him. :)

Phoebe Kicking Back in the Double Rainbow Tarptent

Phoebe Kicking Back in the Double Rainbow Tarptent

Blue Hexamid

Blue Hexamid 2

Blue Hexamid 3

Blue Zpacks Hexamid
Never Seen This Color Before

Hexamid Solo Tarp - 3.3 oz (94 grams)

Hexamid Solo Tarp - 3.3 oz (94 grams)  2

Zpacks Hexamid Solo Tarp - 3.3 oz (94 grams)

Black Diamond Tent 1

Black Diamond Tent 2

Black Diamond Beta Light Tent 1 lb 3.0 oz ???

MYOG Version of MLD Patrol Tarp

MYOG Version of MLD Patrol Tarp 2

MYOG Version of MLD Patrol Tarp?

Golite Shelter

GoLite Shelter 2

Unknown GoLite Shelter

Lightheart Gear Duo Tent

Debbie's Lightheart Gear- Duo Tent

Lightheart Gear Duo Tent 2

LightheartGear.com
Duo Tent 2 Lbs.

Lightheart Gear Duo Tent 3

Debbie says, "In case you want to be more specific, the custom MLD Exodus sitting next to the Lightheart Duo is made of VX21 and Dyneema. It was a PIF from Thom Darrah who'd had Ron make it for him and decided not to keep it. It's my first try at a frameless pack; not sure yet if it works for me...".

Jason & Family

Jason and his children: Dillon and Lucy AKA- Diggy and Lulu
Stolen Quote from Forum from Jason:

"THANK YOU SO MUCH. I am at a loss for words... Well not really... The fact is you all said it so well. I brought my daughter for her first backpacking trip and she loved it. The perfect distance for a 9 year olds first trip! She required a little more attention than I expected so it put a bit of a damper into some of my mingling. However, I got to meet a lot of people and even found a potential hiking partner or two. THIS GGG IV EVENT Rocked!!!"

Kat working hard to keep your head warm with her toasty warm hats

Kat working hard to keep your head warm with her toasty warm hats
3 types: 100% Baby Alpaca, Baby Alpaca & Merino Wool Blend, and 100% Merino Wool
2 different styles: rolled edge (40 grams) and folded edge (60 grams)
Get Yours Here: Mountain Goat Hats

Jeremy's Son Lovin' His New Hat

Jeremy's Son Lovin' His New Hat

Unpaid Hat Model

Unpaid Hat Model
For More Views of Hat Models and different choices of colors and materials: Click Here

Josh's Love Shack

Josh's Love Shack

Custom Modified

Custom Modified Oware Pyramid that is now 9 lbs with everything you see...including the wood burning stove.

Josh describes his unique shelter, "The tent is an Oware 30 D 10x10 pyramid. The modifications were made by Bearpaw Wilderness Designs and the stove is titanium a size large made by Seek Outside. Bearpaw added: the stove jack, the perimeter netting/sod skirt, the screen door, and the extra tie outs on the inside and out that line up with each other to create a clothes line inside and extra wind stability outside."

Sewing 12" Inch Bottom Perimeter Extention with Bug Netting

Sewing 12" Inch Bottom Perimeter Extension with Bug Netting
Custom Modifications done by Bearpaw Wilderness

Interior Installed Tie Outs for Clothes Line

Interior Installed Tie Outs for Clothes Line

Josh, Proud Owner of a Rennansance Faire Tent

Josh, Proud Owner of a Renaissance Fair Tent

Cool Wood Burning Stove that you can cook on

Cool Wood Burning Stove by Seek Outside that you can cook on and it packs flat when disassembled.

950 Cubic inches
2 lbs 12 ounces
Dimensions 8" x 8.5" x 14"
Includes damper, stuff sacks and 6.5 ft of titanium pipe

Plenty of Room for Two or Three

Plenty of Room for Two or Three

Modified Stove Pipe Heat Resistant Fabric with Velcro Flap

Modified Stove Pipe Heat Resistant Fabric with Velcro Flap that can Seal the Roof when the Stove Pipe is not in use. (Josh says that he wishes that the whole flap could be removed and then Velcro back in place. Excess heat has melted the flap)

Stove Staked Down to Stabilize Stove Pipe in Heavy Winds

Stove Staked Down to Stabilize Stove Pipe in Heavy Winds

View of the Interior Bug Netting Along the Bottom

View of the Interior Bug Netting Along the Bottom

Denis Park's 1st GGG

Denis Park's 1st GGG
Denis came out for the day to visit, make new friends, and to check out the wealth of UL gear to help him with his own lightweight evolution with his kit.

