ULA Backpack Repurposed

Subject: Trawlercat Zero Days Update

There is this opening scene on a television travel show called Globe Trekker whereby this long-haired, tanned and barefoot guy, walking by the ocean surf finds a rather large stick. He then draws a large circle engulfing him into the travels and peoples of the world. I like that scene; it sort of reminds me of the adventures that now seem to be playing out for me.

Today, on my fourth of many zero days (i.e. no hiking days) my friend Ken and I rode our powerful personal watercrafts (PWC’s) twenty-six miles across the sea to Two Harbors, Catalina Island. It wasn’t much effort as the launch ramp is about a five minute drive away. Today also, not even thirty minutes after arriving to Two Harbors, Catalina Island I run across a 2010 PCT thru-hiker.

Talk about a small world.

In 1958, The Four Preps wrote a song “Twenty-six Miles Across the Sea, Santa Catalina is a-waiting for me,” which became a top hit of the fifties. In 2011, while waiting for an order of “biscuits and gravy” I spot a couple each carrying backpacks.

One of the packs is very much familiar to me, the U-L-A, in its traditional tablecloth checkerboard green. I could not spot that pack a mile away as they were selling like hotcakes at the Lake Morena kick off.

I instantly yell out – is that a U-L-A? Yes it is! Ken and his wife Kathy then join us and I quickly find out that in 2010 he hiked the PCT. He is still hiking, only this year he is what they call section hiking – doing a piece at a time.

Today, they both completed the 34 mile Catalina crest trail and are waiting for a bus to take them back to Avalon – the populated part of the island. An hour later we are still talking hiking, getting caught up on snow levels, current thru-hikers and the amazing country yet to come after Kennedy Meadows.

Twenty- six miles across the sea
Santa Catalina is a-waiting’ for me
Water all around it everywhere
Tropical trees and the salty air
But for me the thing that’s a-waiting’ there-romance

No romance on this island for Ken and I; but then of course the day is still early and the weekend young. Just kidding! What we did get is some great PWC ocean riding workout as we pounded our way across the open sea. A little rougher than we wanted but not cold.

We saw at least two separate pods of common dolphins that engulfed is and raced with us for as long as we wanted. We each took lots of video – the quality not that great but the narration is fair.

I posted my video on Face Book so you can either watch it there or ask me to Friend you (Ralph H. Perez) or you can watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjFCk3Z3k5Q on common dolphins on the way to Catalina.

PCT Kennedy Meadows 024Here is Trawlercat’s schedule until it again changes.
Next week I drive to Reno and take Ned’s four day snow course on the PCT.

On or about mid-July the snow should’ve cleaned itself up quite a bit and the raging rivers should’ve also somewhat subsided; that’s when I’ll get back on the trail. I’ll be reaching out to Structure to see if he wants to join me at Mile 702 – Kennedy Meadows that is a waiting for me!

See you on the trail!

Update: 07/2016 – Just a mere five years later:

Yesterday I packed my Adventure bike (BMW F650GS) panniers with the various life necessities that I now find necessary for a one week motorcycle trip.  With the velcroed waistband firmly removed from the ULA backpack; it is now more like repurposed luggage.

As I ride my adventure bike, the ULA backpack will lay right behind me; sort of like a one up motorcycle rider. It sort of reminds me of a Barbie doll figure, minus the legs once I removed the velcroed waist strap.

In the backpack is more safety and security for surviving a one week Colorado outback adventure.  The ULA pack can still take a whole lot more.

Two trips to West Marine allowed me to purchase a fresh set of red rubberized bungies.  I criss cross both from the top and also through the rear waist strap opening.  Now we’re ready.

The first trip to West Marine was to purchase additional stainless steel bolts to fasten through the panniers.  My way of ensuring they don’t come off in the event of a heavy spill.

I don’t yet have any emotional connection to my Beemer; maybe time will change things from an “it” to a trusty steed.

If “it” breaks down beyond repair in the outback or if the situation warrants, my plan is to strap the ULA on my back and make my way back out.  On the PCT I survived for weeks at a time carrying the ULA.  No, hiking now is not my first choice.

It is the thrill of the ride that keeps me going.


PCT Kennedy Meadows 027



© 2011 Ralph Perez

About trawlercat

Retired and now moving on from the cruising life jeeps, adventure bike, gardening, and travel. Always in search of the next great adventure!
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