Overnight to Lowe — 11 Miles

Middle Sam Merrill Trail -- Rod overlooks Los Angeles, about 4 miles from the trailhead.

Middle Sam Merrill Trail — Rod overlooks Los Angeles, about 4 miles from the trailhead.

January 31-Feb. 1, 2015. First backpack of the year. I hope there will be many more to follow. Last year was a bust, mainly due to two factors: lack of rain/water and my son’s football schedule. Truth be told, I still wouldn’t trade his games for weekend trips to the hills, I just wish there was a way to add days to the weekends.

This trip was supposed to have about eight–between Scouts and Scouters. All but three of us pulled out.

We left the trailhead at Continue reading

Drought, Photography and Football

daily-photo-la-evolution-valley-john-muir-trail-1Normally, this time of year I would be tearing up the trails, putting on miles and exploring new stealth sites. Autumn is one of our favorites times of year to backpack in our local playground. This year, however, is/was a year of change. The lack of water has already put to death two trips we planned plus we have a new family activity: High school football.

I am not transitioning out of backpacking as much as our family dove head-first into our son’s first year in football.

Our normal routine for weekend overnight trips is head up on Friday after work and come home Saturday afternoon. But with football games being on Friday nights, our trips were thwarted. To make matters even more difficult, I photograph both the JV and Varsity games, taking up to 1,800 to 2,000 photos, which need to be processed, uploaded to my site, plus sent to the publisher for the next week’s school program. All this takes until Saturday afternoon–sometimes later if we have something else going on.

Okay, enough of the excuses…. Once football is over, it will be time to hit the trails again.

Why Use a Go Box?

In an effort to help Scouts and adult backpackers better prepare, I explain the importance of a Go Box.

A Case for the Go Box

Even with the aid of a checklist, I found myself still having to rummage through the house, attic, basement and garage for my equipment. That takes time and a lot of mental effort. So to remedy the problem, our family each has a personal, Continue reading

Ultralight Buys for a Buck


99¢ Only Store — “Ultralight Depot”

One of the exciting aspects of ultralight backpacking is the on-going quest for light, small and cheap equipment.

Typically, “small and light” comes at a higher price, but what if I could show you how to buy ultralight items at an ultracool price of a dollar each? Continue reading