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  1. 1 point
    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
  2. 1 point
    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.
  3. 1 point
    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
  4. 1 point
    Based on what I have read in your posts, I could go with that.
  5. 1 point
    We shuffle off the bus and melt into a crowd of tourists, all headed for the perfectly framed view of the Maroon Bells surrounded by bright yellows and greens. Just a minute from the parking lot and we’re already sold on our three-day adventure. More commonly a four-day trip, the Four Pass Loop is one of the most popular – and most photographed – backpacking routes in the United States. The 28-mile trek takes hikers over four mountain passes, ascends and descends over 7,800 feet, and challenges even the most experienced of adventurers with its constantly changing conditions and frequent mid-afternoon summer thunderstorms. It’s no wonder they’re nicknamed the “deadly Bells.” We’d waited for a clear weather window, but these mountains still had a lot in store for us. Our first day leads us through the peaking aspens and over two of the four passes. We begin climbing almost immediately from the trailhead at Maroon Lake, energized by a good night’s sleep and the excitement of the day and too awe-struck to notice the weight of our heavy packs on our backs. At 1.4 miles, we hit Crater Lake – a dried-up landmark on our map that means it’s time to head west. We opt to do the loop clockwise to avoid a notoriously challenging ascent up Buckskin Pass, assuming a steep downhill will be much less exhausting. We blissfully navigate forests of thick yellow and began crawling up mellow, rocky slopes. Soon enough, they begin switchbacking and we catch an intimidating glimpse of our first mountain pass: West Maroon. We had done significant research and prep before heading out, including purchasing a topographical map, downloading digital maps, and even tracking our hike using two cell phone apps. That said, we couldn’t figure out how far we would have to travel on our first day. Apparently, not many hikers do the Four Pass Loop in only three days, so the mileages and trip reports just didn’t add up. We figured it would be anywhere from 10 to 13 miles to Fravert Basin, where we intended to camp, but we had no idea how challenging our day-one itinerary would be. Once we begin ascending West Maroon Pass, our pace slows significantly. It’s mid-afternoon, and we haven’t eaten a proper breakfast or lunch. I’m already delirious. We pull over to the side of the trail and dive into a hearty meal of Clif Bars and gorp – definitely not what my body wants – and push upward, determined to hit camp before dark. We crest the first pass with high spirits, stunned by the impressive view on the other side. The trail seems to dip and dive into the valley below with no sign of re-ascending another, but there’s still plenty of sunlight remaining. After a painfully steep descent, we continue on toward aptly named Frigid Air Pass. As we start another climb, the wind picks up significantly, pushing back against each step forward. Only motivated by the thought of my next meal, I force my hiking partner, Andrew, to step off the trail and cook us a real lunch: ramen noodles. In the distance, I notice a bright orange tent against the green backdrop of the valley – nestled up against a dream-like lake, peaks forming a perfect circle around the campsite. Can’t we just hide out here tonight? I toy with the idea for a short second before realizing Andrew’s already begun stuffing things back into my pack. At least full and warm again, I summon the willpower to continue upward. Once we complete the long and arduous ascent up Frigid Air Pass, we crawl over the ridge just as the sun is setting. It transforms the maroon peaks into dark silhouettes and we can’t help but pause to take it all in. For a moment, all that matters is the remarkable stillness and silence in the mountains, and we don’t care what the lack of light means for the remainder of our descent to camp. The next few miles are a blur – we trudge on mostly in silence, only stopping to don our headlamps, hats, and gloves before entering a pitch-black evergreen forest that supposedly houses at least a dozen campsites. The temperature is dropping quickly and there are no signs of other campers nearby. Our map tells us that we should realistically be surrounded by sites, but there are no noticeable signs or packed-down paths leading away from the main trail. Finally, we come across a wide, flat clearing directly next to us, and a few tents appear in my spotlight about 100 feet back. “We can’t sleep this close to the trail,” I objected, but after another 15 minutes of exploring our (lack of) options, we decide this is it: our home for the night. We walk our bear canister into the downed trees nearby, crawl into our sleeping bags, and shiver ourselves to sleep. We wake up with the sun and our nearby neighbors, who explain they had spent two nights there and don’t think there were any other open campsites the night prior. What would we have done if this spot were taken? I wonder. There’s no way we could have continued for another eight miles. After a hearty breakfast and giving the necessary thanks to our camping gods above, we hit the trail. Day two’s agenda: ascend another 2,000 vertical feet over Trail Rider Pass and camp near an alpine lake. It’s a slow and painful start. Our bodies ache, our legs sore from the unexpected torture we put them through yesterday. I silently wish we’d opted for the four-day option, and wonder aloud if another night in the wilderness is worth it. Always, I think. But Andrew pulls me back to reality quickly – we both have jobs, and as refreshing and energizing