First off I should say that I cant stay away from the Enchantments Lakes Basin in Washington State. Each Fall, I have to go at least once. The first time I went, I carried way too much stuff and finished the through hike in 17 hours with bleeding feet and a strong desire to crawl back to my car. Two weeks later however, I wanted to go again. Since then, I have become a scientist of sorts figuring out how to lighten my load and make the whole experience more fun.
Last week, I headed up to get some fall color before I fly off to China for a work trip this week. I saw a lot of miserable people coming up the trail, carrying too much stuff. Actually it was usually one excited person and then the others they had talked into going. I recommend taking a hard look at your load and gear. My pack was a 45L Zpacks Arc Blast, which weighs less than a pound and carries beautifully. My bag was a 10 degree Zpacks 900 fill down bag which weighs 22 ounces. My tent is a Tarptent Contrail which weighs 27 ounces and has never let me down. I won’t soon forget seeing someone carrying a full-sized Costco tent, still in the box, bungee-corded to their pack. Or hikers carrying iron skillets. Ugh. And for the record, you don’t have to spend a lot to go light. Ebay, hiker gear for sale sites, craigslist and manufacturer’s website bargain bins are all great sources of discounted gear. I seldom if ever buy new and only as a last resort.
I saw people carrying gallon jugs of water. I carry one small bottle of gatorade and filter as i go with a Sawyer bag filter. I carry “gatorade” tablets to make more as i go along. Now the camera gear is where i splurge, since that is why I am going. I recently swtiched from Canon to Sony, which lightened my load a bit. I see people carrying Gitzo 4 series tripods. I would never do this. I carry my Gitzo 0540 and it feels excessive. Other times I have carried my Tamrac Zipshot hiking pole tripod which weighs 8oz.
I will expand on this topic as more thoughts come to mind. Thanks for listening. #ultralight #tarptent #zpacks #enchantments #hiking #backpacking #fallcolors
I had heard that most of the snow was gone so I decided to head up to the Saddle to see. Turns out there’s a bit still left but it should be gone in two weeks. Flowers are starting to come on. A bit of lupine and paintbrush around Paradise. I packed an over night pack in case I decided to camp last night but didnt:
My overnight photography pack. REI Stoke 29 pack and
– sony a7r with Zeiss 50mm
– Zeiss 16-35mm
– Gitzo gt-0540 tripod, RRS clamp and BH25 head, remote, extra batteries
– Ten Essentials including Nitecore p10 800 lumens flashlight
– Pants, down jacket, pullover, extra socks, extra doorag
– One Black Diamond Ultra Mountain carbon pole for tent
– Two bottles of purple gatorade
– Bananas, pb/honey sandwich, powerbars, powergels
– Shires Tarptent Contrail and stakes
– MH Phantom 32 bag
I had noticed on WTA.org that the Chain Lakes Trail up around Artist’s Point had mostly melted out. So I decided to go up there for an overnight and hopefully some nice light on Mount Baker. My gear selection was Arcteryx M40 pack, Shires Tarptent Contrail and ZPacks 10 degree bag. These choices turned out to be good, I was warm enough at night and the pack carries so well with about 25 lbs or so. I have to mention that I really appreciated the Zep Peach air freshner that someone left in the bathroom at Artist’s Point. Much appreciated as its a losing battle in the bathroom, but the Zep helped.
Iceberg lake wasnt quite totally melted out but still had a nice reflection. I decided to scramble down the avalanche chute and try to find a spot along the lake. I think it was definitely worth the trip. www.mikereidphotography.com #backpacking #hiking
Facing a really busy July, it was time to get out a bit for a challenging overnight. My friend and I chose Colchuck for a nice outing. We had some new ultralight gear to try out. The trail is in great shape and snow free but not bug free. We found a great campsite near the boulder field and set up for the night. Encountered many other hikers and climbers. Impressed with the massive packs and loads others were carrying. A few borrowed our water filter system and others stopped to chat about conditions. Rained all night but sunny and 80s the next day. An amazing adventure. Sony a7r was a dream with the two lenses I brought: Zeiss 18mm and 50mm. My tent was a Tarptents Contrail and my sleeping bag was a Mountain Hardwear Speed 32. The Contrail was especially impressive after a night of rain and winds. It was still standing and dried quickly. My Granite Gear Vapor Trail also did very well with its 25lb load and most of the time I was unaware of it on my back.