Lost and Found

My hiking companions and I are cheap Caledonians, let’s start with that up front so nobody’s under any illusion. We don’t buy a lot of high-end gear, and with the gear we have we absolutely, positively and without question get far more than our money’s worth. Our gear lives a long and happy but extremely hard life.

But we also happen to have what we call a high find-to-mile ratio. On just about every trip we seem to find a new piece a gear. Sure, most of it’s small stuff, but it all adds up. We return the stuff we can (though I have better luck returning golf discs than camping/backpacking gear, I must concede), and most of it we leave at the next campsite for somebody who might actually need that set of tent stakes or teflon fry pan, but in the end our gear shelves are still populated by a lot of orphan gear.

Last month while we were braising lamb chops at Cienega camp, I noticed just about everything on the kitchen end of the table was from that proverbial bargain rack. GSI Outdoors nForm plate? Found that on a flat near the old Timber Canyon camp on the Sespe. Cutting board? On the old road heading out of Squaw Flat. Titanium spork? Found that in the spring at White Ledge camp in Sisar Canyon. (To round out the bargain theme here, the SVEA ZK was using to boil water he bought for $5 at the Salvation Army, and the kettle was a hand-me-down from my semi-retired Scoutmaster.)


There was a rusting set of high-end hickory-handled carving knives somebody had dropped and left scattered at Manzana Narrows (we left 5 of the 6), a really nice Japanese paring knife at Santa Rosa Island camp, and a good Victorinox Swiss Army knife in the sand at the end of the West Coast Trail in Port Renfrew. A Black Diamond headlamp in the brush north of Mesa Spring. Seven Nalgenes (and counting), sourced from everywhere from the North Fork of Lockwood Creek to Kolob Creek out in Zion NP to the G train in Brooklyn. The list goes on.

So next time you lose something, don’t sweat it overly. Odds are we found it and that it’s now sitting beside the set of Spitfire broadheads and the Manfrotto camera bag here in the dungeons of maptitude.


6 responses to “Lost and Found”

  1. I am currently opening mail with a Victorinox Swiss Army knife I recovered from the William O. Douglas wilderness in 1990 where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Bumping River in the central Cascades. My Svea 123 was purchased at a yard sale in Ventura for two dollars in 1975, and it still works perfectly. I could go on, but most importantly, in January 1984 I lost the lens cap to my Rollei 35T on West Big Pine coming over from Mission Pine Basin. I believe you will be headed that way. Please send the lens cap back to me when you find it, or I can send you the camera (it still works) and six rolls of frozen Kodachrome 64 film. Good luck finding someone to develop it.

  2. so that’s what happened to my spork! tongue in cheek!

    it went missing on one of my trips last year and i have since replaced it with the same type. i have attached a neon green cord to it that loops around my neck so i don’t lose another one.

    and if i drop it, well, around here there’s nothing that comes close to that color.

    love your stories.

    see you out there.


  3. Cheers Bardley. 🙂 For those who’ve not seen it, check out Bardley’s photostream of all his trailwork and forest wanderings over at https://picasaweb.google.com/bardley.smith

  4. Huh… I just find the junky stuff… dirty lone socks, torn clothing, plastic shredded tarps, empty bottles and cans…

    I found a trekking pole once in NZ and them promptly re-lost it a couple of creek crossings later. I found a cool Anderson Boats t-shirt (great custom SB boat manufacturer) but it was too small so I left it on the trail. I found a complete cook set at Cottam Camp a few weeks back but it was heavier than about half my pack weight, so it stayed put too.

  5. Jack Elliott Avatar
    Jack Elliott

    A few weeks ago I was walking a road on my way to a canyon I wanted to explore and I found a really nice wood framed, fine meshed fish net like for trout fishing. That was pretty nice to come across.

  6. shiyan Avatar

    Wait, I left a blue, almost new nalgene on that train. The doors closed and I said goodbye.

    I can’t believe you touched anything on the G train (or any NYC train) that you didn’t really need to touch….and that you put it that close to your face scares me. I’ve seen people throw up, [ ], shoot-up and mutually [ ] on that train. I can’t believe you drink water out of that thing. Maybe you don’t need to keep everything you find.

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