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Which Pencil for the JMT?
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/14/2013 22:43:41 MDT Print View

It was pretty easy for me to put together a gear list, but I am struggling with a Pencil Solution.

My first thought was to use the little pencils you get at the golf course to keep score. I can’t find these small pencils in a store. Would it be appropriate to ask the golf course if I could keep one? Would it be a moral issue if I kept one without asking, since the golf course here charges over $200 for green fees?

If these are too short, perhaps I could cut down one of the standard long pencils that are sold in stationary stores? Is this dangerous? They are called “lead” pencils, so do they contain hazardous materials? What should I cut them with? Wood or metal saw -- or something else? Will I need specialize breathing equipment to protect my respiratory system?

How long should a pencil last (inch per miles)? Will I need something longer than the golf course pencil?

Would you suggest just using a long standard pencil? The eraser would come in handy.

Has anyone used a pencil as a tent stake? I could leave one of my tent stakes at home and use the pencil, saving 0.25 ounces. How would you handle writing if your pencil is in the ground?

Will the pencil attract bears, mountain lions or marmots? Should I store it in a bear canister at night?

Do pencils off-gas dangerous fumes? Anything I should be looking for?

What is the best way to carry a pencil? In my backpack or in my shirt pocket, or some other method? I am concerned about carrying a pointed pencil in my shirt pocket… I could fall and the point might pierce my heart. Maybe a pocket protector? How about some sort of clip to keep it secure in my shirt pocket?

How about a mechanical pencil? I could carry extra lead and erasers. But it would weigh more than a regular pencil. What maintenance should I expect to do with a mechanical pencil?

Actually a mechanical pencil might be lighter, because I cannot sharpen a pencil with just a razor blade. I would need to carry a knife. With a knife I could cut off my finger sharpening the pencil, so perhaps I need a FAK that could allow me to attach a severed finger? Or should I buy a SPOT instead?

Which is the best brand of pencils? I am looking for an environmentally responsible company.

Should I buy American? I don’t want to negatively impact the US balance of trade or put an American worker out of a job.

Would it be better to use one of those Kevin Spacey Pens instead? Do they work when it is raining or in sub-freezing temperatures?

Once I resolve the pencil conundrum, I might need advice on paper. My thought is to purchase everyone one of the USGS Topo Maps for the JMT. This way I could write on the back of the maps – multi-purpose, you know. Or should I just buy a Tom Harrison map? They are water proof; can your write on them with a pencil or a pen? How much room is there in the margins to write? Is there enough room for a daily journal? Will I be breaking any copyright laws by writing on the map?

If writing on a map isn't acceptable, should I buy a notebook or something else? How about those small waterproof notebooks? Or should I stick with a linen paper? Is linen paper made from cotton? If it is, then no trees will be injured in the manufacture – correct?

Finally, is it possible to thru hike the JMT without a pencil and paper? I prefer not to take any electronic items.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/14/2013 22:55:19 MDT Print View

"Would it be appropriate to ask the golf course if I could keep one?"

Nick, you could offer to trade them some small condiment packages from a fast food place.

--B.G.--

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/14/2013 22:58:45 MDT Print View

Cut yourself with a titanium scalpel and use your blood as ink.

There, I just saved you 5 grams. Your welcome.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/14/2013 23:05:03 MDT Print View

Nick...you're not thinking bushcraft enough.

The pencil solution is easier than you think. My method will add zero grams to your spreadsheet.

Using my Gransfors Bruks hatchet, I will chop down enough trees to light a sizable fire with my flint, steel, and char cloth. Incidentally, any birds killed in the process of harvesting the lumber for the fire will be saved for smoking later. I have an excellent pemmican recipe that works with all manner of game animals.

I digress.

Fire raging, now comes the task of carefully selecting a hardwood sapling for straightness. I use my $250 handmade Finnish Puukko knife to strip the bark and leaves, whittling it down to a suitable pencil diameter with a sharp point (Save the shavings for smoking your birds).
Then simply fire harden the entire dowel (slowly). Once this step is complete I will char the tip for writing. Incidentally, you might as well make all your tent stakes at the same time. It is quite easy to whittle them while your pencil is cooling.
If you do have birds, render a little fat to help burnish the handle of your pencil. It creates a nice luster.

It's all so simple.

Bushcraft paper is another story.

Charles P
(mediauras)

Locale: Terra
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/14/2013 23:39:57 MDT Print View

Nick, I STRONGLY suggest you take an eraser. Unless you're taking extra paper you'll really want to correct those spelling mistakes and wrong word choices in your trail haikus and deep thoughts. It's no fun later reading your scribbled missives and seeing what a dumbass you were. I believe REI has a Hiker's Eraser. Its a touch heavy (maybe drill some holes in it), but bright orange so if you drop you'll easily find it. I think it will even erase not only No. 2 lead, but No. 1 as well. Have fun! Nothing like the JMT with a solid pencil and eraser in hand.

lol.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Bushcraft Paper on 05/14/2013 23:45:28 MDT Print View

It's easier than you think.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Ad6tBdLbM

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 00:06:08 MDT Print View

I wouldn't trust anything but a blackwing 602 for the JMT.
It has silky smooth lead that glides over maps at half the pressure of a normal pencil.
The eraser is adjustable. The black color blends into the surroundings, instead of distracting you from them.

If you can't get a blackwing in time, put off your JMT trip until you have one. You don't want to risk tarnished memories.

Hope this helps,
--G.B.--

I used THIS on my JMT hike. The sharpener is useful for making shavings to start a stove.

Edited by redmonk on 05/15/2013 00:14:20 MDT.

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
Pencil? on 05/15/2013 00:08:53 MDT Print View

How are you to fully connect with your surroundings with such distractions?!

One time, camped on the JMT, I heard the scribbling of an obvious newbie hiker hundreds of yards away scribbling in his notepad and thought "who brings such loud distractions to the wilderness!" Gosh, have some respect.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 00:34:32 MDT Print View

"you could offer to trade them some small condiment packages from a fast food place."

hmm... another Catch 22.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 00:36:56 MDT Print View

Craig,

I am concerned about the lack of quality control, regarding the ergonomics of a properly sized diameter pencil.

I don't want to develop a physical ailment such as Thin Pencil Syndrome or Thick Pencil Syndrome.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 00:41:24 MDT Print View

"I wouldn't trust anything but a blackwing 602 for the JMT."

