Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Strange Loop Live Tracker




Above is my live map of the Strange Loop.  Note the post date is well into the future to accommodate being live and at the Tippy Top of the blog from now until my completion of the route.  What does that mean?  It means all the posts that will be during the adventure will feed in below this post.  So don't be fooled if you arrive at the blog and see this still parked at the top.  Just look below this post and you will see whatever new posts there are from out on the Strange Loop.

How does this Strange Loop Live Tracker work?  I carry a satellite messenger that feeds my exact location into the map.  At any moment you will be able to see my location represented by a little orange bubble on the above map.  I have used this service in the past on the BLC to Bering Sea trip and last year again on the Tippy Top Tour.  A refresher on this map is important though.  First cyan lines are segments of the Strange Loop that will be walked and magenta lines will be navigated by bicycle.  Also, to fit 16,000 miles of route into Google Earth I had to simplify the maps data points down to 1 per mile.  What does that mean?  It means the route superimposed on the map isn't as accurate as past maps have been.  That means at any given time you may see my little orange bubble off the route a little.  I was studying a map in Arizona yesterday and noticed a more straight forward route down a wash, so there will be times during the trip that I intentionally will be a little off route.  The terrain I am walking through may necessitate route changes on the fly as well.  High water and wildfires come to mind.  The above map may be toggled to satellite map, which is my personal favorite.  With that map you may drill down and see in real time the terrain I am walking/ cycling through anywhere on the route.

The satellite messenger may be used as a rescue beacon as well.  That was never my intention for purchasing the messenger.  I do have the service set up on it and if I was in need of rescue I may use it that way.  That is a nice additional feature in case of an extreme emergency.  My primary reason for carrying the satellite messenger is to show anyone exactly where I am and that I am in fact doing what it is I say I am doing.  The messenger doesn't lie.  So walking 3 miles an hour through the route isn't something anyone would want to try to fake.  Nor pedaling cross country multiple times at 15 mph.

This service has been one of my major expenses this year for the Strange Loop.  It costs me several hundred dollars for the service to host the map live.  This service takes my information being sent in from my messenger and feeds it into the Google Earth map.  On top of that I have to pay several hundred dollars more for the subscription service with the satellite messenger manufacturer.  On top of that I have to pay for service for 16 months!  Long story short it is costing me nearly 1,000$ this time round vs. 300$-400$ like in the past.  Yikes.  Since this is my last big trip, I decided it was worth it.  In the past it has proven useful for folks to find me in the field.

One last note.  If you haven't had a chance to navigate to the FSTPKR facebook page ( couldn't change the name to never came back) , never came back on twitter or my Instagram account you will be missing out on many of the real time updates during the Strange Loop.  I am currently packing 108 mail drops and only have time to throw a quick photo up or tweet.  This will also be the case during the Strange Loop.  I may only have enough cell signal to get out a quick tweet.  If you get a chance and would like to be more engaged with this trip than the occasional blog post head on over and follow along.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sierra good Rx for the soul


So I left Reno early in the morning walking w/ my wife.


My route quickly slipped into the forest.


A hummingbird and I shared this last view of Reno.


Walked through the recent burned out landscape.


And in short order had views like this.


Took a new route up the flank of Mt Houhgton.


The next morning I confronted 2 bike packers who thought it was ok to ride on trails clearly marked wilderness/ no bikes. Basically conveyed to them wilderness designation important and not really their call to bend the rules to fit their needs. We have plenty of trails around so figure it out. Folks like this are the Cliven Bundy's of the mountain bike world. Plus dready bro would probably tell you all about his love of the forest.


So then I got some views like this normally reserved for foot traffic.


