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  1. Today
  2. Day hiking fun on Sonora Pass

    With our youngest daughter in town, we headed up to our cabin near Sonora to get some cleaner air and hopefully to a little hiking. The air in Napa has been so bad that we haven't been out much at all, on a bike or on foot. It has been truly miserable. Clear air here! But we were happy to see that the air in Twain Harte was much better. And so on Saturday we drove up towards Sonora Pass to see if it continued to improve as we went uphill. It did. And we took the opportunity to do something we had wanted to do for a long time. Every time we drive along Highway 108 below the pass, we note the remnants of the old Pioneer trail that brought early immigrants into Tuolumne County over Sonora Pass. And we've always wondered exactly where it went, and how we could follow it. Saturday, we found out. Parking just above the 8,000 level on the highway, we crossed the creek and clambered up the slope to the obvious traces of the old road. From there we followed it East towards the pass, until we finally lost it in a sea of alders. But as we climbed up above the alders to get a better view, it was clear that the old road continued through the alders and across the creek, to head up the pass underneath the existing highway. Cool. And then we went back downhill and followed it in the other direction for a while, until it did the same thing at that end, crossing the creek to avoid some steep granite, and getting paved over by Cal Trans. It was an interesting hike. And while we didn't find any truly historic treasures, we did get a sense of how much work went into building this old road. Some of the stonework was still visible today. The air was clear. The scenery was stunning. And we got to spend some quality time outdoors with a wonderful child. A very good day indeed. the rest of the photos from this trip, as well as the hike the following day, are here:
  3. Yesterday
  4. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    theres so much to do out in the wilderness! That's the biggest reason I love being out there so much. I'm honestly more bored in a city environment with everything going on than I am in the middle of no where with nothing going on! I'll give you a list of things I do most of the time to keep me busy while I'm out. Always have one of my favorite books with me! You can really kill some time reading and I focus and comprehend so much better when i don't have any distractions! Practice bushcraft! There are tons and tons of videos on youtube teaching you different bushcraft, some being easy and some needing a little more practice. I'm always entertained practicing making stuff in the woods with the materials i have available and its also a great skill to know in some situations. Photography. I'm pretty into photography so I usually sacrifice a light pack and haul my DSLR with a small tripod and extra batteries. with all the different lighting and angles and wildlife and different views in nature you can stay very busy with a camera trying to be creative and capture an awesome picture even if the spot isnt that awesome. theres always an angle and lighting somewhere that will make a worth while photo. really gets you thinking... writing. I usually always have a small notepad in my pack and while I don't always use it sometimes i get inspired to journal a little bit and reflect on my day and the trail and whats around and how im feeling so later i can look back on that trail and day and kind of re live it by bringing back all those memories and feelings. I recently did a 7 day backpacking trip on isle royale and journaled the whole time and when I read back on it i was surprised how many small details i forgot about and how looking back on the journal made that trip feel real again and put me right back there! paying close attention. I do this pretty much all the time since its almost effortless and just makes the experience better anyways. if you're with a couple other people it can make it fun to see who notices certain things first and make a game out of it. I like to listen intently and see how many different sounds I can pick out, Rivers, Birds, Bugs, Wind, Squirrels scratching... I like learning about the landscape im on too and notice the different trees and grasses around and understand what they are, its fun to know whats around you. Fire. while I'm extremely careful with this one since I live out west I love practicing my fire make skills. I keep my fires very small and safe and only use them for cooking if there is an open fire ban going on but its a very good and one of the most important skills to have if you play around in the back country a lot. Everything from fero rods to bow drills its fun to practice getting a fire going without the use of a match or lighter. Thats about the most of it, the outdoors are great and theres tons to keep you busy out there. I think the more someone steps out into the woods the more they enjoy it and find other things they enjoy doing while out there.
  5. First Multiday/Weekend Pack

    Welcome to the forum. My best advice would be to try to find a store that carries these packs and try them on, if possible, and look for the most comfortable fit. What works for one person might not be so comfortable for another. Both are very good packs, from what I know of them. As your pack will eventually become an old friend (or enemy, if it doesn't fit right) I advise trying for fit before buying, if at all possible.
  6. Within the Last week
  7. First Multiday/Weekend Pack

