Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tagged: The Liebster Award

I've recently been tagged by Stick in a post of his regarding The Liebster Award.  The short of it is that it's a blog award/tag that bloggers give each other, and so first off I have to say thanks to Stick for tagging me.  I'm a big fan of his blog and youtube videos, so I'm flattered that he tagged me in another post.

So how it goes is that whoever tags you gets to ask you 11 questions, and then in turn you ask 11 other bloggers 11 questions of your own.  Stick sums things up quite well, so I will just quote him:

"Honestly, I had never heard about the award, so I did some “Googling” and found that it is essentially an award that “was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere.” This is accomplished by tagging/linking other blogs in the post (which could shed light on sites others may not know about yet), as well as through answering, and then asking, a series of questions. Then to finish things up, another group of blogs are tagged, and a new set of questions are made up, and so on… "

I must admit it is going to be a challenge for me to find 11 other bloggers to tag.  I only follow a handful of blogs, and some of them have already been tagged by The Liebster Award before.  But I have a plan.  I frequent the forums over at BPL when I have the time, and there are several members there whose posts I appreciate.  Well some of them have blogs, so that's how I will be able to tag 11 more bloggers.  Sorry if I have tagged someone that has already been tagged before!

Anyhow, on to the questions posed to me:


1. What made you get into backpacking?

As long as I can remember I have loved nature and geography in general.  I have always been interested in plants, animals, bodies of water, mountains, hills, woods, etc.  My parents noticed and took me on camping trips sometimes, and I loved it.  Though they quit family camping trips after I was about 8 years old.  

When I was a teenager I really needed an outlet to deal with life in general, and to escape society for a bit.  I come from what most people would consider a dysfunctional family, and had thankfully discovered Punk music/subculture--but this was not enough.  In high school I grew up in a small, boring, generally awful town, and there were not that many Punks or Punk shows around.  So eventually I realized I could get away from everything on my own by going and staying the woods, albeit temporarily.  It did me lots of good physically, mentally, and emotionally, and continues to do so nearly two decades later.

By the time I turned 20 and was in university, going backpacking, camping, and fishing was a regular part of my life.  You can read more about my beginnings and evolution as a backpacker in this post.

2. What other outdoor activities do you participate in?

I love harvesting and eating wild edibles, which mostly means mushroom hunting and berry picking.  I am particularly crazy about fungi--you can read more about that here from the first time Stick tagged me and I replied--but I also enjoy picking wild greens when I can find them.

I used to be pretty crazy about fishing when I was younger, but as an adult I don't have as much time for it anymore--and if I have to pick between long distance hiking and/or mushroom hunting, fishing will usually take a backseat.

When I can I also really enjoy swimming out in nature, and on warm weather backpacking trips I will almost certainly be jumping into a lake or two.

3. What is the longest distance you have backpacked?

In one day my personal record for long distance hiking is 36km.  In one section hike, I think my longest distance traveled was around 90km in 4 days of hiking.

4. What is the longest amount of time you have spent outdoors?

Week long trips in my youth, before work, marriage, and kids.  I think on at least one trip back then I did a little over a week.

5. What is the most interesting backpacking trip you have been on?

Hard to say.  The first trips that come to mind are the first (northern) third of Bohusleden, an XUL trip on local abandoned trail, and a SUL trip in Spain where I saw wild goats and slept in the ruins of a stone watchtower.

The Bohusleden trip was in the middle of summer and the weather was great.  I was able to harvest mushrooms and berries right off the trail.  Got to see a big waterfall on the Swedish/Norwegian boarder.  A wild boar woke me up at dawn about 2-3m from my tent, sniffing around my campsite, but of course I had my food hanging up in a tree.  Met a handfull of very friendly people from all over Europe.

The XUL trip I really pushed lightweight backpacking to the limit and learned quite a lot.  Plus two friends came along, and we had a blast.  Some nice farmers we passed by gave us butter to cook some mushrooms we had found after they saw we had luck with them.  It was hot out and we jumped into a lake for a swim at the end of a long day of hiking, found a cool/creepy abandoned house in the woods, and right before we went to sleep it started to rain.  I love falling asleep to the sound of rain on my shelter.  A lot of very interesting discussions on this trip too on politics, society, and of course gear.

