Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

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OZZZ
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Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Jul 11 2011 8:50 pm

I just moved to Flagstaff about 2 weeks ago and am loving it here.

Im usually a pretty good researcher and to be honest, pride myself on it but I gotta tell ya .... trying to shop for backpacking gear is really starting to make my head spin and I think I need some advice before I end up making any more purchases that end up not being what I need :o

So this is the equipment Ive purchased so far. Most of the time Ill be up here in high elevations, but will be using this stuff everywhere, lower elevations and even the desert if possible. From what Ive read, it sounds like if you want to be out during winter, its probably best to have two sets of gear. So for this first set Im looking to 3 season equipment.

1. A slumberjack 2 tent. This was my first purchase and admittedly a misinformed purchase. The tent weighs just under 7 lbs and I now realize thats pretty dam heavy. Whats more, I paid $69 for it and thanks to the threads here I see many tents for under $100 that weigh half the weight. I did set it up in a thunderstorm the other night and it worked well. I do like that it has enough room for my GF and I, and a decent sized dog as well. What do you guys think? Scrap it and buy a lighter version or suck it up and pack the 7 lbs around?

2. I found a coleman exponent canyon mummy 32 degree bag on craigslist for $50. I did a couple quick searches and it seems like a good bag. Weighing at just over 2 lbs and being rated well. My first search showed a sales price of $189, the second for $169 so I figured at $50 thats a buy! I go buy it, get home and immediately find one brand new online for $59. Grrreeeeaaat. I still need another bag though, so I wouldnt mind any input on this bag. I might just buy a new one for $59. Im not sure about the $150+++ bags and/or if I want to drop the cash right now.

3. I bought a snow peak trekker kit that consists of the gigapower stove, the snow peak titanium 1400 cookset, and a windshield. Heres the link: http://www.campsaver.com/trekker-kit

So, I wouldnt mind any input on these items and whether or not I should ditch them or keep em. I think Im happy with the cook set, and the sleeping bag as well other then the fact I got burnt on price. The tent is fine but its heavy.

Also I need advise on footwear, and packs as well. Would rather have a boot of some sort or a taller type shoe I believe. Definitely not interested in sandals.

Thanks in advance. Ill still be reading and researching.... but if someone could point me in the right direction Ild be greatful. Price is an issue, but I can spend the dough if its one of those make or break items. I think on most Items Im looking for the standout price/performance winner in each category..... regardless of what that price might be.
Its never to late to be what you might have been

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PaleoRob
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 11 2011 9:43 pm

Ditch the tent. Some will say go hammock. You can certainly get a lighter tent than 7 pounds though! My Eureka Zeus Exo 2 sleeps two plus one dog and has a vestibule for gear, and totes around for around 3 pounds. Super tent - has some breathing issues if it isn't rigged up right, but otherwise fantastic. Had it since 2003 and it is still going strong - I love it. Stove setup sounds nice. I've got about 10 different sleeping bags that I use for various things, so I'm no help there.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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nonot
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by nonot » Jul 12 2011 12:30 am

Tent: A pretty good 2 man tent may weigh 3.5-4 pounds, so you're paying a 3+ lb weight penalty.
Sleeping Bag: Not familiar with Coleman Exponent. If it's true to temperature, you are probably paying about a half lb weight penalty. Upgrading to a down sleeping bag would be recommended if you find you like backpacking after doing a bunch of trips. Try the exponent out and see if it seems warm enough...some sleeping bag makers lie about the temperature ratings.
Cooking Gear: probably about average/good side for backpacking, I'd say this is fine/good until you look to go ultralight.

So with the gear, you have 2 of the big 3 you will need, and are paying at least a 3.5 lb weight penalty. 3.5 extra pounds is not excessive if you control the rest of your purchases, some people will bring that much extra weight in luxury items (beer, camera equipment, etc) so you haven't killed yourself. I imagine if you find you like backpacking you will want to reduce weight and changing the tent is an obvious way to lighten up. You can still keep the one you have as a car camping tent, if you wish. Hammocks are an option in most places.

Future purchases:
Pack: I would recommend a pack in the 2-3 lb range that can hold up to 45-55 liters. Based on the gear you've chosen this may be tight - I think you have a synthetic bag and a large tent. Heck, bring your gear to a store and see if it fits in the pack you try on with reasonable extra room. But staying in this size range will keep you from bringing too much stuff. Ultralighters will turn you onto a very small pack. But most of these packs do not have internal stays, or else a thin frame sheet, sometimes enhanced by adding foam. With the weight you have, this type of pack will not be comfortable.

