This time of year potential thru-hikers are pouring over gear lists, debating pack weights, and polling all the previous thru-hikers they know for tips and tricks to make their long distance trip a success. ALDHA-West (American Long Distance Hiking Association - West) knows this, and for the second year is hosting a Ruck on February 28 in Cascade Locks, Oregon, to not only help future hikers prepare, but to poll the knowledge of their membership (these folks have many many thousands of miles under their belts).
“As ALDHA-West moves into our 20th year of promoting fellowship and communication among long distance hikers and those that support them, we are happy to engage our members who combined have hundreds of thousands of trail miles among them, with those new to the sport,” commented ALDHA-West President Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa. “Whether you want to hike 40 miles or 3,000 miles in 2015, if you plan to be on trail this summer than one of these events are the place to be. We'll be having a great day of education, fun, and camaraderie.”
This week we catch up with hiker Will Klein for our 10 Questions post. Will not only loves to get outside himself, but it's often a family affair with three generations of Kleins hitting the trail to soak in the outdoor goodness.
1) How did you get started backpacking?
I got started backpacking, when I noticed that my Dad and uncle were having fun without me. They got me into it.
2) What is your favorite piece of gear?
My favorite piece of gear is my Six Moon Designs Fusion 65 pack. Packs very nice.
3) What is your favorite hike?
So far I haven't been on any big trips. I just do local Southern California hikes. Since it's my first season, and waiting for spring.
You have completed your ultralight set-up, now it’s time to hit the trail, but unless you have had your sights set on a particular long distance trail, where to go?
Midstate Trail, 95 miles, Massachusetts
Did you know we have two Midstate trails in the U.S.? Yes, confusing, especially since they are so close to each other: one is in Massachusetts (the Midstate Trail) the other in Pennsylvania (the Mid State Trail).
The Midstate Trail travels 95 miles from the northern terminus at the New Hampshire border just north of the summit of Mount Watatic (the last undeveloped mountain east of the Connecticut River), and stretches to Rhode Island through the gentle hills of central Massachusetts. A mere 45 miles west of Boston, the trail successfully skirts many cities to provide a secluded and wild experience.
Runner and fastpacker Ben Luedke has spent most of his adult life exploring the mountains on foot. Ben is an avid blogger on all things trail running (Running the Cascades) and founder of the Seattle Mountain Running Group. For 2014 he decided to find and test some of the best fastpacking gear on the market and wrote up this review for Trail Runner: 5 Fastpacking Essentials, Reviewed for Trail Runner.
We caught up with Ben to find out more about his fastpacking progression and how likes the Flight 30 for his runs. His typical fastpack involves 2-4 days in the backcountry with a base weight of 10-12 pounds (excluding water).
A backpacker since college and a trail runner for the last 7 years, Ben, like many, found the combination of running and backpacking to be a game changer. “When I first heard about fastpacking, I knew I'd stumbled into something special. By combining backpacking and long-distance trail running, I could see more of the backcountry than I otherwise would, while moving quickly and getting a good workout,” he said.
If you were late to check Facebook the week of December 22, you probably missed snagging a deeply discounted Six Moon Designs’ Lunar Duo-Outfitter. The inventory of cosmetically flawed tents was gone in days, and due to the clever idea of donating the proceeds to the three long trail organizations, the sale raised $10,230.
“I had the inventory of flawed Lunar Duos for a long time and wasn’t sure what to do with them,” said Six Moon Designs Owner and Founder Ron Moak. “I had the thought for the sale on Saturday, and Monday I put it up on the web. We were expecting it to sell in a couple months, but they went out in a couple of days!”
Making Lemons out of Lemonade indeed. As soon as the sale finished the checks were in the mail: $4,510 for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), $3,370 for the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) and $2,350 for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC).
“The support from Six Moon Designs demonstrates their commitment to our nation’s long distance trails and their commitment to support our efforts to ensure that the associated organizations remain strong and vibrant,” commented Executive Director for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition Teresa Martinez. “This program came as such a wonderful and welcome surprise and we are grateful for being included in the effort. We thank everyone who supported this effort through their purchase of a shelter and these kind of win-wins are the kind of things we love to support!”
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