Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Above is my live map of the Strange Loop. Note the post date is well into the future to accommodate being live and at the Tippy Top of the blog from now until my completion of the route. What does that mean? It means all the posts that will be during the adventure will feed in below this post. So don't be fooled if you arrive at the blog and see this still parked at the top. Just look below this post and you will see whatever new posts there are from out on the Strange Loop.
How does this Strange Loop Live Tracker work? I carry a satellite messenger that feeds my exact location into the map. At any moment you will be able to see my location represented by a little orange bubble on the above map. I have used this service in the past on the BLC to Bering Sea trip and last year again on the Tippy Top Tour. A refresher on this map is important though. First cyan lines are segments of the Strange Loop that will be walked and magenta lines will be navigated by bicycle. Also, to fit 16,000 miles of route into Google Earth I had to simplify the maps data points down to 1 per mile. What does that mean? It means the route superimposed on the map isn't as accurate as past maps have been. That means at any given time you may see my little orange bubble off the route a little. I was studying a map in Arizona yesterday and noticed a more straight forward route down a wash, so there will be times during the trip that I intentionally will be a little off route. The terrain I am walking through may necessitate route changes on the fly as well. High water and wildfires come to mind. The above map may be toggled to satellite map, which is my personal favorite. With that map you may drill down and see in real time the terrain I am walking/ cycling through anywhere on the route.
The satellite messenger may be used as a rescue beacon as well. That was never my intention for purchasing the messenger. I do have the service set up on it and if I was in need of rescue I may use it that way. That is a nice additional feature in case of an extreme emergency. My primary reason for carrying the satellite messenger is to show anyone exactly where I am and that I am in fact doing what it is I say I am doing. The messenger doesn't lie. So walking 3 miles an hour through the route isn't something anyone would want to try to fake. Nor pedaling cross country multiple times at 15 mph.
This service has been one of my major expenses this year for the Strange Loop. It costs me several hundred dollars for the service to host the map live. This service takes my information being sent in from my messenger and feeds it into the Google Earth map. On top of that I have to pay several hundred dollars more for the subscription service with the satellite messenger manufacturer. On top of that I have to pay for service for 16 months! Long story short it is costing me nearly 1,000$ this time round vs. 300$-400$ like in the past. Yikes. Since this is my last big trip, I decided it was worth it. In the past it has proven useful for folks to find me in the field.
One last note. If you haven't had a chance to navigate to the FSTPKR facebook page ( couldn't change the name to never came back) , never came back on twitter or my Instagram account you will be missing out on many of the real time updates during the Strange Loop. I am currently packing 108 mail drops and only have time to throw a quick photo up or tweet. This will also be the case during the Strange Loop. I may only have enough cell signal to get out a quick tweet. If you get a chance and would like to be more engaged with this trip than the occasional blog post head on over and follow along.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
My route quickly slipped into the forest.
A hummingbird and I shared this last view of Reno.
The next morning I confronted 2 bike packers who thought it was ok to ride on trails clearly marked wilderness/ no bikes. Basically conveyed to them wilderness designation important and not really their call to bend the rules to fit their needs. We have plenty of trails around so figure it out. Folks like this are the Cliven Bundy's of the mountain bike world. Plus dready bro would probably tell you all about his love of the forest.
So from Brockway to Tahoe City I walked the Fiber Board Freeway out of protest to the TRTA' s lack of interest in maintaining encroachment / mis use of their trails. Picked up my first road kill too.
Saw this bruiser on my way over to Ward Creek.
Nice waterfall climbing up out of Ward Creek.
If I'm lucky I should be approaching this junction from the north in 16 months.
Looking towards Barker Pass and the Desolation Wilderness.
PCT coming into Barker Pass.
Broke off the PCT onto the Tahoe Yosemite Trail.
Some of my last views of Lake Tahoe this evening.
Up next was Carson Pass.
Then I dropped down to Summit City Canyon.
Camped down alongside Arnot Creek that night. Bathed in the creek too which fealt good.
Bagged the beginning of the Sierra High Route so as not to miss resupply at Tuolumne Meadows. Took in views like this as result.
Did some peaceful birding in Matterhorn Canyon.
Then this view of the Tuolumne River this morning.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Today is my last day at home before I begin walking/ bicycling a 16,000 mile route from my front door here in Reno, NV. 16 months later should all go well, I will return right back to where I started from. I am lucky to have my wife join me for the first few miles out of town tomorrow too!
