Well, I am back from REI (recreational equipment incorporated). And now I have no money. I ended up buying a couple of things that I am sure I will get a lot of use out of. I bought this water bottle with a filter system in it that kills bacteria and protozoa, so I plan on bringing it up empty and fill it if and when I need to.I also bought this awesome water pack. I can put it inside my backback filled with 2 liters of ice and water and it will stay cool the whole hike--it is insulated. The tube where the water comes out has a bite-open release, so water won't come out unless I am biting down on the tube. Pretty cool. I was excited about this one.
I also bought the book "top 100 hikes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness" and a green line trail map of the area where I have been hiking. Lake Melakwa is pretty close to Snow Lake, so they both show up on this map. I ended up getting the annual pass for parking on the trailheads, and found out that it expires 12 months after you purchase it, and since I bought it in the beginning of August and it expires at the end of the month you buy it in, I get a whole extra month! At the checkstand, I got suckered into buying an REI membership, which was a 1-time fee of $15, not too bad, since it saves you 10% off every purchase, AND you get 8% of your money spent mailed back to you at the end of the year. And there are lots of other little goodies as well. Exclusive sales, and this cool thing they have where if you buy something and just decide that it is not right for you, you can bring it back, and people can go to this 'garage sale' area and buy these almost new/used only once items for great deals. I will have to check it out next time.
AND with my new membership, I got a free trip up their climbing rock, the largest free-standing indoor climbing rock in the world. I will check with Ethan and see if he is interested. I can (as a member) buy another pass for only $5, so we could both do it. Might be fun!