Friday, June 22, 2012

an inspiring email from a reader named Brad

Big wilderness, little pack

Dear Mike, 

I've been bike touring, backpacking and climbing mountains for some time. And if you asked me a year ago about my technique/style I would have said that I was happy with how I was working and that everything was more or less wired. I have always been pragmatic and focused on avoiding unnecessary gear. 

Still, I was not a gram weenie by any measure. After reading your Ultralight Backpackin' Tips countless times [in and out of order] over the past year leading up to my recent JMT thru-hike my entire mindset has shifted. I have gone from being concerned to being mindful in terms of how I prepare and how I conduct myself in the backcountry. I really love how you avoid dogmatism and instead present ways of thinking through your "tips". 

While I found almost all of your tips to be helpful it was the mindset that informed them which really helped me turn a corner in my own practice. In some ways your book made me think of the Tyrol Declaration [maybe thats pushing it a little but I really did see the connection to the declarations assertion that style is substance]. 

I just returned from my 10 day thru-hike of the JMT which I started on June 2nd and the experience was unreal. My skin out weight was 27lbs with five days of food. Instead of evaluating how well my gear did or didn't perform I found that it simply did what it was meant to do and otherwise stayed out of my way. 

The simplicity of my techniques and gear allowed me to experience the high sierra with less stuff getting between me and the wilderness I had come to immerse myself in. For this I thank you. 

Best wishes, 
Brad 

Brooklyn, NY

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Here was my reply:

Bradly,

Right on for you! You're reflecting back to me EXACTLY my goal when I wrote this little book. Huge thanks!

I went into the project thinking it was going to be a technical instructional on how to make your own gear, and modify existing gear (all that's in there). But, there really isn't that much gear to play with once you get right down to it. As I immersed myself in the writing process, the book morphed into something a lot more spiritual. Modifying the gear is easy, modifying the MIND-SET is challenging!

PLEASE - send me a few pictures - I wanna add this wonderful email to my blog!

peace from Idaho,
Mike C!
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