If I’m Going to Dream, then I’m Dreaming Big!!!

Video above provided by Chris Smead.

Over the years, I have often thought of hiking the John Muir Trail (aka: the JMT)… let’s be real, what hiker/backpacker hasn’t?! This trail has been called “America’s most beautiful trail” so that must mean something, right? So, in early 2015 I began (loosely) planning a potential JMT section hike with my son that would have taken us along a short 30-ish mile section of the PCT, then north along the JMT to Kearsarge Pass, however, that trip didn’t come to pass (see what I did there!) So, while those particular plans didn’t come to fruition, the fact of the matter is that the trail is still there… so, there is still a reason to hope… and to dream! So I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming BIG this time, and not just of a JMT section hike, but of a full JMT thru-hike! (Woot-woot!!!) Continue reading

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What if I Had to Buy All New Gear!


“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.”

Rather than do an end of year gear review, what if I were to completely start all over! “What if…” I started 2017 off with absolutely no backpacking gear or clothing, only the knowledge and the experience I have gained from both the gear I have had in the past, and my on-trail experiences up to this point? In this post, I would like to pretend like I had to start all over and create a (near) complete list of gear and clothing that I would buy, all brand new and from what is available at the time of this writing. The gear I will choose will need to be able to get me out at just about anytime of the year, whether it is for an overnight or a thru hike (along the AT) and would need to keep me safe in temps from around 10F and up. I feel like this in itself would say a lot for the items I would now choose. So, follow along and check it out, but first, let me start from the beginning… Continue reading

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GSMNP PHGT, Part 3: Custom GooseFeet Gear Down Anorak

… and here is my final part to my 3 part series of my GSMNP Post Hike Gear talk. As I mentioned in Part 1 & Part 2, rather than do one big post to discuss many pieces of my gear that I used on my recent GSMNP hike, I instead decided to post 3 separate post so that I could highlight 3 different items that don’t get much discussion. Each of these items are items that don’t get much use because they are only used for colder weather hikes, which I don’t get to do many of. So, for my 3rd and final post, I want to discuss my new custom GooseFeet Gear down anorak. Continue reading

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GSMNP PHGT, Part 2: Enlightened Equipment Stronghold Mittens

This is the second part of my GSMNP Post Hike Gear Talk (PHGT) series. As I mentioned in Part 1, I have decided to split this PHGT post up into 3 separate posts so that a little more attention can be focused on each individual item. I have decided to do this because some of my cold weather gear doesn’t get as much talk time here on my blog since I don’t get to use them as much as most of my other gear, but now they will. So, in this second part I have decided to highlight my Enlightened Equipment Stronghold mittens. Continue reading

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GSMNP PHGT, Part 1: ZPacks 20F Sleeping Bag

I am going in a bit of a different direction than I normally do with this Post Hike Gear Talk (PHGT) post. Typically I post once and discuss a number of items I carried on a given hike, however, many of those items are often times mentioned in my PHGT entries (or have their own post elsewhere own my blog). Now that doesn’t mean that those items don’t deserve continued discussion, but there are a few items I wanted to highlight from this hike that I have not mentioned much, or even at all, so I decided to break this PHGT entry up into 3 separate parts. I felt that each of these 3 items deserved their own post so that they didn’t get lost in the sea of all the other items. And since my most recent hike was a colder than normal hike, I wanted to focus on a few items that I relied on to actually keep me warm. So, part 1 of this PHGT series will be covering my ZPacks 20F Sleeping bag. Continue reading

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2016 GSMNP Thanksgiving Hike


While many folks decided to go “Black Friday” shopping this Thanksgiving weekend, a few of us decided to #optoutside instead! In the weeks before the hike, I proceeded to go through all the motions of someone getting ready for a much-needed few days out backpacking! However, this time, it wasn’t just me I was going through the motions for… both my kids were coming along too! As well, one of my coworkers whom has never been backpacking before was going too, so we had to piece together a kit for him. And of course my good buddy Benny Braden (Plug it in on the Appalachian Trail) and his son were also coming along, so we had plenty to get arranged before the time arrived. Continue reading

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