Bivy Construction: Day 1 Learn Sewing

Lets just start this post out, I have no idea what I am doing, I just have an idea in my head and I need to get it out. I have embarked on the great journey of building my own bivy Sack.

We can start a whole debate on bivy vs tents, but that is not point of this post and all I will say about that debate is, SPEED and SIMPLICITY are the two reasons why I love bivy sacks.

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Always Have a Plan D

This past weekend, I had Friday off from work and me and my friends really wanted to go camping. We had epic plans and wanted to go hiking on something with spectacle views, we had our sites on Half Dome and Yosemite.

Plan A

Our first plan was to go to Half Dome, I was really excited but also nervous the crowds would spoil my opinion of Yosemite. I mostly like to go camping to get away, I loved the vast solitude I experienced at the Grand Canyon, and the beautiful untouched wilderness in the High Sierras.

Half Dome is this dream hike of mine, but that fact that permits are so hard to obtain make me weary of crowds. Either way, I still want to hike Half Dome, and me and my friends entered the lottery. According to the lottery rules you can enter yourself two days before the day you want to hike for the daily lottery. I stayed up till midnight to enter my permits on Thursday, for the hike on Saturday. Come Friday morning, I was greatly disappointed to see that I had not one the lottery and am now officially 0/2 for Half Dome. Plan A was a bust but we still wanted to go camping.

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Pillow Talk

Lets have a little pillow talk here on Cattywampur tonight. Ultra light backpackers are probably shuttering at the word “Pillow” mentioned in conjunction with camping, but I am all for them!

I have been there, trying to be super light but now I just go light where it makes sense. I do not mind sacrificing a little weight for some added comfort at night. I have tried using clothes jackets, and even my pack as a pillow in the past. Don’t get me wrong all those non pillows have all worked, but a good nights sleep on a dedicated pillow I think does a world of difference for you mentally on the trail.

Lets talk about what I think are two of the best backpacking pillows on the market today, the Nemo Fillo and the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium.

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2016 All Star Game and Home Run Derby

Growing up in New Jersey with parents from New York City, I have always grown up a huge baseball fan. I have been Yankee Fan since birth, and grew up in the Dynasty of Derek Jeter, Bernie Wiliams, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera! Boy was it a great time to grow up a Yankees fan!

I have seen some pretty amazing games growing up as a kid going to the original Yankee Stadium, the house that Ruth built; but I have never gone to the World Series, the All Star Game, or Home Run derby. Its always been a dream of mine to go to these three events, and in one week I was able to cross off both the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game off my list! Thanks to a very generous friend from back east, I was fortunate enough to make it to the 2016 Home Run Derby and All Star game in the beautiful San Diego Padres’ Petco Park!

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Not Quite the Holy Grayl of Water Purification

I really wanted to love it, I even stood up for it on Back Country Post Forums, before given it a real test. The Grayl Ultralight is a new water filter and purifier that works almost like a coffee press. For a quick and dirty of how it works check out their video (Or read my first impressions here):

The Grayl Ultralight intrigued me and I was excited that Grayl was gracious enough to give me a free purifier to test 6 days on the High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney. Before I got out on the trail, I did some in home tests and it worked great. It was simple, sturdy and filtered water quickly and easily. My first impressions of the Grayl Ultralight were superb!

But then I took it out on the trail, and filtered water from creeks, rivers, and Mt Lakes. Now all of these water sources on this trip were not very silty and the water was very clear. Unlike my Grand Canyon trip where I was filtering water from the silty Colorado River.  Basically all the water sources I hit on the High Sierra Trail should not have been to difficult for any water filter to cut through.

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 6

Today was finally the day, it was time to wake up and push my body one last time. After 5 days and 56.5 miles of beautiful views and hard hikes, it was time for 15.6 more. Today was the last day of the hike, the longest day of mileage and arguably the toughest day of climbing. It was finally time to climb Mt Whitney the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, standing a tall 14,505 feet. Between the snow, the climb and the altitude, this was going to be a tough day.

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 5

I woke up on the morning of day 5 happy to have not met any bears in my sleep. Day 5 started the climb toward Mt Whitney. We would hike from Junction Meadow to Guitar Lake, the last water source before climbing Mt Whitney. I thought it would be a hard day of climbing, but it really was not too bad of a day at all except for one water crossing.

The morning started off with a climb, and we slowly rose above the pine trees and were met once again met with amazing views of the Kern River Valley down below.

Our campsite last night was just below in the pine forest

Our campsite last night was just below in the pine forest

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 4

When we woke up at Moraine Lake we were treated to an awesome gift…. the water on the lake was absolutely still. The reflection of the mountains and trees in the lake was absolutely stunning.

Beautiful Moraine Lake

Beautiful Moraine Lake

I always wanted a sweet lake reflection picture so this, was a real treat to wake up to. Like I said in my last post, I would have been totally fine going absolutely no where this morning. I did not want to leave Moraine Lake, but Mt Whitney was calling my name.

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 3

On day 2, we did not make it to Arroyo junction as planned. Day three started with us waking up on top of the beautiful Kaweah Gap.


Today was supposed to be a recovery day. We were supposed to be waking up in Arroyo Junction and hiking 8 miles to Moraine Lake. We did not quite make it to Arroyo Junction and were waking up at Camp 2, and would have to hike to Arroyo Junction and continue past to Moraine Lake

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 2

After some much needed rest after day 1, we woke up in beautiful Bearpaw Meadow with the sun breaking through the pine trees canopy.


Day 2 of our High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney trip was when things started to get a bit challenging. Our goal was to wake up in Bearpaw Meadow and hike roughly 11 miles to Arroyo Junction. Looking at the map below, you can see our proposed hike for the day, and see where we actually stopped. We made it maybe a little over half way before it got late and we ended up making camp 2 on cliffs in Kaweah Gap above Precipice Lake.

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