When a Through Hiker Repacks Your Backpack

There is a big difference between the backpacker that is interested in getting out into nature for the weekend and a Pacific Crest Trail Through Hiker. (See my Backpack List.) A PCT Through Hiker, such as my friend Ahmad, has a goal in mind- trekking more than 2,635 miles from the Mexican Boarder to the Canadian Boarder.

That type of person will spend approximately 5 months, maybe more, in a tent. So there should be a difference and for that rare breed every ounce counts. They analyze every item and cut weight to the bone certainly sacrificing comfort, but even going as far as pushing the limits of safety, carrying only the amount of food and water to get them through to the next re-supply, which many times can be a hardship. Top Ramen dinner which are cheap and light food source, (lol, if you can call that food), just add water, adds carbs, but certainly not a lot of nutrition and then when they arrive at a re-supply they gorge themselves with high fat burgers and greasy fries because they are starving. Their packs and tents are different. Their equipment is ultra-lite and in backpacking most of the time that means mo-money, mo-money. Through Hikers cut corners everywhere even cutting the handle off of their toothbrush, getting rid of any cases, containers or bags in lieu of baggies. What I am trying to get across is this is a whole other ball of wax.

So when I met up with my PCT Through Hiker friend Ahmad in Southern Oregon for a very challenging adventure to the summit of Mt McLoughlin, North of Medford, Oregon I had only a inkling of an idea of what I was getting into.

As soon as he saw my pack he practically died, ”OMG what do you have in there, this is like 50 pounds!” A bit of an exaggeration I thought. “I know 50 pounds, and this is 50 pounds”, Ahmed demanded. This is double what I am carrying, he went on. He immediately started tossing things out of my pack and into the air. Extra shirt for the next day- don’t need that… underwear for tomorrow throw that out! First aid kit, I have one- dump yours. “Yeah, yours is a bandaid in a baggie!”, I good-naturedly complained. You must checkout the video clip of this episode- it is fun, a little tongue in check, but certainly Ahmad was trying to get a point across, even through the hilarity of it all.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel

Once you have checked out the video then I will go on record here and now to say there are definitely pluses and minus in ultra-lite backpacking. The pluses are you can hike faster, further and more comfortably with less weight on your back. The minus that I found were, in my mind, quite detrimental.

You will have to see the post at ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ – Oregon Hiking, (Coming Soon), to discover that when Mt McLoughlin was rated VERY HARD that was no joke and when compared with hikes I am familiar with rated at HARD… this hike wasn’t just harder, but doubly hard. What I am trying to convey is that this was much more of an endeavor then either of us were counting on. So as you viewed items getting tossed out of my pack there were, sure as shooting, things that I needed that I did not have, putting us in a tough situation at best. Luckily it was no more than that.

Lessons Learned

So unpronounced to my friend, I snuck a few things back into my pack. The reason I did that is I know that the last thing you want to have is clothing that is damp with perspiration as the temperatures plummet below freezing. I had a change of clothing, which was highly beneficial, because hypothermia is serious. Perhaps a Through Hike can train themselves to opperate on less water, but dehydration is not something to fool around with, so I brought the water I thought that I needed. (Which as it turned out, still was not enough). I then dried out clothes in my tent, as when we unexpectedly had to spend another night out in the wilderness, I needed dry clothes.

That is right… another night out in the woods. As I said, this adventure was more of an adventure than we had planned for… Because of the extra night we had to ration food and water, and actually ran out.

My friend had ditched his pack before we made the final push scrambling over rock and skree to the summit. On my way down my finger tips were numb from the cold rock. The wind and weather added to the chill and at one point a cloud appeared like it could bring precipitation, but we were lucky that it did not wrap around to our position. I was glad that I had brought my backpack with warmer clothing, water and a snack. Because I had suffered on the way up due to the tough trek and the altitude, things were not progressing as quickly as my friend would have liked. Then with the footing being treacherous, the descent was also slow going as I was not about to take a chance of a fall or sprained ankle. All of this led to hiking more than an hour in the pitch black, deep forest with one head lamp because it was thought that it wasn’t needed. Tired, hungry, and thirsty we made the decision to campout another night and hike out at first light.

