After a day or two to unpack from the motorcycle trip, I flew up on August 14 to see Tandy and pick up my van, which Tandy was kind enough to store for me over the Summer.

I also was greeted by a small mountain of boxes–the various bits of backpacking kit I ordered over the summer.  Once out of the packaging and consolidated, it doesn’t look quite so impressive, but that’s one of the design objectives of backpacking equipment:  small and light.

I’m particularly excited about the tent.  Made by Zpacks, it’s constructed of dyneema composite fabric and is as spacious (a generous 2 persons) as it is light (about 22 oz).  I practiced setting it up a few times in Tandy’s yard and he set up his tent as a comparison.  Tandy’s tent uses pneumatic tubes to hold up the tent; mine uses hiking poles.





A few years ago Barbara had a Buck family reunion and some of us tried to hike to the summit of nearby Lassen Peak, only to be turned around about a mile from the top when the rangers closed the trail for maintenance.  Returning and finishing the hike has been on my bucket list every since, and I took this opportunity to both hike Lassen and test-hike my new gear.  It was a beautiful, bright and warm day, and the views were incredible. It took awhile to get used to the altitude, starting at 8,000 feet and finishing over 10,000.  I started early in the morning and finished in about 3 hours, including a belated breakfast on top.

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