Tag Archives: Backpacking

Half Dome by the Numbers

I see things in numbers. Must be the engineer in me. It was no different when a few members of the 234th Intelligence Squadron and I hit the trail determined to hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley. So here are the numbers of our Half Dome hike:

33, 319   number of steps to top of Half Dome and back (Sam counted)
9,600      elevation, in feet, gained and lost to top of Half Dome and back
16           number of miles to top of Half Dome and back
9              number of hours to top of Half Dome and back
1              numbers of time I feel it necessary, in my life, to go to top of Half Dome and  back

0410     time we left the house
10           number of minutes we left late
0700     time we hit the trail
90           number of minutes we hit the trail late
1              number of couples lost (left) in parking lot so we would no longer be late

45.24     money I spent on gas because someone forgot their wallet
28.32     money I spent on pizza and soda because someone forgot their wallet
12.18     money I spent on refreshments because someone forgot their wallet
1               number of people that, in the future, will ensure no one forgets their wallet

16           liters of water drank by three of us
3               additional liters of water one of the three should have drank to prevent passing out due to dehydration
1              amount of ‘good’ smacks it took to bring dehydrated person back to reality

400   distance in feet of the final ascent of half dome
2         number of cables the average person needs to make the final ascent and descend half dome
1          number of cables one of us needed to descend half dome (obviously not having a wallet makes it easier to descend half dome)

5 hikers spent 9 hours crossing 16 miles, reaching a summit of 8,694 feet and returning to the valley floor, resulting in 1 glorious trip.

 

A 2 Schmucks Carol

Three months before thaw,
When all through the woods
Not a hiker was stirring,
Except those in snowshoes

Backpacks were stored
In closets with care
Ensuring good gear
When spring time was near

Schmuck 1 and Schmuck 2
No packs on their backs
Were hiking concrete
And filling their sacks

For Christmas was nigh
And gifts must be bought
For hikers in woods
With no care and no thought

When, what to my wondering eyes
Should appear
REI, filled with camping and hiking
And backpacking gear

I turned to Schmuck 2
And said with a laugh
Our prayers have been answered
We’ll be done in a flash

We filled our sacks
With gear of all kind
We filled our sacks
With no better find

Then off we flew
To wrap our treasures
All covered with cheer
And opened with pleasure

That night as we sat
By the fire that flickered
We both knew that spring
Could come no quicker

For once you have hiked
And suffered and flailed
Family is your compadre
And home is the trail

MERRY CHRISTMAS
FROM SCHMUCK 1 (CAM)
SCHMUCK 2 (JAMES)
AND SCHMUCKICON

Santa Schmukicon

Two Schmucks Get a Mascot

We are pleased to introduce the newest member to our team. Our mascot – Schmuckicon!!

SchmuckiconIn the future, look for Schmuckicon on your favorite hiking and backpacking products as we begin “Trail Rating” everything from shoes, to food, to tents, to backpacks and more. You’ll even be able to find Shmuckicon on shirts and hats.

Schmuckicon is the symbol of the everyday schmuck that’s willing to hit the trail with nothing more than unfounded confidence, misguided perseverance and unhealthy intestinal fortitude. At the end of the day, Schumuckicon may be battered and bruised, but he takes great pride in concluding the hike and is better for the experience.

Keep an eye out for Schmuckicon in your area. Once you see him, you know Two Schmucks can’t be far behind.

Schmuckicon is a registered trademark, not to mention a mascot, of Two Schmucks. Any attempt to use or sell Schmuckicon for monetary gain will be met with swift and severe punishment from one or both of the Two Schmucks.

We Suffered So You Don’t Have To (How to Start Backpacking)

You’re an average Joe (or Jo) and you want to go backpacking. Good for you. But how to start, that is the question. You find plenty of information for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or heading off cross-country on a 50 mile, 5 day excursion. But what about an overnighter? What about leaving early on Saturday and returning Sunday evening? You want to know what trail mix is best not how to prepare a gourmet meal at 10,000 feet. You want to know how much water might be needed, not how to purify urine. You want to know how to start backpacking, maybe going 10 to 15 miles round trip, how to ensure you won’t die your first night out and how to keep backpacking from busting your wallet, just in-case you determine that the struggle isn’t worth the victory.

Us schmucks had the same questions and issues. Fortunately for you, we found the answers to all your questions and we found those answers by plunging into backpacking head-first (literally). We know the right way and the wrong way because we did things the wrong way. We know the right equipment and the wrong equipment because we purchased the wrong equipment.

So take a few minutes to check out the list below as well as their links and all your questions will be answered. Remember, WE SUFFERED, SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO!

What you need to start backpacking:

1. Destination – Where do you want to go?

2. Shoes – the most important thing to consider

3. Equipment – backpack, sleeping bag, tent, etc.

4. Water – too heavy to carry, too important to be without

5. Food – Easier the better

6. Your own Schmuck – Misery loves company

Haul or Not to Haul (Marketing the Bear Canister)

In my humble opinion, the bear canister is the most useless thing in your backpacking arsenal. I understand the reasoning behind the bear canister; I’m just not sure if I believe there’s a need for the bear canister. After all, it is rare to run into a bear and if you do, I think you and the bear will have a lot more on your minds besides the bears craving for your toothpaste.

With that being said, I would still be willing to haul a bear canister if the cost/benefit ratio was in the favor of hauling the canister; but it’s not.

The benefit side of the ratio includes the extremely rare chance of a bear stumbling into your camp site and then wanting to eat or taste items that smell appealing to you. Not to mention, if these two occurrences were to meet and you had a canister, the only benefit would be to the bear and I’m guessing if you asked the bear, he would not see the benefit. In other words, benefit side = low.

Whereas the cost side of the ratio is high and only affects you, not the bear. I mean you have to haul the heavy, unpackable, unattachable, unwieldy canister up the mountain. And just because you’re in bear country, doesn’t mean you’re heading towards a bear. After all, a bear’s territory is acres or square miles. The chances of me heading towards a bear are just as good as me heading away from a bear.

However, as stated earlier, I would be willing to haul the canister if the cost/benefit ratio were tipped in the benefit’s favor. Perhaps in order to tip the equation, the park rangers would consider marketing the bear canister for other purposes, such as:

  1. A stool to sit upon around the campfire
  2. A floatation device in the event I fall into a raging river or lake
  3. A portable bathroom (after all, we are supposed to pack out our waste)
  4. A water heater. It is black and plastic and would get quite toasty in the sun
  5. Fuel for the fire. It’s larger than any log I’ve stumbled upon
  6. A rather large fishing bob (but you will need high test line)
  7. A footrest