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Michael Carter

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How Long Does it Take to Hike Camelback Mountain?

Camelback Mountain is a mountain located in the city of Arizona, Phoenix in the United States of America. The name of the mountain is derived from the shape which actually resembles the hump and the head of a kneeling camel. This mountain is popular among locals and tourist for hiking as well as rock climbing and it usually takes around 1.5 to 3 hours to get on top of this mountain. In the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, the Camelback Mountain is a very popular landmark. This mountain lies in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreational Area which is situated between a neighborhood named Arcadia in Phoenix and the town of Paradise Valley.

History of the Camelback Mountain

The discovery of a cave on the northern side of the Camelback Mountain suggests that this cave could have been used as sacred place by the pre historic Hohokam tribe, before abandoning the place back in 14th Century.

The President of the United States back in the year 1879, Rutherford B. Hayes, included this mountain as a part of a reservation for the tribes Salt River Pima and Maricopa Indian American tribes. This was a part of a total of one million acre of reservation.

To protect Camelback Mountain as a natural preserve efforts began all the way back in 1910s but by the year 1960s, most of the mountain was sold to private firms. Efforts were made by federal and state authorities to stop development activities above the one thousand and six hundred feet level. Sadly, their efforts failed but finally in the year 1965, efforts by Senator Barry Goldwater finally managed to stop development activities on the higher elevations of the mountain. The area came under the Phoenix city park in the year 1968. A major east-West Street in the city of Phoenix, Camelback Road, is named after this peak. This peak has also been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.

Climbing the Camelback Mountain

There are 3 climbing trails to climb this mountain. Two hiking trails ascend to the peak of the Camelback Mountain at elevation of 1280 feet. There is a red sandstone rock formation named Praying Monk and is used for rock climbing. This formation is located towards the northern slope of the mountain. It resembles the shadow of a man kneeling down to pray. It is approximately a hundred feet tall and the eastern front has several anchor bolts for the purpose of attaching a belay rope.

Echo Canyon Bobbie’s Rock Trail

The trail leading to Bobbie’s rock begins at exactly the same location where the summit trail begins and is accessible from the Echo Canyon Recreational Area. When at the bottom of the steps, right after the drinking water fountain, you need to take a right and follow the other granite rock steps which are at the base of the large rock outcropping. This trail ends at Bobbie’s Rock which is a very popular rock climbing area. Bobbie’s Rock is visible from the parking lot directly towards the south and a bit to the west. The parking for this trail is however very limited and there can be long delays. Dogs are also prohibited on all of the Echo Canyon Area Trails except for the Cholla Trail.

Echo Canyon Summit Trail

The Echo Canyon Summit Trail begins adjacent to the restroom near the Recreational Area. In order to eliminate dangerously eroded areas, the lower section of this trail towards the first saddle was repaired and also rerouted. The new route does not use artificial steps which can lead to erosion. After crossing the first saddle, there are a pair of handrails which is to be used while getting up some of the rock sections. The remaining trail has mostly boulder filled, steep portions and a few sign posts guides the way towards the summit of the Camelback Mountain.

Parking for this Trail can sometimes be very hard to find despite an expansion some time back. This is especially true during the seasons and peak times. This route has a rapid ascent in a fairly short distance. Carrying water bottles is advised along with sun protection gear as the sun can sometimes be very harsh and heat related ailments are quite common. There are also few other minor threats along the way, but nothing extreme that can put your health in jeopardy.

1

How to Pack a Backpack for Hiking

When you are planning to go for a hiking trip, throwing all your gear and clothing into a backpack and heading out into the wilderness is not exactly the best idea. Regardless of how many items you fit inside of your rucksack, the way you arrange them inside will make a huge difference on how it feels while carrying. Now, seasoned hikers and backpackers know most of the tricks of the trade but what about you? If this is the first time you're leaving the civilized world with a thirst for adventure, following some guidelines would greatly help you to have a comfortable and memorable experience.

Basics first!

Before you get started, lay down all your gear on the floor and organize them into piles according to their category. For example, toiletries, cookware, first aid kit, sleeping gear, clothing, dry food, and anything else that you want to take along. Use of a zip lock bags are highly recommended as they help in saving space and guard your items against the effects of moisture. The bonus is of course, a neat and well organized backpack.

