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Adventures of Life


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There’s no need to redesign the wheel

Another blog up at Appalachian Trials :http://appalachiantrials.com/theres-no-need-to-redesign-the-wheel/

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I’m so excited for the thru hiker “class of 2016”

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Let’s talk gear!

I have spent the past year immersed in the Appalachian Trail (AT), sleeping, breathing, and eating it (no really, I’ve eaten more trail food these past 6 months).  Now I am down to the wire and need to make my final purchases and organize my gear so as not to forget anything.

The official Base Gear!

The official Base Gear!

The first and most important part of my gear is my “Base” gear which includes my pack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow.  I feel I’ve done a great job picking what meets my needs and still keeps the weight on the lower end.  It’s challenging to make a choice regarding comfort vs. necessity when you are not yet on the trail.  When it came down to my tent I wanted one which would allow me to store both my pack and my dog inside with me.  I had two tents I was wavering between, the Mountain Hardwear SuperMega UL2 and the MSR Hubba Hubba NX.  It took me setting them up side by side and crawling around inside of them. Thank you once again CrossFit Bona Fide for supporting my hiking habits and providing me with space to test out my gear!

It's a 1 1/2 Person tent!!!

It’s a 1 1/2 Person tent!!!

The SuperMega UL2 was VERY cozy and very light, at 2 lbs 11 oz.  As you can see here there is room for my sleeping pad with my pack stuffed in alongside down at my feet and if Star doesn’t mind snuggling there is puppy room right at the entrance.  I climbed in and tested out the height, at 5’10” I had about an inch clearance while sitting on my sleeping pad, this was a good start.  I went ahead and stretched out and as I lay there debating all the pros and cons. Having not tried the other tent I realized I wasn’t doing much comparison and decided to rectify the situation immediately.  Feeling like a modern day outdoorsy version of Goldilocks I scrambled out of the tent.  I grabbed my gear and moved next door into the Hubba Hubba.   As I crawled in the enduring words of Goldilocks went through my mind “that’s just right!”  I had moved into a yacht of a tent, there was room to stretch out and move about.  My bag was no longer crushed between my feet and the tent wall and Star would even have room to stretch out into her favorite pretzel position for sleeping.  After about a minute of contemplation upon my green mat of unlimited possibilities I decided I wanted the yacht over the canoe.

So much space!!!

So much space!!!

Next on my list of gear is my kitchen supplies, which are still lacking (need to get out and buy a PocketRocket and a titanium spoon), BUT I am excited to say I tried out a new toy today and it works perfectly!

Pot, bear bag, water bladder, freezer bag cozy, and Nalgene storage.

Pot, bear bag, water bladder, freezer bag cozy, and Nalgene storage.

Today I used my freezer bag cozy!  I ordered this simple cozy from a fellow hiker, I have heard so many great things about cooking with this method on the trail.  You take your dehydrated food put it in a freezer bag, pour hot (not boiling) water over your food, seal up the bag and close the cozy over it.  Let it “cook” for 15-20 minutes and your meal is done!  You eat it right out of the bag meaning you have no dishes and you just need to dispose of the Ziploc when you hit a town.

Food is in the cozy ready for eating!

Food is in the cozy ready for eating!

The idea behind freezer bag food is you just dehydrate whatever complete meal you want and pack it away until you’re ready to rehydrate.

Rehydrated dahl mixed with rice

Rehydrated dahl mixed with rice

My roommate was home and with very little prompting I convinced her to take this journey with me.  I took my dehydrated leftovers from the night before and placed them in a Ziploc filled with water wrapped in the most awesome pink and black zebra stripped cozy on the east coast.   The red dahl with coconut milk rice was a delicious meal if I must say so myself, one I’d be thrilled to eat on the trail.  My roomie even went so far as to say “I would have NEVER known it was from a dehydrated meal if you hadn’t told me!”

It's important to get out and break in the gear before the big day!

It’s important to get out and break in the gear before the big day!

Because I am responsible for my dog it only seems reasonable that I spend as much money on her as I do myself (I am after all carrying an extra half pound so she can sleep IN the tent with me).  I gave up trying to adapt or modify Star’s pack to be “acceptable” for the trail.  She will be joining me on the trail because I have decided WE are doing it not because she volunteered to come along.  I splurged!  I went online to this awesome small time business called Groundbird Gear (GBG) and ordered a custom made pack for her.  We had more fun measuring and preparing to send out all the info to get this pack put together just for her.

