Category Archives: Equipment

The Must Have Backpacking Gadget That You’ve Never Heard Of – And It Doesn’t Go In Your Pack!

Let’s face it, most of us use canister stoves.

STOVE REFILL cans

They’re easy and convenient – a ‘no-fuss, no-muss’  way to cook!  (what is muss anyway?)

However, one of the little situations we all take for granted, is that little bit of fuel left in the can when we return from our latest hike.

No, this isn’t an article about alcohol or twig stoves.

What are you going to do with that almost empty can?

Do you grudgingly haul it, along with a full can, on your next trip, in hopes of using it up?

Do you put it on the shelf and watch them turn into a little collection?

Sometimes we just close our eyes and toss them in the trash, rationalizing that, ‘well, there’s probably worse stuff in that landfill.’


Recently my hiking buddy, Gunny, told me about a little thing he saw on YOUTUBE, which for the first time in a long time actually has that WOW! factor.

STOVE REFILL

This little gadget, safely and easily, allows me to transfer unused fuel, from one can to another!

This led me to do some extensive research (no one wants to blow themselves up), I guess it’s in the nature of being a retired engineer to explore this.


Here’s how you do it.

  1. Get the valve.

  2. Have two cans, both partially or almost empty (doesn’t matter).

  3. I recommend chilling for just a bit, the can that is going to RECEIVE the fuel (call this the New Can). This lowers the vapor pressure in the can compared to the can you want to empty (Old Can) (which you want at room temperature). This just makes the fuel transfer a little easier.

  4. Make sure the valve is closed.

  5. Attach both cans to valve. The valve is ONE WAY, the direction is marked by bubbles, going from larger to smaller – this is the flow direction. You want the fuel to go from the Old Can to the New Can.

  6. The Old Can you want to empty (at room temperature) is on the valve side with the larger bubble.

  7. Open the valve. Wait a couple of minutes.

  8. Close the valve. Remove the cans.

  9. Shake the Old Can, it should have less fuel, preferably it will be empty.

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Et Voila!

View the Video

You have just emptied out your old canister and can now safely dispose of it.


A Little Safety and Technical Stuff

If you have a scale for your smaller backpacking items (you should be weighing all your gear anyway!!), I suggest weighing and recording the before and after weights of both cans.

This is the best way to ensure that your fuel is going in the right direction and that you don’t overfill the new can.

PLEASE DON’T LEAVE, BUT WE NEED TO DO A TEENSY BIT OF MATH.

JUST ADDITION, I PROMISE.

I’LL MAKE IT EASY.

PLUS YOU’LL BE THE SMARTEST PERSON AROUND THE NEXT CAMPFIRE!

A very short discussion about the smaller versions of the canisters


When you buy it off the shelf the label will read something like:

3.53 oz/100g  – This is content gas weight or how much gas is in the can.  This IS NOT the total weight of the CAN + GAS.

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CAN + GAS  = 7 oz or 198 gr

GAS (alone) = 3.53 or 100 gr.

(let’s round this stuff off and only use grams)

FULL CAN = 200

EMPTY CAN = 100

If you weigh your can before a hike, and it reads 150, that means you have 50 gr of fuel or about half a can.

The closer you get to 200, the fuller the can.

The closer the can is to 100, the closer to being empty.

By the way, if you read my stove article, my jetboil uses 5 gr to boil two cups of water. So a new, small can, with 100 gr of fuel, should give me 20 burns (100 divided by 5), sorry, division used there.

Ok, back to transferring the gas.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP

Don’t do this around open flames!

Make sure the area is well ventilated, like outside, in the backyard.


When are you filling the NEW CAN, you just don’t want it to exceed 200 – OK?  Keep it safe and maybe only fill it to 190 (gr).

Again, I demonstrate the process here. video.

When you finally do it, it is sooo easy!

To get comfortable with this process, try doing just a little bit at a time and weighing the cans to make sure one is getting lighter and one is getting heavier.

A note on any concerns about the valves.  This adapter is the EXACT SAME connection as your canister stove and should have no more or less effect on the valve properties.

