Tag Archives: hiking

22 Absolutely Essential Diagrams You Need For Camping

12 Nov

http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/absolutely-essential-diagrams-you-need-for-camping

22 Absolutely Essential Diagrams You Need For Camping

From survival to s’mores, here’s everything you need to know to ensure a flawless camping trip. posted on June 17, 2013 at 2:27pm EDT

1. How to Build a Campfire

How to Build a Campfire

2. Tent Tips

Tent Tips

3. Everything You Need to Know About the Technicality of S’mores

Everything You Need to Know About the Technicality of S'mores

4. How to Estimate Remaining Daylight with Your Hand

How to Estimate Remaining Daylight with Your Hand

5. Snacks to Pack

Snacks to Pack

6. What You Can Do to Repel Mosquitoes

What You Can Do to Repel Mosquitoes

7. How to Sleep Warm

How to Sleep Warm

8. How to Survive Hypothermia

How to Survive Hypothermia

9. Backpacker’s Checklist

Backpacker's Checklist

10. How to Rig a Tarp

How to Rig a Tarp

11. How to Get Your Dutch Oven to the Right Temperature

How to Get Your Dutch Oven to the Right Temperature

You can very easily adapt recipes you can make in a kitchen oven to an outdoor dutch oven.

12. How to Identify Animal Tracks

How to Identify Animal Tracks

13. Know Your Stargazing Events This Summer

Know Your Stargazing Events This Summer

14. 10 Easy Fire Starters

10 Easy Fire Starters

15. Kayak Camping Checklist

Kayak Camping Checklist

16. A Guide to Hammock Camping

A Guide to Hammock Camping

17. Guide to Spider Bites

Guide to Spider Bites

18. Checklist for Car Camping

Checklist for Car Camping

19. How to Make Shelters in Survival Situations Using Nature

How to Make Shelters in Survival Situations Using Nature

20. How to React to a Wildlife Encounter

How to React to a Wildlife Encounter

21. Tarp Tips

Tarp Tips

22. Know Your Poisonous Plants

Know Your Poisonous Plants

Deaf and blind man hikes the Appalachian Trail

25 Sep

http://www.sunjournal.com/blindAThiker

Deaf, blind AT hiker gets help in Bethel

Submitted photo

From left are Appalachian Trail hiker and special service provider Roni Lepore of New Jersey, AT hiker Roger Poulin of Winthrop, and hikers Paul Austin, Molly Siegel of Bethel and Samantha Southam of Bethel. Lepore and Poulin, who are both deaf, were helped through Mahoosuc Notch in Riley and Grafton townships by local hikers.

 

Alison Aloisio, Sun Media Wire

Oxford Hills |

Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

BETHEL — A deaf and nearly blind hiker is nearing the end of his 2,185-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, and several Bethel residents have been helping him out as he approaches his goal.

Roger Poulin of Winthrop was born with Usher Syndrome, which affects vision and hearing and causes problems with balance. He is blind in one eye and has only tunnel vision in the other.

He set out on his journey more than three years ago, accompanied by Roni Lepore of New Jersey, who serves as what is known as a special service provider.

Like Poulin, Lepore is deaf. They met in 2007 at the Helen Keller National Center in New York while attending a Deaf-Blind Interpreters Training Seminar.

Poulin told Lepore about his dream to hike the AT, and he also said he needed a special service provider to go with him. Poulin said he wanted to do the hike in part to show others who are deaf-blind that the dual disability doesn’t have to stop them from taking on challenges. Lepore, a hiker herself, agreed to go along.

After doing a lot of research and taking camping classes, the two were prepared for their adventure — and for however long it took them to complete it.

Poulin used trekking poles to help him with his balance, as well as arm and shin guards, safety glasses, gloves and a helmet. Climbing over all the rocks, roots and other obstacles on the trail resulted in frequent falls, and he often ran into low-hanging tree branches.

He communicated with Lepore using American Sign Language. The two went by the trail names “Adventurous Cane” (Poulin) and “Rambling Shamrock.”

Along the way, Poulin said Aug. 30, they met many hikers who were amazed at his progress. It was slower than what he had first anticipated, however.

“At first, I thought that I could complete it in six to eight months, perhaps nine months” like blind hiker Bill Irwin, author of “Blind Courage,” Poulin said. “When I began hiking from the Springer Mountain (Georgia), I became frustrated so quickly when I realized that I couldn’t keep up with other hikers and hikers passing me most of the time. I had to change my entire view of the hiking world … I do not have to force myself to fit with the ‘mold’ of normal and sighted hikers’ ability.

