After about a week in Utah, it was time to travel south and meet up with my backpacking friends in New Mexico. I stopped at the REI in Albequerque to pick up a few items I decided I wanted. I walked to the counter with 400 dollars in merchandise and the woman told me, "You need a membership." Apparently I get a rebate once a year on my purchases and can also return anything for any reason for a full refund as a member.
I finally got some trekking poles. That's me using them in the Grand Canyon. They make a huge difference in the amount of stress on my knees when I'm going downhill, and when I'm going uphill I can use my arms to help climb. I love them. I use them on all hikes now, even though I did get a few looks in the more crowded areas along the Rim Trail in the Grand Canyon. Two different people asked if I was expecting snow.
I also bought a water filter and a stove. I used the filter to pump water out of the lake. It took less than 5 minutes to pump 3 liters and the water tasted very good. You can drink it instantly instead of waiting hours for the tablets to work. It's lighter and takes up less space than extra water, so I may be using it a lot. The stove boils water in two minutes or less. Everyone in my outdoor group seems to have a Jetboil. I bought a purple one so I'd know which one was mine - and because I like purple. They are much easier to use than any other stoves I've tried. You don't even have to light a match - just attach the fuel can and push a button. You can buy a pan that attaches, but I don't have one yet.
I bought an extra Camelbak water bladder, some misc. small items, and way more dehydrated food than I needed. Oh, well...we'll call it hurricane supplies. The stove is also good for that. One of the guys on the backpacking trip says if they issue a boil water warning after a storm, you can use the filter instead. I don't know if that's true.