Sleeping pad: If you are a soft bed sleeper, you will likely want an inflatable pad, if not, a closed cell foam pad may be plenty.

Water Carrying: I assume if you hike you already have some method of hydration. For long desert hikes you may need to supplement your carrying capacity. Start with short backpacks or use a cheap solution (old 2 liter/1 liter bottles). Camp near a water source (but at least 200 ft away)

Water Filter/Treatment: Choice of chemical or mechanical. Lots written on this. I have my preference, others have theirs.

Extra Clothes: Try to keep to a minimum, but be prepared for rain and at least 10 degrees colder than what is predicted.

Food: Find something calorie dense, but also bring things you like. Aim for 2500 calories per day if you can. I like having a good lunch, and a good dinner. Others try to snack all day. Find what works for you, everyone's body is a little different.

Footwear: I like a cross-trainer or simple low cut hiking shoe. I don't like heavy boots. Weight on your feet has like 5x the energy burned than weight on your back. I have not found a shoe that holds up well after a few hundred miles, I tend to destroy them quickly. If you hike in boots, then backpack in boots. Needing boots is only recommended if you have weak ankles or are packing 60-70 lb packs, and almost nobody does that anymore for trips less than 2 weeks long.

Headlamp, Emergency Kit, Toilet Paper/Trowel, Book (optional), Camera (optional), hiking pole (2 optional, but having at least 1 is recommended), gaitors (optional), Navigation (compass/map, gps (optional)) know how to use them.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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Canyonram
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by Canyonram » Jul 12 2011 12:34 am

PC froze in the middle of composing a reply---monsoon rains. Full comments below
Last edited by Canyonram on Jul 12 2011 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Canyonram
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by Canyonram » Jul 12 2011 12:36 am

Gear selection gets down to individual taste and it can take some trial-and-error to arrive at a given item that works for you. Backpacker Magazine provides frequent product reviews and is an advertising catalogue as much as it is a source for hiking information. A lot of backpackers have a passionate distaste for the magazine---judge for yourself. Issues up to 2009 are availabe to read for free online here:
http://books.google.com/books/serial/IS ... navlinks_s

You can do a search of all issues so if you have your eye on a given piece of gear, check out the user reviews prior to purchase.

Check out issues that include 'Gear Reviews' There are usually articles that describe how to select a piece of gear followed by reviews of some selected samples. A couple of the contributing authors hail from Flag and Grand Canyon so you'll see plenty of gear reviews done right here in AZ.

You are at a critical juncture in how you want to approach your backpacking hobby. Do you want to be a Granolahead, an Ultralight fantatic and go with minimal gear, or do you want to be a Technogeek and go high tech with every new widget on the market? I made a mistake when I first started backpacking and bought a 'North Face' Mummy bag for big bucks. I could never get comfortable in the durn thing---I couldn't thrash around like I do in my bed---there's good reason that it's called a 'mummy bag.' You need to be dead and stiff to get a good night's sleep. For years, I used a light blanket and a sturdy swimming pool float (bought a K-mart at the end of summer) for a sleeping pad and a plastic sheet and cord for a sleeping tarp for desert hiking. I cooked using a homemade sterno stove and the alunimum cookware and Roy Rogers cowboy canteen my uncle bought me when I was a Cub Scout. I'd get a few cans of beef stew or chili and do a week's hike. I'd wrap everthing in my blanket and tie it over my shoulder like a vagabound hobo. Guess what---I had some of my best hikes when things were simple. I didn't know I was deprived by virtue of my empty wallet. I didn't really covet fancy gear until I read Colin Fletcher's 'The Complete Walker.' Now I use a 'Big Agnes' sleeping bag---they make models suitable for big guys or small guys who wrestle the world in their sleep---and $250 Lowa boots. (I haven't stayed in a motel for years.)

Don't look back when you make a purchase. You are in Flag and can easily sell equipment if it doesn't work for you---or you can sell it on this List. Consider the cost of a motel room----one night often equals the cost of a piece of gear that will last for years. Every night you spend outside is one less credit card bill at the Holiday Inn. When I buy some good boots (that last for a few seasons) I justify the cost by counting all the hikes they helped me accomplish that I didn't have to pay a motel bill. Don't hesistate to try on gear at the store---this includes crawling into the display model tent to see how easy it is to get into or that mummy sleeping bag!!!!