The pockets should be utilized to store items that you would be needing quick access to while hiking. This would ensure that you can reach the items easily without having to reach inside of the bag.

What should be the ideal backpack size?

As a general rule of thumb, you can determine what size of backpack you need based on the duration of your trip and your weight carrying capacity. Some adjustments can be made to these two considerations based on common sense and experience. If we were to assume that you'll be going on hiking for at least two days, then look for a bag that is at least 24-48 inch capacity. If you are going on a trip for more than five days, look for a larger bag that can store all your essentials without making you feel too heavy.

Whether we like to admit it or not, gender also plays a role in one's capacity in carrying heavy weights. It's not like women can carry less than men because there are plenty of women who are equally capable of getting equal weight as men, but they are seasoned veterans and not someone who is going to the first hiking trip. So, keep this in mind before you begin stuffing items in your bag.

How to organize the items?

Maximum weight: The general rule of thumb states that the maximum weight of your backpack should not exceed 25 to 30% of your body weight. So, a person weighing 150 lbs should not be carrying anything above 45 lbs. The 200 lbs should be okay as long as they're carrying up to 60 lbs.

Weight distribution: Always stuff your gear divided in three layers. The bottom layer for lighter items that you will really need access to in the trip, such as sleeping bag, clothing items, etc. The middle layer should be reserved for heavier items such as cooking stoves, dry food, and fuel. And of course, the top of the backpack should be available for lighter items that you can easily reach while travelling. Be sure to distribute the weight evenly, and also leave some room for occasional adjustments.

What to do with the additional gear?

If your bag is already full, do not worry because there is still some space left over outside to carry the leftover gear. It is important that you remember to put away sharp items like knives, forks, etc. inside of the backpack. Also, do not attach too many items outside of the bag or it may create stability issues. Soft items, however, like sleeping pads can be attached outside with no problem at all.

Get set and ready to go!

In the final step, when you have the backpack on your back, make sure to tighten it around the shoulder, hip, and sternum by adjusting the strap accordingly. A bag that has been packed well should transfer the optimum weight of the gear to your hip and keep the weight on your shoulders at a minimum level. If you have a well maintained and suitably packed rucksack, your trip will go smooth and you'll feel much better while travelling in the long run as weight won't be putting you down.

What is the Elevation of Pikes Peak?

Pike Peak in Colorado is known as the highest summit of the South and front range belonging to the Rocky Mountains. Standing 4,302.31 meters tall, this mountain is a part of the "fourteener" and is situated in the Pike National Forest. The mountain has been named in honor of the famous American explorer, Zebulon Pike, who barely failed to reach the summit but inspired generations of people to follow his footsteps. The summit is higher than any other point in the US, east of its longitude.

Discovery of Pikes Peak

The first people to discover this peek where the Spanish in the 18th century. The first American sighting is credited to Zebulon Pike, who led his team on an expedition to climb the mountain but failed in their attempt in the year 1806. The first time this mountain was conquered, was by a European American, who climb the peak 14 years after the Zebulon's failed attempt. Edwin James was his name, and he had just graduated from Middlebury College, signed on to take the place of the first botanist who had died. The expedition covered the South Plate River and went up as far as Denver, as we know in the present day.

Pikes Peak Highway

The entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway is located at a convenient distance of 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs, on Highway 24. The greatest joy of being close to the city is that you can actually spend time being amidst the grand mountains instead of spending a lot of time traveling there. A round-trip journey to the summit takes no longer than 2 to 3 hours at max. The scenic and non-crowded highway give you the opportunity to gaze at the marvelous Pikes Peak at your leisure.

At an elevation of about 7,400 feet, you'll be able to experience one of the most breathtaking views that you'll find anywhere in the world. As you twist and turn your way through a diverse range of natural settings, you come across a diverse range of scenic beauty, mountain resort course, overtaking the clouds and going up all the way to an elevation of 14,115-foot summit of the Pikes Peak, also known as the most famous mountain in America.