Where do get this valve?

I got mine on Amazon.

STOVE REFILL valve


 

Next Post:  Going beyond simply emptying old cans:  refilling cans with ‘off the shelf’ fuel (as in butane cans you didn’t know were sold at your local Ace Hardware) and saving a lot of money.

Notes From February 2017

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Another Selfie, Keystone, Colorado, Feb 2016

Getting ready for my annual ski trip to Keystone at the end of this month.  This has become an annual tradition for me.  I have a friend meeting me in Denver so we’ll be able to split the costs of the condo.

Staying at a Keystone property means you can just walk outside and catch the shuttle bus, which runs about every 20 minutes, and get dropped off very close to the lifts.  Skiing during the week means no crowds, which means you can do a lot of skiing.  So much so that my legs tend to start wobbling about mid-day on day two.  To try and help this, I try to do squats to work on my quads, but man, I can sure tell that I’m getting older!  After I do the squats my knees get sore even though I try to maintain good form.  Oh well, just need to try to not over do it.  I’m going to enjoy skiing, not to compete.

I may go it alone next year.  This is another case of me starting to resent always doing all the planning if I want to do something.  I make the room reservation, I make the car reservation, the guy I’ve gone with the past several years has never once taken the initiative to do any of that nor has he ever even offered to drive!  What I get out of it is somebody to share the costs and to possibly drive back to Denver if I break my leg.  I should be charging a sur-tax or fee for planning.

If you show up at the window in Keystone to buy a lift ticket, it will be $136 per day.  However, and it’s a huge however, you can buy a season pass for $300!  Which makes the daily rate for my trip $60 per day, an excellent deal!

 

Going backpacking this weekend on the AT here is Virginia.  Doing a hike called Three Ridges.  I’m using my new pack I bought this fall, an Osprey Exos 58.  This pack is an upgrade to the Exos 58

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Old Pack, on an old guy (Bridger Wilderness, Wy August 2016)

I’ve had for a few years but felt I need to replace.

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New pack, (I know, hard to see) Tinker Cliffs, Va, Nov 2016

The problem that bugged me to no end was that in order to save weight, they made the hip straps very narrow/thin and they would slowly but surely slip and come loose while I walked.  The pack straps where also pretty thin so any load approaching 35lbs was tough on the shoulders.  Anyway, this new model corrects that, but when I was in the VA Beach REI I was assured that a medium was my size (I had been using a large frame), the pack feels good and snug, but the shoulder straps barely come over my shoulders, so I’m going to try on a large when I head back to REI this week.

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Better view of new pack, Three Ridges Maupin Shelter, AT, Virginia, Dec 2016

I’m going back to REI to return some trail runners I had to get on-line because they weren’t available in the store. I want to replace the Hoka one one Mafate 4 shoes I wore on the JMT last year with the next size down.

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Marie Lake, JMT July 2016

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Hoka One One, Mafate 4, trail runners

Well, wouldn’t you know it, they don’t carry those anymore so I had to try some of the other Hoka’s and other brands designed specifically for rough trail or off trail.  None of the others had the cushioning of the Mafate 4, but I was able to snag a pair on Amazon, tried them last night and they seem to be perfect.  The cushioning on the Hoka’s is fantastic!

I’m testing a new stove burner/pot combination.  I found a burner that weighs about 2 ounces and a cup that holds 2 cups (ha), that together weigh about 4 ounces.  I’m using the cup as the pot, eliminating a pot.  Done it twice, seems to work nice.  Saves about 15 ounces dropping my fantastic jet boil and now superfluous cup.  Not sure about the durability of the burner, but will find out this spring/early summer as I prep camp for the JMT in August.

