Long Trail Day -1

Time to try this again. It has been 4 years since that heatwave tried to kill me.

Headed up to Journey’s End tomorrow for a Sunday start. The plan is flexible & slow. Carrying a lot of insulation & food so I can camp in comfort.

I will be covering this hike like the Cohos earlier this year. Most days should see a pic or two posted here along with a bit of babbling. Video will follow after I get home.

Should be beautiful out there. The colors are starting to pop. Hopefully the leaves stay on the trees!

Anger Management Part Two

Sure, quiet reflection can be nice and all, but sometimes a more visceral response can be cathartic. Last year’s fun filled family attempt at climbing Mansfield in Vermont left Frau Stranger feeling a bit miffed at the mountain. Her response has been to direct that anger into a plan for revenge this coming Summer. Given the progress she’d already made by eating salads and lots of walking it was time to give her more of a challenge so I set up this lovely pain cave with a view.

Seeing her stomping on the pedals next to me I am worried I may be holding her back on that climb this year. Definitely fun to have a training partner this Winter and the view out the back window is a lot nicer than being stuck in the basement on the recumbent. Bet the climb up Mansfield will be a lot more fun this year too!


Updates On Site and Off

Lots of things going on all of a sudden around here.  Seems like there isn’t as much time for posting because there really isn’t.  The snow is finally almost gone and I’ve actually managed to get the bicycle on the road a few times.  With the first time trial of the METTS season in just ten days it should be pretty amusing to see the faces as folks cross the finish line.  Time trials are always about pain, but without proper training they tend to make you wish you were dead.  Good fun!

Here on the site things are happening as well.  I have added a few more items to the Gear Review page.  It is all caught up now with my reviews over at the Trailspace site.  The latest additions include the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite pad and the GSI Tea Kettle.  That kettle takes up about half the space of my old pot and is perfect for solo trips.

I have also added a Long Trail section to the site.  Beyond a brief outline of my plans for the end to end trip this September there are also pages detailing my gear list and nutrition plan.  Both of those are works in progress and will probably continue to change.  Once I get back home the plan outline will be replaced with a report on the experience.

The big excitement this week has been the arrival of Mrs Stranger’s new backpack.  After a few trips to try on various makes and models she decided on the Osprey Ariel 65 in a pretty blue color.  Now we’re just waiting for mud season to progress so we can start putting it to use.

With the arrival of Spring there will probably be less time to spend writing here.  I’ll try to keep things active if I can, but really I’d much rather be out there than writing about being out there.  I do want to wrap up the Leave No Trace Principle articles though.  I think I may repackage them into their own section of the site so they don’t get lost in blog history.   I still have a long list of things to write about actually, but if I don’t get to them over the next few months they will still be there when the snow flies again.

Hopefully Spring has arrived where you live also.  Probably time for you folks to stop reading and get out there too.  If so smile and nod if we happen to pass on one of those paths less traveled by

madbearderIn memoriam of the Winter 2013-14 beard


It is always good to have something to look forward to, but I think we are all tired of looking forward to Spring this year.  I’m even looking forward to shaving off the winter whiskers if only Winter would actually go away.  Despite the extended forecast calling for more frigid, time is marching on.  Spring may not be here yet, but we don’t have any more time to wait on it.  If we don’t get started now we won’t have enough time to get up to speed for Summer.

Cycling season is definitely taking a hit this year.  The first time trial is only 3 weeks away and I’m betting I’m not the only one who hasn’t been out riding yet.  You can only train so much in the basement because hills and wind can’t be properly simulated.  It will be interesting to see how many folks even show up and just how out of shape we all are.

One thing I have been able to get outside to start practicing is carrying a heavy pack.  I have the Kelty external frame loaded up with 50 pounds of training weight and have been doing laps around the block a few times now.  Last year I relied too heavily on cycling to get into shape.  The first trip on trail I really noticed that there are some muscles in the legs that may not be used for cycling but really are needed to carry a pack.  This year, especially with the LT plan for the Fall, I’m cross training from the start.

Lots of other preparations under way as well.  The Baxter reservations have been made for a trip with the TX boys in July.  I have been doing this same loop for the last few years, but with different people each time.  It never gets old climbing Katahdin and then heading off into the back country away from the flocks of peak baggers and AT finishers.

I also ordered my LT guides and map from the Green Mountain Club this week.  Not sure I really needed the End To Enders Guide which details the towns and services available along the trail since my plan is to stay on trail the whole time, but they were still running their Spring special of the trail guide, the E2E guide and the map for $30.  I figured if nothing else it will give my wife a chance to read about all the places we might visit when we do this trail together in a few years.

Other plans are still coming together for the season.  Pretty sure there will be at least one trip on the Grafton Loop again this year and I’d really like to start exploring the Pemigewasset Wilderness in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  That area is well known for its high loops but there are some creeks on the eastern side that I’m betting will be less traveled and may even have some fish in them.

Still a little time left for planning and dreaming it would seem since they say we may have another big snow next week after the little one this weekend.  That doesn’t mean we can afford to be sitting around too much though.  Better to start moving more now to get ready to move more later is my plan.

My daughter does her part to help.  She led my wife and I out the door yesterday on what I thought was going to be a walk around the block.  I tossed on the 50 pound pack thinking it would be a nice chance to work on those pack muscles.  Then she proceeded to lead us down the road, into the woods and all the way down to the river through soft mushy snow.  I was definitely feeling those pack muscles, but that girl is smart.  She knows Daddy is going to need strong legs this Summer for family trips.  Best to get me whipped into shape so when she is ready I’ll be able to carry her loads on the path less traveled by