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Principals or Practices that should be followed on all trails.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Types of High Sierra Vernal Ponds: Black and Blue

High Sierra Vernal Ponds are unique locations that impart a unique feel of serene quiet to the passing backpacker.

Ponds are places where the pace of surrounding life seems to have slowed down, places of quiet solitude.

PONDS
 I distinguish between two types of ponds in the High Sierra, being Black and Blue Ponds.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra guide books and Literature

This is the comments page of the High Sierra Books and Stories page of the Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide.

Have you any guide books to suggest? I break guide books into two basic types, being the Nature and Trail guides.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Snags: Camp, Trail, Cross Country and River Crossing

Snags are standing dead trees. Backpackers interact with snags in a number of ways. The most common is hiking by or through them. Next comes camping in proximity to snags, and finally we find fallen snags providing bridges over narrow necks of surprizingly wide rivers. Occassionally we find ourselves climbing a wall of downed snags like a jungle gym.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Review of SunPak 2000 compact solar charger

Solar Charger Test

Sun Pak 2000 compact solar charger

Manufacturer's Claimed Specs

Size: 4.33” x 2.75” x .51”

Internal Battery: 2000mAh lithium-ion battery.

Charge times: Solar charging 12-14 hours, USB charging 4-5 hours.

Weight: Less than 4 ounces.

Price: 15 to 40 dollars. 15 dollars on Ebay, 40 dollars at Sears. I paid 24 dollars at Lasher Electronics on University Ave in Berkeley.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Research: Dog's Fitness improves Dog's Life

Research on our four-footed Friends:

Quality of life of obese dogs improves when they lose weight, University of Liverpool, Feb 20, 2012.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander... 

Of course I suggest that you and the pooch hit the trails, first to walk, jog, and train. Then hit the High Sierra, or the wilderness near you.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

YOUR FAVORITE-WORSE CAMERA

Interested in High Sierra photography? I've written a brief introduction about the wide selection of camera gear options you have available.

Have a camera that performs tirelessly in the worst backpacking conditions? Have a camera that failed and let you down?

Let us know about your experiences. Write a review of your experiences with the cameras you've encountered.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Solar Charging for Backpackers

Having just received the GoPro Hero 960 I am left with having to make it useful for very long backpacking trips. The GoPro uses a cell-phone style 3.7V 1100 mAh Lithium Ion battery. 

This means that battery replacement at the resupply points down the trail is out. I must devise a solar charging set up to keep the GoPro charged up. I need to devise or buy a solar charger capable of charging the Li-Ion battery for the GoPro, as well as the AA batteries for my camera and headlamp.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Science News for Backpackers: GPS in the Head?

I'm not a great fan of GPS. I don't own one, use one, and I generally plug my ears and walk away singing "La-La-La" when someone pulls out a GPS on the trail.

I'll show you where we are on the map, and in the terrain.

I belive in map and compass. I belive in careful observation, sharp analysis, and experience. I believe in careful planning and measuring the elevations, conditions, and distances of my trips prior to departure.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Autobiographical

I'm Alex Wierbinski, and I figured that you might want to know a little bit about me and how I've come to write a High Sierra Trail Guide.

As of 2011 I'm a 52 year old fifth-generation San Franciscan who's early ancestors came to the Bay Area and ranched in Napa to feed the 49ers.

My dad was an avid car camper, and we camped all over Northern California in the 60s and 70s. I went through the scouting cycle, and my first backpack was one of the last of the wood framed backpacking era.

wallguy's picture

Other Great High Sierra Activities: Hikers-Bikers-Fishermen, Check this Out!

Backpacking is a great thing to do to clear your mind and satisfy your soul . I have been a backpacker for most of my life and have tromped all over the Sierra Nevada mountains (maybe not on the scale that Alex has ).
 

