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Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary

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Offline Al

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #150 on: August 25, 2008, 11:25:47 PM »

Some posts don't require responses.  There is no debate.  You are da man!  I just want to know if you were able to stand up your socks at night by the 5th day?

Al

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #151 on: August 26, 2008, 06:52:54 AM »
Quote
Guess this isn't nearly as interesting as the off-topic trip report, but I'll soldier on ....
OK Jeff, I'll play

Having lived off of iodine tablets for nearly 10 days, I will probably make them my primary means of treating water from now on. The taste isn't too iodine-y, the stains in the bottles are liveable, and they are extremely lightweight.

I know we have covered this all on the board before but I would again encourage you to try Aquamira or one of the other chlorine dioxide treatments. Faster (15 minutes) and no after taste or discoloring and better/wider number of water bugs if is effective against (Crypto for one). Not quite as light or cheap as your 0.2 oz. you carried but so much lighter than all the other pumps, pens, etc.

I look forward to further post trip analysis, thanks.

temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline bdann

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #152 on: August 26, 2008, 10:11:49 AM »

I know we have covered this all on the board before but I would again encourage you to try Aquamira or one of the other chlorine dioxide treatments. Faster (15 minutes) and no after taste or discoloring and better/wider number of water bugs if is effective against (Crypto for one). Not quite as light or cheap as your 0.2 oz. you carried but so much lighter than all the other pumps, pens, etc.

I'll second that, I've been using these - http://www.rei.com/product/736898.  No taste, no stains. 
WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #153 on: August 26, 2008, 12:19:00 PM »
Some posts don't require responses.  There is no debate.  You are da man!  I just want to know if you were able to stand up your socks at night by the 5th day?

Al

Thanks Al -- didn't mean my comment to be taken that way. It's simply not as interesting when there's no photos, no real story, no drama of discovery. Also a lot less fun to write. It feels more a roll call (In other words, it's like the Phantom Menace as compared to Empire Strikes Back).

Anyway, as to the socks, I was able to launder them using a two-cycle process that took out most of the funk and made them acceptable for the duration. Take two Large ziploc big bags and put in about a half gallon of water in each. Put a few drops of your favorite backcountry soap in the first one and slosh it around. Insert a few clothing items and knead. You will notice the water will immediately turn gross. This is the wash cycle. Wring the clothes out to leave as much as the gross water behind, then dunk 'em in the other bag. Knead. This is the rinse cycle. Wring them out really good and find a spot to dry. Wash things which touch your face first, then hands, then upper body, then feet, then lower body, as the water gets progressively grosser as you go along. Discard the gray water gracefully.

I know we have covered this all on the board before but I would again encourage you to try Aquamira or one of the other chlorine dioxide treatments. Faster (15 minutes) and no after taste or discoloring and better/wider number of water bugs if is effective against (Crypto for one). Not quite as light or cheap as your 0.2 oz. you carried but so much lighter than all the other pumps, pens, etc.

I'm going to look more closely at the non-device treatment option. Getting to drink the water faster is a big plus, and not turning the insides of my reservoirs a tobacco-brown color is also a nice feature. I'll check it out.

For the nit-pickers out there, I noticed my weight total includes the Esbit fuel, which should fall under Consumables, not Items Packed. I will correct in the next exciting installment.  :eusa_dance:
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #154 on: August 26, 2008, 06:50:21 PM »
I know we have covered this all on the board before but I would again encourage you to try Aquamira or one of the other chlorine dioxide treatments. Faster (15 minutes) and no after taste or discoloring and better/wider number of water bugs if is effective against (Crypto for one). Not quite as light or cheap as your 0.2 oz. you carried but so much lighter than all the other pumps, pens, etc

I would strongly recommend this solution as well.  However, on our last BiBe trip one of the small squeeze bottles developed a crack & got very leaky.  We had backups in a cache, and didn't end up needing to treat any water on that particular trip, so I guess we dodged a bullet.  Even with this one failure I still wouldn't change from the Aquamira system...