“I reframed my thinking by focusing on my needs, well-being, and safety to hike. If I need more time to get through, it is OK. It was not easy in the beginning. Over time, it became easier on me to accept that I hike on my own terms — Deaf Blind Time. I give all what I can do to get through in one piece, then I am contented that I know that I do my best to continue with hiking and be patient to reach my dream. I didn’t expect that it would take more than two years, but if it takes four years to do it, then it is OK with me.”

When the pair arrived in Maine in June, the going got tougher.

Poulin described his experience in an interview at Bethel Outdoor Adventures, where Jeff and Patti Parsons and Molly Siegel have been among local outdoorspeople providing them with lodging and assistance.

“Maine is very challenging to hike compared to other states that I hiked in,” said Poulin, who signed his description to Lepore, who in turn typed it out on a laptop computer. “On the trail, there are many exposed roots, large-sized boulders, muddy/bog/boreal fields, steep to climb down especially wet and slippery rock/trail.

“Prior to the White Mountains and Maine, my daily average of miles to hike was between 12 to 15 miles a day. Upon my entrance into the White Mountains and beyond, my daily average dropped to 5 miles a day. By encountering this challenging terrain on the trail, I work hard to negotiate and get through. My body works very hard and I get pretty exhausted by end of day. The weight of my backpack creates another challenge for me to go over the challenging terrain as well due to my balance issue.

“When I first came to Bethel Outdoor Adventure in June, I met Jeffrey and Pattie Parsons. I asked them to shuttle us to the Grafton Notch State Park. My original plan was to hike 95 miles from Grafton Notch State Park to Route 27 in Stratton — around 10 days of hiking.

“I met them again a few weeks later, in July, to inquire where we can find a store to replace my broken bicycle helmet. Somehow, it led us to discuss my AT hiking plans with Jeff and Pattie and all of us got involved to get some help from the Bethel Outdoor Adventure with my hiking challenges.”

Poulin’s original timetable fell by the wayside.

“I had to exit in Andover when I experienced severe case of heartburn and dizzy vision,” he said. “I didn’t expect the terrain to be that daunting. I had to get off the trail to get some rest,” he said. “We had to change my hiking plans several times” and finally completed the section Aug. 28.

Poulin got some extra guidance from Siegel and others through the Mahoosuc Notch.

“From Grafton going south, it goes through the Mahoosuc Notch,” Poulin said. “It required special hiking plans since my SSP didn’t feel comfortable going in without support person(s). The blind hiker, Bulldog, in 2010, went through that area and it took him 9.5 hours to get through 1.1 miles of Mahoosuc Notch. With Operation MNOB (Mahoosuc Notch Or Bust) comprised of three hikers (Molly Siegel, Sam Southam and Paul Austin), we were able to get through without major incident within 4.5 hours.”

Siegel had helped Poulin and Lepore earlier with a re-supply hike. For the Mahoosuc hike, she and the others hiked two miles north on the trail and met the pair headed south.

“Roni let him know if there were dangers,” Siegel said. “We didn’t have to do that much. We took some of their gear.”

To warn Poulin of potential danger, such as a hole, Lepore would tap on one of Poulin’s poles to get his attention and then sign a warning.

Siegel said she enjoyed the unique circumstance of hiking along without a steady chatter among the group, which provided more opportunity to take in the natural surroundings.

She also said she was impressed “at how aware (Poulin) is of his surroundings, how well he uses his poles, and what a good system he and Lepore have to make it all work.”

Poulin and Lepore left Bethel on Saturday for the last leg of the hike — 114.5 miles from Route 15 in Monson to the summit of Mt. Katahdin, via the 100-Mile Wilderness.

Poulin was asked what he would do when he finishes his journey.

“People have been asking of me to write a book sharing my experiences of the past three years,” he said. “To be frank with you, all I think about is taking one thing at a time — to reach the northern terminus of Mount Katahdin. Once I conquer the Mount Katahdin, then I can start thinking about how to share my experience with the world. The reason for that is that I sustained an injury to my rib cage that forced me off the trail last July (2012) and ended my hiking season. Therefore, I want to focus on my ‘last haul.’”

He said he’s grateful for the help he has received while in the Bethel region.

“These folks at the Bethel Outdoor Adventure are like my family!” he said. “I feel very welcome and being part of the community. These people make efforts to communicate with me in any way they are able to via paper/pen, smartphone, laptop, email, gesture, etc. I am a lucky man meeting the Parsons and folks of the Bethel Outdoor Adventure and Bethel. They make an impact on my hiking experience by giving me some support. I may never know how much progress I might have made otherwise in Maine if not for them.”