The last few days have been a little crazier than I had thought trying to marry together all the loose ends. I am proud of what I was able to accomplish before beginning this trip though. In particular my press release written by Joe Bousquin was a success. Either way I am looking forward to my first night out on trail when I can actually relax and do what it is I do best.
There are a few things I hadn't covered in my original post about the Strange Loop route. On the route again I will be collecting data for Fraser Shilling of UC Davis. This is much like what I did last year on the Tippy Top Tour with a few tweaks. I am fortunate that he was willing and gracious with his time to explain how to collect data better for his needs and how to submit it properly so that he may use incorporate it into his study better. I have many more fields in my Rite in the Rain fieldbook now to fill in on each observation!
The other data collection component of this adventure will be submitting bird observations from 20-45 minutes of birding along the route daily. I am using an app called Bird Log NA ( North America) to tap my observations into during the birding sessions. When I am near wi fi or get cell service I can thin upload my observations to eBird. I am really looking forward to this aspect of the trip as I hope I will get some new birds on my life list. Most likely I will be walking through several migrations along the route.
As much as I can I will be staying in touch with audio journals from each day of the trip and a blog post here and there with photos. I also have a twitter account that will be feeding in my locations from my satellite messenger. As always there will be some stuff feeding into the FSTPKR facebook page as well. I am using Instagram too, so if photos are your thing check that out.
Before I forget, I also welcome any company along the route. Should you see me approaching via the live tracker above and like to join me for a leg or even bicycle with me some as I pass through your neck of the woods, please do. That being said, my itinerary is such that I won't really be laying over much along the route. Please don't be offended if I must keep moving.
Lastly I wanted to thank my major sponsors for helping make this trip a reality. Hammer Nutrition, LEKI, TSL Snowshoes, SealSkinz, bikeParka and PETZL. I thank the individuals at each of these companies for helping me out. It means a lot to me to have your support along the Strange Loop and appreciate even more your support of what it is I do. It isn't like I am climbing Everest or racing in the Giro d' Italia! I also would like to thank Eric Carter of High Sierra Cycling for getting the Champ spiffed out! Looks so good!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Fore Runner Evo
Holy Grail Shoes:
New Balance MT 100's
Beware- this link is to the "improved/ revised version"
Saucony Pro Grid Guide TR 3
Long Haul Runners (no longer in production)
Airius Bucket Hat (no longer in production)
Cap 4 EW Beanie (no longer in production)
Moeben Arm Sleeves
Pearl Izumi Fly Short
Beware - this link is to the "improved/ revised version"
Hammer Nutrition Running Singlet
Airius T (no longer in production)
S/S Airflow Shirt (no longer in production)
Rainshadow (no longer in production)
Light Flyer Jacket
Chrome Dome Umbrella
Integral Designs Silcoat Cape (no longer in production)
Mountain Laurel Designs Silnylon Pro Poncho
Montbell UL Wind Jacket (no longer in production)
Specter P/O (no longer in production)
Spraymaster Pants (no longer in production)
Montbell Outpace Parka (no longer in production)
Traverse Full Zip Jacket
Cap 4 EW
This link is for the new version of the old R.5. Believe it or not having used the new Polartec fabric I am more than impressed. So this revision is a good one. The one I am talking about in this clinic is an older version that I didn't care for.
Ultra Light Down Hoody
Montbell UL Down Hoody
Montbell UL Down Pants
Montbell UL Down Vest (no longer in production)
Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt (no longer in production)
Are you all ready for another Never Came Back prize package give away? Check out the photo above to see what one lucky winner will win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sunday, May 4, 2014
|The Strange Loop - 15,674 miles of walking (cyan lines) and bicycling (magenta)|
"A strange loop, arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system, one finds oneself back where one started."
As I discuss the nature of my Strange Loop we may see similarities with the above definition. Interestingly enough, the idea of a Strange Loop also can be an abstraction:
"And yet when I say "strange loop", I have something else in mind — a less concrete, more elusive notion. What I mean by "strange loop" is — here goes a first stab, anyway — not a physical circuit but an abstract loop in which, in the series of stages that constitute the cycling-around, there is a shift from one level of abstraction (or structure) to another, which feels like an upwards movement in a hierarchy, and yet somehow the successive "upward" shifts turn out to give rise to a closed cycle. That is, despite one's sense of departing ever further from one's origin, one winds up, to one's shock, exactly where one had started out. In short, a strange loop is a paradoxical level-crossing feedback loop." - Douglas Hofstadter
I am fascinated with time travel ( kind of a joke really, since what I do is so time consuming and anything but fast or efficient ). The notion put forth above interests me with regards to that. That we may sense departing and moving further from the starting point only to find out that we have arrived right back at our starting point. Couldn't be more fitting a name for the Strange Loop. In addition to that, the Strange Loop also has implications with regards to human consciousness.