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nonot
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by nonot » Jul 12 2011 12:41 am

PageRob wrote:My Eureka Zeus Exo 2 sleeps two plus one dog and has a vestibule for gear, and totes around for around 3 pounds.
Listed weight is 3 lbs 10 oz min, 3 lbs 14 oz carry, that's much closer to 4 lbs carry weight than 3 lbs. It is also a single wall tent. It has pretty good ratings in reviews and may be a good choice for some. I would recommend the original poster consider the benefits of a double wall tent. While AZ is probably the only place a single wall will be comfortable most of the time, if you plan on travelling anywhere out of the desert you will appreciate a double wall tent. Double wall tents generally will not have any condensation issues.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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PaleoRob
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 12 2011 6:47 am

Maybe mine went on a diet or my scale is off, but mine hangs in at just over 3lbs. Maybe I should recheck, since I just got a new hanging scale. Of course, all my camping gear is packed up for the move right now. :(
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
-Old Spiritual
My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon

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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Jul 12 2011 8:36 am

Thanks for all the good tips. I appreciate the input greatly and will definitely look into all the suggestions. I haven't bought a pack yet, or footware....and I still need another sleeping bag so I may just suck it up and lug the 7lb tent around for awhile until I can afford more gear.

Since I'm inflag the double walled tent recommendation peaks my interest for a possible future purchase.

What other smaller, less thought about items do you use that are invaluable? I bought a 3.5" utility knife with a serrated back. Also, What are you using to carry water in? Just a jug or are you using a bladder of some sort?
Its never to late to be what you might have been

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PLC92084
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by PLC92084 » Jul 12 2011 9:50 am

OZZZ wrote:What are you using to carry water in? Just a jug or are you using a bladder of some sort?
I use a combination of the two, generally. I have a 4L bladder, as well as a 2.5L I can interchange depending on need. I also carry a 1L Gatorade bottle (with electrolyte mix); it's light, durable and cheap. I also carry a 2.5L Platypus (empty for extra-duty/backup if needed).

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Sredfield
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by Sredfield » Jul 12 2011 12:51 pm

OZZZ wrote:. Also, What are you using to carry water in? Just a jug or are you using a bladder of some sort?
I carry one MSR Dromedary 4 L bag full but have an extra, just in case, and a gatorade bottle, or two for mixing and carrying if needed. I over carry water, but I've never run out either.
Shawn
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

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kevinweitzel75
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Jul 12 2011 4:59 pm

I havent been in "the game" for very long, but it only takes acouple times out to see that the less weight the better. I have in my gear:
An Osprey atmos 65 pack. I foung this on CL for $150 new. A lucky find. A good pack makes ALL the difference. I love this pack. http://www.rei.com/product/780217/osprey-atmos-65-pack
A Kelty 20 degree down bag. http://www.sportchalet.com/nav/i/catego ... iceDescend
A Marmot 2 person tent. http://www.sportchalet.com/nav/i/catego ... iceDescend
A Thermarest Pro lite pad. http://www.rei.com/product/780992/therm ... eeping-pad
And a MSR Sweetwater filter. http://www.rei.com/product/617913/msr-s ... ter-filter
I also just use a couple 32oz. nalgene bottles, depending on conditions and water supply, sometimes I will bring up 4 bottles. Never could get used to the taste of the water from the bladders. :yuck: Investing in a GPS is also worth the money. I'm sure that most people on here would agree that Garmin has the best units.
I'm a tight assss when it comes to spending money, so I shop all the time for the best deals.
This gear is in no way top of the line gear, but it's better than most of the crap that claims to be backpacking gear.
Unfortunatly, it's a trial and error thing. You have to find out what works best for you.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

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nonot
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by nonot » Jul 12 2011 7:39 pm

I doubt you will get much use out of the knife.

Less thought about items:
whistle
sunscreen
bug dope
extra headlamp batteries
moist towelettes
knowing how to field clean your water filter
book if hiking when it gets dark early
handkerchief
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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Trishness
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by Trishness » Jul 13 2011 8:32 pm

Hey ozzz,

OUCH. 7 lbs for a tent is really heavy...I used to cart around a Eureka Apex 2 which I think weighs about the same and decided to bite the bullet and get a lighter tent. I bought a Big Agnes SL Seedhouse one person tent which I think weighs in at about 2 lbs 13 oz. They also make a SL Seedhouse two person which is 3 lbs 6 oz. I love this tent.

Speaking of Big Agnes.....they make a wonderful sleeping pad which is a dream to sleep on because it inflates to 2.5" thick. I had a thermarest but never got a good nights sleep on that since it was 1" thick. Love BA! it weighs it at a little over a pound but is worth it!

