Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gearing Up

So how does a guy like myself get ready for the big adventure??? Why of course having some little adventures :-) So, every Thursday through Sunday I'll be exploring the best Southern AZ has to offer. All gearing up to my hike on the AZT later this year.

I promise to visit some of the old along with new explorations and blogging about it in between. For those of you who asked where did the old gear reviews go???  I deleted them :-( However, new gear reviews will be starting next week. Till then...Bangarang!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gear Review! Osprey Exos 58L

I know how many reviews over the last three years are out there on this pack. I get it, its been done before and you may yawn through this. Then again, some of you just may be getting into ultra-lighting and only looking at the "latest/greatest" models. Well if that's true then your in for a great surprise. The Exos is for ultra-lighters what Everest is for climbers; the ultimate!

Truthfully I've tried to find this packs equal ever since I bought it. None to be found. If I ever setup a "Gear Hall of Fame", this will be the only piece inducted so far. Yes, I understand there are lighter smaller packs out there now. No doubt the have their advantages. However, i will hope you look hard at this pack.

The Good...
Size Matters when its light... My 58L longer torso size comes out to 61L. Now show me a light weight backpacker who needs 61L and I say that's too big. Right? Well it would be an issue if the pack didn't still weigh only 2lbs 10oz. Think about that. All the room you could possibly need without tipping the scales over. Perspective here the new Marmot Drakon 35L comes in only one size and weights the same.

Cool down and not heat up on the trail... Osprey has perfected ventilation and separation between your back and pack with the "Air Speed" backing. Very hard to sweat a lot when you have a mesh backing and if there is a breeze your in luck. Your now become air cooled and so comfortable that it lets you bangarang out mile after mile without stopping to peel it off your back to dry off.

The rest of the Good... Inside out compression sides that allow you to use the whole pocket, hydration compatible, and two side vertical pockets that let you stuff whatever you wish in them. I use one of them for the sleeping bag, pad and bivy with my stove and some food in the other. This way i can setup camp as late as possible without searching through the main compartment for anything. Oh and there is a top pocket as well you can put a lot of things in. Plus if you need more, there is mesh stash pockets on your hip belt.

The Bad... There is a weight imitation for for the Exos of 40lbs. Hey but again, we are light and ultra-light backpackers... this is not an issue for us :) Also the pack seems to be a bit bouncy at first but after awhile either I don't notice it now or its not as much.

The Ugly... Yea right, didn't you just read my review.

SUM It Up... Durable, lightweight and roomy. Simply put, The Best pack ever made.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Motivation and going the extra mile

Today I was as un-motivated as one human could get. After deciding to drink plenty of beer last night and hanging out having rare red meat with a buddy; it was a no brainer. I had the wrong shoes, my ankle bothered me and I didn't pack a hat. Why on earth would i try to do anything today? Unfortunately this has become a daily struggle lately despite my upcoming plans. Easily, having coffee hanging out at the UofA seemed a hell of a lot better than walking up A Mountain.

Earlier in the week i was talking to Ashley the bartender. She told me of her desire to join a gym and we started discussing motivation. She prefers the gym setting and to be around people; this helps inspire her. I got to thinking... Perhaps this would help me pull myself out of the funk I'd been in. Though honestly the gym life has never suited me. Its too narcissistic for my taste. Yes, I know, you read that right :-) Still something has been lacking in my efforts. Until what transpired today and how it completely refocused me.

Getting off the bus near the UofA i decided to take in "the views" at the tennis center.  "The views" being very fit women taking their aggression out on that little yellow ball. Before I had seen it, i was hearing it a block away. The grunts of two women obviously in an epic struggle to the death. Striking that ball back and forth like they were at Wimbledon. No doubt they are going to make it worth while for me taking this route. Well it was worth it but not near the way I expected it.

As I came closer to the match and was able to focus on who the sounds were coming from; it put my lazy ass straight back into gear. The competitors were trading viscous ground strokes from their wheelchairs. By no means could i have expected this but results of it were tremendous. It took me all of five seconds to just start walking to A Mountain and taking two trips up it today.

The whole time getting on myself for being so damn lethargic in my habits as of late. Dissecting all the wrong things I've been doing.  Eating the wrong foods, the "cop out" bus rides I've been taking instead of using these two legs I've been given. The excuses of the wrong shoes or I didn't bring a hat just didn't cut it any longer. I mean how could I not be motivated after seeing those two women playing there guts out? How could you not?

Yes my ankle is sore and I pushed it hard today. Though i had 6l of water i did not take a sip until I was done. Though the walk / hike was shorter than some, it was at very brisk pace almost a run. That extra mile back to the UofA instead of taking a bus was all because of the motivation I gained from them. Bangarang!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Reflections on a Year Since

So just over a year has passed since the Miller Fire nearly silenced my life. That a almost impossible canyon jump saved me from mortality. An event that still seems just as surreal now as it did then. Yet, here i am typing, re opening my blog for the new adventures I'm planning.

 Few recounts and plenty of beer have passed these lips since those days; none of which has helped nor harmed me. I could proclaim the experience changed my life prophetically. However, sometimes i don't believe that to be the case. Did it make me a better parent? Activist? Listener? No. Allow me to be more compassionate to my fellow man? A better lover to women? Not one iota I'm afraid. I'm exactly the same yet completely different. See; I'm human.

 So how do i define it??? I've just started to try and will perhaps for many years to come... search for the meaning of why I'm still here. Though for now, I think I've pinpointed it to one sentence. A reflection that says exactly what it comes down to.

What happened was simply put... A fire, one that nearly outflanked me, almost killed me and chased me to the "razors edge"


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