I've enjoyed reading all the installments Jeff -- quite a trip!
John & Tess

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Offline russco

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #155 on: August 26, 2008, 10:46:36 PM »
Jeff, thanks for taking the time to put this all down in text. The information that you have spread before us is invaluable..I have been gleaning great info off of all your hard work. Thanks! :cool-thumb: Aquick semi related question for you pertaining to the water treatment issue. I have a Grand Canyon trip along a section of trail where my only source of water will be the silt-laden Colorado river..I know you have taken water from the muddy Rio grande and was wanting to get your take on purification. Would you decant the water overnight and then just use something like the iodine or aquamira or go ahead and filter the water off the top? I have a MSR miniworks with the ceramic field cleanable cartridge. Cheers!
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Offline mule ears

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #156 on: August 27, 2008, 07:47:41 AM »
I have a Grand Canyon trip along a section of trail where my only source of water will be the silt-laden Colorado river. Would you decant the water overnight and then just use something like the iodine or aquamira or go ahead and filter the water off the top? I have a MSR miniworks with the ceramic field cleanable cartridge. Cheers!

Russco,
if it is really muddy you will want to let it settle (over night is best). You can speed up the settling using alum as described here and then filter it with a pump or use aquamira or iodine.  If it is not too bad you can prefilter it with bandana's or paper coffee filters and then treat.  I used to use a Sweet Water filter with a field cleanable cartridge but still used a prefilter as it would clog like crazy if I didn't.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #157 on: August 27, 2008, 09:24:48 AM »
Jeff, thanks for taking the time to put this all down in text. The information that you have spread before us is invaluable..I have been gleaning great info off of all your hard work. Thanks! :cool-thumb: Aquick semi related question for you pertaining to the water treatment issue. I have a Grand Canyon trip along a section of trail where my only source of water will be the silt-laden Colorado river..I know you have taken water from the muddy Rio grande and was wanting to get your take on purification. Would you decant the water overnight and then just use something like the iodine or aquamira or go ahead and filter the water off the top? I have a MSR miniworks with the ceramic field cleanable cartridge. Cheers!

ME's right on. A coffee filter helps as a pre-filter, but the water will still be silty. Letting it settle out will help. Whether you use your pump or not, I would capture the water in gallon-sized ziplocs and let it settle for at least an hour or two, preferably out of the sun. Actually, any time I use a pump, I put the water in a ziploc bag first. It prevents the always-awkward acrobat-act of pumping water out of a stream while balancing yourself, your water bottle, and anything else you have on never-level rocks.

As for the Rio, I took it from a fast-moving (for it, anyway) stretch and found little gunk suspended in it.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #158 on: August 27, 2008, 01:19:45 PM »
If the water is pre-filtered and treated, why don't you just drink it?  :eusa_think:

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #159 on: August 27, 2008, 02:24:46 PM »
If the water is pre-filtered and treated, why don't you just drink it?  :eusa_think:

Right on.

I think the question here is, how to deal with sediment suspended in the water. The Colorado in the Grand Canyon has lots of it, and chemical treatments don't remove any of it. A pump would remove it, but clogging is a distinct possibility.  A pre-filter, like a coffee filter, will extend the life of a pump by removing some of the sediment before it reaches the element inside. Absent a pump, letting the water sit still for a few hours or overnight will permit much of the sediment to fall out of solution, clearing the water. Gravity would filter the water, but it still would need to be treated. If you're using a pump but have no prefilter, then letting water sit overnight so sediment falls out of solution would prolong the period before it clogs. I hope this CLEARED things up. :eusa_clap:



Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #160 on: August 27, 2008, 05:16:18 PM »
I hear ya, but I thought we were talking about chemical treatment...nothing to clog.  If that's not what we're talking about, then my apologies. 

It does, however, sound like y'all are taking issue with drinking a little treated and cleaned sediment.  If that's the case, then perhaps something like a tampon might be what you need.  :icon_wink:

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Offline russco

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #161 on: August 27, 2008, 05:42:13 PM »
May be a playtex for me cuz I am only going to drink sand if I have to/ :icon_rolleyes: I appreciate the info as I haven't been able to acquire any from anyone who has actually filtered decanted muddy water before. Thanks! And Uh allow me to apologize for straying off topic! :icon_smile:
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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #162 on: September 04, 2008, 10:40:43 PM »
This installment of gear discussion will focus on the gadgets I took with me to Yosemite. Although I've carried heavier electronic gear, I had never carried as many battery-powered devices on a backpacking trek before. Unfortunately, they used various kinds of batteries -- AA, AAA, and proprietary -- so I had to bring along a herd of extra batteries and chargers.

