Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Rant coming soon…

I’m sick and tired of people telling others ” you need to strip down” in your sleeping bag to stay warm.  This makes me absolutely crazy!!!  Common sense, logic, and science are completely ignored, resulting in total shit advice.

I’ll lay it all out for debate very soon!

comments appreciated.

ps.  the blog people say the best blogs are deliberately confrontational, posting definite views, not being wishy washy

and

encouraging comments!

Grand Canyon Random After Thoughts…

Sitting here drinking my Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey, it occurs to me to record some of my after action stuff from this past hike:

1.  1 pair of socks for every 2 days, else we get the big stink

2.  NO MORE M&M’s, or bulk candy, or soups; lack of apetite each and every trip for snacks.

3.  Read the fucking instructions for the steri-pen so I know what the red light means.

4. Make sure to “over trim” my big toe nails (I know this is gross, but it’s important) to eliminate the possibility of my toes jamming into the front of my boots on long downhills.  I didn’t have this problem my last couple of trips to Colorado, like I did several years ago in the New Hampshire Whites, but going down the 1st 2 days in the Grand Canyon apparently jammed by 2 big toes, I never even noticed it until the second night in my tent, when my right nail begain to swell and I had to drain it.  I wasn’t trying to drain it, but while trimming it down it began to ‘leak’, but it did relieve pressure.  They are both now bruised but healing, but look pretty gross.

5.  Both my legs were sore after the downhill portion of the hike, and I ran out of acetomenophine, take(pack) about 3 per day (which btw is the max dosage).

6.  Think about taking binoc’s to Colorado (next up Maroon Bells 4 Pass Loop).

7.  Took but didn’t use my thermarest ‘chair’, Grand Canyon campsites have picnic tables.  They also provide giant (20mm) old air force or army ammo cans, 2 at each campsite, to store food.  This is a simple and brilliant solution to food storage.

8.  I bought a stetson crushable hat while at the GC, looks great!  Great for sun and rain protection, but can be hot.

My Review of REI Quarter Dome T2 Tent

Originally submitted at REI

The REI Quarter Dome T2 is freestanding tent that pioneers an innovative architecture to keep weight low, ensure high interior volume and bolster strength and stability.

Great tent, Great value

By Slo Hiker from Hampton, Va on 2/6/2012
5out of 5

Pros: Easy To Setup, Fly Works Well, Windproof, Comfortable, Lightweight, Sturdy, Waterproof

Best Uses: Backpacking

Describe Yourself: Avid Adventurer

What Is Your Gear Style: Comfort Driven

Was this a gift?: No

Have used it on about 10 trips this year, including 4 winter trips, no storms, only light snow; 1 trip up to the Continental Divide Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness. Goes up easy, very light weight (a little over 3 lbs). I don’t need all the stakes, just a front and rear to hold it down. Huge front and rear vestible. Lots of inside pockets, and 2 nice upper pockets to tuck open the screen. It’s lightweight due to its all net upper, but so what, with the fly it becomes bullet proof. The poles are a little fragile, so not sure about long term storms or durability on a glacier, but when the fly is up it would take a giant storm to do any damage. The inside is ‘boxie’ i.e. the head room is squared off so plenty of usable space. I love this tent.

Setting up camp in the Weminuche Wilderness

22 Nov 2011, field notes

1.  Ramsey’s Draft was trey successfull, but it kicked my ass, as I was overall very tired, on the Saturday leg. 

1.1  My legs never seemed tired though, so I don’t need to change my winter work out, primarily hitting a 15 degree treadmill at 2.5 mph, for 60 minutes at a shot almost every other day -this kicks ass!  My summer daylight workout is to walk 2 miles at lunch and 5 miles after work, and a month before the hike, start wearing a 35lb pack on the 5 mile daily walk.

2.  Just got my permits (geardog and myself) to hike the Grand Canyon for  5 nights starting 6 March, Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim on the corridor trails. YEAH!  My son Bill, who lives in Phoenix, aka DJ William F** Reed, or, ‘the professor’, might go with, if permits can be had

3.  Crabtree Falls/The priest combo trip next up for December.  4 have signed up and I don’t have confirmed vision of the trail head where I plan on us “stealth camping” on Friday night.

4.  My steripen WAS working at Ramsey’s Draft, the flashing green light meant GOOD, not BAD, Icouldn’t remember at the time if the green light was to flash or be solid for a successful filtering (flashing is good, RED light = bad), so if I get sick it won’t be from that.

5.  The jetboil worked like a charm, at only 10.5 oz it was a hit.  Works best in a solo situation, or where you’re just going to boil water, which it did EXTREMELY FAST, 2 cups = 2 min, (I timed it of course)

6.  The problem with my Garmnin GPS, was low batteries, including my backups, not any system malfunction, I feel like such a jerk – low batteries??? That was smart, jackass.

