Sammy’s gear

IMG_5450(pic from the completion of our 2014 CT thru) but we’ll look similar.

Sammy’s gear:

reflective embroidered click collar by
bungee leash that goes around my waist
orange RuffWear backpack
Ruffwear rain jacket (makes a huge difference re: wet dog in tent w/ down bag)
PAWS balloon booties
other booties (will shop and compare from our CT hike)
paw cream (must find smaller containers)
vet wrap
gauze pads
poo sacks
UL zip bowl

Sammy’s trail food:
snack ziplock treats
grain-free dog kibble
freeze dried dog meat

I made ziplock bags of half kibble and half dried meat guessing a proper calorie content. This is a weight vs cost issue.

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Ice Age Trail Food ideas
I’ve done plenty of backpacking.  I know what I hate, lets look at what I love and new ideas.  The Ice Age Trail goes through a small town about every-other day, which makes it pretty easy, except that I don’t really like gas-station food anymore.  It should be easy to keep a varied diet and try new stuff.  I will have to send a few packages for Sammy’s dog food and can include some of these favorites that I’m unlikely to find on-trail.

the Tried and True, these never get old for me:

buckwheat groats w powdered butter, nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon
pre-packed oatmeal packets (pour hot water in careful)
freeze dried UL fruit
Carnation instant breakfast
Trader Joes Irish breakfast tea w/ powdered milk as I quit coffee last year

Ritz ‘stacks’ w Jiff mini-peanutbutter cups or cheese/salami
bagel, cheddar cheese or Laughing Cow, salami, mayo packet
sun chips, goldfish, Doritos
tortilla with chicken packet w mayo and extras like mayo, dried cranberries, chips
Avocado on anything w salt

tortilla w ziplock pre-made with dehydrated beans, instant rice or Lipton Sides Taco Rice or Mexican Rice, cholula packet, maybe add cheese
Mountain House lasagna or chili Mac add Olive Oil packet and parm
Annies Mac N Cheese: White Cheddar or Aged Cheddar w/ salami and cholula if possible

Ritz stacks, string cheese or whatever
snickers almond
white cheddar popcorn

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Gear List- Ice Age Trail

I will need to update some of my gear and Sammy’s too.
I’ll post weights later.

Big 5:
Backpack. I still love my 2010 GoLite Jam backpack, but it’s Frankenstein’d together and may not survive another thru-hike.  GoLite was sorta replaced by MyTrail, so I’ll consider their pack, or may go for Gossamer Gear this time around (If I can afford it).
Shelter.  I still hate my 2011 Tarptent Contrail tent, but it fits me, Sammy, and all our gear and is still in great shape after thru-hikes of the PCT, CT, and other short trips.  The problem for me is the “dog-door” front entry.  I really, really, want a side entry.  This way you can lay on your side when you’re cooking out the tent.  I’ve got recurring neck problems and laying on my stomach and working out the front of the tent is a consistent bummer.  Sigh, it will have to do for one more thru.
Ground sheet: the GG PolyCro
Sleep pad: Thermarest Women’s Neo Air, crinkly but sooo comfy
Sleeping bag: old but still good, 2010 Women’s Marmot Helium 15 degree in Zpacks Cuban fiber roll-top sack.

Clothing/gear on me:
new tank top
old Isis wrap skirt – add new iPhone pocket
Smartwool phd mini socks
Oboz shoes
new insoles – not sure which yet (see post on insoles)
Dirty Girl gaiters
old ratty GoLite visor
transitions glasses
Black Diamond trekking poles w/ duct tape and foot tape
bandana for sun or sneeze
watch w altimeter etc used on PCT and CT

Clothing packed:

in ZPacks roll-top Cuban fiber sack w/ fleece side for pillow:
Rain Jacket. I liked the super light one I got for the CT but I’ve worn it a few times lately and I think it leaks.  That’s my experience with expensive Ultra Light rain jackets- they fail after use.  I had a major problem in Washington on the PCT, I totally loved the jacket I had but you could plainly see the lining was all worn away around the neck and it leaked bad.  No Bueno in snowy/rainy high passes.  What to do?  I’ll research.
GoLite Rain Pants. Used on 2014 CT hike.
Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer puff coat.  Used on 2014 CT hike.
xtra pair Smartwool PhD socks
Sea to Summit mosquito head net

Gear packed:

Sun/rain umbrella.  Original Chrome Dome from 2011, still in fine shape
Headlamp.  My old Black Diamond Spot from 2011 seems dead, I’ll prob get the new version- it performed great for me, and I love the red night-vision lite in it.  I tried a Princeton Tec for the 2014 CT thru, and it can be wicked bright, which is cool but the batteries die fast, which was weird- it would flash a red lite on the side when low, but wouldn’t that make it die even faster?  Maybe it had some kinda short that drained it, dunno but what a dud.
Camp Shoes. ?
Manzella Glove liners. used on PCT
hat. Smartwool PhD
Injinji toe sock liners: these have worked well for ‘newbie’ feet in the past


