[cdt-l] Ultralight in the Nation's Icebox - A Success!
gottawalk at pacbell.net
Thu Jan 25 12:19:13 CST 2007
Brrr...Andrew can sure hike in snow! Now he'll have to find the water for
his next hike. He's planning a CDT-PCT 2007 hike with connecting legs. Is he
on your CDT 2007 hiker list, Sly?
Hello and Happy New Year to you. It has been a few months since the last
e-mail update but there are a few things that I wanted to write about now.
Ultralight in the Nation's Icebox - A Success!
Last week I completed a 380-mile 16-day hike through northern Minnesota,
from Duluth to Ely. This region of the country routinely cooks up the most
frigid conditions in the Lower 48 - the average temperature in January in
Duluth is about 8 degrees F and in Ely it is about 5 degrees F - and,
combined with some excellent scenery and an extensive trail network along
the North Shore and in the Boundary Waters, it makes for a great testing
laboratory for lightweight winter backpacking and for a memorable
The conditions were not exactly what I had envisioned (and, admittedly,
somewhat dreaded) for the first half of the trip - the low temperatures were
"only" in the low-10's and the trails were snow-free but ice-covered - but I
definitely got my fill of the Nation's Icebox during the second half:
nighttime temperatures dipped as low as -12 F, daytime highs sometimes never
exceeded 5 degrees, and 18" of snow created route-finding issues in the
northern lake-dotted and wolf-filled wilderness.
Visit AndrewSkurka.com for: photos with accompanying details and stories; my
ultralight winter gear list (14 pounds!); video clips from the trip; and a
Podcast and Pre-Trip Report (via Backpacking Light Magazine).
My next BIG hike: The Great Western Loop
The numbers tell half the story: 7,000 miles, 7 months, 12 national parks,
75+ designated wilderness areas, 5 existing long-distance trails, 2 desert
traverses, and zero attempts or completions to date.
The other half other half of the story is less quantifiable: the Great
Western Loop connects many of the most prized wild lands in America's West,
and as such it reflects the health of and dangers to these places, and it is
a shared and tangible entity among them that beholds value in excess of the
sum of its parts, like the chain of a pearl necklace.
In early-April I will begin the Great Western Loop, in a location and
direction that will depend on this winter's snowpack (I'm leaning towards
going counter-clockwise, starting near California San Gorgonio Pass). This
is going to be an awesome trip! And, to a greater degree than ever, those
who wish to will be able to share in the experience via a soon-to-be
overhauled AndrewSkurka.com website, Podcasts, and more frequent postings of
photos and updates. With this enhanced trip interactivity, I'm hoping to
help others develop a stronger connection with the outdoors, which I think
is a key component in a much-needed, more eco-friendly lifestyle that
emphasizes doing more with less and minimizing one's impact on our planet.
I will send another e-mail in mid-March with many more details.
New GoLite website
Within the next week GoLite, my main sponsor, will be launching a new
website. I have worked extensively on the content for this new site, and it
will feature many excellent articles on lightweight backpacking in a new
section called GoLite Academy. I encourage you to check these articles out
if you are planning some trips this year - and, while you are at, you might
as well check out the great products that GoLite is coming out with,
including a completely line pack line and an eco-friendly base layer fabric,
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