Great idea. I think I'll order the gift box set. 12 pencils and a long point sharpener in a wooden box. Only $130 here. Wouldn't want to bring it on the trail, might break one.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 01:07:40 MDT Print View

"I wouldn't trust anything but a blackwing 602 for the JMT."

Oh, oh. Made in France. They still owe us a gazillion dollars in war debt.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 02:20:02 MDT Print View

LOL. The answer is of course any pencil as long as it's a 9H.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 03:04:08 MDT Print View

Use a sharpie instead! Multi-use - in addition to journal entry screeds on the decay of western civilization will allow you to leave waterproof, long-lasting messages on multiple surface types for other hikers when you steal their water cache and condiment packets.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Multi use on 05/15/2013 05:13:57 MDT Print View

A long pencil is clearly the answer. It may weigh more but is multi use.
1) tent stake.
2) a weapon to keep PCT hikers from stealing your food.
3) the stick for use in the PCT method bear hang.
4) a sign graffiti remover.
5) a Mylar balloon popper.

The choice is clear

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 06:11:38 MDT Print View

Chaff wasn't all bad.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 06:24:44 MDT Print View

Well I know I'm opening myself up for UL harassment here, but I really think the pencil is bad and you should go with a pen. While far more UL, the pencil will, eventually, dull, the nub will wear thin and you will then your tool will be useless. Much like .31 cuben, it seems great on a spreadsheet but it practice it's just TOO light - stupid light, actually.

With a pen, on the other hand, you can send replacement inks into your resupply boxes and don't have to worry about the downing of trees to create your gear.

David Hunter
(mdhunter)
Which pencil on 05/15/2013 06:27:19 MDT Print View

Someone has WAY too much time on their hands. You could have hiked the trail in the amount of time it took to write this post. BTW what did you write this post with?

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 06:33:29 MDT Print View

"Chaff wasn't all bad."

It is entertaining; I just don't have this kind of time in my hands.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 06:36:37 MDT Print View

I don't understand you kids and your need to carry pencils. In my day, we'd just set a brontosaurus on fire and used his charred remains to draw with. Sheesh!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 08:41:22 MDT Print View

"...but I really think the pencil is bad and you should go with a pen. While far more UL, the pencil will, eventually, dull, the nub will wear thin and you will then your tool will be useless."

Wait..are we still talking about pencils?

"I don't understand you kids and your need to carry pencils. In my day, we'd just set a brontosaurus on fire and used his charred remains to draw with."

*Sigh* The brontosaurus' and cavemen of those days at least never stole your condiment packets, water caches and sweet rolls. Condiment packets your life could depend on! In those days a brontosaur would likely as not walk right up to the fire and throw himself in - just to help out!

Nowadays everyone is a pencil thief, and too lazy to char their own dinosaur, or even build their own fire.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 09:01:35 MDT Print View

Not so sure about the pen, they smear when wet, leaving bear attracting residue everywhere.

Thinking about it, he best plan is to bring a pen for day time use on the trail, but a nice pencil for use during stream crossings.

You don't need a dedicated camp pencil, but the weight is small, and it is a nice luxury to write with a clean instrument after a day of using a trail worn pen. Some people don't mind the filth in camp, but it's the little things that separate us from the animals.

--G.B.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 14:39:25 MDT Print View

"Not so sure about the pen, they smear when wet, leaving bear attracting residue everywhere. "

Does that mean that you have to carry a canister if you carry a pen. :O

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 14:55:12 MDT Print View

I wonder if John Muir even carried a pencil when he invented the trail.

Edited by csteutterman on 01/15/2014 09:50:12 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 15:37:55 MDT Print View

"I wonder if John Muir even carried a pencil when he invented the trail."

The John Muir Trail was named after the man, but it was developed by others including Theodore Solomons.

--B.G.--

Brett Ayer
(bfayer)

Locale: Virginia
Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 15:48:09 MDT Print View

Was all this necessary in the gear section?

Should we now start a thread on the best way to tie an invisible shoe lace.

Are the mods on vacation or is this site that far gone that the mods are afraid to log on.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 16:42:40 MDT Print View

"Was all this necessary in the gear section?"

Well it seemed like a legitimate question to me.

Many people take writing instruments on their trips. Where would our civilization be if Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, John Wesley Powell, John Muir, Jack London, Robert Service, Edward Abbey, Colin Fletcher, Chris Townsend, Harvey Butchart and a host of others had left their pencils/pens and paper at home? I dare say that backpacking would not be what it is today; it would be less.

How is a pencil less relevant than the dozens upon dozens of the JMT gear threads I have read here on BPL over the years?

Is a pencil not a piece of gear?

Some other thought provoking threads I have read here regarding the JMT over the years include such questions as...

Do I need a sleeping bag or quilt? Is a quilt better than a sleeping bag? What temperature bag or quilt for doing the JMT in July or August?

Do I need a tent? Tent or Tarp? Bivy instead of a shelter?

Do I need a smartphone, Kindle, iPod, iPad, MPS, PLB, SPOT, spare batteries, solar charger, etc.?

Do I need a wind shirt, rain jacket, or poncho? Which is best? GoreTex or eVent?

Do I need a hat? What kind of hat do I need?

Do I need boots? Are running shoes okay? How about Vibram 5 Fingers? Do I need camp shoes? Do I need water crossing shoes?

Do I need trekking poles?

How do I pee and/or poop?

Do I need tent stakes? How do you pound stakes into granite?

Do I need a bear canister? How do I store my food? Where do I get food?

How far can I hike in a day?

How do I even get to the JMT?

What stove? Is Esbit or Alcohol okay?

Do I need underwear? If I do, what kind? Is wool better than synthetic?

Do I need a camera? Which camera is best for the JMT? Should I get a DSLR or a P&S?

Can I hike in shorts? Can I hike in trousers? What shirt should I wear? Do I need sunglasses? What brand sunglasses should I buy? Do I need polarized lenses?

Are there mosquitoes? DEET or headnet? How do you sleep without a fully enclosed tent?

What should I sleep on (foam pad, insulated pad, down pad, air mattress, duft)? What size pad should I sleep on? Do I need a groundsheet? What kind of groundsheet do I need? Where can I buy a groundsheet? Should I use a groundsheet under my tent?

Is cuben better than nylon, xPac, Dymeema, Spectra, Cordura?