Souvenir Shops and Other Amenities

Along the way to the summit, you'll find the highly popular North Slope Recreation Area, Historic Glen Cove Inn, Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop, and the Summit House. There are also other attractions like fishing lakes, hiking trails, areas for picnic, and points that provide breathtaking view of the surrounding areas. You can also hire a guide from one of the local agencies and learn about the facts, myths, history, and flora and fauna of the mountain. There are necessities and other services available that would make your trip no less than memorable.

Pikes Peak Today

There are multiple visitor centers located in the peak along with some other restaurants and gift shops. These centers are located in three places, being 6 miles and 12 miles away from the summit. There are many ways to which one can ascend the mountain; the Pikes Peak Railway is a popular way tourists reach the top. It operates from Manitou Springs to the summit all year round, given the conditions are suitable to permit traveling via the road. This cog railroad was only paved in the first half way point, was first made famous by the film Climb Dance. The road is cared after by the city of Colorado Springs as it operates as a toll road.

Safety and Precaution

At the summit, the partial pressure of oxygen is only about 60% of the average level, which would be at sea level. This will naturally make you breathe faster if you are not used to living at high altitudes. Those who are familiar with high altitude training are aware of the fact that prolonged exposure to reduce pressure levels will produce more red blood cells to offset the lack of availability of oxygen.

Altitude sickness may develop within those who overexert themselves or are sensitive. Conditions at the top of the peak are typical of the neighboring areas as there is always the chance of snowfall all year round while thunderstorms are the most common in the summer season.

8

Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles Review

EDITORS CHOICE

EDITOR'S COMMENT:

Before we get into the features, specs, design, and reviews, I'd like to talk about my experience with these Montem trekking poles. I took them on my trip to Mount Saint Helens. They were very sturdy, and had what I consider the ideal amount of give when traversing rocky terrain. They're got rubber feet that can be interchanged with the base tip made out of carbon steel. The only issue I had was figuring out I had to tighten the locking mechanism before use. Once I figured that out, I was good to go!

Over the course of my journey, they held up exponentially well - much better than Black Diamond. For 1/2 the price of the more expensive poles, I got the same, if not a better experience. They provided the same stability and comfort of those higher end poles. I could tell that they were built to live up to their model name and motto of being ultra strong.

DESIGN:

Whenever you are traveling, regardless of whether it is just for hours or extended days, weeks or months, the size of your poles matter a great deal. Carrying cumbersome items and more so trekking poles with you is quite discouraging. In other words, trekking poles are meant to facilitate your trekking experience and not to hinder it. In addition to these Montem poles being compact enough at just 24-inches in height, they are lightweight enough, weighing 9.6 ounces each, thus making them the sturdy and ultra-light poles for travel.

FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS: 

  • Feature adjustable bolts that allow an adventurer of any height to easily adjust the poles between 24-in and 53-in thus achieving the perfect height they need.
  • Crafted and constructed using aluminum 7075, an airplane construction material thus guaranteeing you strength and durability.
  • Ultra-light trekking poles having a total of 9.2 ounces per pole. Airplane materials are not only durable but light. Since you already have enough to carry on your back, a trekking pole that is too heavy becomes burdensome rather than to help you climb that steep.
  • The trekking poles are accompanied with straps meant to improve the safety of your journey. At last, the worries of dropping your trekking poles have been eliminated.
  • A one year limited warranty is very generous for a trekking pole.

CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND SCORES:

Rare will you get a product that rates 5-star out of 5 after the first 39 reviews. This is a 100% approval rate. At the time of writing this review, all the thirty nine customers to have reviewed the product gave it a five star rating.

The aesthetic appearance of the poles together with the generous one-year warranty is the most attractive features to most customers. Other reasons that attracted customers and made them to love it include the fact that the product has been built using aircraft-grade aluminum thus not only making it durable but very lightweight.

The construction is excellent, design is of high quality and ergonomics have been factored in thus offering the customers not only a smooth handle but also perfect grips.

One customer who has been buying these walking poles for years commends this product for being all round. Unlike other poles which would have many good features and one negative issue, this pole has nothing negative to talk about. Some of the poles he had bought earlier would either be adjustable but lacks sturdiness... or sturdy but fails in adjustability. At least that’s not the case with these Ultra strong Trekking poles.

