Backpacking posts, page 4 of 8.

DIY Gravity Setup with the Sawyer Mini

The basic water system for a gravity-based Sawyer filter

Early in 2016 I started using a Sawyer Mini as my primary water filter for hiking and backpacking. It was a huge weight savings, going from a one pound MSR down to a little thing that weighs a hair over two ounces. However, I immediately ran into two problems while using it. I couldn't come up with…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted October 2, 2016
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Experimenting with a Hammock

Perfect hammock site at Barbershop Springs

This year I've been experimenting a lot with new gear and new backpacking practices. After a few adventures with thirty or more pounds (including nine days on Isle Royale) I've shifted to an ultralight setup that sometimes sinks to a wonderful sub-five base weight. My water system has gotten lighter…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 29, 2016
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Ballantine to Boulder Flat

Blue skies over Ballantine Trailhead

The clear sky was a giant blue mirror reflecting back the heat of the rocky earth. At least, that's what it felt like as I stood near the van and looked over at Ballantine Trailhead. The hot air swam around me and my skin prickled with the promise of a sweaty afternoon. With a long sigh I walked…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 22, 2016
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Pine Creek Loop and a Bail

A plain-looking Ballantine Trailhead

Cars, trucks, and semis roared out over the desert mere yards away from Ballantine Trailhead. I guess this is the alternative to long, rocky roads that usually prelude my desert hikes; parking next to a busy highway and doing my best to ignore the traffic. Wincing as my shoulders took on the heavy…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 1, 2016
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Lower Red Tanks Trail

Predawn light on the hills

Sleep came in hour-long chunks at best near LaBarge Spring. The temps dropped under the clear night sky to the point where I, fully dressed in the hammock, was rolling uncomfortably around by midnight. Perhaps a sleeping bag would have been a good idea after all. Every time I opened up my Kindle to…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted August 10, 2016
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Bluff Springs to LaBarge

Busy signage at Peralta Trailhead

Peralta Road was in rough shape, with huge rocks, loose sand, and deep ruts at every wash crossing. It was obvious that a major storm had dumped some water here, though I couldn't think of when. Seems like it's been dry out here for a long time. Maybe that little sprinkle we got in Gilbert last week…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted August 7, 2016
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Backpacking Gear Updates - 2016

Over the last few backpacking posts I've mentioned that my pack has been getting lighter. I'm still pretty new to traditional backpacking, with only twelve adventures over the last year, and it's taking some time for me to understand my gear and comfort level. My first trip out on the Cabin Loop had…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted July 18, 2016
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Spending the Night on Flatiron

Hot sun over Flatiron

The thermometer on the car read 112 when I stepped out into the parking lot in Apache Junction. Hot air rushed over me, feeling more like an oven than not, and I took an unsteady breath in. I was about to tackle a hike that I probably should not in temperatures that I probably should avoid and I was…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted July 13, 2016
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Group Backpacking on the Cabin Loop

Backpackers along Bill McClintock Draw

Now that Katie is freshly inducted into the cool backpacker's club it only made sense to try out something that I've been playing around with a long time now: a large group outing. Chris and I had gone on adventures, and then Katie and I - why not all three of us? Plus Kirsty, their cousin? Four…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted July 5, 2016
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Superstition Backpack with Katie

Canyon Lake overflow reaching up La Barge

Deep blue water snaked up from Canyon Lake into lower La Barge, pushed back against its natural flow by an unnatural dam on the Salt River. Katie and I looked down at the cool waters, at the people swimming and splashing and kayaking, and wondered why we were doing it wrong. Instead of being near…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted June 11, 2016
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Activity Stream

  • Tweeted | Today a colleague and I had to google what the opposite of 'depressing' was during a meeting, so that's how life is going.
  • Blogged about hiking | Moody-Coon Loop: Coon Creek.
  • Pushed some code at jacobemerick/web.
  • Blogged about hiking | Moody-Coon Loop: Moody and Below the Rim.
  • Read 11/22/63 by Stephen King.
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