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July 28th, 2003 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Jul. 28th, 2003

01:31 am - Lightweight living


Lightweight living

By Larry McDuff
Fairhope, Alabama
November 1999

It happens every time.

When Ann and I return from a long hike, we immediately start getting rid of stuff. Since completing our hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, we've given away a 14-foot aluminum jon boat with trailer, a slalom ski, a windsurfer, two North Face down sleeping bags, a toboggan, a 35 mm camera with telephoto lens, an artist's set of oil paints, a set of weights with bench, and four old tires. We've hauled two loads of clothing and miscellaneous junk to thrift shops.

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10:53 pm - The Ray Way

[Ray Jardine has climbed El Capitan, kayaked to the Antarctic, circumnavigated the globe by sailboat, invented the climber's "friend", and he and his wife Jenny just got back from rowboating across the Atlantic. A very interesting fellow.]


Backpacker, February 1998
by Peter Potterfield

"Way" the options: Jardine holds a typical 28-ounce backpacking boot and a 10-ounce running shoe, which he favors for getting weight off his feet and slashing daily energy expenditure.

He rocked the world of climbing, challenged the accepted wisdom in sea kayaking, and has turned his renegade way of thinking to backpacking. Of course, Ray Jardine says we've been doing it all wrong.

[Note from Ray: I did not, nor would I ever say that any hiker or backpacker is doing it wrong. Anyone who enjoys the wilderness on foot, regardless of what kind of gear he or she carries, is doing it right. My philosophy of wilderness enjoyment is based on the premise that the equipment is a means to enjoy the end. For me, less equipment brings greater enjoyment. But for someone else the opposite might be true - and if so, then they are still doing it right.)


The soft-spoken 50-year-old sitting in the pale sunshine outside his Pacific Northwest home seems an unlikely troublemaker. Feeding peanuts to a brazen blue-jay that hops and bobs for attention, Ray Jardine smiles wryly through a close-cropped salt-and-pepper beard. "They just didn't get what I was trying to do," he says finally, with a tone of frustration. "It was as if they were somehow...threatened."

[R.J.: With all due respect to my friend Peter, he seems to be exercising a bit of poetic license here. :) I neither care nor worry about what people think of my ideas, and I am certainly not frustrated by whether people adopt any of them. I develop my ideas exclusively for my own use in quite a variety of rigorous outdoor pursuits. The reason I described my hiking ideas in The PCT Hiker's Handbook was to stimulate other people's thinking, where applicable.]

It hardly matters whether Jardine is talking about the heated reaction to his original ideas about long-distance backpacking or to his innovative camming devices - called "Friends"-that ushered in a new era of rock climbing. The man has a way of standing the status quo on its ear and enraging a lot of hidebound thinkers in the process. It's not that he means to do it. Jardine is just careful, methodical, thorough, and unbound by conventional thinking. When he applies himself to a problem, the solutions that result fly in the face of accepted practice.

Hitting the trail near his present-day home in Oregon, wearing his homemade pack with 9 pounds of gear while a friend carries a typical 40-pound load.

When Jardine first published The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook in 1992 and then came out with a substantially revised version in 1995, he challenged some long-held beliefs about the proper way to backpack. The book, a how-to manual for any long-distance hike and not just a guide to the Pacific Crest Trail, outlines a system of novel techniques for hiking as far as 30 miles a day or farther, day after day, with no more effort than most of us expend covering half that distance. "The Ray Way" amounts to an almost total repudiation of what Jardine terms "standard backpacking style." It was as if he were saying to backcountry travelers, "Excuse me, but just about everything you've been doing up 'til now is wrong."

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