So far, there is nothing negative that has been said by any of the customers who have bought these trekking poles thus making it very easy to recommend the product.

CONCLUSION:

​If you’re on a fixed budget, these should be your best choice. I cannot fault the magnificent design of these trekking poles. The EVA cork handles and aluminum design make them compete with the $100+ trekking poles and the twist locks are very strong.

The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles have been designed and constructed to last. All you need are poles that are capable of supporting you. Crafted out of airplane construction grade aluminum material, the poles have absolutely all the features sought for in a trekking pole namely; they are sturdy, they are strong thus durable and they are lightweight too. With these walking poles, you will experience the sturdiest and smoothest trekking experience that’s perfect for your gear and backpack.

Mountaintop [2-Pack] 3-Section Retractable Lightweight Trekking Poles Review

EDITORS COMMENT:

Retractable lightweight trekking poles by Mountaintop are perfect companion for outdoor activities as they are sturdy and durable due to their aluminum composition. They are perfect for activities like hiking, trekking, climbing, mountaineering, and backpacking.

I recently took these Mountaintop Trekking Poles on a trip to Seattle. Over the course of 3 weeks I used the poles totaling roughly 80 hours of active hiking. One thing that immediately stood out to me was the grip. Unfortunately, the padding was a bit thin. It did cause a bit of discomfort, but nothing dramatically bad. I also had to be careful where I placed the pole. On flat terrain, it held up fine, but when traversing rocky paths I could feel the pole losing it's stability/wobbling a bit. 

Unfortunately, the grips don't extend down the shaft either. This was noticeable when I went uphill/downhill, as I couldn't adjust my hand placement. This did cause noticeable wrist pain, which is a decent cause for concern. 

DESIGN:

These lightweight trekking poles can be retracted to 3 sections ranging from 24 inches to 53 inches to make its packing easier. These poles of 24 inch or 62 cm length can be adjusted very easily due to their light weight of 9.5 oz or 0.59 pounds and their lever lock system.

FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS:

  • The durable strap of Mountaintop [2-Pack] 3-Section Retractable Lightweight Trekking Poles helps in transferring some of your force from your hand to wrist by supporting your wrist.
  • The users can grip these poles with lesser force than others
  • The lever locks system of these poles makes it easy to extend the poles up to 53 inches with the help of its quick-lock adjustment. The bolts on their levers allow you to adjust its angle easily.
  • These trekking poles are available in various colors including Black, Golden, Maroon, Silvery and Sky Blue from which you can choose as per your liking and suitability.
  • Theses extendable trekking poles can be extended from 24 inches to 53 inches just by loosening their lock mechanism and adjusting their shaft down or up to increase or decrease their length as per your requirement.
  • Mountaintop ensures the quality of these trekking poles by offering 90 days limited period warranty on them.

CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND SCORES:

Mountaintop [2-Pack] 3-Section Retractable Lightweight Trekking Poles are really versatile trekking sticks as they can be used for hiking, trekking, climbing, backpacking and mountaineering with equal ease and comfort due to their retractable, safe and sturdy structure.

The reviews of more than 45 customers of Mountaintop Retractable Lightweight Trekking Poles have rated them averagely for 4.6 stars out of 5 whereas 78% of them have rated them for 5 out of 5 stars on the basis of their durable and comfortable use.

Though overall reviews of the customers on Amazon were positive but one of them does not find them suitable for heavy duty use as they collapsed when he put more load on them. Moreover he has to struggle a lot to adjust them as per his requirement.

CONCLUSION:

But such complaint was not registered by the other users of these trekking sticks. It proves that it is not a prevalent difficulty and may not occur if used carefully. Most of the other users have reviewed it as very comfortable and convenient trekking equipment at various types of trekking and hiking terrains. Most of them have recommended these sticks for all kinds of outdoor activities during mountaineering and trekking expeditions due to their sturdy and durable built and comfortable adjustment and handling features. “I liked them not only for their nice grips and for adjustments as I am short....” “These are the best for hiking on all types of terrains” and “It is really light but becomes really solid when stretched to use as a trekking pole” are the reviews of some of the users who were satisfied with the working of these trekking sticks.

Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles Review

EDITORS COMMENT:

Before diving into the specs and further details, I would have to say I had many gripes with this pole. I would venture to say a lot of the reviews on Amazon have been faked. I was not too pleased with the grip, nor was I all that enthralled with the way the poles wobbled on the terrain. Granted, wobbling can happen, but no matter what the placement, the poles seemed to shift and slide a bit. This wasn't pleasant in the least, and could actually be quite dangerous. 

FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Lightweight carbon fiber construction - under 1lb for a pair.
  • Quick lock snaps which make height adjustment easy and reliable.
  • Cork handles, which will shape to your hand(to provide some editor's insight, I've found I prefer EVA foam because cork tends to crack and tear faster).
  • Wrist strap.
  • Includes snow discs and mud baskets, as well as a carbide tip and rubber cap.

CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND SCORES:

The CMT poles are very versatile trekking poles. It can provide sufficient balance, prevent blisters, lightweight or do any of the several things a good trekking pole is capable of. 

Currently, CMT poles have found 301 customer reviews, and they have been awarded 4.5 stars out of a possible 5 on average. This is an incredible rating! The customer reviews on Amazon are positive generally, but there were a number of negative sentiments.

Nonetheless, many hikers or backpackers who have used these poles seem to have experienced comfort. Other clients said, “Got my pair and they’re stronger than any pole at typical outdoor retailers and way less expensive. You can feel the comfort isn't quite as noticeable, but they get the job done."

CONCLUSION:

Whether your new to trekking, or you're a seasoned veteran, I wouldn't put these poles at the top of my list. They're great for strolls at a moderate pace, but anything heavier or more taxing would be a bit dangerous as they have an issue with sliding and wobbling. 

Generally, the Quick Lock Carbon Fiber Cork Grip Trekking Poles were very comfortable for the first couple of uses, but over time I noticed the handle did lose its comfort and cushion. Having the foam grips and the cork handles assisted in the several different situations.

I was very happy with their remarkable performance on the basic trail (once again, flat surface and sturdy flooring - once exposed to a rougher trail, these poles lost their magic touch). The retail price of $49.99 makes them very affordable too.

DESIGN:

Though lever locks of the CMT are less refined than FlickLock of the Montem Trekking Poles or even those on Carbon Power Lock Poles, they work. Honestly, the shaft never slided; they never required occasional readjustment; and after nearly 2 hard weeks of use, they still work as well as when they’re new.

On top of the Quick Lock Poles, CMT provides a Twist Lock version. I would avoid these: the design is essentially less reliable, and the CMT poles I acquired in 2012 have proven to be similar.

The CMT pole grips are essentially made of high-density foam cork that’s far superior to rubber and plastic but not as necessary as (much more costly) 100% cork. But, to note, it is cork at the end of the day will degrade faster than EVA foam which we consider superior. 

Moreover, I’m happy that the CMT poles boast foam extension grips that I frequently use when side-hilling or when hiking steeply uphill. If poles don’t have this feature, it is a deal-breaker for me.

Note that on the website of CMT, the Quick Lock poles are also available with the cork grips, for the similar price. But be careful — assuming it is the same cork like on my CMT twist poles from 2012, it doesn’t feel or appear like real cork, and at least a single backpacker had a negative experience with them.

Montem Sneaky Snuggler Puffy Blanket Review

Looking for a new companion to keep you warm as the evening wears on and you’re curled up on the couch? Or maybe you’re sipping a coffee in the cool morning air on your porch. Either way, if you’re like me you probably enjoy your outdoor gear. So why not have a blanket that reminds you every day of those trail hikes from days gone by?

There are only a handful of outdoor-inspired blankets available right now. They’re great for those days around the house when you need some warmth but don’t necessarily want to crawl into a mummy bag on the couch. Among them, the Montem Sneaky Snuggler remains a top consideration.

So, how do you start to decide if the Montem Sneaky Snuggler is right for you? There’s a handful of considerations you need to make before you settle on a final choice. I’m going to help guide you through the decision so you can rest assured that the blank you choose is the one companion you can rely on!

What is the Montem Sneak Snuggler Blanket?