    Hey everyone, I just joined the forum today and was wondering if you could help me with my first big purchase. I'm 6ft about 215 and am looking for my first multiday/overnight backpack. Planning on a few trips in 2019. Up in Vermont, New Hampshire area most likely and hopefully one of the bigger parks out west like Glacier or Yosemite. I think I have narrowed it down to 2 bags but I keep changing my mind and was looking for some help. The two bags I've narrowed it down to are the Osprey Volt 60 or the Kelty Coyote 65. Please let me know any experiences you've had with these packs or if you have any suggestions in mind! Trying not to spend over ~180. Thanks for the help
  8. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    Another way to engage is turn the hike into an obstacle course like affair on shorter hikes. Children, and even us older ones, love obstacle courses. Don't just plod down the trail. It doesn't even have to be on a trail or hardcore bushwacking. Build interest for camping/hiking trips and other needed social and communication skills, wider physical and mental abilities, by a 1 mile course down to the playground, lake, grocery store, creek, etc., Walk curbs, go down slides, see who can hang on a tree branch the longest, climb etc. I like to let children take turns individually leading. This takes me out of the helicopter in stress governed by fear parenting/guiding approach that is common. Keep things in check though. Sometimes it's best not to have their parents along. TU for the very kind words. My writings have been called many things but never glorious.
  9. A week in the Sierra

    Just returned from a fall trip to Yosemite. It was great to be able to escape the crowds. Fire felt good at night.
  10. Critique my medkit please. Anything missing?

    Yeah, since then I have used a lot of super glue and even duct tape but that was 50 years ago. On top of that, I was young and stupid...I am not young anymore. LOL
  11. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    Dogwood, that was a glorious post. Speaking to me on levels man. I'm pretty green on the trail, I have done about 10 trips now I think, and all other time I spend on computers both for a job and for pleasure. This is true. I was asking how to keep myself entertained, and asking how to entertain children as a comparison on my attention span. If it works with a child it should work for an adult if the adult is humble enough. my area doesn't have much in the way of miles, but we can definitely slow the pace down and spend more time with the flora, like you suggested with the next bit saying to take more photos of things. Me too, ppine. I'm trying to learn those skills as a youngish adult.
  12. Seafood on the Trail

    Other day I went into REI to buy me some dehydrated gator tail. They said "we're sold out.; some guy, went by the name Grey Mouse, bought us out"
  13. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    I thought at first you were inquiring about how you keep children entertained.Then you went into asking how to keep yourself entertained...on solo trips? To each question can be different answers. However, you already know, at least in part, the solution to addressing both questions. You said it in the beginning: "My attention span is pretty short. Very, very short. What do you do for keeping children entertained when at camp? On the trail I am good, i'm walking but once I set up my hammock and I lose an objective it hits instant bored mode, especially when I am solo." *Spend more time on trail - hiking. Don't relegate yourself to so much in camp time. This can work with children too. Keep them and yourself engaged by seeing a hike as not only being about a starting pt, destination, and walking. Don't ever define your time in Nature and with children as "killing time." It's a genuine opportunity to educate and be educated(YES let children and Nature educate the adult!), to feel that which isn't normally felt especially for kids these days, and to disconnect from some things our culture tells us we should be connected to, and to rekindle that connection to Nature and humanity that is innate in our souls and DNA. It's a required time spent getting "healthier." When solo hiking which is most of the time and with others in a small group(less than 8) that includes children being able to walk 4-5 miles where I'm in the lead(and that's acknowledged from all adults!) I like colorful fold out big picture pamphlets of butterflies, plants, wildlife, clouds, geology, etc I give to each of the kids. I hand out cheap instant cameras the kids all use to take their own pictures maybe of the things they saw in the pamphlets. I build in many slow down and learn as we're stopped periods. This decreases standing around in camp time. If we go by a waterfall I get them to safely feel the spray on their faces, the wind blows to enjoy feeling it on their faces, and the different colored leaves and leaf shapes even if it's different tones of green. Once in camp we share in camp responsibilities. We also share our pictures. Then, while still light out before sunset I pull out wildlife oriented or Dora the Explorer coloring books and crayons. It brightens up their visual cues and associations. Then we go see a beautiful sunset. Then we build a small fire and a bag of marshmallows are roasted. All along without it seeming so while I have their attention I'm slipping in LNT ethics, how to safely ford a shallow stream, teaching respect for wildlife, how to set up a 2 p tent, how to proceed more safely on a descent, and respect for themselves and others, etc. At some pt when deemed situational appropriate I stop having the notion I have to keep them entertained. If Nature and I have done my best inspiring their natural interests and awareness have evolved they can spend more time entertaining themselves and others with some degree of budding personal outdoor character.
  14. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    A book and my camera tend to keep me occupied in camp, but I am also hiking more than 6 miles so there is not usually a lot of "in camp time". Sometimes it is nice to just sit and watch the clouds move across the sky.
  15. A week in the Sierra

    Glad you liked the photos, but as I told my wife, it is kind of hard to take a bad photo in the Sierra Nevada
  16. Worst trail foods!