Do I need a framed pack? What size pack do I need? Do I need outside pockets on my pack? Who makes the best pack? Who makes the cheapest pack?

Can I fish? Can I go vegan? Can I live off the land and not bring food?

How do I treat water? Which is best; iodine, AquaMira, filter, Steripen? Can I get by without treating water. How do I get water out of a shallow area? What should I carry my water in?

Do I need a knife, or razor blade, or ax, or machete?

How many pounds, or ounces should my first aid kit weigh? What should I carry in my first aid kit? Etc., etc., etc.

Maybe if more hikers took pencils, there would be more How To books, and thus no questions here on how to hike the JMT?

I don't think a pencil is a trivial thing, and having never used one to capture the flavor of my hikes it seemed that Gear would be the logical place to ask my questions.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
JMT ?'s on 05/15/2013 16:48:33 MDT Print View

+1 and checkmate!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 16:52:39 MDT Print View

Nick, head down to the golf course and purchase, beg, borrow, or steal a quantity of short pencils. At home in your workshop, you paint them some distinctive color. Weigh them very carefully, and then put them up for sale here for an affordable price, say $2 each, shipped. Then you offer up a cuben fiber carrying case, and that would be $4 each, shipped. You would need to include a user manual.

You can make a million bucks.

--B.G.--

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 17:10:02 MDT Print View

Based on the above I think may need to divide this thread into "regular" and "irony-free" sub-threads.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 17:18:29 MDT Print View

"Based on the above I think may need to divide this thread into "regular" and "irony-free" sub-threads."

Now I am getting confused. I thought the pencils were made from lead. Are you suggesting it is actually iron? That sounds heavy. Perhaps someone makes a carbon fiber pencil; does anyone know?

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: JMT ?'s on 05/15/2013 17:21:11 MDT Print View

Nick...touché!!!!! That was simply brilliant.

But you forgot to mention what kind of shirt I should bring when I hike the JMT...short sleeve or long? Synthetic, wool, button down, rail riders?




You know, when I first found BPL I read a few posts lamenting about how the forums had turned into a cesspool of "which tent should I buy?" and "ULA packs vs Gossamer Gear?" threads. I was a tad put off, because I was that noobie and frankly, those decisions were hard! Now, thanks to the collective wisdom I've mooched from all of you, I find that I am comfortable making my own mistakes - instead of thinking every gear and route choice has to be the absolutely forever perfect one. And now I find myself lamenting that the forums have turned into this cesspool of "which tent is best?" and "MLD Exodus vs the Ohm 2.0?"

I recently joined a JMT Facebook group...then promptly unjoined as every single question was "should I carry a 70L or a 90L pack?" You've all spoiled me so....



So seriously, which shirt should I bring?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: JMT ?'s on 05/15/2013 17:27:13 MDT Print View

Just buy a cotton/poly or poly dress shirt. You can roll up the sleeves, and can try it on at the store for proper fit.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Jennifer's JMT shirt on 05/15/2013 17:29:47 MDT Print View

"So seriously, which shirt should I bring?"

Whatever shirt you choose, Jennifer, be sure to sew a little mini tube inside the pocket to securely store your BPL golf pencil. I'm sure that's what Nick and BG would do, and they know their golf pencils.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
To set the record straight... on 05/15/2013 17:33:30 MDT Print View

I think the last time I used a pencil was in 1968 when I voted for Pat Paulsen for President. I normally write with a fountain pen or type on a keyboard. So I have no recent experience with a pencil.

Edited by ngatel on 05/15/2013 17:34:50 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Jennifer's JMT shirt on 05/15/2013 17:35:30 MDT Print View

Ha!

I so enjoy it when threads make me laugh like this.
By the way, where's Max? I miss him...........

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Which Pencil (or any other piece of gear) for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 17:38:01 MDT Print View

I am heartily enjoying this thread!!! As in ROTFL! My dog just walked into the computer room wondering why I was laughing so hard!

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/15/2013 17:39:05 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Jennifer's JMT shirt on 05/15/2013 17:39:33 MDT Print View

I think he got lost, used a mechanical pencil floating in water as a compass, and it sunk to the bottom. Should have used one of those UL golf pencils without an eraser.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Nicks writing implement on 05/15/2013 17:44:11 MDT Print View

And here I thought you used a quill and ink.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Others missing on 05/15/2013 17:45:24 MDT Print View

Besides Max, where's Doug, and Travis, and Konrad--they need to get in on this too.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Nicks writing implement on 05/15/2013 18:02:29 MDT Print View

"And here I thought you used a quill and ink."

I can't find them. Last year I removed a quill from my cuben quilt, using one of my wife's pencils, but found the quill was rather short.

pencil

When I prepare for a hike I use a fountain pen along with my other prep gear.

old gear

The long white thingy is a slide rule I got in 1968. Never had to change the battery. The lantern doesn't use batteries either, nor the compass, map measurer or thermometer.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Let's just stop right there. on 05/15/2013 18:04:50 MDT Print View

I'm thinking this pencil conversation isn't considering a lot of factors. I just want to play devil's advocate for a minute and add some grams. Since I know I'm right, there's really no need to respond to this comment at all.

Broken pencils are a big deal, so as with anything you carry, durability HAS to be considered. I suggest going with the double-wide pencils they give kindergartners just for the peace of mind. I, myself, carry two, and I keep them in a case because I would hate for them to potentially get broken as they knock around in my cavernous 6lb backpack. There's a lot of empty space in there.

Cheers!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 18:05:51 MDT Print View

Hi,

My local library has small cups of those short pencils on the counter for taking notes with. Try a library near you.

But, for me and the rest of my "Cuben" based gear I just took a piece of "Draftsman's" Compass Lead and wrapped some scrap Cuben fiber around the lead till it was thick enough to hold, sure. It goes really well with my Cuben Fiber Note Paper.

Do a computer search for "Draftsman's Lead" and check out Amazon.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Let's just stop right there. on 05/15/2013 18:07:54 MDT Print View

"Broken pencils are a big deal, so as with anything you carry, durability HAS to be considered."

But we are all lightweight hikers here, with the skills and experience to use "fragile" items, such as .31 cuben. Perhaps for those on the Backpacker Magazine forums, it would be relevant.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Durability Matters on 05/15/2013 18:11:02 MDT Print View

Nick, all's well and good until you're stuck in the woods with no titanium sharpener. Then you can come crying to me about the six chapters of your autobiography you couldn't draft up between food drops.

