Bringing up the Rear: An Ultralighter Hikes across the Weminuche with a "Mixed" Group
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Bringing up the Rear: An Ultralighter Hikes across the Weminuche with a "Mixed" Group on 09/25/2007 20:38:12 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Bringing up the Rear: An Ultralighter Hikes across the Weminuche with a "Mixed" Group

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Good reading on 09/26/2007 00:03:37 MDT Print View

Nice story - enjoyed it immensely.

Pam

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Bringing up the Rear: An Ultralighter Hikes across the Weminuche with a "Mixed" Group on 09/26/2007 00:39:33 MDT Print View

Hi Ben

Your Dad is but a young'un. He's got at least 20 years walking ahead of him.
:-)

Cheers

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
What Getting Out There Is All About on 09/26/2007 01:13:08 MDT Print View

Great story Ben. This is the kind of story I'd like to see more of at BPL, because for me it embodies what it is that I love experiencing out there and brings a very human aspect of walking to the discussion. Sometimes I think we all spend way too much time talking about gear and not nearly enough time telling the stories that have us sitting around the fire until deep into the night. I especially loved hearing about the camaraderie between the three of you. Gear doesn't make a good story, but antics between people do. Thanks!

Shahrin Bin Shariff
(zzmelayu) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Table Mountain
Loved the story on 09/26/2007 03:55:06 MDT Print View

Loved the story Ben. Shah

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Wonderful Read on 09/26/2007 05:44:39 MDT Print View

This was a great read. You guys should put more stuff like this out there.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
That Homemade Beaked Tarp on 09/26/2007 05:56:48 MDT Print View

I did want to ask about your beaked tarp. After being anxious about it when you started out and then using it in some heavy weather, how do you feel about it now. Would you happily go on a trip like that again with it, or would you change anything about it, or would you ditch it altogether and get a more enclosed shelter? I'm asking because I'm thinking of making something similar to it for similar use.

Heather Pisani-Kristl
(P-K) - F

Locale: San Diego
Food on 09/26/2007 08:44:35 MDT Print View

Ben, I loved the story, too -- you're a great writer. I enjoyed the psychological angle of hiking with others, as well as the scenery/weather (from the comfort of my air-conditioned room).

Question about the food: had you tried your meals at home beforehand, and then found them lacking in the field? Or were they untested recipes? I've had the the "completely unpalatable after long day of hiking" experience even with things I enjoy at home.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Bringing up the Rear: An Ultralighter Hikes across the Weminuche with a "Mixed" Group on 09/26/2007 08:48:49 MDT Print View

Ben,

Thanks for an article which is written by and for "the regular folk". It is my estimation that members of BPL want to hear stories about both "expedition members tackling the Alaska back country" as well as "three guys on a backpacking trip". Your story is symbolic of this duality in that the members of your trio represent varying levels of experience, fitness, age and more. Your words are down to earth, from the heart and real. Thanks for a peak into your trip and your world.

- Sam

Jim Cook
(jim_cook)

Locale: Land of Cotton
Re: Bringing up the Rear on 09/26/2007 10:39:10 MDT Print View


It is my estimation that members of BPL want to hear stories about both "expedition members tackling the Alaska back country" as well as "three guys on a backpacking trip".


Second that.

Great article, Ben. Your comments regarding "connection" are spot on. You sound like someone I would enjoy backpacking with.

Frank Perkins
(fperkins)

Locale: North East
re: great article on 09/26/2007 11:36:09 MDT Print View

Great job on the article. This is why I subscribe to BPL. My vote is more written stories and less podcasts. Personally, I find I never have the time to sit and listen to a podcast but somehow can find the time to read an article.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
well done! on 09/26/2007 13:11:51 MDT Print View

Ben, Well done! I enjoyed your report very much. Brian

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
Great story! on 09/26/2007 13:43:58 MDT Print View

Wonderfully done! I really enjoyed reading it on many levels, and I too hope for more like this in the future. I love hearing stories of people on the trail, regardless of whether it's 20 or 200 miles.