Mountain Bikes

Mountain BIkes 2

Mountain Bikes 2

The Mountain Bike Brigade
We had people arriving on Friday night up til midnight on their bikes

Hileberg Soulo

Ken T.'s Hileberg Unna

Hileberg Soulo 2

Hileberg Four Season Tent 4 lbs 14 oz to 3 lb 15 oz
(Weights for Soulo, which may be the succesor to the Unna)

Hileberg Akto

Hileberg Akto
2 lb 10 oz. to 3 lb 8 oz.

Hikin Jim

Hikin Jim from Adventures in Stoving

Jim was generous enough to bring out just a few of his stoves to share with everyone, to answer questions about, and to even demonstrate. He was even nice enough to fire up one of the New Soto Canister stoves that I was curious about. He is a wealth of information wrapped up in a bundle of humility with the passion and desire to share his knowledge with others. He easily spent two or three hours giving demonstrations and answering everyone's questions.

Just a Few Stoves

Just a few Stoves

Talking into the Evening

Talking into the Evening

Russ from Trail Designs

Lee from Trail Designs, maker of the beloved Caldera Cone Stoves

Ken T. says, "Russ, his son and his brother Lee from Trail Designs were a hoot as well, also bringing a few surprises." (Surprises were in the form of prototypes and other possible products for the future)

Russ Setting Up Shop and Hanging Out

Lee Setting Up Shop and Hanging Out

Extra Large Wood Burning Caldera Cone

Extra Large Wood Burning Caldera Cone

Base of the Cone

Base of the Cone with Hot Coals, Plenty of Heat for a Group of Backpackers

Keeping the Fires Going All Night Long

Keeping the Fires Going All Night Long

Cooking Up A Storm

Cooking Up A Storm

Dave From Gossamer Gear Next to Jason

Dave From Gossamer Gear Next to Jason on the Left

Diana Installing an Bug Shelter Under Her Cuben Trail Start

Diana Installing a Bearpaw pyraNet under her cuben TrailStar
It's the extended length, customized with 10 inch silnylon added to the sides

Creative Use of  a Water Jug

Creative Use of a Water Jug as a Pole to Allow for Extra Ventilation

Casey with his Son and Parents

Casey with his Son and Parents
What was great about this year was the number of families that came out to enjoy this event. Always a pleasure to see a new generation of campers and backpackers learning to enjoy the outdoors. The outdoors can be a wonderful way to bring all generations together and to build up memories to treasure for years to come.

Jack the Eternal Tinker and Inventor

Jack the Eternal Tinker and Inventor

Hot Coals for Brownies

Hot Coals for Baking Brownies
Not content to know that Tea Candles were enough to bake muffins, Jack used charcoal that someone offered to him to make another round of goodies. Rumor was that they were tasty and spoken for before the oven was opened up with the finished goods.

Dinner Time Means Crowds Looking for Spots on the Table To Cook On

Dinner Time Means Crowds Looking for Spots on the Table To Cook On

Richard at the Second Campsite

Richard at the Second Campsite
With 70 or so people at this year's gathering everyone was more spread out vs. last year's 2011 GGG where most everyone was all clustered together in one site.

Dinner Time Over at the Second Site

Dinner Time Over at the Second Site
Mind you you that each site is able to handle 50 people, so we had to reserve both group sites this time around. As they were right next to each other, you only needed to walk about 30-45 seconds to get to the other site and it did offer people a site that was a little less chatty and noisy. Safe from Ken H's shenanigans.

