Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: REI Traverse 30 Women's Backpack

My goal this summer was to hike my first 14er, which I did, and will post about ASAP! In order to do this, I knew I needed the proper gear, and thus my backpack search began. My beloved Camelbak M.U.L.E. NV just wasn't going to do the job, I needed more volume to hold those 10+ essential items. I compared and read reviews online from multiple sources, and then went and tried on 5 different packs loaded with weights.

I chose the REI Traverse 30 Women's Backpack.

I chose this pack for a number of reasons, mainly because I like how streamlined it is, while still having plenty of pockets - 1 main compartment, 4 organizational pockets, and one small pocket on the hip belt.  There are also mesh pockets on either side to carry water bottles or snacks, and an internal sleeve to hold a 3.0L reservoir. The major bonuses for me with this pack are 1) the hidden rain cover which many of the competitors I looked at did not have, and 2) it appeals to the green nerd in me... this pack is made of 100% recycled PET polyester fabric. Which means this pack keeps 24 16-oz. plastic bottles out of landfills. :)

This pack lived up to it's hype. It easily held the essentials, with room to spare for additional items that would be necessary for longer hikes. On Saturday, we hiked ~5.5 hours and the pack was comfortable. I really liked having the easily accessible side pockets for my water bottle of Pure Fitness and snacks, and the hip belt pocket that perfectly held my chapstick, camera, and tissues.

The only downside I could find for this pack is that there isn't a small organizational pocket inside to hold things like my ID, search & rescue card, and cash (in case I need to pay-off a bear?). I'm concerned that it's too easy for this type stuff to fall out, or get accidentally pulled out of the existing pockets. However, this isn't such a big deal as I've figured out a work around. I plan to get, or find in my closet somewhere, a change purse type thing to hold such items and attach it to a hook in the main compartment. Problem solved.

Another plus with purchasing this pack through REI is if for whatever reason this pack doesn't hold up, I can return it to REI no questions asked.

Here's a list of the other major competitors (for me):
I really thought I was going to get the CamelBak Fourteener (in the yellow/charcoal color)... but REI was sold out in the store, and after calling around and not finding it anywhere in order to try it out with weights - I decided to go with the Traverse. I still want it. I mean, it's called the Fourteener! Bad, I know...

I might have to start collecting packs like I collect Coach purses. :D

Here's my collection so far, aren't they purty?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Catch-up: July

I'm still trying to catch up... We kicked off July with our trip to Jackson, WY and then kept rolling. Here's a list of highlights:

  • Renaissance Festival: Went with some friends and enjoyed the junk food and people watching, but I think I'm good for another few years before I need to go back!
  • Lilith Fair: I was able to score $10 tickets to Lilith Fair, so I got some girl friends to go with and we had a good time. I swear what money we saved on tickets was easily spent on food and drinks! Bottled water (which you couldn't bring in yourself) was $5, and this concert started at 2PM and went until 10 PM! The highlights for me was Erin McClarey, Ingrid Michaelson, and obviously Sarah McLachlan. I have to say I was disappointed in the format of Lilith. If you wanted to reserve a good spot on the lawn for the main artists, then you couldn't be at the other stages. I really wish that ALL the Lilith artists went to ALL the Fairs nation wide, like they did in the late 90s. I've heard that they are trying to make it better 2011... I hope so!

Sarah McLachlan
Finale - all artists

  • Rocky Mountain High: Event at Denver Museum of Nature and Science... we met up with some friends, and made some new ones! We had a great time, and learned about how the Rocky Mountains were formed over cocktails while enjoying this view:

Sunset over the Rockies
The Denver skyline
  • My little brother came to visit for 10 days! He's 8 years old, and wow, what a whirlwind that was! We kept busy, as I tried to show him all that Colorado has to offer :). Here's a run down of our activities:
Whew, I think that's it for July! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catch-up: July 4th in Jackson, WY

This summer has been crazy, and I've loved every minute of it... but it's starting to wind down and it is time to play catch-up on some posts. July was packed and flew by... Um, happy belated Independence Day!