As we get older it is not possible for all of us to continue with the things we love ( at least in the same capacity ) . For those that are not able to backpack long distances like we used to there is still hope.
 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Climate change causing demise of lodgepole pine in western North America

Climate change causing demise of lodgepole pine in western North America 

Oregon State University

Public release date: 28-Feb-2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Lodgepole pine, a hardy tree species that can thrive in cold temperatures and plays a key role in many western ecosystems, is already shrinking in range as a result of climate change – and may almost disappear from most of the Pacific Northwest by 2080, a new study concludes.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Scientists uncover surprising features of bear hibernation

Scientists uncover surprising features of bear hibernation

Metabolism independent of body temperature

Article: University of Alaska Fairbanks

It's good to know as much as we can about our furry friends. This facinating research enhances our knowledge about bear phisiology, which may also explain why bears are cranky in Spring: It takes them weeks to fully wake up!

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Considerations on planning your trip: Overall and Daily Hiking Plans

Let's get Started!
Considerations on planning your backpacking trip

If you are pulling a trip down the long trails down to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite from Lake Tahoe, you've already figured out your resupply plan.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

JP's Experimental Backpacking Stove Manufacturing and Development Process

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JP's Experimental Backpacking Stove Manufacturing and Development Process 

If you are curious about how things are made, you will be facinated by JP's fabrication of a multi fuel stove on his computer numerical control lathe.

We follow JP's development process as he cuts out a series of stoves to manipulate the performance characteristics of his stove.

To fabricate this stove, JP programmed the lathe's computer with a series of instructions that guide the cutting tool, set the RPM of the spindle, and control the lubricant flow.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lightweight backpacking stove by Grousetales: How-to aluminum can Alcohol stove - step by step

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Lightweight backpacking stove by Grousetales: How to make an aluminum can Alcohol stove - step by step.

There are many ways to make an aluminum can alcohol stove. Grousetales has a good design, well laid out on the video, and effective (I've seen similar designs work well in the field for years). Grousetales video walks you carefully through the whole construction process. 

Check out the video, gather your tools, drink a few canned beverages, and then get to work.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Stoves: Some Basic Information

Every year when I hit the long trails, I see a wide variety of stoves in use. From old school MSR all fuel devices, to the modern  stoves that  seal the heat source within a custom titanium pot.

From Jet Boils to Beer Can stoves, eveyone has a stove they love and a stove they hate. The stove that's right for you is a product of your preferences and applications.

In my case my old MSR white gas-any gas-stove became my #1 stove after one of those Blu-gaz stoves failed to work properly at 11,000 feet on a real cold night.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lane Maddox

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Though I focus on backpacking the High Sierras here in California, our country is full of remarkable people and places. Many of these people live in beautiful country. 

One of those people is Lane Maddox, and one of those beautiful places is Kentucky. 

During the last 40 years we here  in California have built vast cities that have divided our citizens from nature, and removed the country from our characters. This is a great loss, and not worth the pennies of profit gained from selling our character.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Analytical Survival

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Analytical Survival

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to both a new feature on this forum, and to Analytical Survival.

The feature is "Friends of Tahoe to Whitney," and Analytical Survival is the first friend of TahoetoWhitney I would like to introduce you to.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Introduction: Friends of Tahoe to Whitney

As work continues on this backpacker's forum and  the TahoetoWhitney trail guide, I have had the great pleasure to meet a variety of individuals who share my love of the Sierras, backpacking,  the outdoors, and nature in general.

To all of you, Greetings, and it has been a true pleasure to make your acquaintance. 

Included in this group are experts on specific elements of backpacking skills, as well as the application of backpacking skills to emergency and disaster preparedness. These skills fit together like chocolate and peanut butter...

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Winter Gear Selection III: Gear Tour and Basic Layering

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Gear Tour

After figuring our backpacking route and determining the range of our possible weather conditions, let's take a look at our basic Winter backpacking gear options, and discuss layering that is approiate for our route and the weather conditions we are expecting.

A written-out gear list covering all these gear catagories can be viewed on the TahoetoWhitney.com trail guide.

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