To follow Poulin and Lepore’s progress on their final leg, see their blog.

 

Hike pictures – Caprock Canyons Trailway (TX)

11 Mar

The Caprock Canyons Trailway is a 60 mile rail line that was dismantled and turned into a hiking trail. This is a 22 mile stretch from Quitaque, TX to South Plains, TX

 

“In September 2011, 80 descendants of the great southern plains bison herd were released to roam 700 acres of grasslands in the park”

 

The hike starts on top of the Caprock.

 

Random piles of railroad debris

 

The Valley of Tears
” According to legend, the name of the valley was suggested by some unknown person who heard the wailing of mothers and children who had been kidnapped by Indians and brought there in the mid-1800s to be separated from each other and sold”

 

Camp for the night was at the 10 mile point at the entrance to Clarity Tunnel. We got to watch bats fly all night and being surrounded by three canyon walls it was completely dark at night. The number of stars visible was completely insane.

 

Breakfast… there was bourbon and rain.

 

Heading through the tunnel in the morning

 

And this is the view we walked into on the other side. Completely different than where we came from.

 

Trundling is the practice of rolling large rocks or boulders down hillsides. It is discouraged in many areas, for reasons of safety and environmental impact. Its practice can be traced back to rock climbers in the 18th century in North America.”


 

Foot care stop. The original plan was to do 10 miles on flat ground the first day, hit the tunnel, camp, do another 8 the next day, then finish with a final short 4 mile trip the third morning. After the blisters started becoming a bitch and we realized we were making pretty good time we decided to power through and kill the last 12 miles in one day.

 

Coaxing Slider back from the edge with more bourbon

 

But the last few miles were back on top of the Caprock in the west TX wind. Fucking miserable.

And the first stop when we got back to FTW… a bar.

Our winter ascent of Mt Bierstadt

2 Jan

Woke up at 530am. On the road at 615am. Threw some Explosions In The Sky on while driving west out of Denver

 

We finally get up into Aprapaho Natl Forest around 8am

The road was closed so we didn’t get to drive to the trailhead. We strapped on snow shoes and had to hike 1.5 miles of switchback mountain road just to get on the trail. Notice the road sign behind me.

To cut a few switchbacks out we set off straight up a few hills. Here’s looking down one of them that w came up.

That peak way back there is where we were headed.

On the way we passed through the highest elevation marsh in CO

 

 

As we got higher the snow shoes had to come off and the cleats went on

We came from below that tree line on the lower right

Sawtooth Ridge in the background

We didn’t actually go all the way up. Because of the extra 1.5 mile run-up we were behind schedule. If we peaked then we’d be coming down by headlamp. With no competition and nothing to prove we turned around just above 13,000ft and went to a bar

Oh and here’s what it looks like when someone goes from 600′ (TX) to 13,000′ overnight.

Anyway this was the motivation. It’s amazing what a guy will do for a beer.

 

 

Other misc pics

More gear for the JMT trip

1 Nov

More gear added:

 

MSR Sweetwater microfilter
Weight: 11 oz
Can filter around 1L per minute. Around 750 liters per filter cartridge. Small and compact, active carbon core eliminates over 99.9999% of all waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of common protozoan parasites.

 
Black Diamond Storm 100 headlamp
Weight: 3.9 oz w/o batteries (x4 AAA)
LED Type: 1 TriplePower, 4 SinglePower (2 white, 2 red)
Lumens: 100
Max Distances: 70 m (TriplePower LED); 25 m (2 SinglePower LEDs)
Max Burn Time: 200 H (TriplePower LED); 125 H (SinglePower LEDs)

 

 

Thermarest Prolite Sleeping Pad
Weight: 1 lb
Self inflating, 1″ thick, three season capable. Lightest most compact self inflating pad available.

 

 

 

 

Total weight so far: 15 lb 13.7 oz

High five for the buddy system!

27 Jul

Just something to think about next time you might want to wander off trail alone…
 
 
 
http://www.adventure-journal.com/2012/07/why-i-never-hike-alone/

Why I Never Hike Alone

by jane koerner high country news on July 27, 2012 · 1 comment

 

The boulder was the tallest in a field of tabletop-size stones, seemingly undisturbed by the passage of centuries. It had the stature to have borne witness to a solstice ceremony at Stonehenge, a human sacrifice at Teotihuacan.

I must have brushed it with my right elbow when I looked back to see if I could see my friend, Drew. We had just climbed some unnamed peak in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, and he was somewhere behind me, making his way down, testing the trustworthiness of each step, or so I hoped. It wouldn’t take much to launch a missile attack that would sweep him off the cliff below.