Oh yeah and just in case you can't read giant steel sign it says no bikes WILDERNESS! Don't bother calling the Tahoe Rim Trail Association either. They made it perfectly clear maintaining the wilderness integrity of the Tahoe Rim Trail where it transits through wilderness is not their concern. I remember this now from my first thru hike of the TRT when I encountered motorcycles on the trail and later in winter ski touring snow machines. Big bummer there is the concession that is running the snowmobile tours out of Brockway Summit is the one doing it! Don't call any FS office like Lake Tahoe Basin either as the don't even know where this is and told me bikes ok in wilderness as long as they are on TRT. Hmmm... Not what that sign says in CA! Call Humboldt Toyaibe in NV, they are on it and welcome info or tips.


So from Brockway to Tahoe City I walked the Fiber Board Freeway out of protest to the TRTA' s lack of interest in maintaining encroachment / mis use of their trails. Picked up my first road kill too.


Saw this bruiser on my way over to Ward Creek.


Nice waterfall climbing up out of Ward Creek.


If I'm lucky I should be approaching this junction from the north in 16 months.


Looking towards Barker Pass and the Desolation Wilderness.


PCT coming into Barker Pass.


Broke off the PCT onto the Tahoe Yosemite Trail.


Next morning found me on top of Dicks Pass. I blew past my turn to Camper Flat which would have saved me several miles. This view made up for it though.


Some of my last views of Lake Tahoe this evening.


Up next was Carson Pass.


Then I dropped down to Summit City Canyon.


Resupplied at Lake Alpine Lodge. Then it was on towards terrain like this at Jenkins Canyon.


Camped down alongside Arnot Creek that night. Bathed in the creek too which fealt good.


Then views like this from faint little used trail in the heart of the Carson Iceburg Wilderness.


After a rainy cold day on Sonora Pass I visited little used portions of the Hoover Wilderness.


Bagged the beginning of the Sierra High Route so as not to miss resupply at Tuolumne Meadows. Took in views like this as result.


Did some peaceful birding in Matterhorn Canyon.


Then this view of the Tuolumne River this morning.


Tuolumne Meadows this morning. Tonight finds me relaxing off trail in Lee Vining.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Time Travel Sequence Loading...



Today is my last day at home before I begin walking/ bicycling a 16,000 mile route from my front door here in Reno, NV.  16 months later should all go well, I will return right back to where I started from.  I am lucky to have my wife join me for the first few miles out of town tomorrow too!

The last few days have been a little crazier than I had thought trying to marry together all the loose ends.  I am proud of what I was able to accomplish before beginning this trip though.  In particular my press release written by Joe Bousquin was a success.  Either way I am looking forward to my first night out on trail when I can actually relax and do what it is I do best.

There are a few things I hadn't covered in my original post about the Strange Loop route.  On the route again I will be collecting data for Fraser Shilling of UC Davis.  This is much like what I did last year on the Tippy Top Tour with a few tweaks.  I am fortunate that he was willing and gracious with his time to explain how to collect data better for his needs and how to submit it properly so that he may use incorporate it into his study better.  I have many more fields in my Rite in the Rain fieldbook now to fill in on each observation!

The other data collection component of this adventure will be submitting bird observations from 20-45 minutes of birding along the route daily.  I am using an app called Bird Log NA ( North America) to tap my observations into during the birding sessions.  When I am near wi fi or get cell service I can thin upload my observations to eBird.  I am really looking forward to this aspect of the trip as I hope I will get some new birds on my life list.  Most likely I will be walking through several migrations along the route.

As much as I can I will be staying in touch with audio journals from each day of the trip and a blog post here and there with photos.  I also have a twitter account that will be feeding in my locations from my satellite messenger.  As always there will be some stuff feeding into the FSTPKR facebook page as well.  I am using Instagram too, so if photos are your thing check that out.

Before I forget, I also welcome any company along the route.  Should you see me approaching via the live tracker above and like to join me for a leg or even bicycle with me some as I pass through your neck of the woods, please do.  That being said, my itinerary is such that I won't really be laying over much along the route.  Please don't be offended if I must keep moving.

Lastly I wanted to thank my major sponsors for helping make this trip a reality.  Hammer Nutrition, LEKI, TSL Snowshoes, SealSkinz, bikeParka and PETZL.  I thank the individuals at each of these companies for helping me out.  It means a lot to me to have your support along the Strange Loop and appreciate even more your support of what it is I do.  It isn't like I am climbing Everest or racing in the Giro d' Italia!  I also would like to thank Eric Carter of High Sierra Cycling for getting the Champ spiffed out!  Looks so good!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Long distance hiking/ ultra running / fastpacking clinic 3



Drifter A/C

Fore Runner Evo

Tsali 3.0

Holy Grail Shoes:

New Balance MT 100's

Saucony Exodus
Beware- this link is to the "improved/ revised version"

Saucony Pro Grid Guide TR 3

Long Haul Runners (no longer in production)

Airius Bucket Hat (no longer in production)

Wild Rags

Cap 4 EW Beanie (no longer in production)

Moeben Arm Sleeves

Pearl Izumi Fly Short

Houdini Pants
Beware - this link is to the "improved/ revised version"

Hammer Nutrition Running Singlet

Airius T (no longer in production)

S/S Airflow Shirt (no longer in production)

Supercell

Rainshadow (no longer in production)

Torrentshell P/O

Light Flyer Jacket

Chrome Dome Umbrella

Integral Designs Silcoat Cape (no longer in production)

Mountain Laurel Designs Silnylon Pro Poncho

Montbell UL Wind Jacket (no longer in production)

Specter P/O (no longer in production)

Spraymaster Pants (no longer in production)

Montbell Outpace Parka (no longer in production)

Traverse Full Zip Jacket

Cap 4 EW
This link is for the new version of the old R.5.  Believe it or not having used the new Polartec fabric I am more than impressed.  So this revision is a good one.  The one I am talking about in this clinic is an older version that I didn't care for.

Nano Vest

Nano P/O

Ultra Light Down Hoody

Montbell UL Down Hoody

Montbell UL Down Pants

Montbell UL Down Vest (no longer in production)

Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt (no longer in production)


Are you all ready for another Never Came Back prize package give away?  Check out the photo above to see what one lucky winner will win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Strange Loop

The Strange Loop - 15,674 miles of walking (cyan lines) and bicycling (magenta)
Well over a month of mapping 8 hrs + a day resulted in 15,674 + miles of my next adventure: Strange Loop.  The Strange Loop involves 8,628 miles of hiking and 7,046 miles of bicycling ( or time travel as I like to call it).  First, why the name Strange Loop?  Lets start with the definition of a Strange Loop:

"A strange loop, arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system, one finds oneself back where one started."

As I discuss the nature of my Strange Loop we may see similarities with the above definition.  Interestingly enough, the idea of a Strange Loop also can be an abstraction:

"And yet when I say "strange loop", I have something else in mind — a less concrete, more elusive notion. What I mean by "strange loop" is — here goes a first stab, anyway — not a physical circuit but an abstract loop in which, in the series of stages that constitute the cycling-around, there is a shift from one level of abstraction (or structure) to another, which feels like an upwards movement in a hierarchy, and yet somehow the successive "upward" shifts turn out to give rise to a closed cycle. That is, despite one's sense of departing ever further from one's origin, one winds up, to one's shock, exactly where one had started out. In short, a strange loop is a paradoxical level-crossing feedback loop."Douglas Hofstadter

I am fascinated with time travel ( kind of a joke really, since what I do is so time consuming and anything but fast or efficient ).  The notion put forth above interests me with regards to that.  That we may sense departing and moving further from the starting point only to find out that we have arrived right back at our starting point.  Couldn't be more fitting a name for the Strange Loop.  In addition to that, the Strange Loop also has implications with regards to human consciousness.

"Hofstadter argues that the psychological self arises out of a similar kind of paradox. We are not born with an ‘I’ – the ego emerges only gradually as experience shapes our dense web of active symbols into a tapestry rich and complex enough to begin twisting back upon itself. According to this view the psychological ‘I’ is a narrative fiction, something created only from intake of symbolic data and its own ability to create stories about itself from that data."

