Monthly Archives: March 2015

Are Bivies Obsolete?


Bivies were, and still are, mostly used as emergency shelters by mountaineers. However, some backpackers see them as a viable (and lighter) alternative to a tent or tarp. I was one of those folks.

Bivies have been around for a long time. Basically they are a waterproof envelope or a big bag you put your sleeping bag inside, eliminating the need for a shelter. I bought my first bivy some 30 odd years ago. Designs haven’t changed much since then. Years ago you could get a basic bivy that weighed around a pound. And you could, just like today, get a bivy with an elaborate setup at the “head” end using poles or a hoop to provide a little more room at the top of this most minimal of shelters – you could lean on your elbow and move around a bit. These fancy bivies, just as they do today, generally weighed at least twice as much as the basic bag.

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Rabid, the book

Rabid the book cover

In 2013, during a 5 month period, Libby Zangle hiked all 2,663 miles of the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail. In 2014 she published Rabid: The Pacific Crest Tail. ‘Cause Therapy Ain’t Working. There was no endorsement from Oprah; Rabid is not on any best seller list. Libby isn’t famous. She isn’t a hero.

If this paragraph sounds familiar to you, then you read my post Wild, the book, where I wrote:

In 1995, during a 3 month period, Cheryl Strayed hiked 1,100 miles of the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail. In 2012 she published Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. After an endorsement from Oprah, Wild topped the best seller lists. Cheryl became famous. She is a hero to many people.

There is no similarity between either women or either book.

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Bucket List


In the 2007 movie, The Bucket List, the main characters, played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, meet when they are both in the hospital and are diagnosed with terminal cancer. Together they compile a “bucket list” of things to do before they die; a list of things to be accomplished before they “kick the bucket.”

bucket kickI, like many people who reach their 60’s, occasionally contemplate the fact I will not live forever. It isn’t something healthy to dwell on or fear, but just to be cognizant of the fact we are on the downward slope of living. Today, after that 2007 movie, the term Bucket List has become part of our language.

As you get older, friends and family begin to pass away at a progressive frequency, confirming that time is limited and fleeting.

So, in today’s culture, a bucket list is becoming increasingly popular.

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Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 4)

In November and December of 2000 I backpacked from my house in Palm Springs to Lake Mead and back.

Part 3 can be viewed here.

Mohave 500 mile map

Rest day in Stateline, Nevada.

I checked into Whiskey Pete’s Hotel. Rooms were cheap. Buffets were cheap and all you can eat. Besides cleaning up and doing laundry, I spent a day and a half eating pizzas, steaks, ice cream and just about anything that didn’t move on its own. That is part of long distance hiking – the appetite begins to overwhelm your brain.

  Continue reading Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 4)