Sleeping Bag: I have two.....a heavy 20 degree bag from REI that weighs like 4.5 pounds (I use for car camping now) and a Marmot "never winter" 30 degree bag that is down. Weighs in at a little over 2.5 pounds. The jury is still out on mummy bags because I tend to toss and turn and get tangled up in it. But I used the Marmot plus a silk liner for all my cold weather camping and one time it was 17 degrees at Reavis Ranch in late November and I was toasty warm.

Footwear: Get fitted at REI or another reputable outdoor shop. It's very personalized. If you have a wide foot, I'd recommend looking at Merrells or Keens since they have a wider toe box. Narrow foot look at Vasque. Whatever you do get good socks, lightweight merino wool are awesome, and sock liners. I always wear a sock liner under my wool socks and NEVER had blisters.

Good luck!
Trish-Kabob

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds" Ed Abbey

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Canyonram
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by Canyonram » Jul 21 2011 1:10 am

OZZZ, Came across this series of articles while researching techniques to lighten the load:

http://www.trailspace.com/articles/ligh ... cking.html

Be interested to hear on your results.

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te_wa
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by te_wa » Jul 21 2011 10:14 am

Canyonram wrote:Came across this series of articles
I was moderately satisfied with their short blurb on hammock shelters. To see more about them, in finer detail, see this article: http://hikearizona.com/article.php?ID=30
:D

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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Jul 23 2011 8:47 am

Thanks guys! Thats great info! I ended buying SOME gear, but not all. I got a mountainsmith lariat 65 pack... so far I love it... but take that with a grain of salt as we are just getting ready to head out to the inner basin trail. Its not an all day hike by any means but I have it loaded to 40lbs and we are going to camp over night up there. We are still getting acclimated to the elevation so Im looking at it as an easier conditioning trip plus it will tell me what I need to know about my equipment without heading out on a more intense trip.

The tent is heavy a big for sure. Ill be looking to get a new one soon, I can already tell. I havent gotten footwear yet, I was going to buy some last night but the place was closing and I already had kept the guy late so good old tennis shoes will have to do today.

When we get back Ill look into all these suggestions thouroughly! I really appreciate all the input guys. Great tips.
Its never to late to be what you might have been

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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Jul 23 2011 8:54 am

:y:

Correction**** The pack is currently loaded to 36 lbs, and yes, I could easily shave off a good six - ten pounds. Ah well ... like I said... Ill consider it a conditioning exercise. :sl:
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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Aug 04 2011 10:07 pm

Well, once again I appreciate all the input.

We went out to start the hike. Found out the road to the TH was closed 3.5 miles beforehand. Then we get up to the inner basin about 5 PM and find out theres no camping up there lol ... so we just kept on going. Ran into a black bear, ended up having to pitch a tent out past the inner basin I believe I was up by snowslide springs or snowshoe springs ... cant remember exactly where. It ended up being 15 miles round trip with a 36 lbs pack and Im from low elevation Nebraska, have only completed two 5 mile hikes before this, and have never backpacked before. I was aching for a week lol. However, it was great and some lessons learned:

1. PLAN BETTER. To be honest Im not sure we were supposed to camp where we did but there wasnt any signs stating not to since the inner basin and it was getting dark so I really had no choice.

2. I bought that 65 liter pack ... I like it, a lot ....but it weighs 5 pound and theres lighter out there for just a bit more. Im already thinking of selling it. One trip on it, anyone want it for $30 less then I paid? lol ... the extended volume comes to like 4600 and some odd cubic inches.

3. Every pound counts. The tent is getting demoted to back up duty immediately, as is the sleeping bag.

4. I NEED A SLEEPING PAD. I had no pad and it was extremely uncomfortable sleeping on the bare ground. I let my GF have the sleeping bag and I simply laid on the tent floor with a quilt my GF packed in.

5. I love the stove. It will stay. Thats about it though.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions they are really helping me along the way. Ill put trip logs up soon.

As for the camping bit, that wont happen again.... Ill make sure to find out beforehand if its allowed or not. I think we were ok since we werent in the inner basin itself though??
Its never to late to be what you might have been

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nonot
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by nonot » Aug 05 2011 12:38 am

Glad you learned a few things, but are still interested in backpacking.

I hope your next trip is something you enjoy even more. The lessons come quickly but it will probably take at least 10 before you can really dial it in to the balance YOU will find out you like.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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tibber
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by tibber » Aug 05 2011 7:57 am

nonot wrote:I hope your next trip is something you enjoy even more. The lessons come quickly but it will probably take at least 10 before you can really dial it in to the balance YOU will find out you like.
I couldn't agree more and can attest to the 10 trips as probably many of us can.

Glad you want to keep at it. Best of luck to you and Happy Trails.
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.

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