Shakedown – The Score

This is the first time I have not been hiking a bunch before a thru hike. Now, I have been running (read: slow jogging) but still I think I’m in need of some serious hiking miles. Lately all my hikes have been under 10 miles, at a leisurely pace I might add. This weekend calls for a Shakedown Hike!! (shakedown hike is a hike that’s usually done to test your gear before a long hike.) My gear is mostly dialed in, it’s more like a shakedown for body (read: feet). Actually I do need to try out a hiking outfit I’m not totally sold on yet. Sorry to say the Walmart dress, from last year, did not make the cut this time around! Oh and I really want to try out my new…….wait for it….backpack!!! I’ve had the same backpack for the last three years, a ULA Circuit, it took a beating but got me through.

I toyed with the idea of going with a different pack, nope. See if ain’t broke don’t fix it. Your pack is an extension of you, the carrier of all the things. The ULA Circuit was recommended to me, so I got it and boom! Loved it. I’m not a gear nut, I just know what works and what I like. “Blue” as I called her was a great pack, we will roll again.

But for this next adventure I’m rolling with “Black Bird” (I got the black, it also comes in green, orange, red, and multi-camo!)


my new baby!!


ULA Circuit 

  • weight: 2 lbs 9 oz
  • S-curved style shoulder straps
  • adjustable hip belt (no rubbing)
  • the 2 zip pockets fit my phone, snacks, chap-stick, knife, stuff I need to easily get to
  • plenty of adjustable straps (because sometimes you need to readjust your load)
  • hand loops (love these when I’m not using trekking poles)
  • side pockets that snug fit a water bottle or expand for tent poles, hat, gummie bears!
  • One hydration pocket and one small pocket for valuables in the interior
  • roll down top and a bunch of external attachment points

It’s so clean and nice I hate to take it outside. Yeah, right. I think it’s gonna be a big mile weekend! I’ll let you know how it goes!! Happy Trails!

Happy 4th from the PCT

Hope everyone is having a great 4th of July weekend! I decided at the last minute to…..go hiking, surprise! Well when I checked online all the camp sites were reserved, but Friday morning I called and they guy says “well we have a few that are first come first served.” Ok then I say I’m on my way, so I hopped in the car and headed over to Mt. Laguna. Now what he failed to mention was it was a cash only camp site, agh. (there is not a single ATM on the mountain, can-not-believe) So I had to run back down to Pine Valley for cash. The whole while people are passing me going up the mountain. I’m kinda freaking out because I’m thinking there will not be a single site when I get back. But a little fancy driving (read:speeding)I made it back and yeah got one of the last 2!!

After quickly setting up my tent I grabbed my day pack and trekked back to pay my camp fee. (again they should mention you will need your license plate number, whatever I just wrote gray cube and shoved it the box, seriously). I couldn’t figure out the ‘back way’ to get to the trail so I just started walking down the road. Glad I did, ended up stopping at Laguna Mountain Sports & Supply. What was right there when I opened the door….my ULA backpack! It was a sign!!!

Working there (on the 4th no less) was Dave, great guy. He sized me up and got me fitted with the right belt. It is so awesome (wish it were pink but purple will do), man it feels like a day pack compared to my other one. I went with the ULA Circuit, wanted the CDT but base weight is a concern. On the upside it came with all the stuff hand grips, loops for my poles, straps (lot of straps) for my bottles.

I’ll be going back to Laguna Mountain Sports & Supply they have all the stuff and then some. Plus Dave said he would do a shakedown (basically where he goes through my stuff and cut unnecessary weight).

Anywho, through my day pack in my new backpack and hit the trail. I headed north on the PCT for about 7 miles then headed back. Found the ‘backway’ into my campsite had few beers and watched the kiddos play. Man kids love camping.

mt laguna                      pct imon                                 mypak

The next morning I tossed all my stuff in the car then headed out on the trail again, this time south. Got in 8 miles! What a great area to hike in, the views a awesome! At one point everything was just right, I was feeling good, high energy, music was flowing….and I thought man I could hike for hours like this! That’s a good feeling!