Some Borrowing Kat's Under Quilt to Stay Warm

Someone Borrowing Kat's Under Quilt to Stay Warm
(Think this is a Jacks R Better Down Underquilt???)
Jacks R Better.com

Kat's Table Enjoying Dinner Before the Sun Sets

Kat's Table Enjoying Dinner Before the Sun Sets
Jason and his family hanging out

Jason and his family hanging out

Nightfall Quickly Decends as Another Family Arrives & Sets Up

Nightfall Quickly Descends as Another Family Arrives & Sets Up

Warming Up in Josh's Amazing Tent

Warming Up in Josh's Amazing Tent
As night fell and the temperature was dropping into the mid 40's, my hands were getting a little numb, so I decided to drop in on Josh. It was easily 15 degrees warmer inside his shelter with plenty of room to stretch out and hang out. Josh was happy to let me warm up in his tent and to allow me to ask him questions about how this shelter to come to be. Oddly, now that he has this marvelous creation, he is not exactly sure how he is going to use it. At 9 lbs, with the stove, it is an amazing shelter, but not exactly backpacking material. Maybe as a base camp for winter camping. Either way, however and where ever he chooses to set it up, it will be the envy of all and appreciated by those hanging out with Josh in it.

The Source of Warm Goodness

The Source of Warm Goodness
I was not the only one to pay a visit to Josh to check out his sweet setup. Later there might have a been a group of 3-4 people hang out with Josh and sharing good times.

The Fiery Beast

The Fiery Beast

Food for the Fires

Food for the Fires
Josh Brought Cut Strips of Redwood to Feed His Stove
He was one of the support vehicles and was able to drive in everything in his truck

Phoebe Enjoys the Makings of a Smore

Phoebe Enjoys the Makings of a S'more
Toasty warm after spending 10-15 minutes with Josh, I headed back out to take more photos and to see how things were at the first campsite, now that they had a nice fire crackling away in the night.

We have Ignition

We have Ignition!
Just have to enjoy seeing the beauty of an alcohol stove at work

The Warmth of Glowing Fire Brings Us Together

The Warmth of Glowing Fire Brings Us Together

Sense of Community

Sense of Community
As night fell and people huddled together in the warm glow of the fire, it was not because of the cold, but the sense of community. People shared S'mores, homemade cookies were passed around, the last of Cameron's home brewed beer made its way around, people shared what they had in food and drink and shared a wealth of stories to inspire future adventures.

Enjoying the Warm Glow

Enjoying the Warm Glow

Andew, Jack, and Matthew

Andrew, Jack, and Matthew

Laying Out by the Fire for a Nap

Laying Out by the Fire for a Nap- The Look of Pure Contentment

Like a Cat at Your Feet

Like a Cat at Your Feet

A Public Service From Ken H.

A Public Service Message From Ken H.
Actually, before this Ken did give a very heartfelt speech to thank Ken T. for all of his efforts over the past year to make sure that this event would happen. Ken T. scouted out different locations, spoke to park officials, used his own money to reserve the sites, arranged for support vehicles, made sure that the restroom had baby wipes, plenty of toilet paper, glow sticks to illuminate the restroom at night, and a host of other things big and small.

Just in Case You Did Not Get the First Message from Ken

Just in Case You Did Not Get the First Message from Ken- The Soul of Punk Lives!
Ken was in full force this year and then some. Perhaps to make up for last year, where he suffered from some health issues that denied us his always entertaining and colorful personality.

All I have to say is, "Keep your tents locked up night! You might wake up to find out that Ken H. has sneaked in to share your tent with you."

A Place for Everyone and All Ages

A Place for Everyone and All Ages

An Orange Glow

The Dancing Flames Holds Our Gaze
Throughout the night, as the chatter of new and old friends carried on, the logs were tossed onto the fire. The ebb and flow of the light of the fire shifting from a raging and crackling inferno of heat to the dull and fleeting sparks of a fire near its end. All the while, people swapping stories, sharing adventures and advice.

Last Light

Last Light

Is there anything better than a S'more for breakfast?

Is there anything better than a S'more for breakfast?

Is that another S'more that I see!

Is that another S'more that I see!

