Without speculating on the $89k average income, the comment about $4,500 spent on equipment and excursions
doesn't sound all that unreasonable.
Consider, for instance, what it cost Nathan and me to go bag Whitney and NOT bag Boundary (busted car). Airfare from St. Louis to Reno. Rental car. Several nights in motels. Meals. Permits. New boots for Nathan (annual expense at the rate he's growing!).
Plus, we're planning an October trip down to El Paso to bag Guadalupe Peak. That was a spur-of-the-moment choice, not long-term plan like Whitney, since American Airlines ran some great fares a month ago, and we had a long weekend to use for the trip.
Or, last year, when the family did a 7-state HP trip around the mid-Atlantic states. (KY/NC/VA/WV/MD/PA/DE) (Do I count the $$ I spent on my digital camera? It's "gear", although gets used for more than just HP/backpacking trips...)
The key word is "excursions" in that spending...convert that to "vacations" and it doesn't sound too far out of whack.
Hey, this is one reason why I have a job...to be able to afford to do the things I like
to do in whatever time I spend away from work. If you think backpacking expenses are bad, you don't want to know what I've spent over the years on SCUBA gear, underwater camera/lenses and dive trips! ;^)
Alan Ritter, firstname.lastname@example.org