Blowdowns & wildfires: Pfiffner Traverse conditions update

Several sections of the Pfiffner Traverse were significantly impacted by wildfires and storms in fall 2021, including both on- and off-trail portions, and both the Primary Route and Section Hikes. These events caused an official area closure by the National Park Service and de facto closures on NPS and US Forest Service lands because of…

Toilet paper-less: My evolution in butt cleaning

When I began backpacking nearly twenty years ago, I used toilet paper exclusively for cleaning my butt after pooping, just like I did at home. I’ve pooped outside thousands of times since then, and now prefer to do the exact opposite: I use no toilet paper at all. Instead, I rely on natural materials, a…

Bear spray: Three proper carrying methods

Our Brooks Range trips start next week, so both clients and guides are in the final stages of their preparations. One question that hit my inbox this morning was: What is your recommended method of carrying bear spray? This is a great question to ask before a trip, because your options may be limited or…

Review: Somewear Global Hotspot || 4.0 oz with seamless messaging

For years Garmin has dominated the satellite messaging category with its family of inReach devices. But competitors have emerged, thankfully, and it’s helping to keep prices down, drive product innovation, and perhaps improve customer service. For nearly three weeks this spring I used the Somewear Global Hotspot ($280, 4 oz/113 grams), one of these newer…

Wanted: Permanent home for Esme, 7 year-old foster cat

Esmerelda (“Esme”), our 7-year-old foster cat, really likes it here, and we really like her, too. But it’s time to find her a more permanent home — we achieved our goal in getting her out of a high-stress setting with a toddler and dog, but we’re not ready yet for a “foster fail” after losing…

Livestream with Stringbean, April 9: New Arizona Trail FKT

On Friday, April 9, 2021 at 6pm MDT, I will be hosting a livestream with Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”), who earlier this week set a new supported Arizona Trail FKT in 13+ days, averaging 60-70 miles per day. If you were following his journey on Instagram, Strava, or YouTube, it already probably struck you as pretty…

Video tutorial: Research historical temperature & precipitation data

In a recent post on my favorite resources for researching the conditions that I will likely encounter on a backpacking trip, I plugged the Environmental Centers for Environmental Information, which tracks temperature and precipitation data for thousands of locations throughout the United States. It’s an extremely helpful website, but it can be difficult to navigate…

In celebration of Oden

In late-November I tried calling Dr. Jason Cordeiro to schedule an at-home euthanasia appointment for Oden, our beloved 17 year-old orange tabby cat. I couldn’t hold myself together long enough to leave a coherent voice message, so we confirmed over text a date for the following week. But Oden bounced back before that dreaded day…