Someone is VERY excited about the measuring process :D

Someone is VERY excited about the measuring process 😀

I couldn’t believe it when less than a week out from our order I was informed the pack was in the mail and on it’s way.  I was a giddy child running out to the porch everyday looking for the box which would contain the goods.  Yesterday was a busy day and I arrived home late and it was by pure chance I glanced down the porch and noticed the small packing envelope sitting by the stoop.  I dashed outside in my socks and grabbed the package barely making it back through the door before I started ripping it apart.  As I drew the harness and pack out I was shocked by how light is was.  It was almost as though I was holding nothing, a big treat for this young lady!  I am in LOVE with the colors!

Burgundy and purple with a splash of orange to fend off the hunters!

Burgundy and purple with a splash of orange to fend off the hunters!

I am so happy I went with this pack system.  I haven’t even gotten a chance to load it up yet but already I feel it is the proper size for her.  The roll top pouches aren’t huge so she will be able to move around comfortably in it.  We are in mid design adaptation as the harness doesn’t fit quite right so it is being sent back for one with a larger chest yolk so as to prevent any chance of chaffing.  It has been very easy to communicate with GBG and figure out what needs to be done so Star can be comfortable.  I will post pictures when we have the full system with a proper fit.

 

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING OUR JOURNEY PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LOOK AT MY Amazon Wish List (HERE).   
I have placed numerous food items on this list as I will be making much of my food over the next couple of weeks.  I will be shipping packages to myself along the trail so I can meet the needs of my dietary restrictions.

 

 

 


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Buried in trail preparation!

I’m floundering!  First off I’m living in NH which means I’m under more than three feet of snow after this past “storm”!  Yesterday was day 50 in my count down and there are still so many things to do!  It seems like each time I dig myself out I just get buried again.  Fire hydrant

To give you an idea of what is still ahead of me for my trip planning.
Need to finish purchasing my gear.

Big ticket items:  Tent ($450) and Backpack ($250)
Smaller items but still necessary: Stove ($35), Sleeping bag liner ($60), footwear ($150), base layers ($110).

The price of my gear is up there.  But I am also doing my best to buy light weight.  I want my pack weight to remain under 35 pounds once food and water are added.  This is a challenging game, every item adds up.  You don’t realize just how much you’re carrying until you have no where left in your pack to squeeze that one last item.  35 pounds may not sound like much, and for a day it’s not, but imagine carrying a small child for 2,189 miles through snow, rain, heat, and bugs.  Doesn’t sound like much fun does it!  Bonus for me, my 35 pound “child” will not squirm or complain, they’ll leave that up to me.  The weight of my pack is a REALLY big deal for me.  I need to do everything in my power to protect my knee so I can enjoy my hike and reduce the chance of reinjuring myself.

My life for the next 5-7 months will be lived out of this pack, it will include only what I need (or deem a serious treat).

What my pack will weigh: 19 lbs 14.3oz. (Not including a full water bladder and food for 3-5 days) 343_847_lg

Gear: 5 lbs 9.9 oz.
-Pack:  4 lbs. 15 oz.
-Pack cover:  4 oz.
-Water Bladder: 2 oz.
-Stuff sacks:  4 oz.
-Bear Bag:  0.9 oz.

Base: 4 lbs 15.1 oz.
-Tent: 2 lbs. 7 oz.
-Footprint: 3.8 oz.
-Sleeping bag:  2 lbs. 4 oz.
-Sleeping pad:  1 lbs. 1 oz.
-Sleeping bag liner:  4.6 oz.
-Pillow:  5.8 oz.
-Knee cushion:  2.9 oz.

Kitchen: 1 lbs. 5 oz.
-Stove:  3 oz.
-Fuel:  6 oz.
-Pots:  9.5 oz.
-Spoon: 0.8 oz.
-Cozy: 1.7 oz.
-Mug/cup:  ?

Star trying out new gear!  Not even a blizzard keeps us from our hot chocolate!

Star trying out new gear! Not even a blizzard keeps us from our hot chocolate!

Necessities: 1 lbs. 13.5 oz. 
-Water Filter:  7.8 oz.
-Headlamp:  3 oz.
-Batteries:  5 oz.
-First aid: 4 oz.
-Inhaler: 1 oz.
-Cord:  4 oz.
-Trowel: 0.6 oz.
-TP:  2 oz.
-Lady Cup: 1.5 oz.
-Pstyle: 0.6 oz.

