I don't need to tell you that there's a mountain (pun intented) of information about backpacking out there. What's different about the Well Seasoned Hiker is that I've been mountaineering and backpacking for 55 years and counting. Now, as much as I'd like to I can't go back in time and capture and share all my adventures but what I can do is share some great backpacks that I've been taking recently. In addition I hope to share with you some of the wisdom I've earned by way of the many mistakes I've made over decades hiking and mountaineering with the hope and goal of saving you the pain I probably endured.
My name is Gary (aka the Well Seasoned Hiker) and I grew up in Southern California starting my backpacking "career" at the early age of 7. That first trip took me (with my family) over Kearsarge Pass, Glen Pass, visiting Rae Lakes. That was 1966! My mother was the leader of a Senior Girl Scout Troop and my father the leader of an Explorer Post, the sole focus of which was mountaineering. You could say I grew up hiking and climbing. On weekends you were far more likely to find me climbing at Stoney Point (a sandstone outcropping in the Northwest San Fernando Valley) than playing in a nearby park. If I wasn't at Stoney Point then I was probably at Joshua Tree (JT) or Taquitz Rock. Summers meant as much time in the Sierra backcountry as possible. Minimally every year we'd do a "super-activity" which was 16 days of cross country hiking and peak bagging. During my last couple years of High School I spent the entire summer in the Sierra backcountry navigating across the many peaks and passes off trail. Today hanging out at high altitude, hiking across meadows and dancing across talus is as natural to me as walking down the sidewalk...well, ok, maybe not that natural but lets just say I feel at home in the mountains.
My commitment to you is that the information and stories you read here are Bullshit Free. I'm not paid nor am I sponsored so you'll only get the unvarnished truth - at least from my perspective. Having hiked for so long and with so many people I'm realistic enough to know that hiker preferences differ. As a trip leader I enjoy not only sharing my experience with those I hike with but there's isn't a trip I go on where I don't learn something new - sometimes from hikers that are relatively new to the sport. Use the ideas provided here if you find them useful and if you disagree or have other points of view please feel free to share them with me! I'm always learning - let's learn together!
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Why Listen To Me? Read more about me here.