CAMERA GEAR


Back in March, I wondered whether my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT and its associated gear was the right choice to take to Yosemite. It had been my camera of choice for several backpacking treks and had performed well. Collectively, this outfit -- including a 20mm lens (effectively 32mm) and a 28-200mm zoom (45-320mm) -- weighs 6 lbs 6.5 oz, about 20 ounces less than my pack, shelter, and sleeping bag combined.

I took the Powershot G9 to Big Bend in April as a test run for Yosemite. It was in every way better than I hoped it would be in terms of performance and weight. I was able to attach the smaller camera case to my sternum strap; the SLR case rode with my hipbelt, preventing my pack from ever being quite snug enough around the hips. The smaller tripod could ride in my pants pocket. There was no need to carry the second lens. The G9 outfit weighs in at 1 lb 9.5 oz / 717g, a whopping reduction of 4 lbs 13 oz, or about $8.50 per ounce reduced.

The G9 shoots in RAW mode, uses a 12 megapixel sensor, has a 35-180mm zoom, and employs image stabilization in the lens. The result was sharper photos than I could take with the Digital Rebel, and for a lot less weight and hassle.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES


The Garmin GPS Map 60CSx has been a mixed back. Had it to do over again, I would have purchased a smaller, cheaper unit. The "Map" in its name refers to its capacity as a mapping GPS. Maps for different parts of the country come on microSD chips (about the size of my pinky nail) which contain various levels of topographic detail. Unfortunately, these cost extra, about $100 a pop. Also unfortunate was the fact that I did not have the foresight to order the one for California in advance. The REI in Austin does not carry it, and the one in Sacramento was sold out. Had I not uploaded a few dozen waypoints into it beforehand, the GPS would have displayed a continually blank screen, interrupted only by the dotted path it recorded of my footfalls. In other words, owing to operator error, it was not a mapping GPS unit.

This offense is of course not on the GPS unit's conscience, and thus forgivable under the circumstances (Not so sure about that woeful REI in Sacramento). However, I can't forgive its failure to accurately record time stamps on my track logs. When I got home, I was horrified to discover that every step I took in Yosemite occurred at 6 p.m. on December 30, 1989. So much for geotagging the 1,500 photos I took. I have not looked into whether this was operator error, a misunderstanding of the unit's settings, or its own failure. I'll blame the unit until I'm proven stupid.

So, aside from superior reception of the satellite signals, the unit did nothing that my old, non-mapping GPS was able to do, and that unit was at least $200 less and a couple ounces lighter. The larger screen was appreciated, and I only lost reception heading out of Glen Aulin and during my dayhike in Little Yosemite Valley. Its clip attached to my shirt pocket, so it stayed right where I could see it.

The voice recorder was an experiment. I've taken little notebooks on every trip with mixed results. Some trips, I go into pretty good detail, while others barely note that I was even there. I spoke into the recorder on most days, usually 5-7 minutes at a time, and ended up with a pretty good vocal record of the trip. Of course, I haven't listed to it since I got home, but I plan to use the recordings to add some details to the trip report eventually. The WS-110's small size, light weight, and ease of use (and cheap price on Amazon) made it a good choice. It rode in the camera bag's accessory pocket.

The SteriPEN's miserable performance was discussed in an earlier installment. I list it here only because it was an electronic gadget, at least when it worked. It could otherwise be listed as a heavy, plastic carrying case for four spare AA batteries.

There are more minimalist lights out there than the Petzl Tikka Plus, but I like it the best. It's comfortable, reliable, durable, and easy to operate. Pressing down on an obvious rubber button cycles through three brightness settings and a strobe light. Rarely, the AAA batteries get out of alignment, causing it to fail. This is easily fixed, except in pitch darkness, but that's been the only issue I've ever had with it. The Photon Micro-Light was carried as a backup light, and it's only real use was on the Half Dome hike, before the sun came up. It also has only one button, but many more functions, so I never remember how to operate it. The instruction card weighs as much as the light.