as it is being out here, part of the allure and magic is the fact that we don’t get to do this very often. We continue our long walk. After what seems like a steady and continuous uphill climb for most of the late morning, we drop into a stunning valley: an alpine lake envelops its middle, surrounded by towering peaks on all sides. We look across the way and spot what look like ants in the distance, crawling up a switchbacking trail at a painfully slow pace. At first, we think they’re ascending a Fourteener – a 14,000+ foot mountain fairly common in the Rockies – but upon closer inspection, we realize they’re not on another trail. They’re on our trail. We haven’t even made it halfway up the pass yet. We break for noodles, watch our dog splash through the green-blue water of the alpine lake, fend off sleep while lying in the warm sun, and regain motivation. Trudge up the pass. Descend into a stunning valley dominated by the lake. Scramble past a field of loose boulders. Race down the final approach into camp to snag one of the last designated spots. Pitch our tent. Crawl to the shore to cook a meal just as the sun lowers behind the peak above us. Our minds and bodies are exhausted, barely able to perform basic functions or form full sentences as we brace for another frigid night. But as our heavy eyes begin closing with a tent-door view of the expansive lake next to our encampment, none of that matters. We don’t rush to leave camp, instead opting to bask in the peaks’ symmetrical reflection in the water as we finish off what remaining food we have: a dehydrated pad-Thai meal, cinnamon oatmeal, instant coffee, and peanut butter. In the minds and stomachs of two hungry backpackers, this is indeed a final-day feast. Satisfied by our eclectic meal and the resulting amount of weight we’ve cut from our packs, we say goodbye to our perfect campsite. We fly past almost everyone that had left camp earlier that morning, determined to make it back to the trailhead with plenty of time to down beers and burgers in Aspen before a long drive home. And before we know it, we’re thanking ourselves for choosing to descend Buckskin Pass instead of climb it. It’s miles and miles of steep, painful downhill. Our legs beg us to stop, but with each camera-wielding, backpack-less tourist we pass, we realize we’re getting closer. Finally, the view that stunned us three days ago as we hopped off the bus rewards us with another appearance. Equally as awe-struck, we stop at the main viewing area and stare at the surrounding peaks. It’s hard to fathom how expansive this range is, and I struggle to make the final march toward the bus. In three days, we’ve experienced every type of terrain from scenic forests to wildflower-covered meadows to barren, rocky mountain passes and crystalline alpine lakes. We’ve climbed thousands of feet, descended the same amount, crossed innumerable streams and creeks, fallen asleep under clear night skies, and found ourselves in awe over the hump of every mountain pass. It’s truly been one of the most spectacular trips to the mountains, and we stare out the window of the 3pm shuttle back to town wondering when we’ll reunite with this jaw-dropping range. Hopefully, soon. But first, burgers. Information: Entrance is $10, but the Maroon Lake parking lot often fills up by early morning throughout peak seasons, so parking is only allowed before 8am and after 5pm. A shuttle runs every 20 minutes (June 9 through October 8) from nearby Aspen Highlands Ski Area along Maroon Creek Road. Tickets can be purchased next door at Four Mountain Sports for $8 round-trip (more info here). Lodging and restaurants are available in nearby Aspen. Camping is allowed at many marked, designated spots along the trail, or at least 100 feet from any body of water. Wilderness permits are required and are available at the trailhead ranger station or by self-registration at the trailhead if you’re arriving after-hours. Water can be filtered at most points along the trail, but keep in mind that many streams and even lakes included on maps might be dry in late summer months. Bear canisters are required for the trek. More information on the trail can be found here. Best Time to Go: Summer is the peak season, but early afternoon thunderstorms are common – it’s safest to be over any pass before noon, at the latest. If you’d like a bit more wiggle room, early fall offered spectacular and unparalleled views of the changing aspens (sans storms). Temps dropped to around 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit at night, but days were still mid-70s. Getting There: The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is located just outside of Aspen, Colorado. From downtown Aspen, take highway 82 for .5 miles west before exiting the roundabout onto Maroon Creek Road. From here, it’s another 9.4 miles to the parking lot. If you’re instead planning to shuttle from Aspen Highlands Ski Area, it’s only 1.5 miles on Maroon Creek Road. Books and Maps: A National Geographic topographical map for Maroon Bells/Redstone/Marble can be purchased for $12 – we found it extremely helpful in figuring out where we were in relation to marked campsites we could only find on non-topo maps online. When paired together, the combo worked perfectly. There are also several other books on hiking Colorado’s many famed Fourteeners in the area, if you’d like to tack on any major peaks during your camping excursion (and have the necessary training and gear). We passed trailheads for many of them including Pyramid, Maroon, and North Maroon peaks while hiking the Four Pass Loop. These are all more technical, class three and four climbs. The Author: Sarah Nelson is a backpacker, volunteer outdoor educator, and journalist based in Boulder, Colorado. Follow along for more of her adventures at @sarahhlynne.