Clothing:  5 lbs. 5 oz.
-Bra:  7.8 oz.
-Shorts: 5 oz.
-Socks (3 pair):  6.9 oz.
-Base bottom: 7 oz.
-Base top:  8 oz.
-Shirt:  4.2 oz.
-Pants: 1 lbs
-Warm layer: 13.5 oz.
-Down jacket:  11.2 oz.
-Buff: 2.9 oz.
-Hat: 3 oz.
-Camp shoes:  3.7 oz.
-Hiking Shoes:  11.8 oz.

Spoilers: 13.8oz
-iPhone:  4.6 oz.
-iPod:  0.8 oz.
-Paperwhite:  7.8 oz.
-Chargers:  0.5 oz.
This long list of items is only part of the planning!  I still have Star’s pack to figure out and all the logistics of package drops and meal planning.  This is a huge undertaking – only made more challenging by my stubbornness to provide my dog with the best!

We have snow mountains in my back yard! Summit is 6; above sea level and 7' wide!

We have snow mountains in my back yard! Summit is 6; above sea level and 7′ wide!

I am so thrilled to have SPONSORSHIP and SUPPORT from some amazing companies, THE HONEST KITCHEN, RUFFWEAR, GOOD TO GO, and CROSSFIT BONA FIDE!

If YOU would like to support my journey (click the blue links) you can do so either through Amazon where you can pick out specific items from my “wish list” (remember last time we learned the links don’t work from phones)
OR  feel free to send MONETORY support via PayPal!  You are able to send money directly to me with just my email – this makes life easier!  Feel free to attach a note with your address so I can send you a note from my journey!
email:      erin.tuveson@gmail.com

NO POST WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT SOME PICTURES!!!

Rod iron fence from our snowshoe trek into town!

Rod iron fence from our snowshoe trek into town!

I keep hearing we have roads somewhere under the snow!

I keep hearing we have roads somewhere under the snow!

 

 

 


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Count down!

It’s officially countdown time!  56 days until I start hiking the AT!!!

Located at the summit of Mount Mist in NH

Located at the summit of Mount Mist in NH

I had promised to upload my video from my sponsorship attempt, so here is the link to it!  I continued to work on it – I’d hit tech issues  – so I took the time to rectify what time limits I’d hit.

 

There are so many things yet to be done.  It seems every time I think about making a list or trying to sort things out I’m still in the same place I was six months ago (which is kind of true as I’m still in the same old apartment).  I feel like time has some how moved past me without my knowing.  I have spent countless hours writing sponsorship letters to companies asking for their support.  I have had a couple responses with affirmative answers – Star must be irresistible because they are all for her!
Thank you Ruffwear and The Honest Kitchen for your support!
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My greatest accomplishments, aside from dehydrating copious amounts of food – which I still need to figure out how I’m going to rehydrate it and in what form, is the cleaning and my first REAL gear purchase.  When you realize your entire life will be held in a backpack weighing no more than 30lbs it becomes very important to start cleaning out the unnecessary trinkets you have accrued over the years.  My method of cleaning is this – If I haven’t used it in 3 months I don’t need it!  If it has sentimental meaning than there is a special box for it.  My first gear purchase was a Big Agnes sleeping bag!

Big Agnes Mystic 15!!!

Big Agnes Mystic 15!!!

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My other accomplishment, the one you hear about again and again is my knee.  But I didn’t get here on my own, I had a good friend give me a piece of advice – one which I have since considered again and again and even offered out to other people.  I had stated my frustration to him, the lack of strength in my leg, “I can’t wait to get my strength back!”

To paraphrase what he said: don’t ever say you want to be ‘back’ where you were, you can’t go back there, you need to look forward to new goals.
With that said I reevaluated where I was at and what I wanted.  I no longer wanted to be “back” where I had been, walking up stairs.  I wanted to be climbing mountains!  I had bigger goals and a stronger drive to get where I was going because of this short conversation.

Now I know I have already talked of the importance of gaining strength in my leg but I can’t say enough in regards to it.  I have enjoyed these past few snow storms as they provide opportunities outside to go and work my leg out.  Snowshoeing is a challenging and exhausting activity which both Star and I enjoy.  I am determined not to look back but instead continue forward in my journey!

Snow is serious time!

Snow is serious time!

dun, dun... dun, dun..

dun, dun… dun, dun..

And she is irresistible!

And she is irresistible!

Breaking trail is hard work

Breaking trail is hard work

So you just need to let someone else do it!

So you just need to let someone else do it!

Getting ready for the next run!

Getting ready for the next run!