September 14

Brand Ambassador Gear List – Ras and Kathy “Team Ultra Pedestrian” Vaughan

Gossamer Gear would like to welcome Team UltraPedestrian, Ras and Kathy Vaughan as our newest Brand Ambassadors! Read below about their spring attempt to hike the Grand Enchantment Trail from Phoenix to Albuquerque and back again.

A Double Dose of The Grand Enchantment Trail

By Ras Vaughan

When Kathy and I attempted to become the first people to yo-yo the Grand Enchantment Trail in the spring of 2017 we knew we would be facing a limited window of opportunity, with extreme weather likely on either end, and certainly possible in the middle as well. But rather than Newton’s Laws governing the conditions we faced on this adventure, it seemed Murphy’s Law was instead at work.

Team UltraPedestrian began our Grand Enchantment Trail Yo-yo attempt in unseasonably hot triple digit weather on the homophonically inspirational date of March 4th in the low deserts of Arizona east of Phoenix. There were not the moderate early spring temperatures we had hoped for this year, and we were treated to two weeks of 90 to 100 degree days.

Ras in the Santa Teresas – photo Kathy Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com

Then, almost overnight, we found ourselves postholing through hip deep snow at 10,000 feet in the Pinaleño Mountains. The very next day we dropped down into Safford, Arizona, and were once again in 100 degree heat.

Umbrella shade break – photo by Ras Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com

We were battered by thunderstorms along the Wild Bunch Trail heading east into across the New Mexico state line into Alma. Continuing west, the numerous fords of Mineral Creek were so cold we were forced to stop repeatedly to make coffee and warm up painfully cold toes. When we reached the junction to begin climbing up over Mogollon Baldy and a heavy, wet snow began falling and accumulating, we were forced to retreat and take the High Country Bypass around Mogollon Baldy as well as the High Water Bypass around the West Fork of the Gila River due to reports of dangerously fast and deep ford we received from a local mule packer. We thought this was turning out to be a very cold and wet Southwestern Hike, and we didn’t know the half of it.

Snowy day on the GET – photo by Ras Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com
Filtering foul water, using a Sawyer Squeeze filter set up in-line to gravity filter. Near Alma, New Mexico – photo by Kathy Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com

On Day 56, on a section of the GET rerouted along state road NM337 (due to access issues), a heavy rain squall hit just as we entered the Chilili Land Grant. We scrambled down off the shoulder of the road into a culvert to wait it out, then watched the rain turn to snow, and the snow begin to accumulate. We reemerged from “Culvert Camp” more than 36 hours later, having sheltered there from a record setting blizzard that closed freeways in Albuquerque just north of us.

Culvert Camp -Photo by Ras Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com
Leaving Culvert Camp after the storm to continue the Highway 377 shoulder walk. – Photo Kathy Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com

When we reached Albuquerque a few days later, the snow from that storm was still knee deep as we postholed over the top of the Sandia Mountains to descend into ABQ and complete our first yo.

The Sandia Crest after bouncing at the Sanida Aerial Tram – Photo by Kathy Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com

And the weather didn’t cut us any slack on the second yo either. Within a few days of bouncing at Albuquerque rain and snow had us holed up in a Forest Service shitter for dinner. Rain, lightning and hail forced us into our tent early day after day, minimizing our progress. Then when warm, dry weather came, there was no shoulder season, and summer roared in with it’s jaws snapping at our heels. During the journey Kathy’s pack ranged between 15-20 lbs and mine from 40-60 lbs.

Sitting out the heat as the temperatures began to reach triple digits. Diamond Creek drainage, Gila Wilderness, New Mexico. Photo by Kathy Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com

Our stubbornness and drive proved to be for naught, and on Day 97, when Kathy inadvertently left her sleeping pad in the direct sun and it melted, we knew we were done. A forest fire on the route ultimately ended the attempt. On Day 98 we quit the trail and ended our GET Yo-yo attempt 300 miles short of our goal.

