Winter musings, 22 Jan, 2017

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Bridger Wilderness, Wind River Range

I have two sayings that I share with people when hiking in the mountains;

1 – What goes down must come up! (get it?   Trails that go down, almost certainly will head up once again!)

2 – There’s no such thing as a “small accident” in the mountains  .  When you are miles or days from a trail head and/or rescue it pays to be safe.  The smallest of benign acts or carelessness can lead to some pretty big consequences.

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I also have the bad habit, which I’m a trying to fix, of chastising people for not carrying a map or not knowing how to use one or relying on a stranger for directions and keeping them from getting lost.  I am also constantly  showing companions how to stay found, continually showing them where we are on the map and how I determined this (usually pretty darned easy as I’m almost always on a trail.  It’s knowing ‘ where’ on the trail that’s the challenge.)  Probably a huge part of this is some sort of deep seated fear of getting lost myself.  I always carry a map.  Most always I have a compass.  Once in while I’ll carry my GPS.  Sometimes I carry a phone app.

I was using Backcounty Navigator Pro on my android, but now that I have an Iphone, I’ll probably get Gaia in the near future.  I don’t like to rely on the phone apps but they did bail our asses out last summer in the Bridger Wilderness when we couldn’t pin point an old abandoned trail head which was on older maps but extremely hard to locate.

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McAfee Knob, Appalachian Trail, Virginia

While taking a group on a Tinker Cliffs – McAfee Knob hike this past November, my Tarptent Notch zippers, on both vestibules, started coming open and wouldn’t stay zipped.  The wind at the Campbell Shelter on the AT was really howling and testing the tents, but thank god it wasn’t raining or I really would have been pissed.  The tarptent website has a page for cleaning and fixing zippers but I used this as an excuse for purchasing a new Zpacks Duplex Tent.  This weighs in at 21oz vs 31oz (tent plus ground cloth) -AND- it has TWICE the floor space – WOW!

highres_456443032I’m getting old and don’t know how much longer I’ll be backpacking, so I had one of those “what the hell am I waiting for” moments.  My Notch and I have had a great 3 or 4 years together, I’m a little sad it’s gone to a back-up status, but, oh well!

 

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