This outdoor-inspired blanket is aimed right at the heart of adventurers. While it only comes in one color, the blanket itself is a solid choice for staying warm on adventures. It’s closer to a duvet than a mummy bag but that’s alright. There’s no need for a mummy bag on the couch!

I personally really like the wave-like wood grain style sewn seams. Reminiscent of the Rumpl Puffy Blanket, these sewn seams are pleasing and make an awesome aesthetic addition to rustic areas.

Sneaky might be the perfect description for this blanket because the midnight blue of the fabric matches a dusky eve like a color picker. Just make sure that you scope out a place around the house for this comforter style blanket. It’s quite large and will likely stay in the house 95% of the time.

What the Montem Sneaky Snuggler is Not

Like other outdoor inspired blankets we’ve reviewed, it’s important to know where to draw the line. It can be easy to mistake these as competitors for mummy bags and backpacking quilts but they’re just not going to keep up.

While it’s a warm blanket made from outdoor fabrics and insulation, the Sneaky Snuggler is may be too heavy and large to make a viable hiking or backpacking companion for those that need to pack light.

Don’t get me wrong – it can be a perfect car camping or backyard snoozing companion. But for hikers and backpackers, it’s never going to be small enough or light enough to take on an overnight in the backcountry.

The synthetic insulation isn’t terrible in wet conditions. I can’t imagine why you’d get it wet, but if it happens there’s no problem with hanging it over a line and letting it dry. You won’t hurt the blanket one bit.

Montem Sneaky Snuggler Weight

Tipping the scales a bit over 2 pounds, this blanket is definitely not a feather. But seriously – who cares? Remember, it’s not even meant to be carried around regularly so there’s no need nitpicking over the weight of it.

Over 2 pounds isn’t bad for lugging around the house or tossing over your legs near the fire in the backyard. It’s probably best not to get caught up in the overall weight of this blanket.

One thing to note is that the additional weight, compared to other outdoor blankets, means more warmth. Most of the extra weight seems to come from loft insulation. This blanket is definitely thicker than others like the Kelty Bestie.

Montem Sneak Snuggler Insulation

Inside this Montem puffy blanket is a stuffing of 3D Hollow Fill insulation. This stuff is quite warm, but heavy compared to other materials. It’s often used in mummy bags and apparel for cold temperatures and it’s largely resistant to water.

Like most blankets, the sewn through stitching makes it less energy efficient. Hot air escapes through the sewn lines where insulation can’t keep the hot air trapped. This isn’t a big deal for an indoor blanket and using baffled seams would make the blanket more fragile and expensive anyway.

Montem Sneaky Snuggler Shell Material

On the outside of this blanket, you’ll find two layers of identical 20 denier ripstop nylon. 20D nylon is pretty thin, but it’s comparable to most outdoor puffy jackets.

 

If you own a puffy jacket you know they’re not invincible, but they won’t fall apart either. 20D ripstop is light enough to keep the blanket weight down but robust enough to last many, many years. However, you’ll need to be aware that pets and sharp objects can be an issue.

Dog and cat claws may easily snag, rip, or tear 20D nylon so don’t expect to let the doggo snuggle on your blanket without consequences.

Montem Sneaky Snuggler Size

This might be the single most important factor in the world of blankets for most of us. Having a huge, snuggly blanket is one of the most luxurious ways to enjoy an evening. But the second your blanket pulls up too high and your toes poke out into the cold, it’s enough to evoke rage in all but the most zen of us.

If you can’t tell, I hate small blankets. Thankfully this one is plenty big!

At 6.6 feet long by 4.5 feet wide there is plenty of room even for most of us who are taller. There might be enough room for you and a sweetie, but it won’t be much. You’ll have to snuggle close, but most of us won’t complain about an excuse to snuggle.

Conclusion

When you start comparing the Montem Sneaky Snuggler with other outdoor blankets, it’s become a solid winner. Because of its generous size and thick insulation, it makes a competitive choice among blankets.

As long as you like the color of the Sneaky Snuggler the rest of the features fall in line easily. With generous insulation and lightweight shell materials, it feels like a mummy bag. I love the waves of wood grain inspired sewing that makes the blanket bring a rustic feel to any room. Grab yourself one and you’ll have enough room for yourself or a partner.