So my point is when you skimp on things due to weight there could be a cost to pay… Luckily we paid it with just a little discomfort. These are all things that you should weigh out for yourself when you are ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.

When this is your goal packing light does seem to be advantageous.
Weekend Warrior Backpacker
A Through Hiker’s Set Up
You can see the difference in the tents. In the foreground a standard backpacking tent. In the background a Through Hiker’s Tent
The forest did not tolerate frailty of body or mind. Show your weakness, and it would consume you without hesitation.” – Tahir Shah

Thanks for joining my friend Ahmad and myself as we were ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in the wilds of Oregon. Hopefully we gave you somethings to ponder regarding the fine line between the balance of Ultra-Lite Backpacking and Safety. Of course it makes sense to carry less weight on your back for a multitude of reasons, but you have to counter balance that with being smart and should keep in mind that things might not go exactly as planned. We invite you to checkout the menu above to gain ideas on places you might want to discover during your quest to balance out the everyday hectic lifestyle we all encounter and the peace and serenity provided through profound experiences in nature and how those outings can quiet the mind and nourish the soul. Go to SHOP APPAREL for your adventure wear needs. Don’t forget to LIKE. COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Purusing Balance Through Adventure

ELECTROLYTES and Hiking

DISCUSSION WITH THROUGH HIKER FRESH OFF THE PCT

My trail friend, Ahmed Mohtaseb, joined me recently for a great hike in Topanga State Park. While on the hike he broke out Electrolyte tablets and started talking about the benefits it has while hiking. I have always just felt keep it plain, simple and clean with water. However, I certainly was interested in what he had to say since he had just came off of the Pacific Crest Trail and had learned a lot of “Tricks and Tips” while on the trail with a lot of very serious like minded people.

Electrolytes Benefits While Hiking

  • Better Hydration
  • Aides in Muscle Recovery
  • Better Sleep
  • Better Water Absorption vs Flushing Through Your System
  • Better Water Retention
  • More Energetic
  • Tablets Save Money Over Bottle Sports Drinks
  • Tablets Healthier Then Popular Leading Power Sport Drinks
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Interview
“Walking is the best medicine.” – Hippocrates

Thanks for joining me and my trail friend Ahmed, PCT Through Hiker, for this discussion regarding electrolytes and the benefits that they might add to your hiking. I suggest trying them out for yourself and then report back what you discover. I will say for myself, I think that they did help. I had hiked the day before in hot conditions over 7 miles, then on this day we hiked around 9 miles on a trail rated Hard. I felt good during the hike and again the following day, so I then went mountain biking. Sometimes after long strenuous hikes I feel like I should take a break this was not the case in this instance. If you found this article beneficial then we would appreciate a LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. During the electrolyte discussion I was decked out in Adventure Wear from PBTA SHOP APPAREL. If you checkout the menu above you will find some ideas where you might take your Electrolytes and go for a hike. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

2 Night Backpacking Gear Check Off

 “Carry as little as possible, but choose that little with care.” – Earl Shaffer

Thanks for joining me for another issue of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Hiking and Backpacking 101. I hope you will find this 2 night backpacking gear list, that I use, helpful. You should use this as food for thought and design a list that fits your own needs. I would be interested to hear feedback on how this list worked for you and what you may have on your list. Stay tune for more tid bits of information about what has become one of the most popular sports, hiking and getting out into nature. Everyone has been using the trails as their gym during the Covid Pandemic and now that things are beginning to feel a little more like the good old day before so much stress, turmoil, worry and not to forget sickness and death, people want to do something and this is certainly one of the most popular choices. If you liked this post please let me know by doing the following: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE. If you are looking for inspiration and places to take that pack now that you have it filled then checkout the menu above. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you are looking for adventure wear to fill that pack then please checkout SHOP APPAREL for top quality product with the message get out into nature and have a profound experience that will give you memories, a feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment and awe. We are trying to balance that ho hum existence as well as that frazzled deadline, do this do that and right now work a day world by what? ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure!’