I have become aware of the fact recently that what I am really doing with my life is just that.  I am inputting a "dense web of active symbols".  My symbols happen to be landscapes, wildlife and cultures.  It is interesting to note though that my symbols are disappearing.  What I am inputting may not be there the next time I go looking for it.  I am nothing more than a reflection of the very landscapes, wildlife and cultures I have had the honor of experiencing.  Without them my narrative fiction wouldn't be as meaningful to me.  Without them I don't think my life would have any meaning.

MC Escher was all about the Strange Loop
OK so I have clobbered the reason for the name Strange Loop to death.  Lets move on to what is the route of the Strange Loop.  The Strange Loop begins at my front door in Reno, NV.  From here I will walk by a route of my own making up into the Mt. Rose Wilderness.  This will feed quickly into the Tahoe Rim Trail.  Once on the TRT I will make my way along the North of Lake Tahoe to the Pacific Crest Trail.  However, no sooner does my route join the PCT than it leaves it on the old Tahoe Yosemite Trail.  I am walking South for this first leg of the Strange Loop.  I rejoin the PCT briefly over near Sonora Pass.  I quickly part ways again though for the Sierra High Route.  I will not join back up with the PCT again until just South of Forrester Pass.  At this point though until I reach the Southern terminus of the PCT I will stay on the PCT.  When I think of some of the crux moves of this route, the Mojave Desert in July ranks high.  Having walked the first 700 miles of the PCT 3 times now I am not looking forward to it.  It is a good challenge and worth the effort, but overall the scenery and nature of this section of the PCT is lacking.  Let alone it continues to burn more and more.

Micro w/ Reno in the distance.  In 15 miles of pretty urban walking one can access the Mt. Rose Wilderness
Micro in the heart of the Mt. Rose Wilderness looking west into Martis Valley
Micro on the Tahoe Rim Trail with Lake Tahoe as a backdrop...if I am lucky Micro will pace car me into the Strange Loop
Micro on the Tahoe Yosemite Trail which runs west of the PCT
typical view on the Sierra High Route which I prefer over the JMT/ PCT
Pretty much sums up the 700 miles south of Kennedy Meadows along the PCT
which isn't to say there isn't beauty to be found...although that haze to the middle right of the photo is smog.  Imagine breathing that every day while you hump your gear over mountains in 100* weather.
Once reaching the Southern terminus of the PCT I will retrace my route back into the town of Campo, CA.  From here I will ride a public bus into San Diego.  If all goes well I will be staying with friends there and transitioning to the first bike leg of the Strange Loop.  Once mobile by bicycle I will pedal from their house down to the Pacific Ocean and begin my pedal across the US to Maine.  My route is anything but direct, but should provide lots of opportunity to time travel.  In Maine I will pedal up to the entrance of Baxter State Park.  I will then pedal back to a small town and transition back to hiker mode.  This requires the boxing up of the bike and hopefully a hand off to more friends for storage for the winter.

New England in fall on the AT?  You betcha!
At this point I will hitchhike / shuttle out to the point I left off of on the bicycle ( the Southern entrance of BSP ).  At this point I will have a short road walk to a trailhead that will allow me to walk the Knifes Edge to the summit of Katahdin.  From this point on I will be on the Appalachian Trail and I need to push the pace as much as I can to the Southern part of Vermont.  My reasoning for this is so that I get as much of the higher elevation walking behind me before winter hits in New England.  From Southern Vermont on I have all the time in the world actually to navigate the rest of the AT.  The AT in winter is no joke and definitely poses significant challenges.  This would be another crux move on the Strange Loop.  I will break off of the AT after the Great Smokie Mountains National Park onto the Benton MacKaye Trail.  I will take the BMT south to another trail, the Georgia Pinhoti Trail and then the Alabama Pinhoti Trail.  The APT I am taking to a little town in Alabama named Sylacauga.  In Sylacauga I will once again transition from hiking back to bicycling.