"Hofstadter argues that the psychological self arises out of a similar kind of paradox. We are not born with an ‘I’ – the ego emerges only gradually as experience shapes our dense web of active symbols into a tapestry rich and complex enough to begin twisting back upon itself. According to this view the psychological ‘I’ is a narrative fiction, something created only from intake of symbolic data and its own ability to create stories about itself from that data."
I have become aware of the fact recently that what I am really doing with my life is just that. I am inputting a "dense web of active symbols". My symbols happen to be landscapes, wildlife and cultures. It is interesting to note though that my symbols are disappearing. What I am inputting may not be there the next time I go looking for it. I am nothing more than a reflection of the very landscapes, wildlife and cultures I have had the honor of experiencing. Without them my narrative fiction wouldn't be as meaningful to me. Without them I don't think my life would have any meaning.
|MC Escher was all about the Strange Loop|
|Micro w/ Reno in the distance. In 15 miles of pretty urban walking one can access the Mt. Rose Wilderness|
|Micro in the heart of the Mt. Rose Wilderness looking west into Martis Valley|
|Micro on the Tahoe Rim Trail with Lake Tahoe as a backdrop...if I am lucky Micro will pace car me into the Strange Loop|
|Micro on the Tahoe Yosemite Trail which runs west of the PCT|
|typical view on the Sierra High Route which I prefer over the JMT/ PCT|
|Pretty much sums up the 700 miles south of Kennedy Meadows along the PCT|
|which isn't to say there isn't beauty to be found...although that haze to the middle right of the photo is smog. Imagine breathing that every day while you hump your gear over mountains in 100* weather.|
|New England in fall on the AT? You betcha!|
|on the AT looking south into GSMNP (the Smokies). The Smokies will be formidable in winter.|
|prolly enjoy an ice cold frosty and take this in... the Chisos Mountains|
|starting at the border of Sonora and climbing to 9,000 ft day one? AZT looking north into the Miller Peak Wilderness|
|On the AZT looking south into Sonora. Parker Canyon Lake is in the distance.|
|typical Grand Enchantment scenery... one may walk with their ancestors here|
|Near the Northern Terminus of the CDT in Glacier National Park|
|some of the scenery I will be inputting near the end of the Strange Loop...PCT in the North Cascades|
"and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. " T S Eliot
This will be the first time anyone has connected the 3 major long distance trails ( PCT/ CDT/ AT ) in America under ones own power. There is a catch and that is the 3 times I will need to use vehicles: San Diego, Baxter State Park and Sierra Vista, AZ. The entire Strange Loop will connect and be traversed under my own power though. In addition to these shuttles that are made necessary by the nature of the route, I will most likely need to hitch to some of my resupplies on the CDT. So, I make the claim to navigating the entire route under my own power, but without the distinction of some of my prior adventures where rides were entirely refused.
What is the reasoning behind the route and the adventure? I have always wanted to connect the 3 major long distance trails contiguously, but I was confused on how to do so under my own power. My wife mentioned many times as an idea splitting the PCT into 2 distinct segments based on the location of our home near the midpoint. After years of pondering possible itineraries, I finally figured out that this route of the Strange Loop was very doable. Another reason for the route beginning and ending at my front door has to do with my commitment to leaving as small a footprint as possible while here on planet Earth. I don't need to travel to some exotic locale or fly half way around the world to experience the wildness that beckons right out my front door. In addition to that, connecting the trails by bicycle and walking proves to be the perfect speed to continue to collect data for science. I will be collecting data for an additional study too, but more on science and all the technology I am going to lug in another post.
I would also like to take a moment to underscore the reason why I choose to share my adventure with as many like minded individuals as possible. I am not trying to self promote. In fact I have taken back seat to what I am observing. I am simply a vehicle for the story to be told. I hope I may share with others how quickly our world is changing. As the years pass by, I am becoming more aware of the fact I am nothing special. I have been humbled by my experiences as of late. I hope that comes through in what I share. I am no more entitled to my planets resources than the very creatures I have been migrating with. I am no more self important than someone who never ventures further than their mailbox. In this day in age of social media and what not, it would really bum me out if anyone thought I am just all about the "me" show.