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

What is Pursuing Balance Through Adventure?

  • What does that even mean?
  • What the hell are you doing on the top of that mountain?
  • What is it all about?
  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Are you crazy?

For the answer to these burning questions and others here is a candid interview with Adventure Blogger Roger Jenkins presented by Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’s YouTube Channel.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventurous YouTube Channel

Please also see a previous post on the subject of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’

Hiking in Snow

There are a lot of pluses regarding getting off of the couch and away from the TV during the winter. Many of them are the same pluses that are there in all seasons. In Winter you will not see the crowded trails which is a plus, but the minus could be you are on your own if anything should go awry. Winter has a beauty and fascination all it’s own. The stark white landscape, the surreal otherworldliness of a thick coverage of snow and ice that blankets the hills, mountains, and trees is simply divine. There is a stillness providing quiet reflection, as you breath in the chilled frosty air, and the winter wind nips at your nose. A new adventure that differs from Spring, Summer and Fall.

First let me say that I am not professing to being an expert regarding Hiking in Snow, as living in Southern California certainly isn’t conducive to conjuring up visions of a Winter Wonderland. That being said, our local mountains certainly have opportunities for snow fun, and obviously as you head further North there are endless possibilities. What I am trying to accomplish with this article is to give you food for thought as I am relaying my experiences of ‘Hiking in the Snow’.

Planning

It is imperative to plan ahead for wintery frolicking. This is essential to ensure you have a safe, and enjoyable experience. Check the weather and plan accordingly. Make sure that the roads are open to the location that you have chosen, and that the trail itself is open and available for winter fun. Find out information regarding the current conditions of the trail so you will know what to expect and to match this with your equipment and skill level. If this is new to you then you might want to take one step at at time, choosing a flat easy area, or at least an area that you are familiar with so there are not surprises for your first hiking in snow endeavor. Keep in mind Summer hikes and Winter hikes are very different. What might be an easy trek along a hill or mountainside is very different when it is a slippery slope. There is a lot more energy being expended between the two different seasons, and it takes far longer than you expect. Are there any streams, lakes, waterfall features that might be a concern? Are you in an area where there could be avalanche issues?

Safety Group

In Winter it is even more important to make sure that someone has your back. That is important anytime of year, but even more so when hiking in snow. It would be a good idea to hike with someone else if you can, although I certainly get that peaceful solitude of time alone on the trail. I don’t go anywhere without alerting my Safety Group even if I am with a group of experienced hikers. I still want that layer of safety of people I trust knowing where I am, what I expect to be doing, a map of my purposed outing, and the expected time of my finish and when I will be back in cell coverage.

Dress for Success in the Wilderness

What you wear is of dire importance, and should not be taken lightly. I invite you to review my article regarding the subject of layering: ‘Dress for Success in the Wilderness.’ To that thought I will add that when hiking in snow, as opposed to just cold weather hiking, you should consider waterproof hiking boots and possibly insulated winter boots. Boot gaiters can help keep snow out. Cool, wet feet are not only uncomfortable, but dangerous. Wool socks are good for anytime of year. Don’t forget your gloves and beanie.

What to Pack

The essentials that you would pack for a Summer day hike are also things that you will want to have for a hike in the Snow. One thing that could differ is your hydration system depending on just how cold it is. I use a camelback when hiking, but if the temperature is below freezing then the water in the tube could freeze. So you might consider bottled water or perhaps even the luxury of a thermos filled with a warm beverage.

