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Trip Reports The Trip Reports forum is for backpackers to share their actual (not links to) trip reports and/or journal entries for their wilderness backpacking and day-hiking trips. Please include photos and information regarding what worked (e.g. gear) and what didn't.


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  #1  
Old 07-20-2015, 09:49 PM
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Wildfield Wildfield is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 131
Back To Echo Lake and Lake Aloha

I hiked from Echo Lake to Lake Aloha with 2 friends last weekend. Similar trip to last year. Weather was pretty nice. Got in a extra loop to see Lake Heather. Total 16 miles in 2 days.

Nice thing about this trail is there are plenty of water sources along the way, despite our 3 year drought in California.

A couple of wins equipment-wise on this trip:

1. Base pack weight was 17.7 pounds; about 2.3 pounds lighter than my last trip.
2. Big weight savings came from my tarp/bug bivy vs. double wall tent. Saved about 15 ounces here. Still not completely sold on tarping...but I will try it again on my next trip.
3. Sleeping pad saved about 5.6 ounces going from a Exped mattress to a Thermarest SOlite S20 (48" torso pad).
4. Other weight savings came from switching to a steripen instead of a Camelback UV system and from a U-dig it shovel to a Deuce shovel purchased from Gossamer Gear.
5. Saved weight by not carrying pants. Wore shorts by day and my rain pants at night or when it got cold or rained. Rain paints are now my multi-tasker.

Lessons Learned:

1. Where you pitch your tarp or tent is way more important than what tent or tarp you own. No catastrophes, but my tarp footprint flooded during a down pour due to pour site selection. Fortunately it was in the afternoon and my sleep bag was not in the bug bivy at the time of the down pour.
2. While I saved some weight by going from a U-Dig it to a super ultralight Deuce shovel (only .6 ounces!), I will likely carry the U-Dig it next time to dig a gutter around my footprint, as well as digging cat holes. The Deuce was not strong enough to dig in anything hard than soft soil.
3. I loved the weight of the Thermarest pad, but I love the sleep I get on my 15 ounce Exped air mattress. So torn here. Not sure what I will do next time.
4. One of my buddies brought dime store flip flops. They weighed almost nothing and boy did we envy hime when were dragging our dusty boots around camp, while he was effortlessly walking around in his rubber flip flops.
5. Carefully measuring out trail mix, nuts, jerky, etc. into small snack or sandwich zip locks is better than carrying full bags of the aforementioned. The full bags weigh a ton, and you may never put a dent in them. I carried only what I thought I would eat. Worked out great and cut my food weight by 2 pounds.

Overall, a very enjoyable and relaxing trip. Looking forward to my next hike...probably something local like Big Sur or Big Basin.

Pond with lily pads


Lake Aloha


Me (on the right) with my two buddies...friends since high school


Heather Lake


A pheasant (I think) trying to draw us away from her fledgling juveniles (not shown)
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2015, 10:59 AM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
GGervin GGervin is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Forums Moderator
Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: California
Posts: 436
Great trip report. Thanks for sharing it. I'm particularly glad to hear of the water situation. I'm thinking of a Desolation Wilderness trip soon myself, and have been wondering about water availability. The news makes it sound like there won't be any. So your news is good.

"but my tarp footprint flooded during a down pour due to pour site selection." I think that's a typo ...or is it? I've made a few "educational" tent site choices myself, with similar results. At least I get to learn that way.

"One of my buddies brought dime store flip flops. They weighed almost nothing and boy did we envy hime when were dragging our dusty boots around camp, while he was effortlessly walking around in his rubber flip flops." I've usually carried some Tevas for stream crossings and camp footwear. They are amazingly versatile. I used to know a guy who hiked in them all the time, instead of boots, as a personal preference. I also saw a guy pack out of the Desolation Wilderness in Tevas because a boot sole blew up. Flip flops can be great, but a pair of good water sandals and be pretty light and are supportive enough to do dual duty as emergency boot replacements as well.

"I will likely carry the U-Dig it next time to dig a gutter around my footprint, as well as digging cat holes." I actually broke one of those ubiquitous orange trowels on a trip once by using it on hard ground, and haven't carried anything but a U-digit since. They're like tiny trenching tools. What I like best about my U-Digit is that I can sharpen it with a bastard file. That helps even more in penetrating hard soil and small roots.

I look forward to your next report.
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2015, 11:11 PM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
Wildfield Wildfield is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 131
GGervin,

As mentioned, I've been to Desolation Wilderness twice now...once in August last year, and once in July this year. This was during 2nd and 3rd year droughts. There is plenty of water there for hikers. The bonus is, many of the water sources are cold and clear. Filter it and use a Steripen like I do (because I'm a scaredy cat) and you could sell that water for $10 per ounce!



Quote:
Originally Posted by GGervin
"but my tarp footprint flooded during a down pour due to pour site selection." I think that's a typo ...or is it? I've made a few "educational" tent site choices myself, with similar results. At least I get to learn that way.

Yes, I saw that "typo" too...but didn't see an option to edit my error. Then I laughed...talk about Freudian slips!

It's funny...on the hike out, it was still raining. I kept looking around at the terrain to theoretically pick spots where I would pitch my tent, based on puddles, dry spots, rises in the terrain, etc. Next time, I will choose a spot with a whole different set of eyes. Experience (sans hypothermia) is the best teacher!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGervin
"One of my buddies brought dime store flip flops. They weighed almost nothing and boy did we envy hime when were dragging our dusty boots around camp, while he was effortlessly walking around in his rubber flip flops." I've usually carried some Tevas for stream crossings and camp footwear. They are amazingly versatile. I used to know a guy who hiked in them all the time, instead of boots, as a personal preference. I also saw a guy pack out of the Desolation Wilderness in Tevas because a boot sole blew up. Flip flops can be great, but a pair of good water sandals and be pretty light and are supportive enough to do dual duty as emergency boot replacements as well.

I bought a 12 ounce pair of Merrell Trail Gloves a couple of years ago. I thought they would make great camp shoes, river crossing shoes, etc. But, in an attempt to keep my base weight as low as possible, they've never made it into my pack. Seriously thinking of adding these to my gear list for next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGervin
"I will likely carry the U-Dig it next time to dig a gutter around my footprint, as well as digging cat holes." I actually broke one of those ubiquitous orange trowels on a trip once by using it on hard ground, and haven't carried anything but a U-digit since. They're like tiny trenching tools. What I like best about my U-Digit is that I can sharpen it with a bastard file. That helps even more in penetrating hard soil and small roots.

Great tip on using a bastard file to sharpen the U-Digit! Thank you!

Thanks for all your great comments GGervin. Onward and upward!
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