I froze my ass off in my feathered friends 20 bag 2 weeks ago on the Tar Jacket Ridge abortive hike.  I tried to use the bag as a quilt, the bag has continuous baffles and allows you to spread the down across the bag to do this.  However, I didn’t do the math.  Spreading the down across both the top and bottom of the bag for a quilt, decreased the loft by half, increasing (decreasing) the comfort rating from 20 (which really means 35 normally) to probably 30-35F (which means 40).  Well it dropped down to 18F and I was really uncomfortable.  I did test out an Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Extreme Mummy Bag Liner, which did help some.  The other problem I had and learned about, was about the use of a quilt in very cold temps.  With the quilt, I found that it’s very hard to keep it snug around you and if you don’t, the cold air gets in and prevents a warm air layer from forming.  By the time I gave up on the quilt idea and got into and zipped up the bag, I neglected to shake all the down back to the top side of the bag..oh well.

Going to try again this weekend.  This time I’ll make sure to keep the loft on top, but as insurance I’m bringing my 30 quilt to use as a top layer, just in case.  Temps are only expected to drop to about 32 anyway, not so bad.

JMT planning for August 2107 is going great.  I have a hiking companion for the first 14 days…excellent!  Will report on the plan later.

 

 

Winter 2014/2015 RECAP

As of today, 6 March 2015, this has been the ‘winter that almost wasn’t’.  We’ve had a ton of rain and warm weather (40’s – 50’s), up until about Mid February 2015, then it started to get ‘Polar Vortex Cold’ along with lot’s of snow that Virginia is not geared to deal with.

On the coast, where I live, we got a foot of snow in early February, then a week went by, then we got another foot, while I was off for a week Skiing in Colorado, paradoxically, looking for snow.

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The temps on the coast have been single digit, which broke records everywhere around here.  Gunny just posted that it’s currently -4F where he lives now, up near Staunton, Va.

That said, I have just scheduled a short 2 night backpacking trip for next week, a short loop thru the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area and Shenandoah NP.  Camping will be ‘Stealth Camping’.  Hoping for snow camping.  Hopefully the 2 river crossings will be easy and we won’t have to take our boots off (December 2013 below), else, it’s going to be a bit ‘nipley’.

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In late December we had a backpacking trip up and over Cold (Cole) Mountain, off the AT, near Buena Vista, Va.

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We’ve done this area many times and it’s always a beautiful trip.  The temps were pretty mild, I think above freezing the whole time, and we had sunshine (yeah!).  We had 8 or 9 show up from OC Backpackers.  Here’s a link to the photos :http://www.meetup.com/OCBackpackers/photos/25818110/ .

In February we had a Backpacking 101 course, which went, IMO, really well. Instead of speaking to a powerpoint slide show,  I and several others brought our backpacks fully loaded for a spring/summer 3 day/2 night hike and slow unloaded, explaining and discussing the concepts and variations as we went on.

Also in February, I met up with Geardog in Denver and we drove out to Summit County, Dillon, Co, for a week of skiing at Keystone.  It was GREAT!.  I bought a season pass for about $300 in October, which brought the price of skiing 5 days down to about $60 a day, versus the walk up price of $105-$120 per day!!!

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We had sunshine for ALMOST everyday, a few days the clouds would roll in after lunch, and we had small amount of snow 1 or 2 days, but not enough to drive one off the mountain.  The biggest thing though, is when mid-week skiing, the slopes are almost deserted!  You can ski so much that you (I) can become exhausted by about lunch time! YIKES!  Each day we would trudge back to the condo for lunch, a small break, then hit the slopes for the afternoon.  According to the Keystone app, we skied over 100,000 vertical feet, and that was with a short day on Friday, when we had to check out by 11 and drive up to Denver.  We were determined to leave early and take our time driving to Denver as the weather on the I70 corridor between Denver and Summit Couny had been literal shit the entire week, with, I kid you not, hundreds of accidents due to the speed, snow, and ice. On the Wednesday we were there, over 60 cars where in a massive pile up on the interstate on the way back to Denver, leaving motorists stranded all night!  Luckily we had sunshine on the drive back.  Single digit temps, but the roads where clear except for the constant mud spray on the windshield from the cars in front.

I’ve got my annual 6 day, 5 night corridor backpack in the GRAND CANYON coming up the first week in May!

