When I am not working with technology, I can often be found in the backcountry; always happiest in the presence of mountains. In 2014 I successfully completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail with my three kids. I am the founder and principal developer of Outsideways. Husband of @reneetougas, and father of @celine, @mypictograph and @brienne.
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In preparation for this summers backpacking plans, I purchased two new pieces of gear today.
I got a pair of Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ poles to replace my very aged Black Diamond Carbon Cork poles. I really wanted a pair of Gossamer Gear poles, but could not justify the ridiculous expenses after the exchange rate, shipping costs, and duty fees.
The other purchase was a new GSI Pinnacle stove. These stoves are actually made by Kovea from Korea, who sponsored us on our AT thru-hike in 2014. We loved this stove, but sadly due to a bum canister last summer, both of our Kovea stoves got plugged (Never again Coleman!).
So, plans didn’t quite go as... planned. The original plan was to go to Stowe Vermont, primitive camp in Mt. Mansfield State Forest, and do some day hiking. Our car wasn’t so keen on the idea.
We have been noticing a squeak on the rear passenger side around the wheel. We have been so busy, we haven’t had time to get it looked at. On the way to our destination, the squeak started to get a lot worse so we took it in to a garage to get it looked at. Apparently one pf our break calipers is siezing, and the part could not be found on a Saturday. Thankfully we can still drive, but we have decided to find a campground right where we are and stay here instead. We will head back to Montreal tomorrow, it’s only a 45 minute drive.
So, here we are at a big campground on Lake Champlain in VT. We hear more Québécois than English. This kind of camping is not exactly our speed, but the weather is nice and it is good to be out of the city and sleeping in a tent.
Thanks to a last-minute tip from our friends at Les Randonnées du Pèlerin, I found out about a huge gear sale at La Cordée that was scheduled to happen this morning. I went in thinking it would be a reconnaissance mission to see if it was worth going to on a regular basis (the sale happens twice a year). I also had one thing on my would-be-nice-to-find-but-zero-expectations list: a winter sleeping bag. I was shocked to find exactly what I was looking for at an equally shocking price: A perfect condition Western Mountaineering winter sleeping bag at less than 20% the regular retail price. Score!
Today @reneetougas and I went out for a short urban hike to explore an area around Mont-Royal neither of us had been yet: the cemeteries. Mont-Royal, a large park in the middle of Montreal with tons of trails for hiking and running, has more of it's surface covered by burial plots than parks.