The SUL trip in Spain was so visually stunning, with cobalt blue sea water all around, and reddish dirt trails through jagged stones and cliffs that looked like Mars.  Great swimming in the warm sea, and relaxing on isolated beaches with only two other people (naked hippies) is pretty cool.  The minor stress fracture on my foot was worth it!

6. Where was your last backpacking trip?

Ulricehamn to Mullsjö E1 trails, plus several local trails around Mullsjö.

7. How much was your pack weight on that trip?

I don't know for sure.  I quit weighing my total pack weight some time ago.  I would say perhaps 7-8kg at most.  The base weight I am pretty sure was around 4.2kg / 9.3lbs.  This was for a 3 day trip.

8. What is your favorite (alcoholic) beverage on the trail?

Bourbon whiskey, straight up.  Of the cheaper stuff, I prefer Jim Beam and Wild Turkey.  Of the more top shelf variety, I love Knob Creek, Maker's Mark, and Basil Hayden's.

9. What is your favorite meal/snack on the trail?

Of meals, the first things that come to mind are several of the heavy luxury items I like to eat in celebration of my first night out on a trip.  Things like sausage on fresh buns, though for about half a year now I have given up eating all meats except for seafood and eggs, so this now means soy sausage.  Can't forget to take a few small packs ketchup and/or mustard left over from fast food.  Fresh fruit is also nice, as is a Platypus bottle full of red wine.

A more pragmatic UL meal I like is fake pad Thai.  My recipe is veggie ramen noodles with a big spoon full of peanut butter and a big squeeze of hot sauce from my mini plastic hot sauce bottle.

Snacks I love are roasted/salted almonds and/or cashews, honey roasted peanuts, BBQ potato chips, and dried fruit (mostly figs and dates).

10. What is one piece of gear that you never leave without?

A Zpacks backpack I suppose is the most obvious and kinda pedantic answer.  But as far as gear in my backpack, I am forced to be kinda boring and say that my FAK is perhaps the most important piece of my gear kits that goes on literally all my trips.  After that, perhaps my recycled juice bottle for water.

11. What was the worst piece of gear that you have ever used?

In my youth I used a ton of shitty, cheapo gear.  Probably the dumbest and worst piece of gear was a big, heavy, steel pot.  I found it in my parent's basement and figured, "Meh, good enough."

But more recently I think it was a fancy, heavy, traditional backpack I bought several years ago just before getting into UL.  I won't say which brand, because maybe it was just a bad apple of the bunch, but after just one easy trip one of the base straps broke and the frame started to bend.  I had saved my receipt and took it back for a full refund, of course.  Which was good considering that it was about twice as much as my first UL pack, a Golite Jam that I got good use out of before giving to a friend who continues to get good use out of it.


Now here is where I get to come up with my own 11 questions for the next 11 bloggers to be tagged:

1. What is your favorite flower and why?

2. Do you have any tattoos?  Why or why not?

3. What is a simple little tip that helps you often on the trail that maybe not many other people do or benefit from?

4. What are a few of your favorite encounters with wild animals?

5. What is the worst injury you sustained while backpacking and how did it happen?

6. What is something that other people do out in nature that annoys or irritates you BESIDES littering (which of course ought to bother us backpackers!)?

7. What are a few of your funniest moments while out backpacking?

8. If you were given 1000 USD to spend only on backpacking gear, what would you buy?

9. Of all the online backpacking bloggers that you are familiar with, whose gear list would you say would work for you best (i.e. who has the best/coolest/most dialed in gear list online)?

10. If you were to do a thru-hike of any trail, which one would it be and why?

11. What is a mistake you made out backpacking that you learned a lot from?

Now to find 11 people to tag.  Okay, here goes, in no particular order (just off the top of my head):   

1. Ross of Wood Trekker  -- Responded!  Check it out here.
2. Nick of Pop Up Backpacker
3. Craig of Sweeping the Garden
4. spelt ! of Spelt Was Here  -- Responded!  Check it out here.
5. Max of Max the Cyclist
6. Mike of Ultralight Backpackin' Tips
7. Bob of Image Transactions
8. John of Hike Lighter
9. Jennifer of Backpacker PT
10. Virginia of Unbound Routes
11. Justin Baker, who has no blog, but should.  He does have a lot of backpacking pictures on Imgur though.

I look forward to reading any replies to this tag.

Last Updated 09/06/2014: added Ross' reply.