Over a weekend in late July and early August Chris Wallace and I had the opportunity to instruct a group of excited students in the ways and (dare I say) art of ultralight backpacking. We were working on behalf of the Backpacking Light Wilderness Trekking School and operated a three day course out of Jackson Hole Wyoming in the Bridger Teton National Forest.
Chris and I have had the opportunity of backpacking together previously and regularly exchange gear-related chats via various Internet channels so I know what his strengths were. He is a gear and nutrition nerd, plain and simple. Ask him a question about a piece of gear and he will provide you a well-researched and fact-based explanation of it. Ask him a question about caloric density of food or what he suggests as a ratio of protein to fat to carbs and he’ll have an answer for that as well.
Chris provides a good balance to my style which is a bit looser. I know gear also but from a more theoretical point of view basing my knowledge more on fabrics generalities and broad design elements rather than specific brands. I’m also blessed with having spent myriad days in the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains and having walked thousands of trail miles with only a map as my guide.
I was able to offer up to our students a light-hearted, humorous attitude with an anecdote for just about every situation and Chris was able to provide qualitative, verifiable data for any and all serious questions posed by our more technical students.
The students who enrolled in our course were of a broad background. We had semi-retirees from Florida, vagabonds from Wyoming, alpine enthusiasts from Oregon, and a solo-trekker from Quebec. The students were well-versed in a good chunk of info regarding the ultralight backpacking ethos but all yearned for more and also particularly wished to put these techniques into practice in the backcountry and have help doing such from instructors like Chris and myself who’ve done so many times. According to post-course feedback we were successful.
But enough with all this writing – - let’s look at some photos because we all know they’re worth a thousand words. For full photo set please visit my Flickr photo page.