Bitten by the Travel Bug

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To any medical professional readers, if any: no, this post is not about leishmaniasis. Whenever I get stuck in one place for too long, I get the itch to move around. It can be put off temporarily by a day trip to a nearby town or exploring a new trailhead, but short excursions don't keep me satisfied for long. Lately I've been on the hunt for something new to do or someplace new to explore. A few adventures that have come to mind recently have been the Three Peaks Challenge, e.g. ascending the U.K.'s three tallest peaks in 24 hours:

climbing mountains in the dark- bring it on!
This short but challenging hike along the coast in the Olympic National Park:
The author of the above post did this hike with two young kids.  TWO KIDDOS.
and this crazy hard/beautiful marathon in Big Sur (or this one in the Red Wood Forests): 
Needless to say, I am crazy.
Also needless to say, one needs pretty good gear to go backpacking in such wet conditions or ascend 3 peaks in a day. So I thought I'd assemble a collection of a few necessary supplies for Peter and I to collect before I drag him along on another crazy and somewhat ill-founded adventure we attempt these "expeditions" (ok, they're not expeditions but definitely outside of my personal experiences/skill set/comfort zone.) In compiling this list I found this website page particularly helpful since I am a beginner to back country camping (and climbing mountains in 24 hours. Really, what crazy Mountaineering Englander woke up one morning and said " hey, you know what would be fun? climbing 3 mountains. consecutively. in the dark. yeaaaaa.")

1. A bad-ass backpack (duh,) and although I haven't done enough research to find a model that really works well, I'm on the case searching between Amazon and the R.E.I. website.
2. Hiking boots (also duh.) I may not be a Boca girl but I was raised there, so I need to have something aesthetically pleasing on my feet at all times, otherwise I won't wear it. When it comes to appearances I quite like these ones from Danner

or, if your pocketbook is not bottomless, these Bean Boots look good and are highly functional too (F.Y.I. gortex= dry feet. That's all you need to know.) To be honest if the most money I spent on shoes EVER was on these hiking boots, I might actually be proud of that fact ;)

3. A solid tent. This one I found on R.EI. has great reviews, fits two people and is a reasonable price for poor overprivileged med students people who, like me, are on a fairly tight budget. Plus, only 3 complaints about leakiness, which, if you have ever camped in a rain forest, you know is a big deal (Olympic Park Watergate 2012...we barely made it out alive.)

4. A comfy down sleeping bag that can keep you warm at temperatures as low as 0 degrees F, an essential for someone like me who finds the frigid winters of even subtropical Florida unbearable (Really, why do I even want to go outside? Oh forget it, I'll just watch Bear Ghrylls eat bugs and drink his own urine on Discovery Channel and call it a day.) Again, I know nothing about sleeping bags, but if I find a good one I'll post it at a future date/time. 

5. Random Gear: Peter got me an awesome GPS watch for Christmas last year that I really ought to use more. It would come in handy in any of the above mentioned outdoor endeavors, and I highly recommend getting one if you are into that kind of stuff. Not a necessity, but certainly a fun gadget. Here's the model I have: 

as well as Peter's more nerdy more manly version (yes, we both have GPS watches. Yes, we are both white and nerdy.): 
if you really can't resist the urge to let your inner freak flag fly, both of these watches can be found on Amazon. Also, they are awesome. Just, you know, for the record.

I also think headlamps would be an excellent investment because (a) how else does one ascend a mountain in pitch darkness without plummeting to their death and (b) I want Peter to be this guy when we have kids. Here is a super-fancy model from R.E.I. that I cannot afford.

So...that was a long post. And I imagine most of you (aka Peter) stopped reading about 1/4 of the way through (seriously T.V. has killed the national attention span) so I'm going to stop writing now and do some real work (I am after all, supposed to save human beings one day. I'd better go study and learn my stuff if I don't want to harm any patients at some point.) If I find any more awesome supplies for future endeavors I will be sure to post them; in the mean time this guy has more good reviews on outdoor equipment and gadgets than you can pitch a tent on, so enjoy. :) 

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