  • Food (The act of digestion can add warmth. Also keep in mind you will be burning more calories hiking in snow due to more effort.)
  • Hydration System
  • Sunscreen (Higher Altitudes and Snow Reflection makes this essential.)
  • Sunglasses (The glare off the snow and ice is irritating)
  • Trekking Poles (The added stability is important)
  • Micro Spikes (They are helpful in the snow, but when traversing a mountainside they are absolutely crucial)
  • Head Lamp (Your trek will be longer than you think in the snow)
  • Gloves
  • Multi-tool and Knife
  • Emergency Whistle
  • Compass and Map
  • GPS Tracking (either on your phone or depending on what you are planning perhaps InReach Garmin Satellite Tracking)
  • Spare Battery (Keep electronics warm they could fail in cold weather, and the battery will drain quicker.)
  • Fire Starter (matches, lighter, flint)
  • Emergency Space Blanket
  • First Aid Kit

‘Hiking in Snow‘ can be exhilarating, but I have found that it is much harder, more energy is consumed, and it will take a lot longer than you think that it will. So start early, and especially with short Winter days, leave plenty of cushion between your expected finish and sundown. When the sun drops the temperatures will plummet, and an already hard to follow snow covered trail will be even more difficult. Another reason that GPS mapping is important in snow.

Make sure you are staying hydrated. In Summer with the heat you will feel that thirst, but in Winter by the time you are thirsty you could already be dehydrated, so make a conscience effort to drink more than you think that you need.

As far as the snow itself I have found the following concerns. In the morning when it is cold the snow is more apt to support your weight, be it on a trail that others tromped, or when you are forging virgin snow. Later in the day with the sun warming up the air and the snow, I found that I was sinking through the footprints. Earlier I was on top of the snow or sinking in only a few inches, later in the afternoon the snow was now going over my boots. Also keep in mind that snow can drift, especially around bushes or a fallen log. I might go from snow just over my boots to my knees or thighs. Skiers that cut through the trees are aware of the danger of tree wells, and the possibility of falling headfirst into such a well and becoming trapped. So if you are in a deep snow area beware.

 “Despite all I have seen and experienced, I still get the same simple thrill out of glimpsing a tiny patch of snow.” — Sir Edmund Hillary

I hope that this article gave you some ideas of how to plan for your ‘Hiking in the Snow’ adventure, so that you can go out and have a great experience while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Stay with me for more content of this nature by doing these simple things: LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT and SHARE.  For inspiration and ideas on where to adventure checkout the menu above. Keep in mind each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. A portion of this post concerned proper clothing. To look good, feel good and spread the joy of ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ checkout SHOP APPAREL for top quality adventure wear. 

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Dress For Success in the Wilderness

CLOTHING LAYERING SYSTEM FOR HIKERS/BACKPACKERS

Just as important as it is in the business world to dress for success in the workplace and job interviews, it is important to take seriously how you dress for an outing in the wilderness- be it hiking or backpacking and other outdoor activities in nature.  

This post will cover some basics to consider to keep you warm and comfortable for your trekking experience.  If you think it is fine to just head out wearing things that you do in your casual life, such as jeans and a t-shirt, when heading out into the backcountry then please think again.  In this post we will cover the basics of the Layering Strategy and briefly touch on the materials the clothing is made of, which is also important.  

Case in point.  Years ago… okay- maybe a couple decades ago, I learned the phrase “Cotton Kills”, from a professional guide that my Mother insisted I hire to backpack into the Grand Canyon.    

Previously I had only car camped while racing Hobie Cat Catamarans, and that means I was never far from help.  Help in the form of warm, dry clothes nearby, a vehicle I could warm up in or go for help.  Being at an organized sailing event there where people that could assist me if I got into trouble.  When you are heading out to explore away from aid you can’t afford mistakes.  So it is important to be knowledgeable.

