TrackStick II – Track Your Ultralight Backpack

The TrackStick II is a personal GPS data logging and tracking device. The company website suggests you “Find a good camping spot and leave it to TrackStick to remember where it is and the path you took to get there.” Apparently you dowload the data into Google 3D on a Windows PC only (sorry Mac users). Trackstick runs on two AAA batteries and although I didn’t see its weight, it appears about the size of a “thumb drive” for data back up. At Amazon you can get them from $130 to $189. A bit pricey unless you are a gearhead/techie who loves having all such devices along with you on the trail. Great for off-trail.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.

Manchester State Beach To Close on the Rugged North Coast

Stornetta Preserve

Wind swept dunes separate Manchester State Beach on California’s North Coast from one of the longest and most beautiful beaches anywhere. Now, it is slated to close under California’s pitiful budget cutting proposal. I’ve been told that California State Parks represent 1/2 of 1 per cent of the entire state budget, yet they continue to come under attack — this time to save $16 million as part of a plan to deal with a $10 billion budget deficit. Just to the south is the Point Arena Lighthouse and the new Stornetta Preserve with a pretty waterfall plunging into a crashing ocean. Manchester may close, but I have a feeling the gate won’t keep many folks out. For those who want an escape, it has an irresistible draw. It’s one of those places you can walk for hours and see no one.

Be light. Be safe (don’t go too close to the surf). Be one with the pack.

Back Diamond Mines – So Close and So Far Away

I was checking out Two-Heel Drive, Tom Mangan’s blog, and saw his item today on hiking at Black Diamond Mines in Contra Costa County, Northern California. Reminds that when I lived in Lafayette, in the East Bay of San Francisco, there was no shortage of hikes any season. I’m not sure there is a urban area any place in the U.S. that has as many hiking trails and parks as the San Francisco Bay Area. The lesson: sometimes the best hikes are those in your backyard. I was maybe 10 miles from Black Diamond when I lived in the East Bay. Now, I live 170 miles north.

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the back.

Backpacker Magazine’s Pack Fast, Pack Right Challenge

The February issue of Backpacker Magazine has its editors racing home to see who was fastest to pack an ultralight backpack — for a weekend — with food. Kristin Hostetter came in first at 9 minutes. What caught my eye was Rocky Mountain Editor Steve Howe dilemma of what to take for layers and extra clothing if it’s cold. The “fix” to this problem, Backpacker Magazine suggests, is take a duffel bag stuffed with extra clothes and jackets and deciding at the trailhead what to take based on local conditions. I always just make my decision at home, but this makes good sense to me. Just throw in a few extras of all kinds and then leave what you really don’t want in the car. Of course, that’s always an option, for times when you packed a whole tent (rainfly, body and ground cloth) and discover warm sunny weather that allows you to leave the body behind. Or even allow you to forget the tent altogether, like in the early fall when mosquitos are gone and nights are mild (50’s+).

Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.