Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weekend Backpacking - 22 Miles in 44 Hours, Badger Creek Trail, Oregon

Not bad for our first backpacking trip of the year - 22 miles in 44 hours!

And...what an amazing Memorial Day weekend!

In addition to honoring our veterans, we took advantage of the summer weather and left for adventure. (Escaping the on-going PDXBoil...)

A long weekend, a late start, beautiful scenery, and complete exhaustion = fun!

The trek - Badger Creek Trail in Oregon. Round trip of 22 miles.
The trekkers - Me, my wife (the photographer), and the dog.
The time - Started on the trail at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, returned to the car at 11:15 a.m. on Monday.

The trail - a rocky, hilly footpath - travels along the Badger Creek for most of the hike. Occasionally the trail leaves the creek and passes through old forests. At times it appears the forest is dying - or is dead - as the trees are falling, leafless, and foreboding. BUT the fallen trees make for a great obstacle course, crossing the trail and making hikers climb, hop, or blaze new trails. Numerous creeks are also crossed - giving you plenty of opportunities to fill your water bottles!

The trail lead to the Badger Lake and a nearby campground. (The lake is also accessible by car for the less adventurous...)

The first day hiking was pretty rough, we were definitely not prepared for the hills or the full campsites (dang holiday weekends).  But the next morning (after making camp on the side of the trail), when we realized where we ended, it was all worthwhile - we went a lot farther then we initially believed!

After getting our muscles accustomed to the work, the second and third days were much more reasonable!

We took this time to test a lot of our new backpacking gear - water filter, JetBoil, and coffee maker (I cannot function without my morning coffee! - as well as test ourselves - carrying backpacks the entire hike, putting up and taking down the tent and gear each day, and packing and leaving as early as possible.

All of our equipment worked perfectly! And...somehow we made it without passing out!

Have you been backpacking yet? Where was your favorite spot?

Yours in exploiting life!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gas Price Creep in Portland

I was shocked when I saw the gas price at our local gas station...over $4.00 a gallon! For regular!

Usually when the gas prices go up, I've already prepared myself due to the numerous news articles. I must not have been paying much attention this time, because I haven't read any recent news on the rise!

Are we so use to the never-ending increase that we didn't notice?  Or do we just not care?

Hey, I care! This costs money!

Portlanders have seen these same prices before, last summer. Maybe we're in a time warp and nobody thought we'd notice. But I've been accustomed to the winter prices for so long, that this is going to hurt!


In our house, we're very strict with our gas budget - with only one car and only one of us taking it to work, we can get away with $20 a week on gas! (I feel like this is ridiculously low, but I have no idea what anyone else spends.)

This doesn't count weekend activities or planned trips, but it's really nice on our weekly budget. More money for restaurants!

With prices near $4, we may have to make some adjustments! Everyone may have to make some adjustments! (Driving plans for Memorial Day?)

Something I've always wondered, at what price of gas will those large SUV drivers park the car? When will it hurt the wallet enough to say, "hey, maybe a medium sized SUV will be better."

Before drastic changes though, do some additional sleuthing. I went online and found a list of the cheapest prices in Portland.

At $0.35 less a gallon, I may change my route before I change my budget!

(I'm not sure if these are cash only, be warned...)

P.S. My favorite gas stations are Shell - not sure why I'm partial to them, but the ones I've been to have amazingly nice employees - but with prices starting at $3.89, they may lose me. Or that might be the cost of great customer service.

Do you factor in gas when budgeting?  How much do you spend a week?

Yours in exploiting life!