My path to ultralight backpacking was a long odyssey.
I grew up in the Southeast Alaska rainforest in the 1960’s surrounded by a beautiful wilderness. This provided an array of outdoor activities in my backyard – camping, hiking, hunting, boating and fishing. The outdoor and camping gear in those days was very heavy and not as effective as modern outdoor gear.
Later my friends got me into some high altitude mountaineering with massive backpacks and heavy boots! Like many Alaskans I dreamed of summitting Denali, the highest and most dramatic peak in North America. I learned from my friends and some excellent guides about functioning at high altitude, training, very cold weather and glacier travel on Rainier, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Vinson and finally Denali.
When we reached our 60’s my friend John and I started to section hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Mexico to Canada. At that age we knew the heavy packs and gear of our youth would be challenging.
Inspired by others that had pioneered ultralight backpacking and hiking we studied up, got some ultralight gear and began the learning process. On the PCT we learned from the many through hikers (one season for the entire trail) and sections hikers we met. After a couple of trial runs we honed our gear, food, nutrition, hydration and hiking strategies so that we were able to average 25 miles per day just like the young through hikers by our third season. Along the way,we became thorough ultralight backpacking converts.
We completed the PCT in 2015, hiking 825 miles that year. My wife and I have also hiked several trails of 50 to 100 miles using ultralight backpacking gear and techniques in Europe and the Pacific Northwest. Next up is the Arizona Trail and ….. My full bio is here.