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Hiking Adventures


Here's my collection of true stories about hiking adventures, backpacking trips, and rafting down rivers (with a bicycle). The video below is from a trip up Waugh Mountain in October of 2011. The rest of my stories are on the pages described below, with perhaps a photo or two. Maybe they'll inspire you to try a few different kinds of wilderness adventures.

My Tears Froze at 20,600 Feet

Well, they would have frozen, if I had hadn't stopped crying before getting that high. It was fifteen degrees below zero at the summit. Climbing Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador was one of the most difficult things I've done. With only ten pounds on my back, it definitely qualifies as an ultralight backpacking/climbing adventure. You can read the whole story on the page; Ultralight Mountain Hiking and Mountaineering.

Backpacking by Moonlight

I took the long way to Mount Whitney (2 people per day instead of 200). In five days and nights I never saw a cloud in the sky. I awoke in the middle of the night , every night, to start down the trails by moonlight. This was my last hiking adventure with a heavy pack and hiking boots. I felt silly carrying a separate "summit pack" to take to the top, and soon after converted to ultralight backpacking. The story is on the page, California Hiking In The High Sierras.

Lightning at 14,000 Feet

My first hiking adventure with ultralight backpacking gear was in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. I had a light down bag, a tarp, and seven days of rain and snow. I managed to stay dry, hiked 110 miles. and bagged five "fourteeners" along the way. For the rest of the story, go to Colorado Hiking; Ultralight Backpacking in the Wenimuche Wilderness.

Lightning on the River

When people looked up from their breakfast, out into the dark morning, they saw me in a flash of lightning. I was floating by on the river in an inner tube, with an umbrella, during a thunderstorm. What could I do, but wave at them? "Unpredictable" has to be in the definition of adventure. You can read this story on the page, Dirtbagging.

Is That a Day Pack?

They were surprised to see an eleven pound backpack on the Appalachian Trail (this was many years ago). I was surprised to see six inches of snow on my tarp in May. This was a test for my down bag and running shoes too. To see how it turns out, go to North Carolina Hiking the Ultralight Way.

What's That Noise in My Head?

The first time I climbed a mountain, I learned that we had to carry our poop back down with us in a little bag. I also learned that it can be painful to have less oxygen in the air. My friend decided against becoming a mountaineer around 11,000 feet, but I went on without him. You'll find the story on the page, Climbing Mount Shasta.

Bicycling Down the River

Steve Gillman on Manistee RiverThirty miles on a six-dollar thrift-store bicycle, a mile pushing the bike through the woods, three hours hauling logs, and I was ready to raft down the river. Five hours floating, a mile pushing the bike through the woods, and I was ready to pedal the thirty miles home again. It was a long day. You can read about it here:
An Ultralight River Rafting Adventure.

Getting Lost on Lost Mountain

No joke; I was headed for Mout Aetna but ended up on top of Mount Lost Mountain. There are some good photos here showing the tarp and other equipment I use when backpacking. You can see those (and read the story) here: Gear Testing and Getting Lost.

Grassy Tundra in the Winter

I didn't expect to be hiking above tree line in winter on grassy meadows, but I decided to humor my friend who wanted to take a hike up high and possibly summit a peak or two. We were in running shoes and light jackets, and you can read the rest of the story right here: Winter Hiking in the Colorado Mountains.

Falling Rock

I have a photo of my feet hanging out over the edge of he summit of Mount Bushnell that goes along with this page: Scrambling.

Getting Close to Nature

Check out the photo of the mountain goat licking my hand on this page. It was on Mount Shavano in the Sawatch Range of Colorado: The Mountain Goat and I.

Four Feet of Snow

Deep snow in mid September stopped my ascent of Crestone Peak, but I camped near the South Colony Lakes, carrying just nine pounds total on my back for this trip. You can read about it here: Lightweight Hiking Story.

Come Rain or Snow

This page relates my exeprience in the Sangre de Christo Mountains, on a long day hike, and has some tips for this kind of trip: The Long Distance Day Hike.

More Hiking Adventures

Ultralight Hiking in Michigan: A mini hiking adventure to try out some new lightweight equipment and techniques in the woods and sand dunes along Lake Michigan.

I still have a few hiking adventures that I haven't written down. Like the one in the Yellowstone back country involving a May snowstorm and a grizzly bear. I also have a few adventures that I haven't experienced- yet! So be sure to check back for more in the future.


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The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Hiking Adventures