Cameron- Your Brew Master

Cameron- Your Brew Master
A.K.A. --B.G.-- (Beer Guy)

Jermey's Son Enjoying Breakfast

Jermey's Son Enjoying Breakfast

Working on a Morning Marshmellow

Working on a Morning Marsh mellow

Sisters

Sisters

Morning at the Second Site

Morning at the Second Site

People Stiring About at the First Site

People Stiring About at the First Site
The Morning can not come soon enough. Restful slumber becomes a series of restless catnaps throughout the night. It is not cold and there are moments when I feel too warm. Laying in my bivy, I wait for the light of the morning to break the darkness of night. Opening up bivy in the middle of the night, I shuffle out as quietly as I can to use the restroom. The night has its own rhythm as I walk about. A collection of shelters dot the night, there are the sounds of people shifting on their sleeping pads, a light that shines inside a tent and cast an inviting glow, and the moon that is high in the sky to cast a pale light for me to walk by.

Everyone Preparing at Welcome Hot Breakfast on a Grey Day

Everyone Preparing at Welcome Hot Breakfast on a Grey Day

Stoking Up the Fire from Left Over Hot Coals from the Night Before

Stoking Up the Fire from Left Over Hot Coals from the Night Before

Last Gathering

Last Gathering

Those Who Linger on to Savor the Moment

Those Who Linger on to Savor the Moment

Some people have already packed up and have started to hike out as other are just getting out of their bed and dressed in their warm layers of clothing. People casually go about their business and have a meal. Slowly, people drift off and haul their packs onto their shoulders and say good bye to new and old friends and head off down the trail.

My Time Has Come to Leave

My Time Has Come to Leave
Neither the first to arrive or the last to leave, we pack up and head out, saying good bye to everyone and satisfied with the outcome of this journey. Another year has come and past with the satisfaction that something wonderful has happened. That the beginning of a tradition has been established. With each passing year something has taken shape and form to become more than just 14-16 strangers meeting in a parking lot. Jay put it perfectly back then, "We are a bunch of introverts trying to make conversation for the first time in a group of introverts(solo hikers)." Maybe today we are more than Gathering of Gear Geeks, but a small and welcoming community of like minded souls who share a passion and love for the outdoors and want to share it will everyone.

Passing It On

Passing It Along

To Another Generation

To Another Generation


"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." -Ken T.

***Click Here: Need Your Help, Feed Back Needed to Make This Better Next Year****


Other photo essays by Tony:

BPLers 2011 GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA.

Special Video Made by EJ Documenting the 2011 GGG
Backpackers Gone Wild: BPL 3rd Annual SF Bay Area Gathering of Gear Geeks (GGG) Jan 26-27, 2011.

BPLer's 2010 GGG: Point Reyes, CA. 2nd Annual Trip

BPLer's GGG: San Francisco Bay Area, CA.; Mt. Diablo

BPLer's GGG: Yosemite: Hetch Hetchy Resevior to Rancheria Falls

BPLer's 2009 GGG: Point Reyes, CA

Emigrant Wilderness

High Sierra trail to Mt. Whitney

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park: Deadman Canyon

Tahoe Rim Trail

Ventana Wilderness

Yosemite: Glacier Point to Red Peak Pass to Lake Merced

Yosemite in Winter: Crocker Point & Dewey Point

Yosemite: Lake Vernon & Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Yosemite: Tenaya Creek


Photo Essay by Linda Vassallo: Mt Whitney Summit Hike: A photo essay

Trip Report & Article by Jeremy Pendrey: Hiking The Diablo Trail: A Conservation Success Story

Photography and Backpacking Article on Hike It. Like It.

Photo Essays: Telling the Story, Sharing the Adventure

Edited by Valshar on 04/09/2012 01:03:30 MDT.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 06:19:31 MST Print View

Thanks for all the kind words Tony. Don't be so modest though. Taking and posting all the photos is not an easy task.

So let's thank Tony for documenting and promoting this event also.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Great trip on 02/21/2012 08:39:36 MST Print View

I really enjoyed the trip this year, and my son had a great time too. He already said he is in for next year.

Great to meet so many good people, and to see old friends.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all on the trails this summer.

-Jeremy.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 12:44:40 MST Print View

Posting our pics from the other GGG thread into this one....

