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Clean Water

Clean water is something almost all of us take for granted. We drink it. We use it to prepare meals. We wash ourselves with water. It is something that comes out of faucets and drinking fountains.

But when out in the wilderness, clean water can be hard to come by, as drinking fountains are scarce on hiking trails. And water found in flowing streams, even if crystal clear, can contain Giardia, bacteria, Cryptoall, and other contaminating germs. And when you go on a long-distance hike, carrying a whole case of bottled water could be impractical.

I recommend the use of Aquamira Water Treatment Drops . And we offer this product 20% off its standard retail price of $32.75, for a sales price of $26.20. Supplies are limited, so get yours before they run out! (Offer expires 11/23/2015)

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Keep Yourself Hydrated With a Day Pack – 20% Off!!!

Whether hiking for half a day or completing a thru hiking, water is an essential . As almost all hiking trails lack drinking fountains, you will have to bring your own hydration. Many people choose to bring water bottles or canteens.

Hydration day packs like the Condor 17 Hydration Pack are also popular. It basically combines the function of a backpack and a water bottle. The Condor Day Pack has a 2.5 liter bladder to store water, a large outside pocket with heavy-duty webbing. With a sip tube, there is no need to reach down for a water bottle or canteen.

We are pleased to offer this hydration pack at 20% off, for a retail price of $53.57. Supplies are limited, so get yours before we run out. (Sale expires 10/1/2015)

Condor Hydration Pack

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The Appalachian Trail- Hike Through History

Today I will post about the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the easternmost of the Triple Crown Trails. The trail, true to its name, passes along the Appalachian Mountains. It passes through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The southern terminus of the trail is the summit of Springer Mountain in Georgia. Continuing along the mountain range, it reaches the northern terminus on top of Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Compared to the Rockies and the Sierras, the Appalachians are significantly lower , so the trail stays below 7,000 feet. Also, the trail passes through more densely populated areas than the Pacific Crest Trail or the Continental Divide Trail. However, this does not mean you can go out with nothing more than a bottle of water if you want to thru hike this trail.

Obviously, you will need the ten essentials. You will also have to keep track of your supplies. A popular method of staying supplied is having packages mailed to post office boxes in towns near the trail.

One important thing to remember is to be prepared for the weather, and to have a general idea of what the climate is like. You will be hiking in the mountains, where it gets cold, especially in the northern parts. You will need layers and layers of clothing.

Make sure you have a map and a compass, and make sure you know how to navigate with them. A GPS is usually handy and convenient, but not when the battery is drained. And water of course is very important. As there are few drinking fountains near the trail, you will need to know where the water is.

Of course, make sure to have fun, enjoy the scenery, and take pictures. You will want to remember this journey. The memories will last decades.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has more information.

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Continental Divide Trail- Dividing- and Uniting- a Continent

Last time, I wrote about the Pacific Crest Trail. Now, I will write about the Continental Divide Trail.


Basically, the trail roughly follows the continental divide. The continental divide is a boundary, running roughly along the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the east, water drains towards the Atlantic. to then west, water drains towards the Pacific.


The trail itself has three southern termini. Crazy Cook Monument in New Mexico, Antelope Wells, New Mexico, and Columbus, New Mexico, all near the border with Mexico. (Crazy Cook is considered the “official” southern terminus, but it far away from any lodging or other services.) From there, the trail stays close to the divide for about 3,100 miles until reaching the section of the Canadian border next to Glacier National Park. Unlike the Pacific Crest Trail, parts of this trail are still incomplete, and as such the route is occasionally routed along roads and truck trails.


Not surprisingly, food and lodging are very hard to come by on the trail, especially because most of it passes through remote areas. While not an issue for day hikers who use part of the trail to hike to a mountain and then return home, this becomes an issue for section hikers and thru hikers.


So what would be needed to hike along the backbone of this continent?


Obviously, hikers would need the ten essentials. But they would also have to make sure to manage their resupply points. A popular method of resupply is mailing supply packages to post offices near the trail. This all but guarantees that thru hikers will have the supplies that they want, rather than whatever is available at a small town store.


Water is, of course, very important. Contrary to what some people may have heard, there are no pipes along the trail delivering drinking water. One supplement to carrying cases of bottled water are water purification tablets, which kill disease-causing germs that can be found even in running water.


Another thing you will need are repair supplies, after all, you could be several days from the nearest store that offers a new backpack. Duct tape is very versatile. Glue can be useful especially if the soles separates from your hiking boots.


And of course, you will need navigation gear to reduce the chances of getting lost. While a map and compass are useful, a GPS is especially helpful.


In sum, make sure you are prepared every step of the way, from New Mexico to Montana.


The Continental Divide Trail coalition has more information.


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The Pacific Crest Trail- A Great Wonder

From the Mexican border to the Canadian border, there is a line of mountains rising along the east side of the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. and these mountains had numerous hiking trails, truck trails, and roads. Someone named Clinton C. Clarke came up with the idea of linking trails such that one could theoretically hike from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. and thus was the genesis of the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail was completed in 1993.


(Pacific Crest Trail overview map, courtesy U.S. Forest Service)

The trail runs about 2,660 miles, from the border near Campo, California to the boundary of Manning Park in British Columbia. Elevations range from near sea level along the banks of the Columbia river to Forester Pass at 13,153 feet. The trail passes through many places like Kings Canyon National park , Yosemite National Park, and the Mount Hood Wilderness.


There are of course plenty of trailheads, and day hikers often make use of the trail. But there are also section hikers who would hike an entire section (such as the section through the San Jacinto Mountains) or even the entire trail from Campo to Manning Park.


Section hikes can take up to a week (depending on the length of the section) and a thru hike, from south to north, can take up to six months, depending on a hiker’s physical condition.


But what would it take to do a thru hike all the way?


One thing to remember is that you obviously can not carry all of the supplies you would consume. It would be too much, even if all of your equipment and tools are ultralight. And extra weight means a slower hike, which could mean you might not make it to the end before the first winter snowfall.


It is very imperative to remember the resupply points, where you can purchase or retrieve supplies. You will occasionally pass near some resort areas like Lake Tahoe and Diamond Lake, where there will be plenty of opportunities for resupply (as well as lodging that includes a bed). Most resupply points are small villages where selections are limited. One popular alternative is mailing supply packages to post offices near the trail, so that you may pick them up when you arrive. Some businesses may hold packages for hikers; you will of course have to inquire with them for details.


Study your map for campsites. You will likely spend almost all of your evenings sleeping in campsites. Weather can ghet unpredictable, so you will need at least a tarp to protect yourself.


Thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail will take you through bear country. And one thing bears love is food. These are animals that would break into an SUV just for some yummy snacks. Bear proof containers were developed so that campers and thru hikers can store their food, whether trail mix, granola bars, and freeze-dried blueberries without waking up and finding it inside a bear’s stomach. Several parks, such as Yosemite National Park, require food to be transported in bear proof containers.


In addition to the ten essentials, you will need additional items. One, you will need a credit card with a high credit limit, so you can purchase supplies when you reach towns. Another thing you would need are repair tools and supplies to repair your gear in case something happens like a boot sole coming loose or a backpack strap breaking when you are over a day’s hike from the nearest store. It certainly would be cheaper and more convenient than having to have a helicopter deliver spare parts.


The basic tips are plan ahead (like months in advance), pack light, and check the weather frequently.


(Photo courtesy National Park Service)

NOTE: The Pacific Crest Trail Association has more information.


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