End Of An Era

I just listed my Osprey Kestrel 28 pack for sale. I’ve been quite attached to it while I’ve owned it, for sure. But the purchase of my trusty Deuter Airlite 22 has relegated it to the nether regions of a dark and cramped closet and, even though it holds a special spot in my personal hiking lore as being my first technical pack, it is simply time for it to go. There isn’t enough of a difference in capacity to justify keeping both 22 and 28 liter packs. For me anyway.

That, and I could use the cash to continue chasing the elusive multi-day pack.

So goodbye, Kestrel 28. Thanks for taking this fledgling hiker out of the house and getting my transition from marathoner to backpacker jumpstarted. Your place in my gear Hall of Fame is assured…



Tent Pitch, Foiled

A couple weeks ago I posted regarding my son-in-law’s purchase of a backpacking tent. Yesterday, we decided to make a quick run north on the AT out of Big Island to Johns Hollow Shelter to pitch it. His personal hibernation cave comes with something like 14 stakes, so he was anxious to see how it set up in a wilderness that didn’t resemble his living room.

Rain showers were expected around noon, so we set off at 9:30AM for the short, pleasant 1.75 mile jaunt.

As we cruised down the side trail to the shelter a short time later, a few random raindrops plopped on my hat. We laughed them off and, setting our packs on the picnic table, checked out the best pitching spots (there are several, as I noted in yet another earlier post).

As he opened his pack to pull out the tent, I jokingly commented to him that it would probably start raining once he got it spread out on the ground. He laughed, and strolled over to the selected spot.

And, naturally, it started to rain.

Well, he had no desire to learn a new tent pitch in the rain, so he returned it to his pack and we headed back towards the car, disappointed.

There was, however, one good thing to come out of this unexpected shower: I FINALLY got to try out the raincover for my trusty Deuter Airlite 22! Not being the masochistic sort, I always day hike on decent weather days. So, no raincover required. Needless to say, this shower provided me the opportunity for which I had been waiting. Short version: It worked as advertised. +1 for my friends in Germany.

It was a gentle rain, and we were oddly enjoying it in spite of our dry packs (he got to try out his pack cover too) and soggy bodies, so we crossed the Foot Bridge (Yep. That’s the correct spelling and capitalization) and added two miles to our hike on the other side of the James River.

James in Fog

As is ALWAYS the case, the sun broke through the clouds as we returned to the car, but we didn’t even grumble. It was, rain included, a good morning for a hike, and we made the most of it.

Next time, that tent is going up if we have to set it up in the shelter and drill stake holes in the floor.

(Just kidding, U.S. Forest Service. Juuuust kidding!)

An Ode To The Garage

Not my garage. I no longer have one. I’m talking about the one at REI. It really can be bargain central, as my son-in-law found out yesterday when he rounded up an Alps Mountaineering tent for sixty percent off.┬áMy daughter consistently tells me that he’s not into online shopping, but that didn’t keep me from nagging him to check their deals periodically. Imagine my surprise when he sent me a text yesterday with a picture of the tent he had just proudly purchased:


Of course, he doesn’t realize he’s the creator of an unintended consequence: The pressure is now on me to finally make that decision and get a multi-day pack. Given the weather here, he’s going to be itching to go out for an overnight a month or so from now. And I’m still (blast it!) unprepared…


Note: As I’ve stated in the past, I’m a BIG proponent of supporting my small local outfitters (and businesses in general), but when I’m looking for an item they don’t carry or can’t order, I do shop on the ‘Net.