Time to wrap up this post! Ok, so lets finish off with some fun facts!
How long is the Strange Loop? How much walking? How much bicycling?
15,674 miles (give or take a few hundred)
8,628 miles of hiking
7,046 miles of bicycling
What are some of the major long distance trails it traverses as well as bicycling routes?
Pacific Crest Trail
Tahoe Rim Trail
Tahoe Yosemite Trail
Sierra High Route
Benton MacKaye Trail
Georgia Pinhoti Trail
Alabama Pinhoti Trail
Grand Enchantment Trail
Continental Divide Trail
Pacific Northwest Trail
Grand Canyon Connector
How many states and provinces does the Strange Loop visit?
35 states and 1 province:
How long will it take to complete the Strange Loop?
Lastly here is a rough version of the Google Earth route I have made. Yesterday after I got all the route finished, I about lost it when it proved to be to large to load into Google Earth. I then took a break and realized that I could simplify the route ( less points ). So compared to my other maps I have created when you drill way down into it, you will notice the route isn't clamped directly to the true route all of the way. I just needed it to fit onto one map and load fast so people may see the route. I hope again to have this linked up like my routes in the past with regards to having it tied to my Spot messenger. That way the proof is in the pudding, that I am out doing what it is I am saying I am doing. Got to keep track of the time traveler! Another note on the map below. It is interactive. WOAH! Yeah I know. Pretty LO - FI. So if you want to drill down and look at what trail is what and some of the notes on each route by all means get learned up!
View Larger Map
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Trans Zion Traverse
Indulgence: 1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky
Patagonia Fore Runner
My personal favorite racing shoe the New Balance MT100.
Vibram Five Fingers.
Fastpacking first reference here.
Fastest Known Time.
How do you establish a speed record? Read this first. You may also read up on the distinctions between supported, self supported and unsupported at the same link.
You can get to some of my gear lists here.
My AZT record (which still is unbroken) starts here. That night when I almost had to bag the record attempt is here. I also through together a video of the attempt which may be viewed here.
That first pack I show that is a 5 oz. pack was made by Mountain Laurel Designs, but isn't in production anymore. Here is a link to info on the spinnaker cloth. The second pack was also made by MLD, but is also no longer in production. It was 9oz, not 9lbs. Also, here is a link to Ray Jardines Backpack Kit. Here is a link to the MLD Prophet Pack. My big winter pack is also a MLD Ark. Here is a link to the Osprey Talon Series.
Western Mountaineering makes the only sleeping bags I will ever carry, enough said. Here is a link to the Highlite bag (16 oz), which I have slept comfortably well below its rating. I have always liked this clip on how Western Mountaineering manufactures their bags and processes their own down. 8 years going strong on the MLD Superlight Bivy? Better get yourself one here.
YEEEHAW! Time for another Never Came Back Raffle! Same deal as last time, but this prize package is going to one winner this time. Here are images of the prizes and all items are brand spanking new! Just scroll below the images here and get entered. Also, just wanted everyone to know that I am not collecting personal data like emails etc. I will contact you by email to claim your prize, but I won't nor am I using your emails. So I don't want that to turn anyone off. Also, this time you don't need to do the Twitter deal if you don't want to or don't have an account. If you do though you may get two more bonus entries (follow on twitter and tweet the raffle). However, you do have to be a fan on facebook of the FSTPKR page. I couldn't change it to Never Came Back so stuck with the FSTPKR deal there. It also comes up under athlete as I can't change that either. In addition to liking the FSTPKR facebook page you need to leave a comment below on this blog post. Please no advertisements ( my spam blocker deal will decline it anyway) and it would be cool if the comment was related to this blog post. You may enter through the give away tab on my facebook page, or below on this post. Also, it is only available to folks here in the US of A. I can't afford to be paying international shipping rates, duties or taxes. Thanks for understanding. Get yourself entered no later than 4/30 too! Oh yeah, and why the give aways/ raffle? I would like to try to get as many folks on board via the blog, you tube, twitter, instagram and facebook so I may share my upcoming 1.5 year adventure I am mapping out currently. You can get to any of the above feeds via the sidebar here on the blog. It isn't for advertising purposes or personal gain. I just would like to share my adventures with like minded folks in real time. So hopefully you like the social media platforms I am using and stick around for the ride kicking off this summer!
|win one of these size medium in a royal blue (logo is on the back)|
|and get yourself one of these in purple|
|round it out with this water bottle in black with some feminine design minus caribiner|
a Rafflecopter giveaway