I like Mountain House freeze-dried meals. I bet there are few people who have eaten as many of them as me, since they have been one of my backpacking staples for over 40 years.
Many people tell me they are bad for a person’s health and these same people doubt they taste good. Of course, these are opinions and more than likely are not based on any personal research or knowledge. So what is the verdict?
The audience for this post is those who do not backpack and whose Significant Other is a backpacker. Additionally, and most importantly, it is for those who have some level of conflict with their backpacker and their hiking trips.
At the beginning of the month I wrote a post about being famous for being famous titled, How to Become (or not become) A Famous Backpacker. Some of it was driven by tongue-in-cheek satire on modern culture and some of it meant for contemplation. But the last part of the post was about a friend who is section hiking the Arctic Circle through Canada, and I kept his identity anonymous because he hadn’t given me permission to write about him. That part was about hiking for the experience, not adulation. It was also a bit of recognition for a friend.
That friend is Peter Vacco. Among most backpacker’s he is not known by many. Some backpackers may recognize his popular headsets, which he no longer manufacturers.
Here’s a story about his trip from a Canadian news outlet…
One day, a few weeks ago, two events happened. First I read an article about Kim Kardashian who apparently is famous for simply being famous. The second was a SPOT message I received that was generated from 68˚ North.
These two events are a cataclysmic intersection of humanity and the insanity of a smidgen of modern technology.
This is a review of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail, by Andrew Skurka, published by National Geographic. I don’t do many book reviews. I have uploaded close to 700 posts and pages to this site and I think there are only 5 or 6 book reviews.
There was a time when book reviews were the domain of newspapers and magazines with full time writers who reviewed books for their readership. The purpose of the reviews was to recommend good books and to warn readers about the poor ones, while at the same time providing feedback to the author.
Today this has changed. Retail websites, especially Amazon, allow their customers to post reviews and then the website calculates an overall rating base on customer feedback (i.e. 4.2 out of 5). Unfortunately on these websites, it is the rare reviewer who has any stated qualifications to provide a book review of value or worthy of consideration.
The other thing that has changed is the blogs (like this one) that post book reviews. How this usually works, is the publisher or author offers a free book in exchange for a review. There is no requirement for a positive review, but in my opinion a free item in exchange for a review makes an objective review very difficult for most people; although there are some folks who are completely truthful in their reviews.
Last month I received an email that National Geographic was looking to provide advance copies of The Ultimate Hiker’s Guide to some bloggers in exchange for a review and would I be interested. Well, I don’t do quid pro quo. So I wasn’t interested in a free advance copy. The book won’t be available until March 7th. However, I was planning on purchasing the book, having read the first edition several years ago. Based of this offer for a review, I was able to purchase a copy in advance, and I paid the full retail price. So let’s get on with the review.
Well, it’s that time of the year again when many backpacking bloggers create a list of their favorite new gear from the prior year. How on earth (or why) can these folks have a slew of new backpacking gear year after year? Methinks they are focused on gear, not getting out often and walking. But I digress…
Then some of these bloggers publish web stats for their blog during the prior year. Really? How boring.
A few backpacking bloggers may only post some of their favorite pictures taken during the prior year or do a simple recap of some trip reports – I like what some of the “few” do. The rest, meh.
What is interesting is that campers and full time RVers who blog generally don’t do this. They simply keep writing about their adventures.
My backpacking gear hasn’t changed much in the past 4 or 5 years, so nothing to write about here. Same goes for our camping gear. Somewhere on this website are lists of the gear and equipment we use. You should be able to easily find those if you are interested.
Given this pessimistic outlook on gear, there is one piece of equipment that has been critical for every single backpacking or camping trip I have done since 2003.
The State indicated that the management of Anza Borrego State Park will continue to administer the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Cultural Preserve Management Plan of 2012, which is a huge victory.
The biggest challenge for “We the People” is the State is not transparent and it is often difficult to find out about the stuff they pull such as the proposed ban of off-trail hiking in Anza Borrego.
I am always dubious of statements made by politicians and government hacks, and have been looking for news to confirm my last post. What these politicians and hacks say they will do often does not happen. Today I received good news via an email from the California Department of Parks and Recreation:
I hope the title of this post is catchy and might generate a bit of traffic to read it. My blog is mostly written for my kids and a handful of friends, as I have stated numerous times. I am under no illusion that I have any influence in the world of backpackers or adventurers and recognize the readership of this website is small. My hope is that I can inspire a handful of people to think about wilderness and our proper place in it, who in turn can encourage others to approach wilderness in an ethical manner. Perhaps we can create a renewed focus on Wilderness Ethics.