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Dear PCT Class of 2019

I’m getting ready to go on a hike of my own, but I wanted to drop you a note to let you know it’s still snowing in the High Sierra. My 2017 blog post “Dear PCT Class of 2017” with tips about snow travel and whatnot definitely, definitely applies, since we got more snow (* see footnotes) this year than we did overwinter 2016/2017. I spent the winter shoveling, plowing, skiing, and snowshoeing in the Sierra, and I’ll tell you what: nobody who knows anything about avalanches or snow conditions (in brief, they suck) is going back there behind the Crest right now. I hope you read my 2017 letter and do all the other research and preparation you can, and don’t rush a thing. There are a lot of us who are very concerned for your safety. Remember that Leave No Trace (LNT) ethic isn’t… continue reading

Hayduke Trail Maps & Resources

Maps

1) Caltopo map of all Hayduke sections, with notes, separable and exportable:

Hayduke Sections 1-7 Hayduke Sections 8-14

These tracks were carefully retraced and will provide decent distance and elevation profiles, in case you need that data. The track stays in wash beds and on trail/road when available. Very few short sections are actual bushwhacks where you will need advanced route-finding skills. Very much of the trail can be short-cutted using well-established desire paths (game trails, use paths, etc), but the GPS tracks I’ve made stick to washes these shortcuts typically avoid. There are several reliable water sources not mentioned elsewhere, and other notes, and so it is worth scanning through. Export the parts of this map you wish to use, and import into your own Caltopo map — or straight into your GPS device. Like many other backpackers and explorers, continue reading

New flooring for Chief Pete

In March, I undertook installing the 9-piece Vanagon carpet set I purchased from Sew Fine in January. Even though new carpet was a must for sanitary and health reasons, I was really nervous about this change for a few reasons. I was scared of what I would find under the carpet, and I was not sure how well the carpet would fit. Also, I was disappointed with the quality of the carpet when it arrived. I almost returned it because it felt cheap and I can’t see it lasting in a vehicle application. As I’ve seen stated elsewhere on the Internet, the replacement carpet available for Vanagons is nowhere as nice as the original. I’ve also heard it said by install pros who use Sew Fine that it takes a ton of patience, fussing, and glue to get this carpet installed.

Sew Fine states that the carpet is a direct… continue reading

Colorado River: 1, Me: 0

It was funny that just as I got back to Flagstaff after a 20-day float of the Colorado River, and was scrambling to get home after having lost my iPhone and wallet in the River, that I discovered I was chosen to write for the Listserve.

The Listserve is your chance to write an email to a million people. I’ve been a member of the Listserve for several years, and while frankly I don’t read all the emails, the ones I do read are charming and provide perspective for the day. I wondered when I would be chosen, but really I wondered if I’d already been chosen and missed my “You’ve won the Listserve!” email.

I almost missed the “You’ve won the Listserve!” email. With 72 hours to respond, I had already missed 70. I had two hours to write my email to a million… continue reading

Hayduke Trail Map

Hello.

I’m the nut who thru-hiked the Hayduke Trail twice, two years in a row, once in each direction, solo. You can see some of my pictures here, my tips here, and my 2017 trail thanks here. Many of my photos were posted in-the-moment on Instagram (@puppyhikes).

Before I hiked it the first time, I made my own maps. After I hiked it the second time, I had quite a few corrections to my own maps, and tips to share for people wanting to hike it.

Whereas this is a difficult route as far as way-finding and sometimes terrain go, I think people can make it a whole lot more difficult for themselves if they are following the wrong track, obsessing over GPS rather than ground and terrain. I have done this, and imagine if one chose the wrong track over and over,… continue reading

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