The cell phone was my means of letting the world know I was still alive. It was lighter than my Blackberry, used other technologies than GSM, took (bad) photos, and had longer battery life than the Blackberry. I was able to send a photo during a hail storm. It also doubled as a clock in the middle of the night.

The final piece of electronica was an iPod Shuffle, which is about the size of a postage stamp. I brought it primarily for the travel days on planes, trains, and buses. It was the first time I'd ever taken a music player on a hiking/backpacking trek. I listened to it for an hour in camp at Glen Aulin and again in Little Yosemite Valley. A little music isn't a bad thing, especially after several days out. At barely over an ounce, it is easily taken, and I probably will from now on.


BATTERIES AND CHARGERS

  • Promaster XtraPower SLR battery recharger, 6.0 oz / 170g ($99)
  • Promaster XtraPower AC plug, 3.4 oz / 97g
  • Cell phone charger, 2.2 oz / 73g
  • iPod mini charger, 0.2 oz / 6g ($4)
  • 4 spare AAA lithium batteries 1.1 oz / 31g
  • 4 spare AA lithium batteries 2.1 oz / 60g
  • 2 AA lithium batteries in the GPS
  • 4 AA lithium batteries in the SteriPEN
  • 3 AAA lithium batteries in the Petzl Tikka
  • AAA lithium battery in the voice recorder
  • Canon NB-2LH battery in the camera
  • 2 spare Canon NB-2LH batteries
  • Sony Ericsson BST-36 in the cell phone
  • Watch battery in the Photon Micro-Light
  • Apple battery in the iPod

Yup, lots of batteries. The Promaster XtraPower is capable of charging five of the camera batteries in the field before it needs to be recharged. I would have sent its AC plug ahead to San Francisco but ended up not shipping a "bounce box," so I had to carry it. That turned out fortuitous, as the XtraPower came up 1 charge short. I had hoped it would also recharge the iPod via the mini USB charger, but it did not. I suspect the iPod must have a powered charger, like a computer, before it will accept a charging.

The cell phone held a charge all the way back to Yosemite Valley, through 10 days of a few calls, some pics, a couple dozen text messages, and about as many clock checks. It needed to be recharged at Yosemite Lodge and probably would not have been functioning on the trip to San Francisco.

I ended up replacing the batteries in the GPS twice, getting about 3 1/2 days for each pair. I did not need to replace the AAA batteries in either the light or the voice recorder. The AA batteries in the SteriPEN came home nearly fully charged. I used all three Canon batteries. Those batteries are 44g each, so the XtraPower turned out to be a wash, weightwise (slightly heavier, when the power cord is added), but less expensive than buying 4 more batteries at $40-50 or so apiece. On shorter trips, I would simply go with another battery, but I ended up needing seven batteries' worth of power while hiking in Yosemite, and an eighth after getting off the trail, so it was a good idea to bring it.

The other batteries were included within the weights of their respective devices.

WEIGHT SUMMARY

Camera Gear: 1 lb 9.5 oz / 717g ($738)
Electronic Devices (excluding SteriPEN): 1 lb 13.8 oz / 478g ($582)
Chargers and Spare Batteries: 15.4 oz / 437g ($126)

Running Total, Items Worn or Carried: 6 lbs 10.6 oz / 3,022g
Running Total, Items Packed: 13 lbs 13.3 oz / 6,273g
Running Total, All Items: 20 lbs 7/9 oz / 9,295g ($2,988)

To be continued.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 01:43:18 PM by RichardM »
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Al

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #163 on: September 04, 2008, 11:29:48 PM »
Jeff, an incredible wealth of information.  We are in your debt. 

Did you bring a compass and paper maps in addition to the GPS?

Al
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 11:34:52 PM by Al »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Yosemite in July - 10-day Backpack Itinerary
« Reply #164 on: September 05, 2008, 07:01:35 AM »
Quote
I plan to use the recordings to add some details to the trip report
:icon_eek:

Jeff,
have you had any problems with the lithium batteries in the Tikka Plus? Because it doesn't have "regulated" circuits it can do weird things. I have had it cut out on me on winter trips with new batteries I think because of this. I changed to a Princeton Tec Quad because it has regulation and have not had any problems yet. Like you I carry a photon like as a back up.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

 


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