A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill on 11/25/2012 23:28:04 MST Print View

For my annual birthday trip I recreated a trip I did in 1978, to include the gear I used. You might be surprised how "heavy" we hiked back then.

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Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Gear nostalgia on 11/26/2012 00:07:56 MST Print View

Great story, thanks for sharing.

Your equipment photos gave me goose bumps. Change out a few items (mainly Trailwise external frame pack), and that's what I used in the late 1970s, including lots of military surplus wool. Unfortunately, I carried a lot of other crap - spare this and that, the usual story - and often had a total weight of 45 pounds for weekend trips!

In the early 1980s, I got lighter stuff, as a short-lived lightweight revolution went through the industry. Alpenlite soft pack under 2 pounds, original Nike Lava Dome trail shoes, Campingaz Bluet cartridge stove, nylon water bags with plastic bladders, minimalist Moss tents.

If you didn't take the kitchen sink "just in case", you could travel pretty light. The relatively low volume of that Alpenlite pack enforced a kind of minimalism, and my trail weight dropped. Unfortunately, as my gear wore out, or rotted, or permanently borrowed, or chewed by mice, I couldn't find lightweight replacements, until about 10 years ago.

I'm pretty amazed you still have all that old gear!

I still have a few bits and pieces around. For some reason, I'm very attached to the Chouinard Expedition Sewing Kit, even though I've never used it.

Thanks again.

Ben Smith
(bsmith_90) - F - M

Locale: Epping Forest
A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill on 11/26/2012 01:04:09 MST Print View

What a great read, thank you for posting! I'm only 22 and I really hope to be as active as you are 40 years down the road.
I love that Chouinard sewing kit, it's a great example of classic kit that never goes out of style whilst also holding the original function perfectly!

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill on 11/26/2012 04:03:14 MST Print View

Your subject title caught my attention, having read the book. Enjoyed your story and will check out the others,as I always love to hear from other "seasoned" hikers; gives me inspiration.
Thanks for posting it!

Raquel Rascal
(flutingaround)

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
i loved this... on 11/26/2012 14:06:16 MST Print View

This is so awesome! Thanks for doing this. Your weight did surprise me.

I just turned 41 and my father turned 61. My father was a forest engineer early in his life...He loved the outdoors and got on the trail as much as he could. Of course, he took his daughters out there as much as possible. Now, I spend way too much time on the BPL forum, so I guess it worked. :)


Fittingly, my Dad just posted this picture on his Facebook TODAY and says:

"1977 Mountain Climbing Expedition, Long's Peak, CO. What a motley crew! Camped in boulder field at ~12,000 and summited the next day (14,259 feet). The guy on the right was a Vietnam Vet who fed us wild stories all night long... certifiably crazy. An experience that's hard to forget."

I was 6 years old when he went on this trip.. thanks for letting me share this awesome memory of my father. What a bunch of hotties!

1977 Longs Peak Colorado

Edited by flutingaround on 11/26/2012 14:06:57 MST.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill on 12/02/2012 13:56:57 MST Print View

Nick - Big fun! I have enjoyed that book a few times. But i think there is something going on here - In the book the folks who knew Chuckawalla Bill kept commenting on how Fletcher resembled him - and here you are looking rather similar to the welshman in question. And not just general appearance - Pivetta boots, corduroy shorts.....

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill on 12/02/2012 15:32:57 MST Print View

Thanks for the great read Nick.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill on 12/06/2012 17:24:21 MST Print View

Thanks everyone it really was a fun trip. After this one I did another similar trip that was way cool. Maybe I'll do a trip report after the first of the year. I am pretty much off on trips until the end of the year, with obligatory returns home to my lovely wife :)

@ Raguel: Love the picture. Lots of cotton clothing!!

@ Paul: I think I more resemble Sean Connery?

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Re: A Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill on 12/06/2012 20:10:14 MST Print View

The name is Bond - Chuckawalla Bond.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Re on 12/09/2012 10:53:32 MST Print View

I really enjoyed this well written story. Thanks, Nick.