Showing posts from January, 2011

Winter Backpacking in Joshua Tree National Park

Being well aware that the school semester started on Monday I needed to get out and do a little backpacking with the time that I had left even if it was only for a couple of days.  Plus, I wanted to try out an important new piece of gear. I retired my old "Zip" pack from Mountain Laurel Designs that I've had and used extensively since 2007. I had cut the hip belts this summer figuring I wouldn't need them anymore but I overestimated how my shoulders would be able to handle the entire load and the entire 9oz pack was starting to look pretty shabby.  It has been great to me and has never failed in any respect on any of the trips that included on/off trails domestic and overseas.
Overall, I liked the design of the pack in terms of functionality that I decided to get a similar style of pack. Instead of getting the updated version of the Zip from MLD, the Exodus, I decided to get the ULA CDT for a few reasons: the 5 week wait at MLD to make the gear, the price ($50 cheap…

Calico Ghost Town 50km Trail Race

Coming down with an injury after the last trail run put me in a 6 week zone of recovery, cross-training, and wondering when my next run would be.  After the first couple of successful weeks of running post-injury I began my search.  Before I make a commitment to any race I look for the uniqueness of the race and whether I've done it before. If I'm going to plunk down $50-70 per race on my student budget then it should be a unique and worthwhile experience.  So I happened upon this race in the Mojave desert starting/ending in a ghost town while running in the surrounding desert mountains. Uniqueness: check, new run: check. Megan would be running the 30km race there too.

I reserved a campground spot adjacent to the town to make a fun mini-trip out of it and save us the hassle of driving the 2.5 hours out there in the very early morning. Thanks to this bizarre weather, high 75/low 43 in the dead of winter, we slept under the stars.
The race started at 7am sharp with everyone gathe…

January 11-14: Colorado Winter

Flew to Colorado to visit my backpacking buddy Joel Peach, whom I met and backpacked with on the 2nd half of my first JMT hike in 2006.  The next year we backpacked the Colorado Trail together and those experiences have created a deep friendship. I credit him for playing an important role in my life-altering decision to return to school in 2006.  When I first visited him in 2006 after the JMT we have started this tradition of coming up with adventures during the visit. True to form, Joel came up with a 1000km bike ride from Saigon to Hanoi in Vietnam during winter 2011-12.  Having been there once and, in my opinion, not fully experiencing what Vietnam had to offer I jumped on the plan! Coincidentally, one of my PT professors has been getting grants the past few years to go to Vietnam during the winter with several students to participate in an internship at a local hospital. Hopefully she gets that grant again because I'll just stay after that's done and go on the bike trip!