I own several different backpacks for different reasons, multi-day backpacks, short 3-season day hikes, day-packs, etc. One thing I always struggle with is keeping my must-have gear with me no matter which pack I have for that particular adventure. Usually this includes a headlamp, fire starting device, pocket knife and/or multi tool, my compass, and my trusty Gerber Infinity Ultra LED Flashlight.
This tiny flashlight is very well built, I’ve dropped it many times without incident, and provides a great output of light in a pinch, and its even waterproof up to 10 feet. I always find myself wishing I had one for every backpack. It fits my system well, as it takes a single AA battery, as does my headlamp, GPS, and camera. The included clip is excellent and wont slip off, and the 8 lumen bulb projects a nice beam up to 30 feet. This is not a substitute for a headlamp, but its great to have in your pack at all times as a just in case, I make sure to have it on me when going to sleep in my tent, as it’s output is just perfect for finding my way to the bathroom when camping with others that don’t want to be disturbed by my 100 lumen headlamp beam. Gerber estimates a burn time of 100 hours from a fully charged battery, and stands behind their build with a limited lifetime warranty.
The Gerber Infinity Ultra LED flashlight shines a true white light to illuminate the task at hand.
This weekend some AMC friends and I set out to hike Mt. Goose Eye and Mt. Carlo as a loop from Success Pond Road. Mt. Goose Eye is part of the Mahoosuc Range of the White Mountains and is located in Maine, but our approach was from the New Hampshire side via the Goose Eye Trail. Mt. Goose Eye is also one of the New England Hundred Highest List, if peak-bagging is of interest to you (#77/100 for me!). The trailhead can be a bit harder to find than most, its about 8 miles in off a logging road, which was very passable by small car, you just have to take it slow. The first few miles ascend slowly up the mountain, crossing some minor streams and then pop out onto a logging road. The trail reenters the woods, and soon we found ourselves at the NH/ME border, marked only with a small marker on a tree. The trail then gains elevation quickly and we came to our first views, then a small rock scramble brought us to the summit with its 360 degree views.
After some photos and a quick lunch, we followed the Mahoosuc trail down some very steep section to the Carlo Col Trail. This section is also the Appalachian Trail. The trail again rises up through some fantastic alpine meadows before reaching the summit of Mt. Carlo.
I noticed some really impressive trail work here, some spots had great foot-holds cut out of the rocks. Finishing off the day we descended into Carlo Col, and linked up to the Carlo Col Trail. The trail here was a bit washed out after the Carlo Col campsite, but it was nice to dunk my bandanna into the cool stream that was alongside the trail for much of the remainder of the hike. The last mile of the trail was on a logging road again, which normally would be unpleasant, but this road has ample amounts of wild blackberries to snack on while waiting for the rest of the group.
Overall, a great loop hike with some really fantastic views. The Goose Eye loop is one that I would definitely recommend, and I am hoping to return to this area to attempt a Grafton Loop at some time in the near future.
After the hike we went for a dip in the Androscoggin River off route 16 in New Hampshire and cooled down, a perfect post hike plan.
For a long time I have been looking for a high output LED headlamp that also takes AA batteries. Most lamps take AAA batteries, but because my GPS and my camera run on AA, I find it appealing to have a single battery system, in case I need to take them from one device in case of failure or emergency. Enter the Black Diamond Icon, this review is for the 2011 version, which is handsomely discounted right now. The lamp is super bright with it’s main 3 watt light cranking out an impressive 100 lumens, and can be also set to use 4 smaller .5 watt bulbs. Each mode has 3 brightness settings as well, for a total of 6 brightness modes. Another great feature is the battery indicator light, letting you know how much juice if left from your last adventure. With an average run time on high of 80 hours, this is an excellent lamp for all types of night time activities, or just to keep in the car(which is where I retired my old lamp to). Game on!
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Earlier this year I signed up for a Novice 2-Day Whitewater Kayaking Clinic with Zoar Outdoor. I drove out the their base in Charlemont, MA on Friday and setup camp. They have onsite camping and it was a very nice setup. The focus of the clinic was to learn paddle strokes, technique, etc. We did some practice on flat water and after moved down to the fife brook section of the river and practiced eddy turns. On the second day we did some more practice and then ran the fife brook to just before Zoar gap rapid. I really learned a lot over the weekend and had a great time. Their guides are very helpful and provide great instruction.