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DEVIL'S CORKSCREW FROM PLATEAU POINT

DEVIL’S CORKSCREW FROM PLATEAU POINT

We’ve got 4 people going (that’s all I requested on the permit application).  We’ve got myself, Jen, Biscuit, and Bones going.  Normally we go in March, but I was undecided if I wanted to do a trip this year and didn’t decide to go until the earlier deadlines had passed and May was up for the lottery.  It promises to be a lot warmer, possibly shorts weather down in the canyon, that will great!

I guess the big thing going on for this summer is a planned hike to do the James Muir Trail (JMT), 210 miles in the California High Sierra’s with Biscuit and Geardog.  After we went to the Jim Bridger Wilderness, Wind River Range, Wyoming last August, where I was pretty much under the weather the entire trip, mostly due to my own doings, I was determined to make this years’ BIG ADVENTURE a ‘sleepy, easy’ fishing trip loop either in Colorado or back in the Winds.  However, after a winter of sitting around, pretty bored, Biscuit and I kept talking about the JMT, so I started researching it.  It’s a huge logistical undertaking and permits are required and have been greatly reduced due to enormous demand, by the park service in the northern terminus of the trail in Yosemite NP.  Reduced to lessen the impact on the corridor the JMT traverses in YNP and just outside the park.  We were able to snag permits going NOBO from about 22 miles SOUTH of the JMT’s southern terminus at the ‘Mt Whitney Portal’, with a start date of 15 August.  I also applied for a permit starting at the Whitney Portal, which are awarded based upon a lottery, which will happen in mid-March. So we’re still waiting to see what happens with that.  I’m not sure my body is up to doing 230 miles, we really won’t have a time limit.  The limits are really based upon the number of meals one sends to the resupply points.  We’ll see what happens.

 

Maroon Bells 4 Pass Loop 29 Jul -5 Aug 2012 Trip Report; Obsessive Compulsive Backpackers

Click here for additional images:

There were 8 of us on this epic trip from the Hampton/Richmond/Roanoke/VA Beach areas of Virginia and Washington State. (Chupa, Sherpa, Scout, Hardrock, Joe, Sandi, Geardog, Biscuit).  Seven of us flew into Denver, 1 drove, so we only had to rent 1 additional car.

We all linked up at the Hertz rental pavillion at Denver International Airport around noon on Sunday 29 July, 2012.

Here was our plan:

Sunday 29 Jul – Arrived Denver Airport, rented car, drove to Difficult campsite near Aspen, Co. CAMP Zero

Monday 30 Jul – Drove to Trail Head at Maroon Lake (9580), Hiked approx 4 miles to elevation approx 10,600 to acclimatize. CAMP 1

Tuesday 31 Jul – Crossed West Maroon Pass (12,500), Frigid Air Pass (12,415), into Fravert Basin, camped above waterfalls, North Fork Crystal River, approx 6 miles (10,400). CAMP 2.

Wednesday 1 Aug – Hiked to Geneva Lake (10,936), approx 4 miles. CAMP 3.

Thursday 2 Aug – Cross Trail Rider Pass (12,420) Hiked to Snowmass Lake (10,980), approx 5 miles. CAMP 4.

Friday 3 Aug – Cross Buckskin Pass (12,500), hiked down to Crater Lake(10,060), approx 6 miles. CAMP 5.

Saturday 4 Aug – Hiked down to Trail Head at Maroon Lake (9580), approx 1.5 miles, into Aspen, ate at the “Hickory House”. Drove to Denver.

Sunday 5 Aug – Return Flights/Return drive

From Denver we drove to the Wal-Mart in Glenwood Springs to purchase fuel and extra munchies for the hike.  We ate a late lunch at a greasy mexican restaurant about 1 block north of Wal-Mart, it was pretty good; the place was packed with local latino’s, a great sign!

From Glenwood Springs we drove to the ‘Difficult Campground’ outside Aspen, with a brief stop at Maroon lake to take some pictures and get our first ‘gasp’ view of West Maroon Basin and the Maroon Bells.

Sunday morning we skipped breakfast in order to beat the toll booth on the road to Maroon lake.  However, the booth did have a ranger, who only took our $5 per vehicle and waived us through.  The overnight lot was already full so we parked in the overflow lot.

