Random Goodie –
I decided to search again and I found the version of my favorite opera that I have been looking for on and off for years. I had one of those awesome “greatest moments from” $3.99 tapes from a bargain bin and I have wanted to get the full recording ever since. This is Verdi’s La Traviata – Pavarotti, Sutherland, Bonygne, New York Met Orchestra and Chorus.
iTunes and amazon US only have the version with the London Opera Chorus and Orchestra. That one is good too, but the recording is not as clear, and I came across the other one first and it simply moves me more both for its own sake and for associations I have with that version. Amazon UK has dispatched (which does not mean killed) this version right on out to me and it should be here in early April (for less money than the download of the version I did not want…)
Hiking Part I –
I have gone back through my gear the past week. Cleaning this, re-organizing that, and tightening up my list of required goods and desired goods. I got 2 new stuff sacks, a collapsible lightweight trowel, a tiny swiss army knife, and my first Nalgene bottle (and yes I did get the orange). After some mishaps and some advice from my hiker pals, I only use Sea to Summit stuff sacks. I generally buy the compression sacks, but the other models have their uses as well.
I am stoked about the knife and the Nalgene. I love knives. I have loved knives for as long as I can remember. But, I am trying to adapt and learn newer ways of being in the woods and carrying less weight. I came up in the climate of metal frame packs, hiking in with axes, canned goods and freakin’ potatoes – so I am definitely making progress. This allows me to have a knife, scissors, and tweezers – all of which are regularly useful, without carrying a giant leatherman or other assortment of tools.
The Nalegene is also great. I have never had one. I use Gatorade or Powerade 32 oz jugs in my daily life for water. For hiking, I take my 3 liter camelback, another 1 liter bladder and round out the supplies (when necessary) with my daily jugs (simmer down). Part of the whole “lightweight” hiking thing involves food and cooking. I don’t measure at home, but if you are on limited water and gas resources, you want to get your food right the first time, so I measure when I hike. I have used the Nalgene of my hiking companions to measure in the past, but now I have my own.
I also noted that many folks use their Nalgenes as a place to carry a few feet/meters of Duct tape. The folks at GSI noticed that too, and designed that into this bottle. Since I have already loaded mine up with about 2 meters I can tell you – it works great! The tape wraps in that recess (they call it a “dog-bone” design) and then you slide that mesh thingy overtop for added protection and grip. I am also pleased with the lid design. Easy to open even in gloves and uses nice (and replaceable) cord instead of plastic as a lanyard.
This is all exciting. It gets me excited to go out backpacking again. It also is exciting that I am nearing the goal I set that must be met before I get a new pack!
A good buddy and AT through-hiker advised me about pack replacement – if you want a new pack, first replace everything else that you think you might replace. Then take all that crap with you to the store and buy the smallest pack all that stuff will fit into.
Good rule of thumb I believe.
So I am close. I have to do some more experiments with stoves/cooking/eating gear. What I have now works great, but it is bulkier and heavier than I need, and difficult to gauge for fuel consumption.
Also, I have given up coffee and not replaced it with other hot beverages since I last did a trip. My needs have simplified. I am thinking of moving into a self-made denatured alcohol stove (just one of many info sources out there, but I like the Pirsig reference)- but I am also looking at Jetboil, the pocket rocket (simmer down), and other stoves.
I have always been an “eat from the pot” guy in the woods. Without the need for hot beverages, I think I can get this down to a much simpler, more compact, and lighter system.
After that – it is time for the big three: bag, tent, pack.
Note – there are some better hiking and equipment pics coming in Hiking Part II – i can’t find them on my computer (grrr) and Facebook totally changed the image download rules and procedures (grrr) so i have to figure out how to use photo grabber or some such to get the darn pics back onto my computer. If you are burning with desire and cannot wait – check out my Facebook album “Little Sluice Mountain”.