Tom

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Bringing up the Rear: An Ultralighter Hikes across the Weminuche with a "Mixed" Group on 09/26/2007 13:57:08 MDT Print View

I really liked it too. Stayed up a little late to read it and it was definitely worth it. As much as my nerdy side loves reading the technical articles, I really like reading a nice trip report too. Great job!

Adam

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Great story! on 09/26/2007 14:26:11 MDT Print View

and I too hope for more like this in the future

Ditto that!

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
bringing up the rear on 09/26/2007 16:32:59 MDT Print View

Really enjoyed this, and I have to second the fewer podcasts comment, I could read the transcriptions in half the time it takes to listen to one

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Bringing up the Rear: An Ultralighter Hikes across the Weminuche with a "Mixed" Group on 09/26/2007 18:42:55 MDT Print View

Kudos on a successful trip. The Weminuche is an awesome and serious piece of wilderness.

The last time I tried to ultralight there in early September a few years ago (hoping the summer lightening season would be petered out by then) a freak blizzard drove us down off the divide on the second day. Above 11,000' the snow was piling up quickly, too deep for ventillated trail runners. Waiting for the train to Silverton at Elk Park, I was edified to see traditionally geared-up backpackers also bailing. By the time the train arrived over a dozen backpackers wisely made the decision to get out of the high country. The best piece of gear for that trip would have been an accurate weather forecast.

Ultralighters and DIY gear users have an emotional investment in their kit that maybe makes successes higher and failures deeper, but I've seen heavy duty factory-made gear fail to perform as well. Nothing like real mountains to test gear and technique.

I've had a few days at altitude where the only thing I could eat was peanut M&Ms. Kept me going. I love 'em. I deliberately avoid them except on outings so I don't get sick of them.

I'd trade 5 podcasts for one well written article like this.

Chris Bogart
(Zoomerang) - F
What really matters! on 09/26/2007 19:11:26 MDT Print View

I laughed out loud several times reading the story of your hike and couldn't help comparing it to those I have taken with my own kids. It truly is the experience more than the gear but having a lighter kit has helped me enjoy the times more 30 years after Philmont and scout camp. Hope you can continue to learn from each other and enjoy the trail. Thanks for sharing...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
What a Wonderful Experience on 09/26/2007 21:22:56 MDT Print View

for father and brothers hiking together! Great trail and gear report -- and thanks for sharing with us!

Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Trip Notes on 09/27/2007 06:46:57 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone, for the kind comments. A couple of responses:

Roger - that's what I keep telling him!

Miguel - re: the tarp. Actually, after that experience I'm going with a poncho tarp from now on. The pitching flexibility would have been much more valuable than the beaks, IMHO. And when I was hunkering down dodging lightning, a poncho would have kept me and my pack a lot drier than any rain jacket, regardless of the wind.

Heather - I had NOT tried these specific recipes at home. I think that the food was pretty mediocre, but the big altitude jump and my fatigue contributed more to my food being inedible than the actual flavor.

Sam - right on! Coming from a guy who just finished a 1200-mile hike...

Frank & co - re: podcasts, we actually will have podcast transcripts available very soon. We already have a lot of them transcribed, so once we hash out the details of how to format and publish them they'll be available on the site. I love being able to read the transcripts - gives you a whole different feel for the people and places, and yes, it's much less time-consuming to read than to listen.

Neil - wow, that sounds epic! We were early for any serious snowstorms. After the storm on the ridge, we spent about 2 hours hiking through a gigantic Slushee - the trail turned into a muddy mix of ice-cold water and hail. Made for cold feet hiking in mesh trail runners. Interestingly enough, what I craved on those hard days was salt - lots and lots of it. On one day, I found myself fantasizing about just eating straight table salt off my hand! I should have brought more Fritos or CornNuts - those seemed to do the trick for me.