  6. 1 point
    Falls are the perfect example of the unexpected. But if you aren't prepared, they can be a nightmare. I think you had one of those, Ppine...
  7. 1 point
    I want to go hiking with jhelms. Sewing with a needle and hair from a horse's tail is how cattle get doctored in the field. Superglue works. In over 60 years of time in the field, the main injuries are burns from a fire, axes in the foot, but mostly falls. Sprains, ligaments, and once in awhile a break. Falls are the worst and hard to plan for.
  8. 1 point
    The FT isn't the only place to go for a winter hike! Even the Foothills Tr in upstate SC can be hiked in winter snow free with a favorable weather window. Even if the white stuff does fly it doesn't usually last long and isn't typically that deep. Beside the white stuff in 50* day time hiking weather with the leaf off just makes the views open up and become more scenic and enjoyable to the heat and humidity. The crunching footprints left behind is a testament that we're WILLING to not be just fairest weather hikers. Identifying plants and animal's tracks in winter can be a welcoming aside that expands the joy. Want another suggestion? Head to Maui Haleakala NP or to the Big I and Hawaii Volcanoes NP. or for a shorter romp the Kalalalu Tr on Kauai OR DO THEM ALL TURNING IT INTO A HI HIKING EXTRAVAGANZA! BTW, by far these aren't the only multi day hikes in HI!
  9. 1 point
    Other places can include the CA and OR coast. There are great segments of the Cali and OR Coastal Trls that can be acceptable for winter walk abouts. The SP systems and Nat Seashores and Marine Sanctuaries and WA's of these states along the coast can be phenomenal. With a 5-7 day favorable(non storm) weather window it's not totally unheard of to hike the CA Lost Coast in winter.
  10. 1 point
    Other places to do winter hikes are on the Lone Star, Ozark Highlands, and Ouachita Trls. The OHT in winter is not the hard core high elev hike elsewhere. You'll get freezing temps with warming during the day. The views, escarpments, and pour offs really open up after the leaves have fallen. In winter you'd have any of these trails to yourself. OHT has many established sites with fire rings and stone chairs perfect for gazing into the camp TV on a chilly night. Makes one feel alive. Another winter hike/paddle can be had at Congaree NP in SC(check water levels first), Everglades NP, and on the Mountains to Sea Trail involving a 100+ mile paddle of the Neuse River an acceptable alternate to completing the MST. There would also be segments of the AZT open in winter. Sky Islands prolly off limits though. GC NP during winter when the heat and crowds are gone with cold temps but with a frosty light snow turn the GC into another wonderland of possibilities. I love going to the GC in winter as at the rims it can be below freezing descending through dry pow and eventually entering the floor where the temps and conditions can be radically different *snow free and 65* during the day. Celebrating a turkey day or Christmas or New Year at the GC is a wonderful experience. And, you might get good enough road conditions to enjoy the nearby Wave or a frozen Buckskin Gulch(AMAZING in winter!) or stops at ZION, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital reef and Escalante(before its gone!). Arches with snow is AMAZING! NO CROWDS. All in all there's cold and then there's deep cold/deep winter. With a favorable weather window all these places, or areas of these places, can be supremely acceptable.
  11. 1 point
    You have to learn to read the weather better. There is no weather station and no app anywhere near most of the good places to spend time in the outdoors. People have become overly dependent on their phones. Learn to read the clouds. Watch out for vertical cloud development and cumulo-nimbus clouds in particular. Watch the wind direction change. Notice the wind speed. Separate out diurnal varitions like afternoon winds from differential heating from frontal boundaries. Learn to recognize mountain weather. If you are in the Rockies in summer, expect afternoon thunder boomers and act accordingly.