I spent weeks exploring different areas in the Desert Southwest, as part of my mid-life crisis, lol.  The last hoorah was the Grand Canyon, the Grand Daddy of them all.  It was February so I experienced some weather dipping down into the teens where my water bottle froze at night.  I had been to a lot of spots and everything was going fine.  But my guide, (remember that my Mom made me get), refused to take me wearing jeans.  Jeans are made of cotton and “Cotton Kills”.  The problem with Cotton is it soaks up sweat and dries slowly.   Even perspiration can be dangerous as it can give you a chill and deplete your core temperature when the thermometer plummets during the night.  We were going into the Grand Canyon and there was a chance of snow at the higher elevation and rain at the lower, so getting wet was a possibility and that could lead to serious consequences. So, I was forced to purchase new gear at the Grand Canyon store- very touristy, not a lot of selection and certainly no bargains.  

Side note it turned out that the Grand Canyon was the tamest of any of the areas I had been in those weeks building up to this grand finale. I found the Grand Canyon to be less wild with wide safe trails that even had bathrooms every mile or two, donkey trains going by once in awhile, and an outpost at the bottom of the Canyon, but of course there was no getting around that it was still 5,000 vertical feet.  

So what are the advantages of layering your clothing when out on the trail?  Let’s say you had a tee-shirt and a heavy jacket.  Probably works fine at the beginning of the day.  However, as you hike your body warms up from the exertion and the sun warms the air temperature so you might need to shed your jacket.  Well, the problem may then be a tee-shirt is too cool- while the heavy jacket too hot, so now you are stuck.  By using the Layering Method you have options.  

Here are a couple examples of hikes were I was very happy to be dressed in layers:  Icehouse Canyon Trail to Timber Mt in the Angeles National Forest.  I was all bundled up at daybreak, but once the sun came up over the ridge and I started up the switchbacks I needed to start shedding.  When I got higher and into a little snow, I was more exposed as the wind started to howl near the ridge.   It was time to re-bundle.  Breaks are another time to add a layer if so desired.  Another spot where layering was essential: Hiking the Palmer Lake Fire Break.  It was near freezing when I started, but I now know why you see NFL players in short sleeves with snow on the ground.   They are working hard and are impervious to the cold because they are super heated.  As I worked my way up the steep incline in Washington State in late Fall, I was sweating even with snow on the ground.  I stripped down to short sleeves and remained that way until the end of the hike when the sun set behind the mountain and the temperature dropped to sub freezing.  At that point I started to layer up again.  So the point here is options are good.   

Using the Layering Strategy encompasses basically three layers.   The Base Layer, Middle Layer and the Outer Layer.  If you utilize this system correctly you will be warm, dry and comfortable, or at least comparatively so.  

The Base Layer is the layer that fits snuggly against your skin.  It should have moisture wicking properties.   This type of clothing,  underwear basically, can come in light, medium, and heavy depending on the time of year, weather conditions, if you are a warm or cold body heat type of person, and the exertion of the activity.   

The Middle Layer is the clothing with insulating properties that will hold in your body heat.  Just like the base layer it can come in different weights Light, Medium, or Heavy.  Usually thicker and more puffy equals more warmth.  

Fleece Jacket would be an example of a Middle Layer item of clothing.  Fleece dries quickly if it becomes damp and is breathable.  That is good to keep you from sweating too easily, but conversely it also means that bitting wind will go right through it.  (That is one reason for an Outer Layer.)  

Another Middle Layer item could be a Down Jacket.  Down is an excellent insulator found in nature.  It also has a great weight to warmth ration and is compact thus it does not take up as much room in your pack, all things that are important to a backpacker.  The drawback however, is it loses it’s warmth value if it gets wet.  

A Synthetic jacket is not quite as warm as down, nor does it compress into a pack as easy, but it doesn’t lose as much of that warmth value when it gets wet as Down does.  So there are trade-offs.  