We spent about an hour with final pack arranging and were off.  About a full 10 minutes later we were having breakfast on the shore of Maroon Lake.  It had rained briefly that night so we had a chance to unpack and layout the tents to dry in the early morning sun.

In the overflow parking lot, getting ready to Hike!

Around 9 or 10 we took off towards Crater Lake, took a break there, then headed up the trail to find a campsite.  This was our “acclimatization” day so we weren’t in any rush.  Most of us were really feeling the difference in altitude, huffing and puffing up the trail.

Notes:

– no bears – anywhere on actual hike (old reports of bears in minihaha gulch, but we didn’t camp there.)

– There is (was) a current bear warning at Difficult Campground, with a threat of a $350 fine if food was left out; we stayed there 1 night, thank god no bears!

– hiked above crater lake to about 10,600 for acclimatization day, visited by a porcupine at night, each tent was visted, apparently just visiting, no issues. note: Joe left his hiking poles out and apparently the porcupine chewed on the handled (we speculated for the salt?).  This same type of incident was also relayed to us by another hiker later in the trip.

Rich at Camp 1, above Crater Lake; Joe approaching top of West Maroon Pass.

– Frigid air pass is really worn down and slick with tough footing, but is pretty short. Watch out if wet. We were really huffing and puffing at this point due to the altitude (we came from sea level)

  Sherpa on Frigid Air Pass (I think); view descending from Frigid Air Pass into Fravert Basin; the tree line were making for is barely visible center-right.

– No water sources after going over frigid air pass into fravert basin, creeks dry, almost up until the lower forest treeline, but everyone had water, we only needed to carry a little over the 2 passes into fravert’s.  Plenty of streams in West Maroon Basin, however,  headed towards West Maroon Pass; I counted at least 10 (from crater lake).

– Once into fravert basin we were pretty beat (at least I was) due to the higher than expected heat (low 80’s ?) and camped in a good flat spot about a quarter mile before the tree line, next to the stream (Chrystal River). We had to bushwhack from the trail thru scrup brush to get to the creek.  Kudo’s to Sherpa for making the initial recon.  Next morning all the tents were soaked outside from a small rain shower and inside from the humidity from the stream. Sun hit over the ridge line by 0800 and tents were dry by 0830-0900.

North Fork Chrystal River;  I got a visit from “Mr. Tent”

– Once we hit the tree line we found 2-3 excellent designated sites we could have stayed in had we walked on for 20 more minutes.  So we followed the switchbacks down below King Falls and thru the 2010 blow down area, destination Geneva lake.

– the 2010 tree blow down just past King Falls has a new path cleared thru the debris.

– The water crossing just past the Hasley basin trail cutoff was low, could have crossed by jumping rocks, most of us changed shoes to wade across the freezing water for the relief. Further, the creek in W Maroon Basin was pretty low and the crossing easy.

Note: I thought it was interesting that the trail sign in this area did not point back to what I call the Hasley Basin ‘cutoff’ trail.  When you’re on the trail from W. Maroon Pass going towards Frigid Air Pass, the there is a trail junction and a sign where you take a right turn off the trail onto  a well defined trail going to to Frigid Air Pass.  The first trail continues on, a little fainter than the main trail, and is clearly indicated on maps as going into Hasley Basin, and linking up with the mail trail coming over Frigid Air with both trails crossing about in the area of the ford.

 

– (above)  Geneva lake

 

Biscuit and Scout on way to Trail Rider Pass.  Biscuit on Trail Rider Pass looking back towards Hasley Basin.

Sherpa on Trail Rider Pass, looking down at Snow Mass Lake; Biscuit taking the plunge in Snow Mass Lake.

Eating dinner on the shore; Early morning photo at Snow Mass Lake.

Biscuit signals VICTORY on Buckskin Pass, the final pass.  Sandi looking AWESOME!

– Morning temps in my tent fell to 39F for 3 nights, 41F for 3 nights, between 5-6 am.

