133: Cats, Wonderland, and Ticks

Show Notes: Episode 133

Today on the First 40 Miles, if a news story didn’t involve the latest political scandal or secret missile launch, it probably didn’t even make it above the fold.  Fortunately, we’ve found a handful of stories  that we think you’ll find twice as interesting as what’s on the front page.   Then, the Summit Gear Review will feature a handy waterproof stuff sack that can hold anything from muddy hiking shoes to all the fixin’s for a campfire dinner.  Just not at the same time.  Next, a simple way to give peanut butter a flavor makeover.

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Today we share news that didn’t make the front page

Top 5 Backpacking in the News Stories

 Uptick in Ticks


 Man who blew his left hand off accidentally


Some listeners pointed us to some further reports on this story. Hmm, we wonder what he was up to:



Cats for Search and Rescue 




Rainier’s Wonderland Trail 


SUMMIT Gear Review™: Matador Droplet Wet Bag


  • Silicone case shaped like a drop of water, with a slit in it, into which a small portable 3 liter waterproof drawstring sack can be stuffed
  • The silicone case also has a place where you can attach a carabiner so you can attach this bag onto the outside of your pack.


  • Keeps the wet in or out. It’s not technically a “dry bag” because it doesn’t have a rolltop closure, but if you have wet gear that you want to keep separate, or something like a sketchbook that you want to keep protected from the rain…this will do the job—and your gear will still be accessible.
  • Not submersible
  • Droplet is reusable (and can take the place of gallon ziptop bags in a lot of cases) and can keep the wet in, or keep the wet out depending on your needs.


  • Weighs 0.5 ounces ( 15 grams)
  • When the stuff sack is removed from the silicone case, it measures about 8 1/2 x 11 inches—the size of a piece of paper
  • When it’s stuffed in its case, 2×1 1/2 inches


  • Hand wash, hang dry
  • Keep out of reach of children—it’s a waterproof bag, and that’s a risk with children


  • $15


  • Light enough that it makes sense to toss it in to your ten essentials so that you have an emergency reusable stuff sack
  • Compact enough to fit on a keychain and large enough for a days worth of food, your muddy hiking clothes and wet gear or dry gear.
  • Compact, reusable (instead of zip top bags for peripheral gear), easy, convenient, ready to use, easy to store

Backpack Hack of the Week™: DIY Flavored Nut Butters

  • Plain peanut butter is a backpacking staple.  It has 167 calories per ounce and it works equally well on sandwiches or mixed into a savory bowl of noodles.  But even the most devoted peanut butter lovers can get a little burnt out on the stuff.
  • Enter the mix-ins
  • Take a jar of pb that’s 3/4 full (or 1/4 quarter empty—depending on what type of person you are) and add in any of the following:
  • Maple syrup, honey, crushed pretzels, crisp rice cereal, roasted hazelnuts, Nutella, crushed dried banana chips, dried cranberries, turbinado sugar, crushed crackers, cinnamon, cream cheese frosting, sprinkles or chia seeds, coconut flakes, cardamom, flax meal, or bacon.
  • Any of these will break up the monotony, and you’ll have a party in your peanut butter

Trail Wisdom

“… unless we begin to protect existing hiking trails and provide new ones to cope with projected demands, the hiker faces a grim future–more and more hikers with fewer and fewer places to hike.”

—Robert Lucas & Robert Rinehart, The Neglected Hiker, Backpacker, 1976

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