The primary gathering area
GGG1

The Kens and others chatting with the Trail Designs folks (I think)
GGG2

Jack cruising down the hill
GGG3

The good stuff. Thanks again, Cameron!
GGG4

The secondary gathering area in campsite #10
GGG5

Setting up the Trailstar
GGG6

Smallest Tarp
smallest

Highest Tarp
Highest

Most Uniquely Pitched Tarp
unique

Josh's smokin' setup
GGG7

A view inside Josh's pyramid
GGG8

Cooking with wood
Wood

Gathering around the campfire
GGG9

No event is complete without some colored lights
GGG10

fire2

Julie's flaming silhouette
GGG12

Fire Fighting
Fire Fighting

More fire
GGG15

Bed time for MorganBed Time

Edited by csteutterman on 02/24/2012 23:16:37 MST.

a b
(Ice-axe)
4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012 Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 18:27:17 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
.Woodstoves
.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!

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 18:29:59 MST Print View

Reposted from other thread:

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.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 18:37:05 MST Print View

Thanks Ken,

Next time I'd like to see "official" presentations of gear, techniques, etc. Maybe a few hours set aside at a specific time where people could spend a 5 or 10 minutes giving a presentation.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 19:12:56 MST Print View

Casey & Ken,

Good idea....I am actually one of the offenders on this.

I had prepared a presentation on fire starting and had stuff to do the demo, but never got around to it.

Mark it up to shy and lazy.

Having a location for demos and designated time to give the demo would help.

That is okay, I will give the presentation next year.

Besides, showing people how to use a fire steel light up a gallon of white gas is not hard. :)

Ken,

Later, can you give us some feedback on the suggestions you get from people for making things better next year?

Great post up above and heart felt....you should be very proud Ken T. at what you have created here with the GGG. Yes, you have helpers, but you are man in the middle organizing and directing people to pull this off. No small thing that you have done to help contribute to people making friends, hooking up with travel buddies on future trips, etc.

P.S. To everyone else...if anyone has photos of the gear swap, please post them up. I missed that, so I have no photos of what happened there.

-Tony

Edited by Valshar on 02/21/2012 19:16:59 MST.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 20:20:28 MST Print View

Ken,

Another thought, what should we NOT do? In other words, what can we do or not do to make organizing the event easier?

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 20:39:47 MST Print View

I will post the outcome of suggestions and what not. I do realize that the group is large enough now that things need to be done differently. Keep the suggestions coming. I'll start planning.

As far as things not to do. I've got some thoughts there too. Good thing you clarified. I thought you were talking about Ken H. at first.

Edited by kthompson on 02/21/2012 20:52:27 MST.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 22:20:58 MST Print View

GGG IV_001
Our group campsites at Henry Coe had interesting landscape features which were hidden from view on our hike in the night before. This Pacific Madrone/Manzanita/Pacific Madrone/Manzanita/... tree had bark so polished it looked wet.


GGG IV_002
The morning greeted us with many dew covered spider webs.


GGG IV_003
Diane had quite the menu prepared for the weekend with lots of fresh ingredients. It made me wish that I had brought in a little more than my freezerbag foods.


GGG IV_004
The campfire was the social hub of the gathering and we kept it burning all day long.

GGG IV_005
Jack's 'Easy Bake Oven' was quite the hit.

GGG IV_006
The muffins he made with it were an even bigger hit. I had one and it was delicious!

GGG IV_007
Hikin' Jim of Adventures in Stoving arrived Saturday with a large container full of a selection of his stoves. He gave demonstrations non-stop from when he arrived until he left.

GGG IV_008
Several people took advantage of the firepit to boil their water on the provided grate. My Heinie pot is a little to precious to put over a flame like that.

GGG IV_009
Doug Wolf flew in from the D.C. area, the furthest traveler for the event, and hiked in part of the way with my group. He and I ended up unconsciously coordinating our wardrobe for the event.

GGG IV_010
The quiet camp was more exposed to the winds but also had some fantastic views.

GGG IV_011
Here's Tony, the rarely seen camera wizard at work. He moved around the campsite so fast documenting everything he's only a blur in this here photo.

GGG IV_012
-

GGG IV_013
-

GGG IV_014
Casey's son enjoyed the fire and the s'mores.