Edited by mdilthey on 05/15/2013 18:11:41 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Durability Matters on 05/15/2013 18:14:46 MDT Print View

Max you make a good point, about a dull point on the pencil. But you should go back and notice I asked questions about sharpening the pencil on the trail, as I don't think my Mike Clelland! razor blade is up to the task.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Nicks writing implement on 05/15/2013 18:28:41 MDT Print View

But Nick, that's a compass. I thought for sure you'd still be using a sextant for all your navigation.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Nicks writing implement on 05/15/2013 18:30:27 MDT Print View

"But Nick, that's a compass. I thought for sure you'd still be using a sextant for all your navigation."

I have been using a compass for a long time. I rarely bring a real tent, however that sex tent sounds promising. Where can I purchase one?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 19:21:39 MDT Print View

"My thought is to purchase everyone one of the USGS Topo Maps for the JMT."

That's a lot of maps. You'll need more than one pencil. What about a carpentry pencil? Won't roll off trail. Big enough to use as a stake. Writes nice and bold. Good for old eyes.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
pencil lead on 05/15/2013 20:18:21 MDT Print View

lead

These are what I generally use. Just avoid the 0.5's, those are too delicate. 0.7's are easier to use and don't break. You can probably get fine with just 2 leads for the JMT.

You don't need the mechanical pencil, you can write just fine holding the lead with your fingers.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 20:38:58 MDT Print View

Am I the only person who has *actually* hiked the JMT ?

The carpenter pencil is too loud, and needs a knife to sharpen, and uses inferior lead.

The 602 writes silent, so the wildlife won't know you're sketching them. It has two sharpeners, one for the wood, one of the graphite. On a demanding trip like the JMT, it's nice to have a 1/16" graphite point with a 3/8" wood support cone around it. At least for writing while walking backwards downhill it was essential. At night you can reshape it to be 1/4" graphite point, with 3/4" supporting wood cone. It's a much less effective self defense pencil, but writes twice as fast.

The eraser on the 602 is rectangular so it won't roll away, and removable so you can bring only the amount needed.

No wonder people can't give Nick a straight answer, y'all are armchair JMT adventurers.

--G.B.--

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: pencil lead on 05/15/2013 21:51:14 MDT Print View

"You don't need the mechanical pencil, you can write just fine holding the lead with your fingers."

Yes, just as with using a 3 oz SUL pack, you will be fine as long as you are *careful* with the lighter gear. If you can't treat single 0.5 leads with the respect and care it deserves then maybe ultralight isn't for you.

Tip: break one in half to save weight and just use your resupply points to get more. Or cache the matching halves along the trail. Make sure you hide them well, Clark's Nutcrackers along the JMT are well known to make their own pencil lead caches in hollow trees after stealing other people's caches - pencil thieves are everywhere in this fallen world.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 22:00:20 MDT Print View

"Now I am getting confused. I thought the pencils were made from lead. Are you suggesting it is actually iron? That sounds heavy. Perhaps someone makes a carbon fiber pencil; does anyone know?"

Actually, pretending to be a rube is a bit different than being ironic. Still I like it! You will obviously know best where your true talents lie.

Unfortunately it looks like the irony-challenged posts in this thread have largely dried up, which is very disappointing. Possibly all the sensible people have run for the hills.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 23:01:35 MDT Print View

I'm all for humor, iron-knees, and even occasional sarcasm, but not so much at the expense of others--especially not in a personal and real sense e.g. making fun of actual actions and people that are posting on a forum.

Nick, if you are so much wiser, smarter, self actualized, aware, zen, and self sufficient than all of us, then why do you hang out here with us lesser beings? Just to get a laugh from us? You're already stated a number of times that you don't like people, ok-just the vast majority of people rather, so why not just spend all your times in the wilds where you can be alone which is what you so crave?

Because i'm noticing a growing trend or pattern in your posts of thinly veiled derision and intolerance of others.

Age does not necessarily bring true wisdom and maturity, but living and choosing compassionate love does, and maybe some lifetime you will learn that. Till then, you're just acting like a cranky old man with nothing better to do than to put others down while trying to appear wise and zen. "Be simplefied, like me, the man with a cuben poncho and tent" Yeah, i'm sure no thought or care went into those purchases, nor reading of others experiences. Just because you didn't "ask" others their opinions don't mean squat.

Real humor is lighthearted, and uplifts, at the expense of no one but maybe self. Critical, self righteous, judgmental humor is really not humor, it does not help to open up the hearts of others or of self- it does not come from the heart but from the shadow ego and is an indication and reflection of woundedness and self pain.

Well, we're all in pain Nick, all of us to varying degrees, some just deal with it better and don't try to add to others pain. You go to the wilds to try to escape it (not possible), maybe cover it over for a little while, but come back crankier than when you left.

P.s. I don't usually speak so bluntly to others or like this at all..but despite contradictory appearances from the above, i do have a lot of respect for you and do think you are wiser than the average person, which is why i have spoke so bluntly, personally and unusually.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 05/15/2013 23:03:42 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/16/2013 08:02:18 MDT Print View

Geez Justin,

I apologize for upsetting you.

I am just trying to find a suitable pencil.

If you had been around longer, you would remember a thread I started a few years ago seeking feedback on winter equipment. The experts here helped me put together a system that avoided a lot of trial and error, not to mention unneeded expense. That gear has worked out well, and I thank those who assisted me.

I will admit that not all the suggestions have been helpful in my pencil search.

However, Cameron has presented the features and benefits of what looks to be an excellent pencil, perhaps the best pencil ever made; the Blackwing 602. And I have taken his recommendation seriously. It appears that one needs to also purchase the separate Blackwing pencil sharpener for optimal performance, and spare erasers are also available. Not sure if this pencil will meet my backpacking needs, but it will probably be a fine addition to my office and enhance my daily work performance; perhaps even freeing up more time for backpacking through increased work productivity.

I did make a negative comment about France, and maybe that was uncalled for. The French did give us Brigitte Bardot, André the Giant, Victor Hugo, Hector Berlioz, Marquis de Lafayette, and of course - Champagne.

P.S. I am not in pain. My life is exciting and fulfilling. I look forward to each day!!