The lower half of your body should be hiking pants that are rugged and made for the outdoors to protect you from the elements, but also brush.  I find it useful to have the hiking pants that the legs zip off when it gets hot.  Then for freezing conditions I have fleece lined hiking pants, but you could accomplish the same thing with long underwear under your hiking pants.  

The Outer Layer, in this system, is to shield from snow, wind, or rain.   A waterproof breathable jacket is on the high end of expense for excellent protection, second on the list would be water resistant which is fine for a light rain or windy, and the minimum would be an everyday wind breaker not breathable, but would block the wind and have some rain protection.  

So to sum this up the three layers of protection are quite useful to really dial in the correct temperature.  No matter if it is to keep you drier and more comfortable when you are sweating from the heat and just as important to keep you drier and warmer in cold conditions.  

I want to touch on UPF Protection which would be your base, and only layer, in hot weather, or in a little cooler temperatures it could be your Middle Layer.  I many times will have a ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ short sleeve moisture wicking high performance shirt underneath and then my PBTA long sleeve moisture wicking high performance shirt with UPF 50+ sun protection over it.  That way when I get hot later in the day I strip down to short sleeves to stay comfortable.  

Long Sleeve Moisture Wicking High Performance Shirt with UPF 50 Protection worn as a middle layer. Underneath I have a short Sleeve moisture wicking high performance shirt which was great for down in the canyon out of the wind. I have a beanie and face gator (around my neck) for added warmth and protection from the wind, and as a Cov-19 mask when I encounter other hikers. I have on fleece lined hiking pants, and a Down Jacket in my day pack.

UPF is similar to SPF other than UPF is a designation for sun protection in clothing, and SPF is for skin. It measures the amount of protection it provides against the harmful UV rays that can burn, or prematurely age skin, and helps prevent skin cancer.  To give you a frame of reference an everyday white tee-shirt has a UPF of 5.  As far as UV clothing protection goes UPF 15-20 is good, UPF 25-35 is very good, and 40-50 is excellent.  The sun gives us plenty of vitamin D which is important, but like everything else- in moderation.  People that should take the most care are fair skin, however dark completions can still get skin cancer.  Younger kids should have protection as damage at a young age can cause problems later in life.  Keep in mind that sun is stronger at higher elevations and reflections from snow or water are more intense.  Medication can also increase the risks of sun sensitivity even acne medicine, antibiotics, and inflammation inhibitors.  

A hat with a brim such as my ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure Caps keep the sun out off your face as well as out of your eyes, the rain off your face, but for added protection. You might consider the broad brimmed hats that go all the way around, or you could wear a PBTA Face Gator also useful to help prevent the spread of Cov-19.  Plus a lot of heat escapes from your head so a PBTA Beanie will add extra warmth.

I hope that you found this article informative and it started you thinking of how you can incorporate this practice into your adventures. Being more comfortable in your clothing certainly adds to the success when ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. For more articles to enhance your experience stay tuned by doing these simple tasks: LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT and SHARE. For inspiration and ideas on where to go checkout the menu above. Keep in mind each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. We spoke a lot about proper clothing. To look good, feel good and spread the joy of ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ checkout SHOP APPAREL for top quality adventure wear.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’

‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ what does that even mean? When I meet people out on the trail sometimes they enquire what kind of balance, like mental stability? I suppose that is part of it, but it’s not like I am a mental case, lol. It is really a philosophy, a mantra, a way of life. Well, let’s break it down word by word.

Pursuing– It is not about the destination, it’s the journey. Think of it this way, once you finally succeed in summiting that mountain top, or meeting that goal, it’s all over. You could jump up and down and pump your fist in the air, but then what you retire from hiking, peak bagging, and move on to something else? Bagging that peak, or meeting that goal might be success, but I am not sure that is fulfillment or true happiness. You can think of that mountain top as literal or just something that you are trying to conquer in your life. If it was only about the destination then that’s it your done, but I contend It is all about the journey, what you are going through, what it takes to succeed, the experience, the struggle. If it is about journey you are always striving to improve. Enjoy the journey, enjoy the experience.

