Diane “Piper” Soini
Diane leads hikes for the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club and has hiked over 3000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. She runs a web site about hiking in Santa Barbara. She rekindled an old love of hiking about 10 years ago when a friend invited her to trek in Nepal. She experienced her first shock of heavyweight hiking watching the small Nepalese porters haul her huge duffel bag up to 16,000ft at the base of Everest. The embarrassment was almost worst than carrying the weight herself. Her efforts to hike lightweight afterward mostly involved leaving gear home, rather than carrying lighter gear. She has been caught out in the rain without shelter, for example. Her migration to ultralight backpacking came before and during the PCT (and still continues). Determined not to be caught without necessary items, she acquired lighter versions of conventional backpacking gear, starting with her shelter: The One™. She has found that having lighter gear leads to a more satisfying and safer experience. More ground can be covered in a day, there is less chance of injury, nothing necessary for survival is left home, and with such a small and unconventional pack, she can travel alone without looking like a solo woman backpacker.
Home: Santa Barbara, CA
Outdoor Organization Involvement: Hiking Leader at Sierra Club | Volunteer Trail Maintenance and Reconnaissance at Los Padres National Forest
Favorite Training Grounds: The San Rafael Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest and the frontcountry trails of Santa Barbara. In the Los Padres, I’ve followed bear prints when forgotten trails have vanished into the woods and heard the buzzing sound of condor feathers as the birds have flown overhead.
Current Plans: To complete the PCT starting from Santa Barbara, hiking east to the PCT in the Antelope Valley and hiking on to Canada. Also to help with establishing the Condor Trail, a proposed route through the Los Padres National Forest. Also, Saving up vacation days for a couple of weeks in Glacier National Park.