Saturday, May 02, 2009

Spring into Green at UCSB

I was invited to set up a table representing Santa Barbara Hikes at the UC Santa Barbara campus for some event they call Spring into Green, something about promoting green lifestyles.

I brought some print-outs from my web site about the trails plus some info about ultralight backpacking plus all my ultralight gear. I passed out lots of sheets with directions to some of the trails and lots of my old brochures I made when my site was brand new back in the late 90s. I answered some questions about local trails and recommended the Robert Stone books. I had some of my own books but didn't sell any.

I brought my backpack packed and ready to go for the PCT with all my gear. I amazed lots of people by having them pick up my pack. What amazed them was not only that it was so light but that it was all the gear needed for months on the trail. Of course, the amount of gear for months is really the same amount of gear as for a few days, but it sounds more impressive.

People enjoyed my ugly little alcohol stove. I tried to impress people with the low cost options for going lighter. Some things are expensive, like sleeping bags and tents, but some things are really cheap like making your own stove, reusing plastic things you'd otherwise throw away, certain kinds of shelter can be pretty cheap and many packs are very cheap. Mine was only $80.

I was able to help a guy planning to hike the PCT this year from Kennedy Meadows to Canada. When he lifted my pack he was amazed and grilled me for more info. He had actually been on his way to Sports Authority to get stuff for his PCT hike. Well, I stopped him from doing that! I unpacked my pack and showed him my stuff, including The One, and gave him tips on saving money and going light at the same time. I passed out a sheet with links to various web sites about going light to lots of people. I was doing my job as Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador.

The entire event was a lot of fun for me and a success if measured by having a good time. I find a lot of satisfaction in the things I do these days. I'm in demand, I'm doing leadership-type things, I'm teaching, staying active and involved. It's too bad none of them make any money. After the PCT I've got to find a balance between authentic life and profit. How does one have a career and a job (where you pretend it's your career) too without the latter sucking all the life out of you?

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