Balance– We live in a busy, hurry up, do it now, hectic world. We feel stress from what is occurring in the world such as war, politics, the economy, all kinds of outside influences that there is very little that you can do anything about. We experience pressure from work deadlines, quotas, and goals that are purposely set to be just out of reach. As a student we have tension regarding homework, up coming tests, or essays. There is stress regarding bills, bills and more bills, and taxes, taxes, and more taxes. Dealing with family, while rewarding isn’t always easy with personalities differences, and what that person’s day might have been like. New families might have babies crying feed me, change me, and the lack of sleep that goes with that. What about teen hormones? While many times tough those teen years are all part of life. They will at some point need to breakaway and live their own life. Maybe you are feeling anxiety because of clashes with your spouse or boy or girl friend. Just trying to get ahead in the world is difficult and it is taxing just trying to making ends meet. What about friends? Disagreements, arguments, I mean it isn’t always smiles and laughter. This list can go on and on about pretty much every aspect of our lives. The point is this existence can be very tense and stressful, however we can’t let it take over our lives. This can’t be the only thing about our lives. All of these aspects are part of life, but we need to strive for more Balance. Everyone needs a break in the clouds, so the sun can shine through. We need to find more happiness to counterbalance the chaos.

Through– This is about that journey, be it literal- putting on those hiking boots and getting them a little dusty making your way along the trail, or philosophical- in moving from that place of tension and stress to what feeds your souls and sets you free.

Adventure– This blog is about adventure, all kinds of adventure: hiking, rock scrambling, backpacking, mountain biking, kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, canoeing, surfing, outrigger canoes, SUP, swimming, body surfing, skim boarding, scuba diving, 4×4, skiing, fishing, snowboarding and so forth and so on. (Admittedly I write mostly about the things first on the list, but adventure is the key, and there are lots of ways to adventure in nature.)

‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’- Exploring a counteracting force between work life & freeing one’s soul through exciting bold experiences in nature. PBTA is all about finding ourselves through wondrous experiences in the great outdoors, basically really enjoying the natural world around us through physical activity.

The goal is to de-stress, get up off of the couch, turn off the News, unplug from the world, put down the tablet, phone, get off the computer, take off the gaming headset and step into the jungle, forest, desert, canyon, lake, river, ocean, falls, waves, snow, and sand.

Breath that mountain fresh air, stretch those legs, use those muscles, by hitting the trail, taking a climb, pitching a tent, stomping through the snow, sheet in that mainsail and hike over the side of the gunnel, take off on that wave, swim in a waterfall, paddle through a rapid, or cast a rod.

Embrace that sunrise, sunset, or full moon rising over the ridge, enjoy stars so bright you can almost touch them. Take in a view that is the most beautiful thing you have ever encountered, until you turn to the left or the right or around in a circle. Checkout the herd of over 60 deer, watch that marmot scurry among the rocks, the chipmunk dart away, the eagles soar, that elk grazing, the hawk scream, encounter the bear right over your shoulder, the vulture circle overhead, hear the elephant seal bark, watch the falcon search for prey, the buffalo roam, harbor seal break the surface, Canadian geese take flight, the whale spout, the mountain goats nimbly climb the ledge, the dolphins leap, or fear the rattle snake at your feet.

Please also see the Adventure Blogger candid interview.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Sunny Pass Trail Mix

Part of hiking and backpacking is staying hydrated, taking necessary breaks and refueling. Here is a fun, delicious and nutritious snack that is not loaded with preservatives and fillers that you can make yourself. An added plus is when you make it yourself then you know exactly what is in it. ‘Sunny Pass Trail Mix’, a recipe from sister Peggy, gives you the power you need to push forward from Sunny Pass to Windy Peak.

Break Time on Sunny Pass. How about some trail mix?