– Daytime low 80’s, which felt VERY warm and impacted our energy levels. BTW we had one gal carrying a 53lb pack (we weighed in in the parking lot) she made it the entire trip, no problems, though lagging a little behind the group, I thought for sure she might bail out before the first pass. She gets the award for shear determination and awesomeness! Anyway, sunscreen and a hat and sunglasses HIGHLY recommended.

– Unfortunately very few wildflowers.

– About 11 designated sites just at crater lake if a party needs to stay there.

– We stayed at crater lake day 6 for an early exit and drive to breakfast in Aspen, ate at the hickory house, just on the left on the highway into town – YOU MUST STOP THERE FOR BREAKFAST -OMG, a highlight of the entire trip, ENORMOUS portions, great price and atmosphere, perfect for a post-trip victory celebration!

– We also stopped 1 night at Geneva lake, great call, was beautiful, if you do that, from Fravert basin, take the lower (to the left) trail junction which is a flat beautiful walk but with a 900′ up the last mile, but excellent views so you don’t have to re-cover that same walk when heading for trail rider pass;

Three Ridges Trip Report, Applachian Trail Virginia 22-24 June 2012

Just back from hiking the “Three Ridges”, Friday 22 June to Sunday 24 June 2012, per the description found in Hikingupward.com.

See all the photos at http://www.meetup.com/OCBackpackers/photos/9415752/

Backpacked this with our hiking group “Obsessive Compulsive Backpackers”, which has members from Richmond to Virginia Beach.

I drove up to Sherpa’s house in Williamsburg where we linked up with Mukta (Ashley). While we were waiting for Mukta, Sherpa and her husband laid out a totally fantastic European buffet complete with Caprice Salad, grilled Brussels sprouts, spiced humus, tuna salad, brie, crackers and other stuff I can’t remember. But what a feast!

After Mukta arrived, we drove up to Charlottesville where we linked up with Biscuit, Evenstar, Longshanks, Mark and Mark.

We arrived at the trailhead at Reed’s Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway about 11pm, thank god it wasn’t raining. We saddled up and started the 1.6 mile walk to the campsite located in front of the Maupin Field Shelter on the Appalachian Trail. The trailhead starts out about about 2600’ goes up over 3100’ then back down to about 2700’.

 

Here we linked up with Tom who had brought his dog ‘stretch’ who is a Scottish Deer Hound (or something like this), this is the biggest breed I have ever seen! Bigger than any Great Dane, more like a small pony, OMG!

Anyway, it was – or seemed – warm and muggy that night as we all settled in.

Saturday was a leisurely start with a late breakfast, we didn’t start walking until almost 10am.

 

Saturday was another hot one and unfortunately Stretch, who is about 7, was struggling so he and Tom turned around and headed back to the trail head.

 

The hike was pretty uneventful, we made a couple of breaks, hiked up and over the three ridges, getting up to 3900’ and stopped for lunch at the last flat rock overlook before the trail dives back into the forest and begins a very steep downhill section.

  

  

We arrived at the area of the Harper’s Creek Shelter (about 1800’) around 4pm. We were the only ones there so I was pretty psyched; normally the place is pretty popular with boy scouts who can hike in from a forest road only about 2 miles from a parking lot.

 

I was beat from the long hot downhill and very glad to reach the shelter.

We were very lucky to have a group of closely located campsites all to ourselves, and pretty close to the stream for water and cooling off. The ONLY drawback was the place was covered with poison ivy so you had to be careful to stay on the paths.

After we set up, a group of us went down to filter some water. Shadeau, Biscuit’s dog, was playing in the stream, so I started up-stream where the water wasn’t disturbed and almost latched onto a 4’ rattle snake moving in and around the rocks! YIKES! Needing to change my pants, I slowly backed away to where the others where resting, we watched the snake for a minute or three, as it slowly starting winding its way down to where we were – Time to go!

 

Needless to say, subsequent water trips were in groups where we could have a look out for the thing. We didn’t have any more encounters.

We made a campfire around which we all made our dinners. I had instant mashed potatoes and made some ‘brown gravy’ on the side. After dinner I made a Banana Muffin in my ‘bake-packer’ and shared it with everybody.

