Category Archives: Colorado Trail

New Book for Sale – Old Stuff Wins Awards

Just Released! Backpacking’s Triple Crown: The Junior VersionCover5

For backpackers, America’s long trails hold a special place of honor. To have hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail or Pacific Crest Trail is a tremendous accomplishment. Hiking all three, the “Triple Crown” of backpacking, is an experience the vast majority of us can only dream about. For those that aspire to take an epic thru-hike, but can’t commit months at a time to the endeavor, there are other options. In fact, there is a Triple Crown of shorter “long trails” that require weeks, not months to complete. These trails provide much of the same tremendous scenery and adventure as their more extended brethren, but are achievable for those with families, careers and/or a lot of years under their belts. Come along with Yours Truly (Jim Rahtz) as I tackle this Junior Version of the Triple Crown. Walk the Colorado Trail as it shares a path through the Rocky Mountains with the Continental Divide Trail. Visit the most iconic sights of the Pacific Crest Trail through hiking the John Muir Trail. While on the Long Trail, climb up Stratton Mountain, where the idea for the Appalachian Trail was conceived. Of course, hiking these trails is not all rainbows and unicorns. I share both the joys and struggles of these thru-hikes in an easy, hopefully entertaining style. Be warned though. Once you’ve finished the book, your bucket list may be a little longer. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions right here, right now.

Outdoor Writers of Ohio Awards Presented

At their annual conference, held at Grand Lake on May 12-15, the Outdoor Writers of Ohio presented the organization’s Craft Improvement Awards. A Short Book on the Long Trail was named “Outstanding Media Achievement” for 2015. Photography from the book won two awards including the “People’s Choice Award” for an image of an Eastern Newt.Salamander

An article from this blog, “Why I Hunt,” was also recognized.

It’s Award Season

With all the other Award shows going on, I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2015 Awards. Well, despite the lack of TV coverage, I’m happy to report that the organization saw fit to present me with two awards. A selection of photos taken on the Colorado Trail received “Best Series of Photos.” The specific winning shots are shown here.

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Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes



In addition, my book on the journey, The Achievable Epic: Thru-Hiking the Colorado Trail received “Outstanding Media Achievement.” Feel free to check it out at Amazon.

Now I’m fired up for a new adventure! Hmmm, where should I go?


Colorado Trail Gear List – Part 2

Part One of my gear list described my tent, pack, etc, all the usual stuff. In addition, being a 21st Century kind of guy; I also brought a bit of electronics. This is also where I might have gone a tad overboard.

About 10% of my pack weight.

About 10% of my pack weight.

The Spot Satellite Messenger weighed 5oz. I used it on a daily basis to let friend(s) and family know where I was and that I was OK. Luckily I never had to try the other buttons that told them I was lost, had a shattered pelvis or lost a fight with a bear.

The Garmin Etrex 20 GPS weighs 5 oz and was extremely useful in keeping me headed in the right direction when the trail was covered with snow. Beyond that, it confirmed that I was still on the correct trail a couple times, but would not have been necessary had I been traveling after more of the snow had melted.

My IPhone weighed 6 oz, was used as a back up camera and allowed “texts and talk,” along with email and internet when I was in or near towns. The IPad Mini, at 14 oz, did everything the phone did, except phone calls, in a larger, easier to use size. In addition, the piece also provided reading material and served as a notepad to write down my thoughts at the end of the day.

My dedicated camera was a Canon SX 160 that weighed 10 oz.  While it took some great shots, the pictures from the IPhone look, in many instances, as good or better.

Of course with this much in the way of electronics, there has to be charging cords, cords to download photos from the camera to the IPad, extra batteries and a small solar charger. That “bag o’ stuff” tipped the scales at another 10 oz. In total, while I was “getting away from it all,” I carried over 3 lbs of gizmos. Right here is where you could save some serious weight compared to me