    I avoid freeze dried meals as a rule. I have yet to have one that didn't seem to me that sawdust was a main ingredient. It might have something to do with my preparing of them, but I'm not a fan. I have seen newbies carrying canned goods on hikes before. for a day hike it isn't so bad, but as mentioned above, carrying empty cans for a few days gets ridiculous. For me the best is fresh fish. Just caught, prepared and cooked over an open fire: That's my ultimate happy meal. The worst, many years ago I decided to slice up some salt cured ham to take along as a jerky type treat. It isn't a good idea. I forgot that salt cured hams are supposed to be boiled for a good while before consumption. A painful lesson well learned.
  17. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    I go with a group only rarely like two years ago with 6 people in the Ruby Mtns of Nevada. Our camp was at 9,800. We cooked steak and lobster on three backpacking stoves. An interesting group. My lady partner does not like backpacking much. Mostly I go with the same person all the time. We have been going on adventures for 30 years. He is a philosophy major who is a great conversationalist and a great cook. We help each other. He is like a Brother. I used to hike solo all the time up in Washington. Now I mostly do day hikes solo with my dog. Perfect time to reflect and do some thinking. I feel sorry for people that have never learned the skills to keep life interesting without electronic gizmos.
  18. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    Based on what I have read in your posts, I could go with that.
  19. New member, new to Colorado

    welcome from a long time Colorado resident!
  20. Hi there - Tent for 2 People and 2 Dogs

    5kg = 11lbs is really heavy for a backpacking tent. For car camping it would not be an issue. The Hogback is pretty tough, the floor will handle dogs without any problems in my experience, although you would have to exercise some caution with the mesh walls, but that's pretty much par for the course with tent mesh and dogs.
  21. Hi there - Tent for 2 People and 2 Dogs

    Hi Aaron, Thanks for the info! While you are correct that I'd love the extra space, I'm not sure I need minimum weight. I think I'd prefer a tougher tent, floor that can handle paws, inner tent that can handle a dog running into it. My current tent is about 10kg (it's great for everything except for backpacking with it) and thus too heavy and too large for a backpack. I can imagine 5kg for 2 people and 2 dogs is acceptable, but I've never really added it to my backpack while hiking!
  22. Shoulder Season Solution

    I used to go out in the Plains in the spring when I lived in the Rockies of CO and WY. It can be warm and every thing is in bloom. I like watching the antelope and raptors and there is no one out there.
  23. Hitting the jackpot in Yosemite

    In late October the reservation system ends in some campgrounds. All you have to do is show up after the crowds are gone. No smoke.
  24. A week in the Sierra

    Great photos. You have skill with a camera.
  25. New member, new to Colorado

    Welcome! No advice in particular, but this might help with some trip ideas if needed: Let us know how the trips go!
  26. Grand Teton hiking in March

    Hey Oakcliff_Tx, Welcome - haven't hiked in the Tetons at that time of the year but am close by. Mid-March is essentially still winter with the mountains holding plenty of snow and snow storms very possible. Late May into June might be a better bet on timing for typical hiking conditions without winter gear or conditions.
  27. Hi there - Tent for 2 People and 2 Dogs

    Hi JJ87, From what you are describing here - plenty of extra space but without weighing you down too much sounds like the Tarptent Hogback might be an option worth considering. You can take a look our Hogback review here, and check out our blog post on Tarptent inner tent choices as well if it's of interest. Also regarding backpacking with dogs, we had an article with tips here in Issue 1. Hope this helps and good luck!
  28. Earlier
  29. Keeping entertained on a Solo Trip

    I could go hiking with Jay. First you have to become your own best friend. Some people never really learn to be quiet and have deep thoughts. Being solo is a time to think. Reflect on your life, Show gratitude for your good fortune. Learn to deal with things you cannot control. Develop self awareness. I do not really meditate which is a type of quiet where people turn off their thought processes. But I like active thinking. I am a retired forester, so there is barely enough time in the day to look at the vegetation and figure out what is happening. Wildlife tracking and observation is one of my other favorites. I like to fish sometimes. These activites take up most of my day. I like to read sometimes at night. Once I decided to write a play to honor my Dad's 90th birthday and my parents 70th wedding anniversayr. It took the peace and quiet of backpacking to get it done
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