on the AT looking south into GSMNP (the Smokies).  The Smokies will be formidable in winter.
Believe it or not mapping a bicycle route through Alabama proved quite difficult.  My initial route option was the Underground Railroad Route, but it proved to be too far west and require navigating around some of the bigger cities in AL.  I tried hard to see if I could get any info at all about better roads to pedal on, but to no avail.  I eventually resorted to somewhat following what may be a proposed route for the United States Bicycle Route System.  Many of the roads in AL have no shoulder whatsoever and are mounded up from the swampy land they traverse.  The route I chose does have the advantage of avoiding all the major urban areas in AL and it keeps me off major freeways.  I will have to be very alert and cautious no doubt about it, no doubt another crux move.  I am just hoping I can navigate this 500+ miles safely without mishap to the Gulf of Mexico where I join the Southern Tier Route.  From this point I am looking forward to much of the final bicycle route.  I am making a short detour off of the route to Big Bend National Park and even a smaller detour yet into Terlingua, TX so that I may enjoy a beer on the porch while I watch the sun set on the Chisos.  Just like old times eh?  Back up from here to the Southern Tier again and pedaling West past the official Southern Terminus of the Contenintal Divide Trail.  I eventually will have to pedal an out and back again in Coronado National Monument to tag what will be my last and final walking leg of the Strange Loop.  I will transition one last time just South of Sierra Vista, AZ.  Mailing the "Champ" home for good.  I will shuttle from here back out to Coronado National Monument and begin my version of the Continental Divide Trail on the Arizona Trail.  One neat fact is that once I begin this last walking leg of the Strange Loop I have 5,100 contiguous miles of walking ahead of me back to my front door!

prolly enjoy an ice cold frosty and take this in... the Chisos Mountains
starting at the border of Sonora and climbing to 9,000 ft day one?  AZT looking north into the Miller Peak Wilderness
I chose my version of the Continental Divide Trail based on my first hand knowledge of having spent quite a bit of time rambling around the part of New Mexico the "official" CDT traverses.  I am making the Strange Loop one of my trips of a lifetime.  I am in no rush whatsoever.  I wanted to maximize the elevation gained, the animals seen and see incredible landscapes.  Slogging the "official" CDT isn't packed with any of that.  I will break off the AZT up where it joins a route I walked a few years back, the Grand Enchantment Trail.  Again this was a huge factor in selecting my alternate to the "official" CDT.  I much preferred visiting Araviapa Canyon, Santa Teresa Wilderness and the Grahams above Safford, AZ.  I also get to traverse the high peaks in the Gila Wilderness.  You know that place I had a mountain lion come into my camp!  Yeah!  Black bear and elk galore too.  Let alone the birding in these riparian areas are superb, but more about that later.  So I will join the CDT just north of the Gila Wilderness.  I am hoping this will allow me to skip Doc Campbells resupply too.  From here to Glacier National Park I will follow the CDT through some of the most wild, remote and high scenery our grand country has to dish up.

On the AZT looking south into Sonora.  Parker Canyon Lake is in the distance.
typical Grand Enchantment scenery... one may walk with their ancestors here
Once I reach Waterton Lake in GNP I will break off onto another lesser known National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail.  I thought it was pretty cool as I was mapping it out that it closely follow some of last years Tippy Top Tour.  I will be on the PNT for roughly 600 miles until I reach the Pacific Crest Trail just South of its Northern terminus with the border of Canada.  If there is one sad thing about the Strange Loop it is the fact it doesn't spend much time in Canada (just a brief jog into Canada near Buffalo, NY).  I am surely going to miss my Tim Hortons! Man the crux moves keep piling on!