Cook Pot.  My original 2011 PCT setup is still bomber, but the pot has always been bigger than I need.  My newer mini-version sucked.  Surely I can find a mid-size titanium pot and make a new setup following my original home-made take-apart-able caldera-cone style kit.
piece of green scrubbie
Heet fuel
GSI Spork from Wal-mart, that blue 4-pack… still have one left!
Platypus 3L Big Zip
Sawyer in-line filter.  Used in 2011 PCT hike and was perfect.
treatment tablets
bic mini lighter
Ursack Minor w/ odor proof “OP Sack” bag
Smartwater 1L bottle
(for flavor drinks)

titanium trowel used on CT
paper towels
mini hand sanitizer

lip balm w SPF
mini sunscreen
mini Swiss army knife
homemade sew kit
blister bandages
Advil, sleeping pills
Glucosamine pills
anti-itch cream packet
Alcohol wipe
Neosporin packet
Lightload hockey-puck mini-towel
emergency whistle
earbuds for iphone
sections of Trail Guide in ziplock
bug repellent
mini toothbrush and paste
disposable razor
iPhone and charger
Rite in Rain journal and mini pencil


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New Mexico Skyline Trail

Still haven’t done this one… should be able to this summer, 2018!

Sources vary: between 53 -60 miles from Santa Fe Ski Basin north to Truchas, then east and south…   my co-worker at Santa Fe Mountain Adventures somehow found this and made me a copy, super helpful!:

skylineNot heaps of info on this trail.  Here is one basic map

and a different somewhat better map w/ tracks… it has been suggested to me to summit Jicarita Peak, so there’s that to add on at the Northermost part.

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Beef packets – YES!

This is Libbys Seasoned Beef Crumbles – I got for $1  at Big Lots discount stores.

They also carry Rosarita Spicy Beef Crumbles – also $1 which I have had and like, but I can only eat  1/2 of the package with my meal and I don’t like to feed my dog the spicy kind.  I give her the part I don’t eat.  At 6 Ounces you want to carry this!  Tastes good.  Not weird.

Use this with dehydrated refried beans, fresh cheddar cheese, avocado in a tortilla.  Maybe use quick rice if you like it also. (I don’t really like rice)

Works with “3 minute pasta” and the pesto tube (look in the produce section for herbs in tubes refrigerated) and/or dried tomatoes sauce packets.


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CDT 2016

Let’s see if I can get my act together to SoBo it…  with Sammy D.

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Sandia Crest Trail Thruhike

A bit north of Albuquerque rise the Sandias, which boast America’s longest Cable Car ride- which I did not partake of.

Imagethis image is from the web


My first overnight backpacking trip of the season was this 26 mile thru hike up, across, over, and down this big rock.  It was my dog Sammy’s first big hike and being out of shape, this was a great accomplishment for our first trip of the season.  A really big thanks to my friend Cedra for picking us up at the Southern terminus, going out for food, and shuttling us back to the truck at the N TH.



We arrived at the Northern TH in Placitas and started our hike at 12:30 pm… not exactly genius timing, but I’m a “wing-it” kind of girl.

The trail starts gravelly/rocky and steadily climbs up up up up.  All afternoon.  It was grey and got a bit drizzly.  We came upon a few wee patches of snow, and this is how Sammy reacts:


We had some nice views, though to be real about it, the Sandias are hardly a “wilderness area” as there’s roads all over it, numerous connecting trails, a sprawling view of the city and interstate….



It drizzled during my lunch break and weather moved in, foggy, and threatening but not horribly so.


So after maybe 4-5,000′ elevation gain and 10 miles or so we made it to the top where all the radio towers are.  There was rather a lot of snow up to 5′ in some areas.  We stomped and slid our way thru it as sunset approached.  I was feeling it, the nonstop uphill and then the snow slog!


The trail levels out, somewhat and we finally arrived at the big parking areas with the (closed) restaurant, shop, and cable car in some pretty gnarly sleet.  I put on different layers in the unlocked pit toilet.  Convenient!  Sun was setting, not to decide what to do and where to pitch in this weather and wind.

Image Image


As the sun sets and I keep walking thru this signed tourist mountaintop area, the irony of “yikes” sets in just a touch.  I’m an expert backpacker dammit and I have GOT this, although it’s not what I had really anticipated, and the wind picks up and the snow is sideways and it sure is pretty and where the heck can I pitch.  I found a great low tree that would provide some shelter but it felt weird so I kept on and came upon the Kiwanis stone cabin, built in the early 1900s precisely for THIS kind of situation.


No, I actually am sincere when I say that.  Only seasoned hikertrash will feel this way.  I was adequately supplied for this, rain pants instead of the rain skirt would have been cool, but all was well!  The major downside of my Tarptent Contrail is how difficult it is to pitch properly without using stakes (like in the ground) and the sideways snow/wind didn’t assist.  Sammy was kindof scared and couldn’t wait to get inside the tent, which was a first!


The morning after.  It doesn’t look windy, but it (still) is.  I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee in the sack, and was impressed with my success in using my rain skirt to protect myself from my wet dog while forcing her shivering puppiness to succumb to my loving spooning!  I had to use earplugs the wind was so bad and Sammy groaned.  A LOT.


All the snow on ONE side of all the trees.  Nowhere near as dramatic as the insane ice storm May 16-17 2011 on the PCT, THAT was insane huge ice growths on the windward side of everything and ice chunks falling like boulders from the sky!




The  rest of the crest and the descent:Image


Sammy frolicks in the snow







Northside: no downed trees, Southside: a bizzilion downed trees

IMG_4878IMG_4883 IMG_4880




Upon reaching the truck at the trailhead, after having rested in Cedra’s car while we ate


Upon having reached home and managing to exit the vehicle


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