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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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.
I have a new pair of trail shoes for 2018: the Xero Shoes Terraflex. It is about time these guys made something a little more backpacking worthy! They have nice lugs (not unlike the Vivobarefoot chevron lug), a nice flexible outsole, and maintain a smilier design to the Prio which is probably my current favourite minimalist running shoe. I added a pair of elastic laces, which is a minimum requirement on all my sports shoes these days.
We shall see if this overtakes the Altra Superior, which is my current trail favourite. Currently, one strike against the Terraflex, is that it does not have a built-in velcro patch for my Dirty Girl gaiters.
My new backpack just arrived today!
My Gossamer Gear Mariposa has seen many days on the trail, and is in need of retirement. I decided to try something new this time: The ULA Ohm 2.0, which ticks all the boxes:
I am looking forward to taking it out this season!
Since our AT thru-hike in 2014, my backpacking gear has been in varying states of decay. I have slowly started to replace things as funds permit and as I find things on sale. I recently replaced two of my most-used-in-all-seasons pieces of gear: my cool weather hoodie, and my mid-weight puffy coat.
My current hoodie has a permanent hiker stink, which makes me smell like a thru-hiker within 30 minutes or so of moderate activity. That has been replaced with an Icebreaker Merinoloft Ellipse Long Sleeve half zip hood. I am hoping that having some merino in the mix will help keep the funk out longer than the synthetic one it replaces.
My current puffy coat (a Rab Xeon) has started to fall apart (after having survived the entire AT) and is being handed down to @mypictograph who will finish the job. That has been replaced by an Arc'Teryx Atom LT hoody. Based on an excellent article posted on Backpacking Light recently about synthetic jackets, it looks like the installation in this one should also be much more durable than that of the Rab.
Lucky for me, I was able to find both of these on sale at a substantial discount.
Back at the base-camp cabin for a quick debrief, some cold beer, a couple bottles of wine, and a hot meal prepared by Katie (on the left in the green Jacket). Katie is responsible for organization and administration of the trips offered by Randonnées du Pèlerin. We really appreciated all the hard work she put into making this trip a success.
Day 3 was an easy day. We got up, had a leisurely breakfast, then headed on the most direct route back to the trailhead - about a 3.5 hour trip, including a prayer stop along the way. The weather was cool, but not cold, with some sunshine, a little snow, and generally good spirits all around.
Upon reaching our destination, a delicious hot Easter meal (including beer and wine) was waiting for us, prepared by our hosts. It was a fantastic way to end the trek. These guys really know how to pull off a good great trip!
Shortly after our arrival at the cabin, @brienne made short work of picking her bunk (with a nice bonus: a mattress!), unpacking her sleeping bag, and getting settled- in with a bag of fruit snacks to rest her tired legs.