The City of The Mountain: Cape Town, South Africa

The City of The Mountain: Cape Town, South Africa

There is perhaps no more dramatic a city than Cape Town, South Africa. Rising out of the clotted fogs of the western cape like a lurking leviathan, stands the iconic Table mountain. Endemic flora and wildlife live side by side with a bustling metropolis, where life fights for it’s small piece of land under the mountain or along the spiny Cape Point Peninsula. In such a place, a thriving city burns with a furious energy. Continue reading The City of The Mountain: Cape Town, South Africa

Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows – Why I hate the desert and will venture there no more.

Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows – Why I hate the desert and will venture there no more.

I try to add something extra to my blog posts. Instead of just a slide show of my actions over a period of time, I like to describe the trail, and any experiences that transcend the individual and illustrates what makes walking such an immense distance so worthwhile and beneficial to mind, body, and spirit. However, if Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Charles Dickens decided to have a child together, that baby would fail if asked to write a kind word about the trail betwixt (OK there is one nice word) Tehachapi and Kennedy Meadows. So instead, for the sake of future hikers, I will give a brief account of this section and maybe brag a bit about a special day I spent hiking…for 43 miles.

After leaving Tehachapi, all your guide books will lie to you and tell you that you are in the Sierra Nevada. You are not. You are in a hellish landscape of fire and brimstone, where water does not exist and the earth has decided that the bottoms of your shoes should melt if you stand still long enough.

I wanted no part of it. And thus, my hiking style changed to a ‘hike the hell out of here’ technique. I left Tehachapi late, because my ride decided to check three different hotels for other hikers, and then wait for said hikers to finish eating breakfast, despite the fact that they had just sat down to start eating. So instead of a 10 minute drive to the trailhead at 7am, it was a 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead at 9:30. No big deal-except for the fact that it would be over 100 degrees for the next 5 days. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows – Why I hate the desert and will venture there no more.”

GEAR REVIEW: Ultralight Adventure Equipment Circuit Backpack


Here at Trail Lives, we absolutely love Cottage Gear Shops. Some of the best gear tested has come from these unlikely and relatively small companies, which are usually run by hikers like you and I. Founded in 2001 by a fellow thru hiker and located in Utah, Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) offers some amazing ultralight gear, especially backpacks. Today, many consider ULA as cottage shop royalty, as their packs hold a standard of excellence by many long distance hikers. Within ULA packs, testers and ULA alike, report the Circuit as the most used on trail. I will be taking my ULA Circuit with my on my PCT Thru Hike this April.
Continue reading “GEAR REVIEW: Ultralight Adventure Equipment Circuit Backpack”

Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Mexico to Kennedy Meadows

Section: Mexican Border to Kennedy Meadows

Pack ULA Circuit Pack (XL) 40
Pack Liner Trash Compactor Bag 2.3
Tarp Cuben Tarp w/ guy lines 8.14
Bivy Ptarmigan Bivy 5.9
Ground Cloth Gossamer Gear Polycryo 2.95
Isulation Top Enigma Quilt 22.75
Insulation Bottom Thermarest NeoAir Xlite 15.59
Socks 2 REI Lite Hiker Socks 1.6
Underwear Patagonia Underwear 4.7
Hiking Shorts NYU Basketball Shorts 11
Hiking Shirt Marmot LS Shirt 7
Insulation  Top Montbell Down Jacket 6
Wind Shell Bottom Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants 3.1
Wind Shell Top Montbell Tachyon Anorak 2.6
Rain Shell Top DriDucks Poncho 8
Insulating Hat Outdoor Designs Hat 0.74
Bandana Bandana 1.29
Sun Hat Baseball Cap 2.82
Shoes New Balance Trail Runners 23.52
Socks 1 REI Lite Hikers 1.6
Stove Snow Peak Giga Power 3.71
Cook Pot Imusa Pot with DIY Lid 4.05
Utensil Spork 0.54
Towel Paclite Towel 0.45
Water Filter Sawyer Mini 1.62
Water Scoop DIY Scoop/Adapter 0.59
Water storage x4 Platypus 2.4L Bladder 5.16
Water Bottle Smart Water Bottle 1.29
Water Bottle Smart Water Bottle 1.29
Light Petzl Tikka Head Lamp 2.86
Fire Starter Mini Bic Lighter 0.4
First Aid First aid kit 2.86
Toothbrush Portable Toothbrush w/ toothpaste 0.85
Toilet Paper Small Roll of TP 2.23
Soap/Toothpaste Dr. Bronners 2.71
Line 25 feet MSR Utility Line 0.54
Repair Kit sil tape/needle/thread 1.28
Cash/Credit Card cash/Cards/ID/Permit 0.54
Stuff Sack Cuben Fiber Stuff sack 0.22
Phone Galaxy s4 6.27
Charger iPhone/gopro Charger 2.45
Camera GoPro Hero 3 10.51
Trek poles Black Diamond Trek Poles 20.22
Base Weight 165.82 78.42

 Conditions Faced:

The first 702 miles to Kennedy Meadows are mostly desert, with the odd foray into higher, and cooler elevations. Distance between water sources is a serious consideration, while rain/snow were pretty much a non factor (2014). Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Mexico to Kennedy Meadows”