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/16/2013 08:42:12 MDT Print View

Whoa Justin, chill! Re-read the thread, all folks having fun and Nick must have too much time between trips. If he was in real pain he would use the Mike Clelland! razor blade and write his notes in blood!

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/16/2013 13:40:30 MDT Print View

I didn't know they were being made again when I suggested it. They were precious at one time, but amazon has them now for reasonable prices. $6 for the two piece sample pack, and $25 a box.

Just a short while ago these would fetch $500 a box on eBay.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
SUL pencil for JMT? on 05/16/2013 15:21:47 MDT Print View

The answer is obvious: just use the lead from a mechanical pencil, and toss the rest away! Sure, you have to be a bit careful not to break the lead into too small a piece, but SUL folks are used to being careful with their gear.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: SUL pencil for JMT? on 05/16/2013 15:58:46 MDT Print View

"but SUL folks are used to being careful with their gear."

I don't know if we should trust advice from old guys with gray or white beards :)

How ya doing Stephen?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: SUL pencil for JMT? on 05/16/2013 17:33:06 MDT Print View

Hey Nick!

I have to talk tonight to the Chief Financial Officer about spending part of our tax return on a certain new pack. She was asking me yesterday about what I wanted for my birthday, so.....!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: SUL pencil for JMT? on 05/16/2013 17:38:25 MDT Print View

"I have to talk tonight to the Chief Financial Officer about spending part of our tax return on a certain new pack. She was asking me yesterday about what I wanted for my birthday, so.....!"

I would tell her you can save significant money with your new UL Pencil solution... if we figure one out here :)

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/16/2013 18:21:39 MDT Print View

"Whoa Justin, chill! Re-read the thread, all folks having fun and Nick must have too much time between trips."

I always feel bad when an ernest fellow or two gets caught in intricately woven tendrils of mock seriousness like those in this thread. However it is mildly entertaining. Online, without voice tones, sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference, and the secret password is how totally ridiculous the postings are. However, as ridiculous as it can get, you will still inevitably get someone like a (to be unnamed) previous poster that seemed furious someone hadn't stopped us. Priceless. On the other hand I have found the level of the mockudrama here is so high that someone is just as likely to post and pretend to be furious! So mocks within mocks.

Sorry Justin! Basically we are mocking each other, while at the same time mocking some of the more extreme practices of this cult. Except Nick. From what I can tell, either he is a tiny bit loopy, or he is sometimes so completely committed to character it is impossible to tell - kinda like the Borat of the BL forums.

And now all that remains is for some of you to post and inform me how *deadly* serious you have actually been all along, and we can start all over. LOL

I have to work in more or less semi-crisis mode all this month, and can't get out for an extended period of time (just when the real backpacking season is starting). This is one of my distractions and entertainments in the meantime. I know...sad.

Edited by millonas on 05/16/2013 18:38:45 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
and John Muir damn well DID use a pencil on the Trail!!! on 05/16/2013 18:41:35 MDT Print View

http://www.amazon.com/John-Mountains-Unpublished-Journals-Muir/dp/0299078841/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368751179&sr=8-1&keywords=john+muir+journals

Muir's library in Martinez, CA is nearby. I will visit there an attempt to research the issue of what type of pencil he used on the trail. Perhaps it can be reproduced as a DIY. What better pencil to use on the JMT! I smell a potential new cottage industry here.

draw
John Muir Trail Drawing ^^^

Edit: Oh my God! I just remembered! John Muir WORKED in a pencil factory? Holey crap! It can't be a coincidence. Nick you are brilliant.

Edit 2: Oh damn, it was Thoreau that made pencils. Enlightenment, so close... and yet no cigar.

pencil
Pencil made by Thoreau ^^^

On the other hand, Thoreau was friends with Emerson, and Emerson visited Muir in CA before he died. Coincidence? You decide.

Edited by millonas on 05/16/2013 19:30:42 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: and John Muir damn well DID use a pencil on the Trail!!! on 05/16/2013 19:29:06 MDT Print View

During my comprehensive search for the perfect UL Pencil, I found the following were devotees of the Blackwing 602 Pencil; John Steinbeck, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein and Chuck Jones (used them to create Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters).

It is rumored that Hemingway used Blackwings, but it has not been substantiated.

However, in "A Moveable Feast," Hemingway had this to say about the pencil:

I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write... A girl came in the cafe and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin... I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink. I've seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Nick on 05/16/2013 19:57:24 MDT Print View

Seriously, you need a hike. :)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Nick on 05/16/2013 20:13:17 MDT Print View

"Seriously, you need a hike. :) "

Leaving tomorrow for a weekend trip, sans pencil.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: and John Muir damn well DID use a pencil on the Trail!!! on 05/16/2013 20:22:30 MDT Print View

It is rumored that Hemingway used Blackwings, but it has not been substantiated.


He may also have used a pencil but I know I saw a manual typewriter in his writing room when touring his Key West place. (great tour if you get the same tour guide we had ... story telling very reminiscent of Shelby Foote)

I doubt Hemingway could have written a better parody ... well done.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
The JMT and which Pencil on 05/17/2013 17:38:35 MDT Print View

Remember, Nick's request was for a JMT specific pencil, not a general backpacking pencil, a JMT PENCIL!!!

We're getting away from the JMT specific requirement.
The JMT is not the Uintas, Dolly Sods, Wind River.... The requirements are much different and the focus should be as such.

Many of us are not interested in general equipment, we only need to know about the JMT.

So please keep it on subject!!!

Edited by brooklynkayak on 12/04/2013 16:07:29 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: The JMT and which Pencil on 05/17/2013 17:43:29 MDT Print View

You probably would not want the JMT pencil to be the color of dirt, otherwise, you drop it on the trail and you might never find it. That's why I suggested that Nick paint them some distinctive color.

Another color to avoid would be the color of Nick's hair. If he painted them the same color as his hair, he might park the pencil above his ear and lose it completely.

A good color would be yellow-luminescent. At least you could find it at night without a flashlight.

--B.G.--

Edited by --B.G.-- on 05/17/2013 17:44:28 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Don't use geen! on 05/17/2013 19:35:10 MDT Print View

Don't use Green florescent paint - too many algae gave there lives for that - morally repugnant.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/20/2013 23:22:56 MDT Print View

"Do pencils off-gas dangerous fumes? Anything I should be looking for?"