  12. 1 point
    get a piece of mole skin for blisters
  13. 1 point
    The Smokies are not really a peak bagging kind of place. Most of the "peaks" are forested and don't have views and other than the AT, there aren't trails to the peaks, so there is a lot of bushwacking. You might consider hiking part of the AT, start at Newfound Gap or Clingmans Dome and pick a direction. This is probably preferable if you have two cars or arrange a shuttle. On the AT the big views are at Clingmans Dome, Rocky Top and Charlie's Bunion, just off the AT is Gregory Bald and Andrews Bald and Mt Leconte which have amazing views. That time of year is beautiful in the park, let me know if you have any questions
  14. 1 point
    You can also steam your shrimp in Old Bay's hot seasoning and dehydrate them. Then fry up some andouille sausage and gator meat and place in a zip lock bag. In camp re-hydrate the shrimp in Crysyal's Hot Sauce or Tobasco Sauce and add them along with the gator and andouille sausage to your Zatarain's Big Easy Jambalaya (boil in bag it).
  15. 1 point
    Sunburn in a kayak crippled me for a week. I have a true addiction to kayaking. So much so that I have been known to earn some unpaid time off here and there for my kayaking adventures. One weekend a few of us courageous kayakers decided we were going to paddle the entire lagoon loop at presque isle state park which is not a very hard thing to do it just takes oh like 7 hours. I put on sunblock prior to setting out but I'm one of those kayakers that has a hard time actually staying in the kayak for very long when the weather and water temps are ideal so as usual I was in and out of the kayak quite a bit for a lot of the trip. Never once reapplying sunblock. My buddy brought his daughter on the trip and every now and then I would mention to her to put on some sunblock but I wasn't adhering to my own advice. When we got back to the takeout, my legs felt bruised while walking. I just brushed it off said to myself I overworked my muscles and didn't drink enough water. As I reflect back on that adventure I wish that was what the problem was. The actual problem was that I had gotten so burned on my legs that I was bruising from amount of burn. By the next day I could not stand up because my legs felt like I did 1000s of heavy squats on top of the burning. Its a pain I don't never want to feel again and yes now I take multiple bottles of sunblock with me and I even wear long sleeve uv blocking shirts and convertible pants most times....And yes I still tend to earn unpaid time off from work
  16. 1 point
    I don't know if I would say it was a mistake or just a really dumb move. A number of years ago I was on a business trip out west. It was to one of the mountain states and I extended my stay so I could take a day hike in the mountains near where I was working. It was February and as it should have been, snowing in the higher altitudes. I left my hotel in the rain and by the time I got to the trailhead it was snowing pretty hard. Several inches had already accumulated so I decided I would hike out a short way and then come straight back to my car and get out before the snow depth was too excessive for me to get off of the mountain. The trail was devoid of landmarks even without the snow and it was nearly impossible to see the trail with the heavy snowfall. The falling snow cut my visibility to 50 yards or less as I proceeded down the trail for about an hour or so. I decided it was time to return up the mountain and back to my car when I turned around to follow my trail out, there was no trail. The snow was accumulating so rapidly I could only follow my steps for about an eighth of a mile or so. I was not prepared to stay on the trail for long, neither in clothing I was wearing or in the provisions in my daypack, so I did the only thing I could think of. I headed straight down the mountain so I would walk out of the snow and then headed east in hopes of finding the road on which I had driven up the mountain. Luckily, my plan worked and after about two hours I was out of the snow and within another 30 minutes, I was on the road. I walked up the road for about three miles and found my car right where I left it. It was covered in more than a foot of snow, but it was there. I swept off the snow and drove up the mountain a couple of miles where I found a little lodge, a beer and one of the best bacon cheeseburgers I have ever eaten.
  17. 1 point
    I've done the same thing with batteries @slosteppin, except in regards to my headlamp a couple times. A bit like you with leaving them in the package, I now use rechargeable Eneloops and make sure they are fully charged before a trip. Either way, no more partially charged batteries sneaking up on you! For me on this topic in general there's been the mistake of underestimating offtrail travel times that I think of first. Being stuck off trail on difficult steep, trail-less, unfamiliar terrain as the sun is setting faster than you can travel with no place to camp. Luckily, those experiences weren’t combined with the low headlamp battery trips. Part of those situations is all a state of mind however, and anticipating and planning for timing with terrain as much as overall miles is an important consideration.
  18. 1 point
    I like to carry a GPS when I hike or backpack. I usually carry an extra set of batteries for every 2 days I plan to be out. About 8 years ago I started out on a 70 mile loop trail. An hour after I started I checked the GPS and it had quit. Dead batteries. In the next 2 hours I used all the batteries I had and all were dead. I had picked batteries out of the wrong drawer. I was depending on the GPS because I knew I would probably lose the trail about half way. If I was totally lost the GPS would show nearby roads and wet areas. Fortunately paper topo maps and compass don't need batteries. It took 8 days to do a hike that should have taken 5 or 6 days. Now I always take extra batteries that are still in the package. I have forgotten a few things. Once I forgot my hiking poles - which are also my tent poles. I cut 2 saplings and carved to the right length. Another time I forgot my spoon. My evening meal is always soup. Carving a spoon is much harder that tent poles.