That night, Mark who was ‘backpacking lite’, returned to his sleeping bag laid out on a tarp on the ground and encountered a snake in the dark near his area and decided to relocate elsewhere!

 

 The next morning, Sunday, we had intended to break camp around eight, but that was wishful thinking. I think we hit the trail about 9, taking the AT to the Mar-har trail where we turned north on it heading back up to the parkway. We reached the Campbell creek campsite about 11, took a break and some of us jumped into the creek to cool off. It WAS SWEET!!

 

From Harper’s shelter the trail very steeply goes up from about 1800’ to about 3200’ and then loses all of that elevation gain, going back to about 1700’ when you pick up the trail at Campbell’s creek! So you’re already hot and beat, and then have to re-gain all that elevation on the steep rugged trail back to the Maupin Field shelter! Jeeesuz! What a long hot bitch of a hike. This hike is rated difficult, but since I’ve done it basically 3 times in the past 12 months, I knew, being the second oldest in the group, that it would be ok if I just take my time…so I rated it “easy(?)”, kind of tongue in cheek rating. But then I started feeling really bad when others where huffing and puffing because they trusted my “easy(?)” description. (in fairness, I did refer to the hikingupward.com description of the hike for detailed trip analysis and maps.)

We finally reached the Maupin field shelter around 1pm and everybody was pretty beat. Biscuit almost stepped on another RATTLE SNAKE on a path next to the shelter and almost jumped out of his boots. When I asked him if he took a picture, he looked at me kind of weird :-), so together we went back to find it, where it posed for several photos!

So the last phase was back up and over the 3200’ hill back to the parking lot. Not really much to write about, it went pretty well, no surprises or events to write about. The snakes, the poison ivy, the night hike, but everything went very very smooth. But it was hot and tiring. I call every hike a ‘training hike’ and this one was no different, I’m training for Maroon Bells in 4 weeks and was a little tester for me. Sherpa and Biscuit are also going to Colorado, and both looked to be in pretty good shape.

On the way back we stopped in for a little pizza in a great place Mark recommended, next the University of Virginia campus. It was great, “the mushroom” I think.

Anyway, not much else to report.

One good note, this was a little bit of a challenge for us, and everybody did fantastic, and as far as I’m concerned everybody earned some bone-fide bragging rights for completing a kick-ass hike! It’s all downhill from here (yuk yuk)

Still Daydreaming about the Grand Canyon Trip

These are a couple of photo’s Geardog took of Sherpa (Meghan) and myself descending from the South Rim on Bright Angel Trail and while at plateau point.

I will probably plan another trip next March or April, and hopefully make it a group trip for my backpacking meetup “obsessive compulsive backpackers”.  Geardog will be hiking the A.T. next March/April and won’t be able to make it.

Proof That I’m Insane!

Exhausted in a hut, somewhere in the Swiss Alps

Backpacking – Illegally- and exhausted, somewhere in a valley in the German Alps.  Winter time so you can pitch you tent near a hut and eat on the porch!

 Exhausted after unable to pitch tent on the trail, somewhere on a hillside on the German-Austria border

Too exhausted to bend over and pick up ski pole after finally finding hut in a white out, somewhere very high up on a Swiss Glacier.

 Where is the goddamn trail! WTF am I doing here?… preparing to be totally exhausted and breaking into a high altitude shepards’ hut for refuge, somewhere in Austria.   

Badly out of shape, unable to sleep in hut, unable to continue, on failed attempt on the Duforspitze, Zermatt, Switzerland

 

falling, falling, and falling again, getting exhausted, roped ski climb, above Saas Fee, Swiss Alps

 

Backpacking (illegally) in a forest in the German Alps, trying to crawl under a tree, exhausting

Exhausted, in the rain, on the AT, in New Hampshire.

Exhausted, once again, by the AT in New Hampshire!

This is the F***ing AT in New Hampshire, and I wasn’t in shape for it.  Another trip, another beating! 🙂

Looking pretty beat (and wet) after reaching top of Mt Washington, New Hampshire.  In just a few hours both my legs would be cramping, and of course, I would be exhausted!