I have come to this question of the right pencil for the JMT late, and so much has been answered so well. However, the point about dangerous pencil fumes has not yet been addressed.

Yes, there are dangerous pencil fumes, and they can be clearly seen when wearing circularly polarized 3D glasses. To save weight the ear pieces can be left behind. The glasses may stay on if you scrunch your face real hard. Do not leave pencils exposed to direct sunlight. Keep them away from the stove when cooking. You'll be ok.

And, given your preference not to take electronic items, it would be better to leave your amber beads and amulets at home.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 12:08:33 MST Print View

Neophytes!

The obvious choice is the Classic Anello Titanium Propelling Pencil for a mere $395US.

Classic Anello Titanium propelling pencil with gleaming platinum-plated rings. Durable 0.7mm/B lead, a reservoir for spare leads and a replaceable eraser under the end cap. Spring-loaded clip.

http://shop.fabercastell.com/p/classic-anello-titanium-propelling-pencil

But pencils are for the weak at heart, lacking the confidence to use a pen. My Fisher all black bullet space pen is the writing instrument of the wanderer.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 12:27:45 MST Print View

"The obvious choice is the Classic Anello Titanium Propelling Pencil . . . ."

I don't know how to say this politely. A mechanical pencil is so déclassé, and this one is obviously priced to appeal to the nouveau riche. Por favor!

I agree, however, with your choice of the Fisher space pen with this one consideration: ditch the outer pen and carry the cartridge alone. Light!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 12:58:13 MST Print View

"....and this one is obviously priced to appeal to the nouveau riche. "

Do you think? I felt that way about the titanium Inka pen at $40, let alone this plaything for Wall Street pimps :)

As to writing with a bare cartridge, my southpaw handwriting is barely legible using a good ergonomic design on a stable surface, let alone scribbling on a pad propped on my knee or the palm of my hand. I went medical school, but I only made it through the handwriting course :)

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 14:09:53 MST Print View

"my southpaw handwriting is barely legible"

So?

If it doesn't matter for MDs, who are entrusted, from time to time, with our lives, it just doesn't matter.

But it's not just about you, Dale. It's about the JMT! The JMT does not care about penmanship (or pencilmanship). I asked.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 14:18:12 MST Print View

Pencils and pens are for the amateur, for those afraid of their own voices, insecure that their words will not stand the test of time.

Personally, I carry stonemason's tools and inscribe monoliths.

1

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 14:26:56 MST Print View

I prefer a highly visible yellow golf pencil from some tacky miniature golf course in Kansas. Space Pens can run out of ink, you know. You can sharpen a golf pencil with your teeth...

McDowell Crook
(mcdcrook) - M

Locale: Southeast
pencil on 12/04/2013 14:40:51 MST Print View

You can order an advance copy of my forthcoming book, "Pencil or Pen? An In-Depth Analysis of Techniques and Tools For Writing While Hiking." Simon & Schuster, 450 pages.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
The Rest of the Story on 12/04/2013 15:34:20 MST Print View

Picking up on Paul Harvey's famous tagline, "The rest of the story," here is

A Pencil for the JMT

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 15:58:47 MST Print View

"I went medical school, but I only made it through the handwriting course"

In the defense of MD penmanship, I can sympathize. Even as an EMT, having to write things like "periorbital ecchymosis" on the pre-hospital care report when all I want to say is "dude has two black eyes" (and am happy when I can spell my own name), I think MD penmanship allows for some Kentucky windage where they can fudge it a bit.

Of course I'm not med school material so YMMV.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 16:31:49 MST Print View

"Pencils and pens are for the amateur, for those afraid of their own voices, insecure that their words will not stand the test of time."

LOL

Okay, for the truth...

I know you are an artist, and I bet you have a sketchbook full of pencil and even pen drawings.

:)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/04/2013 17:20:16 MST Print View

1

Chief Tom (after our very own Tom Kirchner), Thunder Basin, Sierra...a quick sunset sketch.

I like the Fisher Space Pen. For a ballpoint the ink flows well and I like the sleek little bullet design a lot. But usually I prefer pencil, charcoal, and conte crayon the best. Quick mountain snapshots are fun for me.

When I'm not imprinting clay tablets or carving monoliths, that is.

Frank Deland
(rambler)

Locale: On the AT in VA
pencil on 12/04/2013 20:52:50 MST Print View

Good grief! Congratulations on planning to keep a hiking journal. Take any pencils you can sharpen. I met a long distance hiker who instead of using a camera, recored memorable locations by sketching them. He carried a box of colored pencils. He was a hiker who stopped to smell the roses

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: pencil on 12/04/2013 21:44:43 MST Print View

John Muir was an avid wilderness sketcher. Of course in those days cameras were weight prohibitive.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Back to Pencil on 12/04/2013 22:18:07 MST Print View

"in those days cameras were weight prohibitive."

Tell that to William Henry Jackson. He had an assistant named Hypo who carried his camera, very large format glass plates, and field darkroom. That was during the heroic age of camping and photography. Hypo was a burro. Nowadays Hypo would be six llamas. Wait! Do we still use wet plate photography? Ok, Hypo would be replaced by an iPhone, or maybe . . . a pencil.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Back to Pencil on 12/05/2013 08:28:40 MST Print View

Here's a NYTimes video on Faber Castell, oldest pencil maker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jHzrzP_AqJQ

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Back to Pencil on 12/05/2013 09:06:49 MST Print View

James,

you missed the Faber / John Muir connection.

On Muir's 1,000 mile walk he ended up in Cedar Keys, FL and worked in a saw mill there, harvesting redcedar, which was used for pencil manufacturing.

Both Faber and the Eagle pencil company used this wood for pencil making. I don't know if he worked in the mill owned by Faber. Might be interesting research.

jim logan
(jim_logan) - MLife
Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 14:51:16 MST Print View

I feel foolish giving a serious reply to this but I can't resist. I use a typical mechanical pencil with #2 lead at 1.2 mm diameter. Mine -- with eraser -- weighs .03 ounces or 008 grams.

I have owned a used bookstore for 20 years and have always used these for putting prices in books(though for a time it was hard to find the ones that could accept this "fat" lead). I need the #2 lead because thinner ones tend to etch the price into rather than writing it onto the paper -- thus adding a new and permanent feature to the books. The pencil is reliable and carries extra leads in its body. It has a VERY long life expectancy. I know many think 8 grams is way too much, but it works.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 14:55:16 MST Print View

"weighs .03 ounces or 008 grams."