Eagle Creek drainage, our final day of hiking. Near Morenci, Arizona – photo Kathy Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com
 Ras’ setup for half the trip: Gossamer Gear Mariposa, LT4 trekking poles, Gossamer Gear bag liner – photo by Ras Vaughan/UltraPedestrian.com
Item
Backpack
Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 (switched packs halfway through)
Gossamer Gear Walker 75 (prototype)
Shelter
Six Moons Designs Haven Net Tent & Tarp
Tarptent Saddle Two (switched to Tarptent halfway through)
Sleeping System
Feathered Friends Penguin Nano 20 down bag with Penguin Groundsheet for use as a two person quilt with bottom sheet
Gossamer Gear Nightlight Sleeping Pad
Kitchen
Jetboil Flash Cooking System
Cheap plastic container with watertight lid
Snowpeak titanium spork
Water System
Sawyer Squeeze Filter
Nathan 2 liter bladders x 4 = 2 for dirty 2 for clean
Nathan Flexshot 1 liter x 2
Nathan Fire & Ice 2 750 ml Hydration Bottle x 2
First Aid/Hygene/Repair
Cheap collapsable toothbrush
Sample size tube of toothpaste
Bandana
Toenail clippers
Leather sewing needles x 3
Upholstery thread - 1 spool
Superglue
12' duct tape
Tenacious Tape precut patches
Tenacious Tape roll
Chemical handwarmers - 1 pack for emergency
Lighter
Toilet paper
Sunscreen - stick type
Clothes
Altra running shorts - 1 pair
Cheap long sleeve button up shirt
Synthethic buff
Trail Butter "Be Trail Ready" trucker cap
Cheap fleece hat
Synthetic earflap hat
Smartwool armsleeves
Zensah wool calf sleeves
Black Diamond mountaineering gloves
Zensah lightweight gloves
Injinji midweight socks x 2 pairs
Injini lightweight wool socks, 1 pair
Smartwool midweight socks
Western Mountaineering puffy pants
Mont Bell synthetic puffy
Western Mountaineering ultralight puffy
Altra Lone Peak shoes/Altra Lone Peak NeoShell Insulated shoes
Altra Trail Gaiters
Homemade Puffy Down Slippers made from the sleeves off an old down coat
Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape
Electronics
Nokia 930 Windows Phone
Garmin eTrex 20 handheld GPS
24000 mAh battery pack/charger
Sony Walkman mp3 player
SPOT Gen 1 Satellite Transponder
GoPro Hero 3+ Silver edition
Miscellaneous
Black Diamond Polar Icon headlamp
Gossamer Gear LT4S CARBON TREKKING POLE
Gossamer Gear Cuben Q-Storage Sacks x 3
Gossamer Gear STICKPIC SELFIE ADAPTER
Gossamer Gear LITEFLEX HIKING (CHROME) UMBRELLA
Gossamer Gear Pack Liner
Kathy GET Gear Layout

Item
Backpack
20 liter Backpack
Sleeping System
Gossamer Gear Nightlight Sleeping Pad
Kitchen
Titanium cup & spork
Water System
Nathan Fire & Ice 2 750 ml Hydration Bottle x 2
First Aid/Hygene/Repair
Cheap collapsable toothbrush
Sample size tube of toothpaste
Bandana x 2
Hairbrush and hair ties
Chemical handwarmers
Lighter
Toilet paper
Sunscreen
Lip balm
Clothes
Altra perfomance skirt
Altra T-shirt
Altra buff
Smartwool buff
Trail Butter "Be Trail Ready" trucker cap
Cheap fleece jacket
Synthetic earflap hat
Smartwool armsleeves
Eddie Bauer puffy vest
Cross-country skiing gloves
Knee high wool socks
Injinji midweight socks x 2 pairs
Smartwool thigh high socks
Montbell puffy pants
Mountain Hardwear puffy jacket
Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes/Altra Lone Peak NeoShell 3.0 Insulated shoes
Altra Trail Gaiters
Altra Zoned Heat pants
Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape
Electronics
BLU smartphone
Sony Walkman mp3 player
Miscellaneous
Black Diamond Polar Icon headlamp
Gossamer Gear LT4S CARBON TREKKING POLE
Gossamer Gear Cuben Q-Storage Sacks x 2
Gossamer Gear LITEFLEX HIKING (CHROME) UMBRELLA

Read more about the adventures of Ras and Kathy at www.UltraPedestrian.com