Near the Northern Terminus of the CDT in Glacier National Park
Now that I am back on the Pacific Crest Trail,  I will Southbound the PCT back to my front door in Reno, NV.  I am making a detour to the flanks of Mt. Lassen off of the "official" PCT though.  I was finding it real hard to muster a 4th slog of the Hat Creek Rim.  Instead of skirting Mt. Lassen with far off views through miles of burns, my route takes me right through the heart of the park.

some of the scenery I will be inputting near the end of the Strange Loop...PCT in the North Cascades
If all goes well (and there is plenty that needs to go well) late fall of 2015 I will return my home where the Strange Loop started.  I am hoping this will be true:

"and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. " T S Eliot

This will be the first time anyone has connected the 3 major long distance trails ( PCT/ CDT/ AT ) in America under ones own power.  There is a catch and that is the 3 times I will need to use vehicles: San Diego, Baxter State Park and Sierra Vista, AZ.  The entire Strange Loop will connect and be traversed under my own power though.  In addition to these shuttles that are made necessary by the nature of the route, I will most likely need to hitch to some of my resupplies on the CDT.  So, I make the claim to navigating the entire route under my own power, but without the distinction of some of my prior adventures where rides were entirely refused.

What is the reasoning behind the route and the adventure?  I have always wanted to connect the 3 major long distance trails contiguously, but I was confused on how to do so under my own power.  My wife mentioned many times as an idea splitting the PCT into 2 distinct segments based on the location of our home near the midpoint.  After years of pondering possible itineraries, I finally figured out that this route of the Strange Loop was very doable.  Another reason for the route beginning and ending at my front door has to do with my commitment to leaving as small a footprint as possible while here on planet Earth.  I don't need to travel to some exotic locale or fly half way around the world to experience the wildness that beckons right out my front door.  In addition to that, connecting the trails by bicycle and walking proves to be the perfect speed to continue to collect data for science.  I will be collecting data for an additional study too, but more on science and all the technology I am going to lug in another post.

I would also like to take a moment to underscore the reason why I choose to share my adventure with as many like minded individuals as possible.  I am not trying to self promote.  In fact I have taken back seat to what I am observing.  I am simply a vehicle for the story to be told.  I hope I may share with others how quickly our world is changing.  As the years pass by, I am becoming more aware of the fact I am nothing special.  I have been humbled by my experiences as of late.  I hope that comes through in what I share.  I am no more entitled to my planets resources than the very creatures I have been migrating with.  I am no more self important than someone who never ventures further than their mailbox.  In this day in age of social media and what not, it would really bum me out if anyone thought I am just all about the "me" show.

Time to wrap up this post!  Ok, so lets finish off with some fun facts!

How long is the Strange Loop?  How much walking?  How much bicycling?

15,674 miles (give or take a few hundred)
8,628 miles of hiking
7,046 miles of bicycling

What are some of the major long distance trails it traverses as well as bicycling routes?

Pacific Crest Trail
Tahoe Rim Trail
Tahoe Yosemite Trail
Sierra High Route
Appalachian Trail
Benton MacKaye Trail
Georgia Pinhoti Trail
Alabama Pinhoti Trail
Arizona Trail
Grand Enchantment Trail
Continental Divide Trail
Pacific Northwest Trail

Southern Tier
Grand Canyon Connector
Western Express
Trans America
Underground Railroad
Northern Tier

How many states and provinces does the Strange Loop visit?

35 states and 1 province:

Nevada
California
Arizona
Utah
Colorado
Kansas
Missouri
Illinois
Kentucky
Indiana
Ohio
Pennsylvania
New York
Ontario
Vermont
New Hampshire
Maine
Massachusetts
Connecticut
New Jersey
Maryland
Virginia
West Virginia
North Carolina
Tennessee
Georgia
Alabama
Mississippi
Louisiana
Texas
New Mexico
Wyoming
Idaho
Montana
Washington
Oregon

How long will it take to complete the Strange Loop?