Ramsey’s Draft Hike 18-20 Nov 11 Trip Report

I picked up Jeff (Trailsurfer) about 1pm on Friday 19 Nov 11.  We then swung by the pickup site in Williamsburg to pick up Megan Sherpa, about 1:45.  We then headed up to the trail head just off HWY 250 about 30 minutes north west of Staunton, Va.

         

Try as we did, we didn’t make it before the sun set around 5:04pm.  When we got out of the cars we found the temperature had dropped into the 30s!

We unloaded, put on coats, put on water shoes, grabbed our boots, packed up, switched on our headlamps and made for the trail.  About 100ft down the trail, you have a choice of going straight, going up the ‘draft’ following the creek up the valley or turning right, which leads to an immediate stream crossing.

Our path led to the right and the first of 17 stream crossings; 1 tonight, then 16 on Sunday coming down the draft on our return leg.  I volunteered to go first, mainly so I could try to get some photo’s in the dark.  Wow!  The stream was very cold, the rocks slippery, and extremely tricky the pitch darkness.

Megan Sherpa was without poles, so she was forced to balance each step, while carrying her heavy winter pack – in the dark.  She made it, no falls.  We all made it.

As we were crossing, we were met by Chuck aka ‘beast’, from the midatlantic backpackers meetup, who had arrived before us and set up a camp with a roaring fire on the other side of the creek.  He had spotted our head lamps and came over to guide us to the campsite he had established.

We trudged on to the camp with wet feet, not bothering to change shoes until we were able to drop our packs.

Phase 1 over.

We set up camp, warmed up and visited by the roaring fire, until one by one each of us went off to bed.  I checked my watch thermometer about 3am and it was 24F in side my tent.  That morning I found that the water inside my camelback hose had frozen solid.  The water in the bladder and my canteen was ok.

We got up, made breakfast and swapped stories about how cold (or warm) each of us had slept and what each of us had to do to get warm, and spent some time complaining about the rating systems for sleeping bags.

As we were getting ready to hit the trail we were met by Mike aka ‘U.K. Mike’, who had arrived about 11pm and had slept in his car.  U.K. Mike was also from midatlantic backpackers.  This brought our number up to 5.

   

We hit the trail about 9am.  The sun was shining but hadn’t risen enough to hit us.  The first leg is the climb up to the first of the series of ridges.  We took our time and made the 2 miles in about 1hr and 15min.  The sky was clear and we enjoyed amazing 360 degree views for the entire day. 

   

We walked on and didn’t break for 4 hrs, about 1pm.  We had a 45 lunch break, followed the ups and downs and flats of the ridges.  After 2 more hous of hiking, most of us were starting to feel it.  Day 1 is 11 miles and the ridge has some long flat stretches and some ups and downs, nothing too long or steep, but it makes for a long day.

 

We pulled into Hiner Spring at exactly 4pm, 7 hrs after we started.  I personally was beat, maxed out, very tired.  Tents went up and everyone unpacked.  Almost everyone but me had the energy to collect deadfall to make a fire.  We started eating before 6pm and by then it was DARK.

   

I had planned to heat packaged taco filling and eat it in several flour tortillas, with the salsa I had carried, but I made the mistake of not rehearsing it in the kitchen before hand, and decided that in the dark, it appeared to be too large to heat inside a ziplock, in the new pot I brought (I was using my brand new jetboil system for the first time), and I didn’t want to heat in directly in the pot because I was too lazy to clean it, sooooooo, I made the decision to just eat it cold!  YUK.  I choked down 2 and then finished off my 3rd tortilla by itself.  FYI a flour tortilla doesn’t contain running salsa very well.

The Hiner spring area has 2 springs, each flowing together making a giant “Y”, with a huge camping area inside the top of the Y.

That night was much warmer, mid 30’s.  During the day the temps were probably in upper 50’s, cool, but comfortable, no or very little breeze all day.

That morning we took our time breaking camp and making breakfast.  Jeff ‘trailsurfer’ shared some of his mountain house instant raspberry(?) cheesecake he was having for breakfast, it was FANTASTIC!!

We hit the trail about 9:30 and headed down the mountain.  The trail heads down a ravine following the stream (Draft) until it hits the end of an old almost obliterated road.

The trail then makes SIXTEEN crossings, where you WILL get your feet wet.  This last 5 miles of the trip took 4 whole hours, although it was mostly flat.  I suppose what takes so long is stopping at each crossing taking a look to see if one can avoid plunging in (you can’t); accept the fact you are going to get your feet wet, and plunge in.  You lose a lot of accumulated time trying to analyze each crossing.

    

But in the end it was done, we all made it back safe and sound.

Everything went very smoothly, so unfortunately, there was no ADVENTURE to write about.  It WAS a very beautifuly day, gorgeous scenery, great company, practically everything went great (darn!)

