Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, February 2024

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, February 2024

1. Susan presents: Things Learned on the Trail and my life on the trail. Talk in San Ramon
2. Bay Area Ridge Trail San Francisco gathering/hikes
Exercise and the Little Blue Pill
4. California names its state mushroom: the Golden Chanterelle
5. Susan, Ralph, and others to be announced, lead hike in San Francisco soon.
6. The RUCK rocks!
7. Odds and Ends


#1. Susan’s next public event will be hosted by the San Ramon Open Space Advisory Committee. It’s billed as “Things Learned on the Trail,” and it’s going to feature my life on the trail and readings from Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tails and Trails. Date: February 10, 2024. Time: 9:00am-10:00am. Meeting at the: San Ramon Community Center, 12501 Alcosta Blvd, San Ramon, CA., (925) 973-3200.

“Come enjoy special guest speaker Susan Alcorn. Susan is an experienced hiker and author who encourages people from all walks of life to enjoy hiking. In particular, she shares the importance of hiking in her life and the lives of women.”

#2. Bay Area Ridge Trail San Francisco gathering and hikes. Just in case you are skipping the Super Bowl, or can record it for later in the day, “You’re invited to the 9th annual Super Stroll and Roll!  Have a ball with our community and hike or ride the Ridge Trail in the heart of San Francisco.
Four distances offered:
The Double Reserve: 15.3-mile bike ride

The Hail Mary: 12-mile hike
The End-Around: 6.5-mile hike
The Quarterback Sneak: 1.2 mile-walk that highlights the future site of the BAYS (Bay Area Young Survivors) Memorial Garden. This walk is intended to welcome all levels of ability. Please refer to the route information given on the registration page to determine if this route is right for you.”

#3. Is Exercise the New Viagra? “Men with erectile dysfunction may get nearly as much help from a regular walk as from a little blue pill, according to new research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in October.” From Wellness News (January 26, 2024.). The research, which you can read in detail  here concluded, “Regular aerobic exercise can improve the erectile function of men, particularly those with lower baseline IIEF-EF scores.”

“In an analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials, researchers found that aerobic exercise—such as brisk walking or pedaling a stationary bike—helped men with erectile dysfunction (ED) boost their sexual performance over the following months to years.” 

golden chanterelle from  Cantharellus californicus. “The California golden chanterelle is a popular edible mushroom native to the state. They are named for their distinctive deep yellow color. California golden chanterelles have a symbiotic relationship with California trees, especially oaks, and help to nourish underground root systems.

Mushrooms like the chanterelle keep soil healthy by breaking down dead wood and storing carbon in the ground. They can even help to filter our water.” (Assembly Bill 261, Chapter 644, 2023)

Here is a video showing the Golden Chanterelle.

If you want to learn more about California’s abundant mushrooms and the fungiphiles who study them, here’s one site: CA State Mushroom

#5. Susan, Ralph, and others to be announced, lead a San Francisco hike soon. Stay tuned at:

#6. The RUCK Rocks. Ralph and I went recently to the Nor Cal RUCK at Camp Herms in El Cerrito. So much to learn — trail info, how to pack, how to stay safe on the trail, and much more. The food – bagels and more for breakfast; BBQ and all the fixings by Shroomer (Scott Williams) and crew–was nutritious and delicious as always.

A few big takeaways:
ALDHA-WEST has launched a Diversity Scholarship. “We officially launched our new diversity scholarship program. Visit our website to learn more and apply. Link here.

Treeline Giveaway: Treeline Review (founder Liz “Snorkel” Thomas was on our gear panel) is running a “I’m Ready to Thru-Hike” giveaway packed with ultralight gear from 21 companies.

Backcountry Safety Skills: To receive the Backcountry Safety Skills Checklist from presenter Giggles’ talk, follow the link above to signup for that info.

It’s not too late: Those who missed this first of the RUCK gatherings for 2024, can still take part in other regions: the Cascade Ruck on Sat. Feb. 24 and/or the Colorado Ruck on Sat. Mar 23.

#7. Odds and Ends:
A. Poop takes “one to three years (longer in cold or dry environments),” to dissolve in a cathole according to Summer 2022. Be prepared–you can bring a wag bag kit (Waste Alleviating Gel) with you or bring a backpacker trowel and bury feces deeper. (One reviewer of TheTentLab(R) Deuce(R) Ultralight Backpacking Potty Trowel suggested wrapping a bit of duct tape around the handle because of trowel’s stiff edges.

B. Dial 112 anywhere in Europe for emergencies: medical, fire, and police. This works with cell phones, landline, and pay phones.

Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign”

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn

Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo; Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *