Washington, DCUSA 20036
February 22, 2013
Hey, I'm Mike. I recently moved to the DC area from San Antonio, Texas. I've a lot of experience backpacking with traditional gear, and really like long walks (though not on the beach - sand camping sucks).
I started backpacking with the BSA in high school, and ended up working at Philmont Scout Ranch for 4 summers in college. I've spent a lot of nights backpacking, honestly I lost track of the count years ago. :) Most of my experience has been in the southwest; New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas (I recently moved to DC from San Antonio). Coldest nights were probably in the single digits. My longest mileage day with a pack was probably around 20-25, but the pack was 50+ pounds. I like packing light, but haven't had a lot of opportunities to - when I worked for the BSA my pack weight was often around 25, I'd carry the least I could and still be a good example for the troops I was working with (as staff we had to carry a full tent, wear full boots, have a change of clothes, etc.). Since then I've pared it down, but haven't really invested in the gear I'd need to go sub-20.
As I've said, one of the reasons that I want to join DC UL is that I haven't done many recent backpacking trips. Plenty of base camping trips, but that isn't the same thing. As an example, my last camping trip was to the beach in Texas late last summer. We stayed down there with friends for two nights, completely base-camping it; people were everywhere during the day, we just about got blown off the beach by a storm, we broke a pole on our 6-person tent, and we got sand in everything (really). The swimming & waves (see: storm) were fantastic, and it was good to have the down time despite the people. I rate it a never-again success. :)
Marmot Nutshell 3-season tent. Western Mountaineering 20-degree down bag + Big Agnes Air Core pad. Either an Osprey Aether 60 or a pared-down battered old Gregory Banshee (~40L) depending on what I'm carrying.
I haven't gone on a good long-mile trip in a while and really want to get back into the swing of things. I mentioned in a previous question that I just moved to the DC area from San Antonio. One of the reasons I was excited to move here is the number and size of the public lands nearby. The parks around SATX are small - 15 mile circuit is the longest I could find within 4 hours. To get to a good sized park, you have to drive 8-9 hours to west Texas. So weekend trips weren't easy, and I got out of the habit of making the time. I'd like to join DC UL because I really like the UL philosophy. I'd always cut down my pack weight to the minimum (little did I know how not minimal it actually was ...) and added in a few things for comfort. I started reading up on UL, and I really want to put some of those ideas into practice. I'm hoping that apart from being a good way to explore the DC area, DC UL will be a good place to learn more.
Gossamer Gear's newsletter had a member of the DC UL group as their customer of the week - I saw the article, looked up the group, and wanted to join. :) (http://gossamergear.com/wp/buzz-blog/customer-of-the-week-alan-dixons-12-degree-35-mile-weekend-trip-with-hammock)