We took a road trip for July 4th weekend to Jackson, Wyoming. It only took us about 9 hours to get to the Grand Tetons - how great is that?! We rented a house in Jackson Hole with 7 other people and had a fantastic time... I swear, it was like being back in college. We spent a day in Yellowstone National Park (elk, bison, deer, and bears, OH MY!), a day chillin' by Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park, and a day roaming downtown Jackson Hole. It was such a great time... I can't wait to go back! Here are some highlights...

Yellowstone National Park:

I got up before the crack of dawn on July 4th to go with my hubby, the photographer of the family, to take pictures of the Grand Tetons at sunrise. It was cold that morning - in the 30s. I thought my gloveless hands were going to completely freeze and fall off! But seriously, what a fantastic way to start off Independence Day! Here are some somewhat decent shots I got with my iPhone 4 while John did a photo shoot with his D40...

We celebrated Independence Day hanging out at Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. This day pretty much goes down in the books as one of the best days ever... I was so sad to leave!

Jackson Hole, WY:

I seriously can not wait to go back... the Grand Tetons are still my favorite mountains. We had such a great time, met some new friends, and hope to travel with them again!

Hike: Goose Creek Trail

This post is long overdue! In June, I met up with some great girls to hike the Goose Creek Trail in the Lost Creek Wilderness. We started at the Goose Creek Trailhead, and hiked up to shaft house and back for a total of 9.4 miles round trip.

These pictures do not do the area justice, it's absolutely beautiful. The boulders are just... HUGE. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trail:

This was one of my first hikes using our new point and shoot camera, and I regret that I didn't learn how to use it properly beforehand... I'm a little disappointed with the pictures.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Schedule for a TV Junkie

Update: Somehow I forgot Modern Family the first go round, and I think I'll check out the new NBC show, Under Covers (picture updated).

I know I've promised to post pictures from our summer adventures and I meant to have a couple of catch up posts yesterday, but instead I got distracted by a somewhat urgent matter for a TV junkie like myself... Peeps, it was time to make my Fall 2010 TV Schedule spreadsheet! You can laugh, I'll wait.


Yes, I'm a dork. I'm an admitted TV junkie and engineer... are you really surprised that I have a spreadsheet? I've actually had quite a few requests to share it, so here's my schedule:

So far I haven't decided if I'm going to try out any new shows next season. Obviously, I have enough shows for my TiVo to keep up with... actually too many for Monday and Tuesday. I will have to rely on Hulu and online network viewing to fill in the gaps. I'm actually a little relieved that Lost, Heroes, and Deep End were cancelled. Every season I say that I'm going to stop watching One Tree Hill, but like a train wreck, I keep watching. Speaking of TV show train wrecks, True Blood Season 2 Disc 1 should be waiting in our mailbox tomorrow from Netflix...

What shows are you looking forward to most? Any new series you plan to check out? I'm most looking forward to Glee, Grey's Anatomy, Parenthood, and Vampire Diaries. Quite a mix I know... :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oh Canada!

Note: I wrote this last week when I didn't have a WiFi connection, and forgot to publish it later. So... here it is finally. More Canada highlights and pictures will be posted soon! 

We started our Canada adventure last week by hanging out on Devil Lake (Ontario) with my husband's entire family. We spent the week swimming, fishing, playing games, and relaxing. I read two books while we were there! We also took a day trip to Ottawa. It was a great week, and we had some real quality time with everyone.

Once we left Devil Lake we took a VIA train from Kingston to Montreal (Quebec) and spent a couple of days there. We spent the entire time in Old Montreal with the rest of the tourists. We couldn't believe how crowded it was there. We went on a walking tour which was very informative, and also went to the Montreal Museum of Archeology and History - which I would recommend visiting if you're ever in Montreal - and learned about how the city was born and became a metropolis.

This morning we took a train to Quebec, and are staying at a hotel in the heart of Vieux (Old) Quebec. I'm in love with this area. It's like a slice of Europe in North America. It's beautiful, and I just don't think we will be able get enough out of our two days here. We definitely want to come back!

I'm typing this from a ferry we are taking a joy ride on to see the city from the water (we are waiting at port). Here is a picture of Old Quebec from the St. Lawrence seaway.

After Quebec, we are flying to Halifax, Nova Scotia and renting a car to explore Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. I'm so excited for that portion of our trip.

Till next time....

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