Is there a decimal place error here?

--B.G.--

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 15:00:20 MST Print View

I once told my wife that I don't carry an eraser, because I don't make mistakes.

it wasn't well received. :)

jim logan
(jim_logan) - MLife
Error admitted on 12/05/2013 15:14:42 MST Print View

Bob, of course you are right: 00.3 ounces. Good thing I was not claiming to be mistake free like Roger Dodger!

I will admit I am astounded that someone read my comments!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 17:18:37 MST Print View

"I feel foolish giving a serious reply to this but I can't resist"

You doubt the importance of the subject?

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 19:02:47 MST Print View

Nick,

I'm not sure your pencil apprenticeship is complete ... have you read How to Sharpen Pencils?

The author is even a Blackwing fan.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 19:18:17 MST Print View

"I'm not sure your pencil apprenticeship is complete ... have you read How to Sharpen Pencils?"

The wood from pencil shavings will make a good fire starter. Wow, you want to talk about multiple use!

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 19:18:27 MST Print View

Why read the book? Mr. Rees will personally sharpen my pencils for only $35 each. A much better deal than a Faux-dini that doesn't fit.

BTW, I did read about him and viewed his documentary video when researching the subject, which many, unlike me, did not consider a serious or important backpacking subject.

http://www.pencils.com/blog/david-rees-and-blackwing-artisanal-pencil-sharpener/

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/05/2013 20:11:39 MST Print View

The book is humorous in a very dry, subdued way. If you brought all his suggested tools for sharpening your pencil while on the JMT, it would certainly not be lightweight!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 12/05/2013 20:25:25 MST Print View

Au contraire, Stephen...

I dutifully documented and weighed the JMT Pencil Solution in true BPL fashion, recording statistics in both grams and ounces in the link provided earlier. Here it is again, with apologies to the French.

A Pencil for the JMT

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: Re: Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 21:12:02 MST Print View

I am awestruck! Mr Rees is a saint.

What's a Faux-dini? No, no, I take it back! Don't tell me. Let's keep this thread pure and beautiful.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Mechanical pencils on 12/05/2013 21:25:41 MST Print View

As if death and taxes aren't enough, the thought of a mechanical pencil breakdown is more than I can bear. It's wood for me.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: pencil on 12/05/2013 21:57:40 MST Print View

When you realize there is no pencil per se, only an idea/thought of pencil temporally vibrating in this level of the one field of consciousness, then can you start on the path to true freedom, and then when you can react with compassion and patience to any temporal pencil stabbing you in the temporal back (ouch!), can you move out of this system into more expanded ones.

Who knew pencils were so deep and transformative of a concept.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: Re: pencil on 12/06/2013 09:57:00 MST Print View

Contrary to the popular expression.
Sometimes I leave the pen at home, and take a mighty long sword with me on the trail.

When I have something to write down, I whip out the long sword and carve the message into the boulders and trees. And since we established in an earlier comment that I don't need an eraser, this works well.

Also a long sword is multi-use gear to deter bears and sane people.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: pencil on 12/06/2013 19:10:30 MST Print View

"Also a long sword is multi-use gear to deter bears and sane people."

Sometimes weird thoughts pop in and out, and funny enough awhile ago, i was thinking, what weapon would i want to defend self against bears if a gun wasn't an option. Ok, yeah i know, bear spray and all that (which i agree with), but i'm thinking a full on, i'm hungry and i'm gonna eat you attack and not, i'm bluffing, testing, and defending my territory attack.

A slightly longer, but very well made and strong Katana sword with tanto tip came to mind. Relatively light for a sword type weapon, but super deadly and quite strong for the lightness. Those tanto tips can really penetrate very deeply.

But, in all reality, a Grizzly or Polar Bear would still probably eat you for lunch.. or more statistically, 9 out of 10 people would be lunch.

Now a black bear, i think one would have more than a fighting chance if somewhat trained with such a sword. Odd maybe closer to 5 out of 10 people would be lunch. Hey, not bad odds.

Deck yourself out in a full Dyneema suit, hey odds might jump up a little more.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pencil on 12/06/2013 19:15:28 MST Print View

I am concerned about the direction this thread is taking. Let us stay with the concerns of practicing literacy (and art!) on the JMT.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pencil on 12/06/2013 19:21:06 MST Print View

Why? The doom of this thread was entangled and sown in it's original intent and creation. It was a thread started to make fun of people, well certain kinds and types of people. Somewhat destructive in other words.

I say, let's bring total chaos and anarchy to it.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 12/06/2013 19:27:45 MST.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pencil on 12/06/2013 20:55:25 MST Print View

I feel like my head is exploding.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pencil on 12/06/2013 21:33:29 MST Print View

Well, my latter posts on here were mostly subtly joking, but if your head does explode, i know a great facial re-constructionist/surgeon i can refer you too.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
punsil on 12/06/2013 23:22:14 MST Print View

I use a full Faber-Castell #2.

Its my luxury item.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: pencil on 12/07/2013 08:26:59 MST Print View

I find it very amusing that this thread returned, as I was just thinking about finding it! My father sent me this as a Christmas gift request:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271286792882?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

Kind of the cuben fiber of pencils, I think.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Rotring on 12/07/2013 09:04:07 MST Print View

Yeah, Rotring makes cool writing instruments. I got turned onto them years ago when I got a $150 triple pen/pencil at a garage sale for $2. They make some interesting ergonomic and very modern design pens that I like.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
audio diary versus writing utensil on 12/07/2013 10:56:38 MST Print View

I have a sharpie with duct tape wrapped around it, for that dire emergency of a lifetime that I hope never happens. otherwise, I tried carrying a pen to write down details about a landmark, my penmanship is generally legible, however when I'm hiking, my motor skills are shaky, presumably from tight fist grip on the trek poles. I find it FOR ME to be easier to speak while I do a video recording of the landmark. or use the audio only recorder on the camera or smart phone to voice log some revelation about life, career, family and friends. I can audio record in the dark without headlamp.

later on at home, when I listen to my audio logs, I hear the wind, the birds, the creek flow, the physical conditions or stress in my voice, or the cynical comedy banter with a trail friend.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
The JMT Pencil and the UL Life on 12/07/2013 13:40:01 MST Print View

This week when I submitted my weekly Kitchen Pass Request (KPR), the boss denied it. I thought I would be going backpacking. She (the Boss) said I have not been at home on a weekend in over two months and “her” To Do list was getting longer by the week.