GGG IV_015
Phoebe had some s'mores too. We had fun visiting earlier in the day with her and her dad. It reminded me a lot of when my Dad started taking me camping, books and all.

GGG IV_016
S'mores seconds or thirds?

GGG IV_017
So many shelters and so many lights.

GGG IV_018
Without manual focus I missed my intended target but I like the bokeh in this image more than the photo I was hoping to get.

GGG IV_019
Hikin' Jim still at it.

GGG IV_020
A slow departure on Sunday morning. I suspect no one wanted to leave.

GGG IV_021
One last look at the trail until next year.

It was a great get together and I enjoyed it as much at the Trinity Alps trip earlier this year. I've had the opportunity to meet some of the cottage makers who design the stuff I drool over all year round. Let's get them back again next year. The glow sticks in the lav were a nice touch. It'd be great to know in advance next year what needs to be brought in terms of firewood/water. Perhaps a note at the overflow lot? I think I was supposed to takes Jacob's place for the photo workshop but it didn't happen. I think a schedule for presentations/workshops/shelter tours would be a great addition. I enjoyed the gear swap as well and some more toy's to play with. I picked up a Mountaingoat hat which I already love. I had a great time and hope to attend again.

Thanks again, Ken, Ken, et al!

Edited by cobberman on 02/21/2012 23:35:46 MST.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 22:39:50 MST Print View

That's why it's called Manzanita Point.

Really nice job on the photos Eric. I knew taking my own pictures would be a waste.

Edited by kthompson on 02/21/2012 22:41:00 MST.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Manzanita on 02/21/2012 23:12:24 MST Print View

Actually that is a Manzanita. There were a few Madrones as well, but with a much lighter color and none showing that amount of "wood".
Local Manzanitas were indeed more like trees than the usual shrubs, but still Manzanitas.

Edited by Kat_P on 02/24/2012 17:52:17 MST.

twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 23:16:31 MST Print View

Thanks for posting the all of the pics, I always feel like I am a small part of it looking at these each year!

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
growth on 02/21/2012 23:17:42 MST Print View

Looks like this thing is picking up enough steam that you guys should start calling all the cottage gear makers to come out and have booth's/demo's. It would be a great opp for them to market and us to drool. I guess you could even call it a mini norcal trail days or ADZPCTKO..

a b
(Ice-axe)
Manzadrones/Madronitas on 02/21/2012 23:20:45 MST Print View

This gives me an idea for the next GGG.
It was really nice on the last day walking with Kat P. and her showing us about the living Cambium of the trees and how the living and dead parts of the Manzanita are so well defined compared to other trees.
So how about a nature hike next time with Kat and others that are versed in such things.
I was also wondering what all the other species of trees and plants were around. I think i spotted some spanish moss down around poverty flat. There were several types of Oaks.
It would also be interesting to know the uses of some native plants and which ones are edible.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 23:23:14 MST Print View

"Actually that is a Manzanita. There were a few Madrones as well"

Botanically similar, the ground-hugging bush is generally the Manzanita. The tree is generally the Pacific Madrone, especially when that much smooth exposed wood is present. Time for a DNA test.

--B.G.--

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Different genus on 02/21/2012 23:29:43 MST Print View

Not that similar; different genus.....I can see how people confuse them, but the easiest is just looking at the leaf. Much larger on the Madrone, like 6 times the size. We hiked around and several of us discussed the two plants and no one had any doubt about the difference.
Like I said, the picture may be confusing, except for the color and dead wood.

Edited by Kat_P on 02/22/2012 00:21:29 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Different genus on 02/21/2012 23:48:11 MST Print View

So, the giant manzanitas grow taller like a tree? Most manzanitas are bushy shrubs? And all madrones are trees?

--B.G.--

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: 4th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Henry Coe State Park on 02/21/2012 23:52:05 MST Print View

Eric,

Amazing photos that you have there....from the Sony Nex5N?

Love how well your camera captured the low light shots at night.

So looking forward to getting a better camera in the future.

Appreciate everyone putting their photos up to share.

Okay, back to work and putting up some more photos.

-Tony