Sunny Pass Trail Mix Ingredients List

  • 3 Cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1-1/2 Cups sliced almonds
  • 1 Cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 Cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons flax seeds
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 Cup of honey
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Sunny Pass Trail Mix Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss coconut, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds. salt, cinnamon and cardamom in a large mixing bowl.

Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl mixing throughly.

Heat honey, oil and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and easily pourable, about a minute (optional warming in microwave). Poor over mixture and stir to combine. Spread mixture evenly on a parchment paper and baking sheet, stirring once halfway through the baking process.

Spread mixture out over a oven pan lined with parchment.
Pop it in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

The finished product should be a toasty golden-brown and crisp. The bake time should be approximately 25 minutes.

Golden Brown ‘Sunny Pass Trail Mix’. Just break into chunks and enjoy.

For more tips on Hiking and Backpacking you will want to stayed tuned to ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ Hiking and Backpacking 101. The best way to do this is to FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE and SHARE. For inspiration on places to adventure see the Menu above. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. For top quality adventure gear please see SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Altitude Sickness

  • High 8,000 – 12,000 Feet
  • Very High 12,000 – 18,000 Feet
  • Extreme 18,000+ Feet

About 40 % of hikers will experience Altitude Sickness above 10,000 Feet. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, (In fact one thing I read thought that a young person might be more susceptible), fit or not, (In fact one thing I read thought that a fit person might be more susceptible), male or female. If you have underlying health issues such as heart or lung problems than you can be more susceptible. If you have suffered from Altitude Sickness before than you are also more likely to get it again.

There are 3 types of Altitude Sickness each progressively more serious.

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
  • High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
  • High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the most common and the most mild of the three types. It is the one we will spend the most time discussing. AMS is caused by a rapid exposure to a low amount of oxygen at a high elevation.

Symptoms Could Include:

  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal Distress
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive Flatulence
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Pins and Needles Sensation
  • Dizziness
  • Coughing
  • Irregular Breathing
  • Shortness of Breath Upon Exertion
  • Nose Bleed
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Emotional
  • General Feeling of Malaise

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)

Symptoms Could Include:

  • Same as AMS probably more intense with the addition of
  • Bronchitis
  • Shortness of Breath Even at Rest
  • Coughing Blood
  • Fever

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)

Symptoms Could Include:

  • Same as AMS probably more intense and (HAPE) with the addition of
  • Confusion
  • Unsteady
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Retinal Hemorrhage

How to Avoid AMS

  • Don’t Go too High too Fast
  • Increase Altitude Slowly
  • Acclimatize
  • Over 10,000’ only add 1,000’/Day
  • Climb High, Sleep Low
  • Avoid Overexertion During Initial Days
  • Stay Adequately Hydrated
  • Carb Up
  • Avoid Coffee, Alcohol, and Tobacco

Mild Cases Might Find Comfort With

  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetazolmide (Trade name Diamox)

DESCEND NOW!

  • Symptoms Worsen
  • Not Feeling Better After Vomiting
  • Cannot Walk a Straight Line

Disclaimer: If you are at high risk or climbing an extremely high mountain I would certainly suggest you read up on this topic and perhaps talk to a health professional. I am only providing a general review of things I have heard and read- not professional advice. Altitude Sickness seems to even be a bit of a mystery even to the health profession I might add.

I know all too well about Altitude Sickness as I feel it every time I am hiking above 10,000 Feet. While climbing Mount Langley over 14,000 Feet I was shocked and dismayed regarding what I was experiencing. I felt extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and something not right going on in my chest which I can’t really explain. Each step was an concerted effort and from 11,000 Feet to the last 100 yards to the summit I wasn’t sure I could make it. Of course it could have been worse as you can see from the list of symptoms.

If you found this article helpful then please LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and by all means SHARE so that we can get the word out as severe cases can be fatal. If you are looking for places to adventure then checkout the menu. If you need gear checkout SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trials-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

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