Note 1:  U.K. Mike, wore leather (and I say heavy) mountaineering quality boots (waterproofed via waxing)  (soles were prepped to accept crampons) and waterproof O.R. brand super gaiters, and maintained that his feet did not get wet.  This is a very good combination to remember when hiking in the snow.  The drawback is the extra weight on one’s feet.

Note 2:  Getting feet wet during a winter hike can be deadly, it was around 65-70 degrees on our hike out, and we were able to keep our feet warm as we kept walking and immediately changed at the cars.  This was planned in advance.  If the temps were forecasted to be below freezing, this hike out would have not been recommended.

Maroon Bells 4 Pass Loop, July 2010, Part 2

Maroon Bells 4 PassLoop, July 2010, Part 2

Recap

Day 1 – Flight toDenver, drive to trail head near Aspen, night hike to Camp 1 below Crater Lake.

Day 2 – Hike to Camp 2,Maroon Basin, above Crater Lake, elev 10,650, to acclimatize.

Day 3.  Today is our first full day of hiking, and all the suspense ends today.  We’ve got blue sky and sunshine as we head up the trail towards the first of two passes,West Maroon Pass(12,450′). 

We make it over our first stream crossing, which needed big jumps, and we stay dry.  The trail is well graded and we’re off at an easy pace.  The first parts of the trail are through these bushes that are almost head height – and very wet.  It doesn’t take very long before our pants are also wet.  But after a short while we’re above the brush and start to dry off.  We can see the pass once we go around a corner and at first it looks really really far.  After a short while we spot people standing on the pass, take plenty of photos, and we’re in a

great mood.  It’s funny that stopping for photos is a more manly way of saying let’s take a very short break in place to catch our breath!

We make it to West Maroon Pass around noon, take our packs off to rest and enjoy the views and take about a gazillion photos.  Phase 2 over and completed without a hitch.  So far we’re off to an excellent start! 

Notes on the paths/trails, all very well marked, and very worn, many with huge ruts forcing you to walk on the sides, creating new ruts, you have no choice, and as far as we could tell this section didn’t have signs of horse travel, all foot.  You can see where the trail is headed for miles.

Looking southwest from West Maroon Pass one gazes into the gigantic bowl that is formed by theCrystal River east and south forks.

After a very short rest and knowing we have one more pass for today, we’re off again.  The path descends for a while and after about 1 mile we take a right fork and traverse on the side of a hill until we approach switch backs leading up to our second and final pass of the day, frigid Air Pass, (12,375). 

Now I’m getting tired, so it’s slower going.  Although not far to the top I need to pause every now and then for a “break in place” and to take some photos (of course!).  Not sure how I got ahead of geardog, but if I recall correctly I reached the top of the pass first.

I think this is where we had the ‘bag of chips’ incident.  Talk about trail magic.  I noticed an unopened bag of potato chips sitting on a rock ledge and in a moment of magnanimity, because he’s hauling the booze, I give the bag to geardog, who in turn devours the entire bag.  Now geardog is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, he’s always giving me maps, t-shirts, coins, mementos of trips with his wife, but man, just one little chip….please!  Actually, I’m very thankful he ate the entire bag by himself, or I wouldn’t have anything to write about for this trip – it went that well!

We’re only on Frigid Air Pass for a few minutes, packs aren’t even off, when we notice the dreaded thunder boomers – with lightening – starting to roll in, gee, we get a burst of energy and after not a few photos, we’re off again, dropping down into the magnificent Fravert Basin.  Fraver Basin is a true OMG moment.  Wildflowers in bloom for miles!  Majestic peaks surrounding the entire valley!  Photos just don’t do it justice.

So we head down.  The trails are incredible. Broad, easy, gently sloping, perfect for checking out the jaw dropping scenery as you walk.  The trails head towards the North Fork of the Crystal River, visible as a very thin line in the distance, then reaches scrub trees and  drops down into the tree line, eventually heading into the forest.  There we had some steep switch backs and only glimpses of the river.  This is where there is a magnificent water fall but unfortunately you don’t see much of it heading down until you get past it.

When we get to the basin floor we started looking for a site for camp 3,  it was around 3 pm.  There were a couple of obvious sites, but they were taken.  We didn’t spend a lot of time looking, (rainclouds) so we settled on a very small clearing in a clump of trees pretty close to the water. 

                                    

Geardog, who carried the wine, also brought a 8×10 nylon tarp to set out to eat under in case it rained – it did, not much, but enough.  In fact we used it several nights to cook and eat dinner under.

The water was ICE COLD so sitting and bathing or just ‘chilling’  (ha ha pun) was out of the question.  By the way, hiking temps were probably in the mid 70’s.

One minor problem, with our little campsite in the trees – mosquitos.  Little or no breeze to drive them away, that sucked, but we had OFF, so we were slimy but minimally bothered.

End part 2.