One second the boulder stood upright; the next second, it toppled, pinning my right leg. The shock of the blow threw me on my back, and the weight of the boulder registered instantly in a tsunami of pain. My right leg was caught below the knee in a tightening vice.

Stifling a scream, I sat up and pushed. The boulder did not budge. I pushed again, encouraged by a tremor that suggested a lessening of resistance, a possibility of release. Wishful thinking. I leaned back, pressed my buttocks into the boulder underneath to maximize my leverage and rammed the rock on top with a hip and shoulder butt. The rebound knocked me flat and the boulder bore down, crushing more calf muscle.

I’d heard Drew’s shouts two hours ago when I scrambled up the chimney to the summit ridge. He’d had to duck to avoid some flying pebbles. Could he hear my shrieks now? Another friend had long since disappeared over the next rise, no doubt racing for the truck. Would my screams reach her? I probably hadn’t shrieked this loud or this long since my mother gave birth to me.

Barb arrived first and knelt by my side, watching helplessly as I flopped on my back, exhausted by the pain. The slightest movement on my part increased the pressure on my leg. Barb barely weighed 100 pounds — no contest with a ton of quartzite.

I heard the click-click-click of advancing hiking poles as Drew approached, panting. He dropped the poles, knelt beside me, and shoved with all his might. The boulder tilted towards me. I cursed in three languages and wailed from the pain, the fear. We were three and a half miles from the car, 2,700 vertical feet up. It would be dusk by the time my friends hit the road, hours after sunrise before the arrival of a search and rescue team. The steep, rocky terrain ruled out a helicopter landing.

Drew studied the position of the boulder from every conceivable angle. Then he squatted as if he were competing again in a collegiate wrestling match. Relying on the laws of physics rather than blunt force, he braced himself with his muscular thighs, hugged the boulder tight and pushed with his arms and chest. The boulder gave slightly, shifting in the right direction, until finally, at last, there was just enough space to drag my leg out. I rolled up my shredded, bloody pants leg, expecting to see exposed fibula. I was numb below the knee. The skin was torn in several places, the calf double its normal size, but no bone protruded.

I swallowed a pill from Barb’s supply of Percocet and another from Drew’s, and they got me up on my left leg, one on each side of me. Using their shoulders as crutches, I hobbled 100 feet down the talus to a snowfield. They packed some snow in my rain jacket and wrapped the jacket around my calf, now the size of a small watermelon. Three hours later, they bundled me into the back seat of Drew’s pickup for the one-hour drive to the only medical clinic within 50 miles, in Lake City, Colorado.

Next morning, the orthopedist in Gunnison examined the x-rays. “You’re lucky. No broken bones. One inch higher and I’d be scheduling a knee replacement. One inch lower and I’d be reconstructing your ankle joint with plates, screws and a bone graft.”

“How long could my leg have withstood that much weight?” I asked.

“An hour maybe. Then we’d be amputating — not that there’d be much to amputate at that point.”

He showed me how to check for impaired circulation, a dangerous side effect of massive swelling. I followed his instructions religiously. Two weeks’ confinement in a wheelchair with my raised leg frequently wrapped in ice, followed by another two weeks on a walker seemed inconsequential, a mere inconvenience to be borne with a sense of humor.

Two years later, whenever I hike in shorts, strangers on the trail sometimes ask about the crater in my calf. If they’re from Texas, I tell them I was kicked by a moose. If they’re hiking alone, I recount the real story as a cautionary tale. Don’t ever hike off-trail alone, I tell them.

In affiliation with High Country News. Boulder photo by Shutterstock

The Beginning of a Long Journey… a looong 500,000 step journey.

17 Jul

Of all the travelling and random shit I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to do, I firmly believe the seed for this one was planted years and years ago.

 

 

“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mysteries, its melancholy and its charms.”

– Teddy Roosevelt

 

 

I suppose it all started the first time I went for a hike in Rocky Mtn Natl Park. I have always loved being outdoors and if I had my choice I would spend every bit of free time in the American West. From the vacations in NW CO growing up to the more frequent and recent trips to the FoCo area, Lake Tahoe, etc, I just can’t get enough. My wife tells people, only semi-jokingly, that she is the socialite and I could be content the rest of my life staring at a tree with a book in my hands.

 

 

So I guess I should have seen the writing on the wall when I found a copy of The Wilderness World of John Muir; a selection of entries from his personal journeys.