  19. 1 point
    How many pages do you want? Do you prefer funny happy ending, stupid light, ignorant but eventually workable, or nearly fatal bad decisions? Buying all my trail runners in the same size and width before a PCT NOBO resulting in shoes too constricting causing massive potentially hike ending foot problems before even getting out of Cali. Sucked taking a knife to cut out wider toe boxes on brand new $130 shoes which still didn't alleviate the too tight issues. Lesson: allow for larger shoe volume as feet expand in hot weather and as you get further into a LD hike Not having the "big picture" maps on a Hayduke Tr thru in Capital Reef NP resulting in getting lost in 100* scorching shadeless sun without water for almost two days. Lesson: in remote areas particularly off trail soloing in extreme conditions detailed high resolution topos with a limited picture should be accompanied by being able to see and locate oneself in a larger picture Don't go down anything you're not safely capable of ascending back up. Almost died soloing in Arches NP descending a remote pour off I was extremely fortunate to eventually very precariously reascend not being rim rocked. Getting feet wet and using a fording staff on shallow fords is always preferable to falling while attempting perilous potential bone shattering ankle twisting dangerous slick rock hopping or balance beaming on slick downed trees. Never underestimate how slick trail elements like dimensional wooden and barkless natural tree steps, wet leaves, some moss covered stones, iced up/frozen pack animal urine puddles and feces, wet or icey wooden boardwalks, scree fields, wet grass, area around waterfalls especially at the crest, and a dusting of sand or bee bee like pebbles can be on dry slabs especially but not only on slopes. Lesson: regularly, the most cited dangers in hiking and backpacking are slips, trips, and falls. Always mind your terrain. Going out too fast too hard too long when you're not ready. I've done this several times often because I mistakenly assumed I could seamlessly pick up where I left off from a previous 2000 mile thru-hike completed six months previous. Lesson: be harshly honest with yourself when assessing current fitness, skill set, and ability level in relation to a new adventure. Males especially, but not only, can have ego issues. Hiking can be used as a needed humbling gut checking vehicle. Nor do we all always need to be hiking like run away freight trains after an assumed prestigious obtainable gold medal FKT.
  20. 1 point
    The West Side of the Coast Range out of Skagway can be really wet. We had three days of solid rain on the Chilkoot Trail and for the first time in my life the whole outfit got wet. There was a lot of moisture in my down sleeping bag. We were camped on the back side of the Pass well above treeline. There was wet snow and sleet and gusty winds with no place for wind protection or a chance of a fire. I was afraid to go to sleep. Fortunately, first light in late August that far north was still before 0500. We packed up our camp and headed down into a beautiful lodgepole pine forest in northern British Columbia. There were no human tracks in the trail, only wolf, moose, and bear tracks. After around 5 miles we found an old cabin with a wood stove. We built a fire, hung up all of our equipment in the rafters and made a big meal. Then we cooked another meal and went to sleep for about 3 hours. I went from half dead to fine, and the date was August 31.
  21. 1 point
    I hiked the NJ AT a couple of years ago from the Water Gap to High Point. Just looking at my maps, I think the only camping restriction was in Worthington State Forest where the only backcountry camping is at the intersection of the AT and the Douglas trail near Sunfish Pond. I made notes on my maps of potential campsites in the Delaware Water Gap and the other Forests. I know I camped at a non-designated site the first night and at a shelter the second night. I had a hammock which was the only reason I was able to camp where I did the first night, a tent would not have worked. If you are really worried, I'd contact http://www.nynjtc.org/region/appalachian-trail Hope that helps.
  22. 1 point
    There’s no denying that Virginia is home to some of the finest hiking America has to offer. With roughly 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which is more than any other state; Virginia is easily first in my personal top 10 of states to hike... Special thanks to Tim Frazier who breaks down some of his favorite Virginia hiking destinations - Read the full article below in Issue 5: Virginia: A Hiker's Paradise Issue 5 Page 1
  23. 1 point
    I spend a lot of time in the Wichita Mountains and volunteer for Fish and Wildlife on different projects for the bios. I always keep my camera handy and love to shoot big critters. What we call an Elvis bull. A few elk. And a few not so big critters.