16 months

Lastly here is a rough version of the Google Earth route I have made.  Yesterday after I got all the route finished, I about lost it when it proved to be to large to load into Google Earth.  I then took a break and realized that I could simplify the route ( less points ).  So compared to my other maps I have created when you drill way down into it, you will notice the route isn't clamped directly to the true route all of the way.  I just needed it to fit onto one map and load fast so people may see the route.  I hope again to have this linked up like my routes in the past with regards to having it tied to my Spot messenger.  That way the proof is in the pudding, that I am out doing what it is I am saying I am doing.  Got to keep track of the time traveler!  Another note on the map below.  It is interactive.  WOAH!  Yeah I know.  Pretty LO - FI.  So if you want to drill down and look at what trail is what and some of the notes on each route by all means get learned up!


View Larger Map

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Long distance hiking/ ultra running/ fastpacking clinic PART 2



Trans Zion Traverse

Indulgence: 1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky

Patagonia Fore Runner

My personal favorite racing shoe the New Balance MT100.

Vibram Five Fingers.

Fastpacking first reference here.

Fastest Known Time.

How do you establish a speed record?  Read this first.  You may also read up on the distinctions between supported, self supported and unsupported at the same link.

You can get to some of my gear lists here.

My AZT record (which still is unbroken) starts here.  That night when I almost had to bag the record attempt is here.  I also through together a video of the attempt which may be viewed here.

That first pack I show that is a 5 oz. pack was made by Mountain Laurel Designs, but isn't in production anymore.  Here is a link to info on the spinnaker cloth.  The second pack was also made by MLD, but is also no longer in production.  It was 9oz, not 9lbs.  Also, here is a link to Ray Jardines Backpack Kit.  Here is a link to the MLD Prophet Pack.  My big winter pack is also a MLD Ark.  Here is a link to the Osprey Talon Series.

Western Mountaineering makes the only sleeping bags I will ever carry, enough said.  Here is a link to the Highlite bag (16 oz), which I have slept comfortably well below its rating.  I have always liked this clip on how Western Mountaineering manufactures their bags and processes their own down.  8 years going strong on the MLD Superlight Bivy?  Better get yourself one here.

YEEEHAW! Time for another Never Came Back Raffle! Same deal as last time, but this prize package is going to one winner this time. Here are images of the prizes and all items are brand spanking new!  Just scroll below the images here and get entered.  Also, just wanted everyone to know that I am not collecting personal data like emails etc.  I will contact you by email to claim your prize, but I won't nor am I using your emails.  So I don't want that to turn anyone off.  Also, this time you don't need to do the Twitter deal if you don't want to or don't have an account.  If you do though you may get two more bonus entries (follow on twitter and tweet the raffle).  However, you do have to be a fan on facebook of the FSTPKR page.  I couldn't change it to Never Came Back so stuck with the FSTPKR deal there.  It also comes up under athlete as I can't change that either.  In addition to liking the FSTPKR facebook page you need to leave a comment below on this blog post.  Please no advertisements ( my spam blocker deal will decline it anyway) and it would be cool if the comment was related to this blog post.  You may enter through the give away tab on my facebook page, or below on this post.  Also, it is only available to folks here in the US of A.  I can't afford to be paying international shipping rates, duties or taxes.  Thanks for understanding.  Get yourself entered no later than 4/30 too!  Oh yeah, and why the give aways/ raffle?  I would like to try to get as many folks on board via the blog, you tube, twitter, instagram and facebook so I may share my upcoming 1.5 year adventure I am mapping out currently.  You can get to any of the above feeds via the sidebar here on the blog.  It isn't for advertising purposes or personal gain.  I just would like to share my adventures with like minded folks in real time.  So hopefully you like the social media platforms I am using and stick around for the ride kicking off this summer!

win one of these size medium in a royal blue (logo is on the back)

and get yourself one of these in purple

round it out with this water bottle in black with some feminine design minus caribiner

 a Rafflecopter giveaway