Day 81: A broken zipper…

Thurs. 7/11/13
21.5 miles (Miles 1105.4 – 1126.9)
Gilmore Lake – Barker Pass

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Two great trails at once!

As I hiked through forest, hilly and lush, green meadows, over streams and past lakes, I thought a lot today. It was a great day for hiking… just like every day, really! This morning was cool, breezy and cloudy. I actually thought we might get a thunderstorm, but the crazy-looking morning clouds kept breaking up before they got over our heads. The clouds this morning looked like huge ocean waves, rolling across the sky.

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Ocean waves in the sky

By early afternoon the clouds were gone, the breeze slowed down and the sun came out. It turned out to be a great day – the variety in weather and temperature was nice. It cooled off again later this afternoon, so by the time we set up camp I was eating dinner while wearing my jacket and enjoying a hot cocoa for dessert. Oh, and last night we woke up to raindrops on the tent and we had to close our vestibules to keep the rain out. The rain didn’t last long, and the tent was already dry by morning.

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Cleared-up sky

I was a little bummed out that I wasn’t able to swim in one of the many deep, clear lakes in Desolation Wilderness – it was just too chilly. Once out of Desolation, however, we arrived at Richardson Lake where it was sunny and warm… swimming tempted me. It looked a little mucky and crawfish were enjoying the shoreline, but Tears reminded me, “this is just like the lakes you’d swim in back home.” She was right! In I went, and it was the warmest lake so far. It felt great to just rinse off and redo my trail braids. Yay! I got a swim in today!

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Lake Richardson

My thoughts today kept going back to a broken zipper… I get really attached to my backpacking gear. Once you find something that’s comfortable, durable and does what you want it to, it’s hard to let it go. Especially if it’s got any sort of history. I had a hard time saying good-bye to my first pair of shoes for cryin’ out loud. Well, this will be much harder. The broken zipper is on my trusty, loved, well-used backpack. I’ve had it since 2005 – it didn’t go on the ADT with me in ’06, but it’s been on every trip since then, and I really hoped it would hold out for the entire PCT. I’m pretty sad.

First the zipper would skip, then it started to split – but I was always able to zip it back closed if I was really careful. Now it stopped zipping altogether, and upon closer inspection I realized one of the teeth was loose and bent. Oh, no… I thought and thought about what I should do:

I could just not use that zipper and sew it shut so it doesn’t split any more. It’s kind of a pain to work around it, but it could be done.

I could just toss it and buy a new pack – Granite Gear again, or should I go ULA? That would make for a whole new decision, a big shopping day, and lots of trying on. And it’s so sad…

Or I could call Granite Gear to see if they might be able to replace that zipper. I could get a smaller ULA for possibly the rest of this trip, and then I’d  still have my sweet Granite Gear for bigger trips or when I need to carry a bear canister – they fit really well in that pack, vertically and horizontally. That’s kind of a rare thing. I really love that pack, and I don’t think they make the Nimbus Latitude with the double-zip panel-load anymore. Boo…

I can’t let it go. I’m going on the hopes that Granite Gear can help me out. The zipper is tricky – it’s sewn to a tough cordura material on one side and a stretchy panel on the other, and it’s a wide, waterproof zipper. I don’t know that just any seamstress could fix it.

Sigh… I really hoped I wouldn’t have to replace a “big 3” item out here (backpack, sleeping bag or tent)… we’ll see what happens.

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Boo... my broken pack zipper


Tonight I love my Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude backpack, obviously… hopefully I can continue that love for a long time… somehow… it’s just a zipper, right?

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Beautiful morning sky

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More morning sky

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One of these whitish butterflies finally held still long enough for me to get a photo!

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The lichen on these trees is so fluorescent limey green - very pretty - but it looks likes it might be killing the branches it attaches to

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What will your fate be, my old friend?

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)

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2 thoughts on “Day 81: A broken zipper…

  1. re lichen- it grows on the bark and does not kill branches or in any way harm the trees. trees in picture are old red fir, typically having heart rot, root rot, and other diseases by that age.

  2. If you haven’t already fixed your zipper, “thrifty outfitters” (part of Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis) has an awesome gear repair shop. They have fixed my tent zippers and mosquito netting on my tent doors and are the best.
    PS – enjoying reading your blog over winter and vicariously hiking along while it is -15 deg outside my window.

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