Is my BIC empty?

My last post was about the wonderful Bic Lighter.

I touched on the fact you can hold a light to it and see how much fuel is left. I have never tried to check the level on a trip with a headlamp, because I am incredibly smart — I check it before I leave home with a flash light. Below is an example.

You can see the lighter is half full (the optimist point of view) and you can also see the pickup  tube.

You can see the lighter is half full (the optimist point of view) and you can also see the pickup tube.

Best Piece of Backpacking Gear. Ever.

I often read gear reviews that are really just initial impressions. Some folks use gear for a year or two and call it a long term review. I think if gear is used for 10 or more years, it qualifies as a long term review. This way we can answer the question, “Does it stand the test of time?”

For the past 40 plus years there has been only one piece of gear I have taken on every backpacking trip. It has also accompanied me on most day hikes and camping trips too.

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Fastest Known Time redux

Almost two years ago I wrote about the phenomenon known as the Fastest Known Time or FKT. At the time, I stated I wasn’t against the concept per se, but I did express several concerns.

Stuck at home this weekend, I spent some time catching up on a few of my favorite blogs. And my fears about the FKT negatively impacting wilderness areas were personified in this simple one line statement and picture on Tom Jamrog’s blog.



I don’t have anything to add.

You might want to read Paul Magnanti’s comments on the above subject. His thoughts mirror mine.


Prudence and Weather


The concept of prudence is a critical cornerstone in Western thought, philosophy, and theology; often considered to be a virtue. Prudence is the ability to make good decisions using reason.


Beauty Directed by Prudence – Angelica Kauffman

It has been nearly a month since my last post. I have been away from home on several trips with little time for publishing anything here. That is how my summers seem to go. Perhaps I will put together a trip report or two, since I am at home this weekend: the result of a prudent decision.

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California Wildfires

Jenks Lake Fire 2015-06-19

Smoke moving from the San Bernardino Mountains toward the San Jacinto Mountains. Without the fire it would have been a blue-sky kind of day. To the left of the picture you can see the smoke moving south past Palm Springs heading towards the Salton Sea. Smoke also covered Joshua Tree National Park.

When you are in the forest and see a forest fire, it is disheartening. But wildfires are a natural phenomenon and normally healthy for forests. But there are times when wildfires are destructive and cause irreversible damage. Such is the state of affairs in California. For someone on a long distant backpacking trip of several weeks or months, forest fires are often considered by backpackers as a minor inconvenience. One has to re-route their trip, sometimes walking on roads, until they can get back on the trail. However on a short trip, a forest fire often ends the trip, which happened to me last week when I was forced to turn around and bail when a fire that broke out on Wednesday grew out of control and moved into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Currently the fire, which is near Big Bear, has consumed 27 square miles and is about 20% contained. Already it is the largest fire in this area in over one hundred years. Smoke from this fire has traveled all the way to Arizona and reportedly is visible in the Grand Canyon.

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Sony RX100 M1 Compact Camera

Taking a camera on a backpacking trip can be a heavy burden, as I discussed in Backpacking with a Camera. But nowadays I take a camera on some of my trips so I can share them with my family, since I usually hike alone.

Sony RX100 M1

Sony RX100 M1

In June of 2012 Sony released a compact camera named the RX100. In December of the same year, Joyce bought me one for Christmas.

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Yosemite No Longer Sucks

Not Yosemite National Park


About seven months ago I wrote a post chastising Apple about their new Operating System named Yosemite. I am now running version 10.10.3 of Yosemite. After some upgrades to the original OS X software and many tweaks of my operating system and some programs that created conflicts with OS X, things are back to normal and the computer is lightening fast. Apple, you are vindicated, but it was a painful trip.


Don’t be an early adapter.

Windows updates are worse.

2015 Genesis

A New Car For Joyce

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


noun: the beginning of something


2015 Hyundai Genesis

2015 Hyundai Genesis

Joyce has worked all her adult life. She wanted to reward herself with a luxury car. Our plan is it will be the last car we will own. Since I have been in the car business for over 40 years and Joyce worked at a new car dealership for 13 years, I’d like to share some thoughts on the subject and also provide some tips on how to purchase a new car.

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