As a conservationist, John Muir traveled through most of the American wilderness alone and on foot, without a gun or a sleeping bag. In 1903, while on a three-day camping trip with President Theodore Roosevelt, he convinced the president of the importance of a national conservation program, and he is widely recognized for saving the Grand Canyon and Arizona’s Petrified Forest. Muir’s writing, based on journals he kept throughout his life, gives our generation a picture of an America still wild and unsettled only one hundred years ago. In The Wildernesss World of John Muir Edwin Way Teale has selected the best of Muir’s writing from all of his major works—including My First Summer in the Sierra and Travels in Alaska—to provide a singular collection that provides to be “magnificent, thrilling, exciting, breathtaking, and awe-inspiring”

 

My job affords me the opportunity to travel. A lot. I have enough airline points to fly basically free in the US. I fly enough that my wife has a pass that gets her a free seat on any flight I’m on. I have seen some really awesome places in my years here and we have a long list of places we still want to see. All of this travelling, combined with my love of the mountains instilled by my parents has given me a bit of wanderlust.

Seven months ago I had a thought: “I want to do something memorable. Something big… something that most people only talk about doing while sitting around being lazy but never pull the trigger on. I want a fucking EXPERIENCE.”

 

 

“Anything that puts a sense of the miraculous in you… we should appreciate the fact that we’re alive. Anything that makes you feel alive is good.”

– Ray Bradbury

 

 

So here it is. The John Muir Trail.

The hike begins at the Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley.

 


 

It wanders generally SSE for 211 miles, passes through Yosemite Natl Park, The Ansel Adams Wilderess, The John Muir Wilderness, Kings Canyon Natl Park and Sequoia Natl Park.

 



 

and ends at the 14,505 ft summit of Mt Whitney

 



 

USGS has calculated an elevation gain of approximately 46,000 ft and and a loss of 38,000 ft when travelled north to south.

 



 

The official length of the JMT, as stated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is 211 miles (340 km). From its northern terminus in Yosemite Valley, the trail runs northeast, passing south of Half Dome and then on to Tuolumne Meadows. From Tuolumne Meadows the trail turns south, running parallel to the main range of the Sierra Nevada, through Yosemite National Park, Inyo and Sierra national forests (including the John Muir Wilderness and Ansel Adams Wilderness), passing through Devils Postpile National Monument, Kings Canyon National Park, and ending on Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park.[2] From the southern terminus of the JMT at the summit of Mount Whitney, an additional 11-mile (18 km) hike on the Mount Whitney Trail is required to reach the nearest trailhead at Whitney Portal, thus making an end-to-end traverse of the trail effectively 220 miles (350 km).[3]

 

There will be lots of this:

 

But that’s ok, because that means there will also be lots of THIS:

 

 

Starting near 4000 feet and ending at the summit of Mt Whitney, it will be a good long trek. Nearly the entire trail is over 8,000 ft so for a guy from TX the first couple days probably won’t be that great. With that in mind I am giving myself a bit to prep for this. I’m halfway through my 28th year now. I plan to complete the hike, in one shot, as soon as possible after my 30th birthday (but in ideal conditions, not in January). This means that if all goes to plan it will be September 2014. In the mean time I have a lot of conditioning to do… it’s been a while since the peak of my cycling days. With an effective length of 220 miles I’ll need to cover 11 miles/day to get out in three weeks. It sounds easy, and I would love to complete it in two weeks (15-16 mi/day), but shit happens.

And though I’ve told two or three people about this plan (with a loose invite) over the past 7 months, I’m also thinking about doing it solo.

Thoreau on foot, if you will.

My wife, who is an incredibly supportive person has actually encouraged this, and even had another great idea. I’m a bit of a nerd [understatement], I love to read, and research is fun to me, so I might try to write a book after all of this. Part journey, part history lesson, part wilderness education. I figure I can channel a bit of T. Roosevelt and a bit of Muir and come up with something at least semi worthy of reading.

Also, her first book is being printed right now… so maybe I just don’t want to be the only one in the house (other than the dogs) without my own ISBN number.

Anyway, this is all pretty pointless at the moment, but I might pop in with some gear or training updates now and then. I have some wilderness medical training (NOLS), but I’ll need to brush up on my orienteering… I’ll be spending time/money on new gear (lightweight, obv)… It should be a fucking fun time. Also, I’m really bored in an airport waiting for a long delayed flight to bring me home. Any other day I probably wouldn’t have typed this for you people.

 

 

tl;dr
I’m gonna walk a lot. There will be trees. Maybe bears. Fuck bears.

 

 

Anyway, with all of that in mind, I’m off to form a plan. All updates will be tagged “John Muir Trail”

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