So I am grounded this weekend.

One would think that the Boss should know better by now, than to leave me unsupervised with a Honey-Do List. But she did it again, leaving for some excursion with a friend. So I decided it was more productive to address the thread drift in the WPFTJMT thread.

TIME TO GET THE THREAD BACK ON TOPIC

So let’s get back to pencils. Since we are discussing the John Muir Trail, let us not overlook the fact that Mr. Muir, himself, operated with a pencil and paper.

john muir

His pencil and notes led to generally accepted glacier theories in the Sierra Nevada, especially Yosemite Valley; even though Muir was not a trained geologist. Not to mention many excellent books that led to protection of wilderness areas and a Movement. All this was accomplished with a pencil. Not a cell phone, not a camera, not a voice recorder, not a GPS, not a SPOT, not a PLB. How did Muir navigate these uncharted areas with just a pencil? How did he survive without those electronic devices, or even BPL to guide him in the proper gear choices to survive in the wilderness? More important than how, is the simple fact he did. We should emulate Mr. Muir.

THE UL LIFE

Much has been written on BPL about taking the UL principles of backpacking and applying them to life in general. Whether this is desirable or worthy is up to each individual.

I will point out that my own JMT Pencil search brought me to the conclusion that owning a pen is not required to live life or even backpack. It is unnecessary weight!

There are only two situations in life where you must have a pen. One is to sign a legal and binding contract, and the other is to sign a check. It occurred to me that whoever wants you to sign a contract will, in fact, have a pen at the ready for your signature. You do not ever need to carry a pen for contractual purposes. And you can live life without checks. Financial transactions can be carried out will electrons floating around inside a microprocessor. One of the reasons I rarely shop in stores anymore is to the time sucking delay in the checkout line when some person whips out a checkbook. That action sends shivers down my back.

So my move to a more ultralight life can be symbolized by the writing instrument case I used to carry in my business travel kit.

pen and pencil case 1
Traditional Heavy Writing Kit. Weight is 408 grams = 14.3918 ounces!!

By replacing all of this paraphernalia with a dozen Blackwing 602’s, I have been able to reduce the kit by 232 grams (8.18356 ounces), or a 56% percent reduction in weight!

pen and pencil case 2
Ultralight Writing Kit. 176 grams = 6.20822 ounces.

Yes, I can get by with just one pencil. But in business I must be concerned with efficiency and productivity. By not needing to stop and sharpen a single pencil, I can mass sharpen them on an airplane back home, and my work during the trip was completed quicker allowing me an earlier flight home and thus a greater inventory of recreational hours to invest in outdoor pursuits.

And let us not forget the creative side of the pencil for artistic endeavors!

drawing

edit: forgot to add the artwork. And on 2nd thought felt it would be proper to add a picture of John Muir too :)

Edited by ngatel on 12/07/2013 13:58:38 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: The JMT Pencil and the UL Life on 12/07/2013 13:47:04 MST Print View

If you can make that case convert into a stove windscreen, you will really have something.

--B.G.--

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: The JMT Pencil and the UL Life on 12/07/2013 14:07:11 MST Print View

What a relief to be back on topic!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: The JMT Pencil and the UL Life on 12/16/2013 23:46:59 MST Print View

I wandered into my local university bookstore art department and found this tiny pencil sharpener, the Kum 400-1K and it is made from MAGNESIUM :) It can double for fire starting material along with the pencil.

4.8g for the sharpener and a whopping 2g for the Integra scorecard pencil. Johnny Muir is quaking in his grave :)

Kum 400-1K pencil sharpener

Kum 400-1K pencil sharpener

Edited by dwambaugh on 12/17/2013 00:20:49 MST.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: Re: The JMT Pencil and the UL Life on 12/22/2013 16:28:05 MST Print View

You know, Dale, that quarter weighs as much as the sharpener. Leave it behind! One need not flaunt one's wealth in the wilderness, especially on the JMT.

It is very shiny, though.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: The JMT Pencil and the UL Life on 12/22/2013 16:36:35 MST Print View

What does an original Nick Gatel drawing sell for these days? I like it.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: The JMT Pencil and the UL Life on 12/22/2013 18:28:48 MST Print View

Nick ... lighten up ... ditch the pencil case in favor of the one you were born with:
UL pencil holder

OR, since you require access to more than two pencils, a pocket protector

Maris L
(Ablaut) - M
Etch-a-Sketch on 12/22/2013 19:21:46 MST Print View

Etch-A-Sketch

Sometimes I bring this little guy. I find it to be a multi-purpose item when I pre-sketch (pre-etch?) a section of my map. Upon completion I can be rid of that hypothetical gram of paper map with the flick of a wrist! I find I achieve a zen-like record of my thoughts when my writing space is at a premium.

If you're already carrying powdered iron oxide like I do (like we all should, really), the aluminum powder inside your new writing utensil can give you some emergency thermite for desperate fire starting situations.

This also seems to be a better item for emergency bartering on the trail than a mere pencil.

No lead breakage, nothing to sharpen, no spare eraser...

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
UL blackwing 602 mod on 12/22/2013 20:19:28 MST Print View

While I view Nick's original groundbreaking research as definitive on this subject, at least until we have better field data, I think it would be best to sand off the word "pressure" and substitute "weight" making the pencil motto

"HALF THE WEIGHT, TWICE THE SPEED".

The net removal of two letters would save weight. Almost as important, after so many months have passed I think it is time for the JMT pencil movement to take thought for the next stage - ensuring the long term propagation of the JMT pencil meme for posterity. By making this mod I believe we can better insure the spread the JMT pencil lifestyle to the sorely deluded masses, and placing this valuable information on the pencil itself will economically save weight over educational material in the form of trail handouts and flyers that would take up way to much weight, not too mention pack space.

Edited by millonas on 12/22/2013 20:37:26 MST.

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: UL blackwing 602 mod on 12/23/2013 10:00:48 MST Print View

Your mod has merit, Mark, but please let me tweak it slightly. Substitute FORCE for WEIGHT. More accurate and only five letters. Or even this:

½ x FORCE, 2 x SPEED

Maybe we can petition Blackwing to issue a special JMT edition so embellished.