Before I make a lot of amendments to my Jet Sled, and make it a little less ice fishing friendly, we took it on an overnight up a relatively flat valley. Most of the trails in our area are now swarming with snow machines, so we went up this vly on the border of NY/Vt. that has lots of spring seeps and has a prohibition against motorized vehicles. I placed our heavy winter tent (Sierra Design Stretch Dome) and our heavy old synthetic -15 bags in the sled with some pads to sit on. Altogether, about a 23 lb. load. We carried packs with maybe 15 lbs. per pack. Even without the stiff pulk trace harness; just pulling the rope, it was a breeze on the snowshoe packed trail from 2 people. It was light enough to manuever over and around blowdowns, and pulled up the few hills fairly easily. It got down to 0 degrees F, but we were comftorable. I didn't use a cannister stove, but broke out the old reliable Whisperlite to melt snow. We did make a chicken and rice dish that had to simmer for 10 minutes. I used 8 layers of folded heavy duty aluminum wrap as a heat diverter and it worked well! No burning and it simmered perfectly. The harness for the sled is now going in the works. I like the splitting of the weight between pack and sled. Both are very little burden. It was a wonderful time. A large pack of coyotes serenaded us in the middle of the night. They seemed to be heavy on sopranos. We also had the nearby company of both a barn and a screech owl. A few deer crunched by in the swamp below us; something that is sometimes unnerving, until you figure out what it is. We hope to get out a number more times this winter.
Duane, I got down to relatively bare ground before starting it. I usually don't carry a fire pan, and sometimes when the snows have been 4' deep, it's made it very hard to keep it going. The hemlock forests are great for making fires, there's always lots of deadwood. We've got 30" on the ground now and we're going tomorrow . I see the Sierra is finally getting some snow!!!!!!!!, I hope you get out and enjoy it. From the sounds of things, We had more snow the first week of Oct. in the Sierra than there was for a lot of the winter. Hope it ends with a bang.
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Hemlock is too high up for most of my trips, I'll burn Lodgepole if there is enough, but usually go fireless. Most of my winter trips are close to home, leaving my house on foot/snowshoe. We have not had a good snow year for a few years now. Makes snow camping hard. When I used my snowmobile, I could get highter, farther, I could use it if in an area that had lots of Lodgepole to haul limbs back to camp. Laying thick, green limbs on the snow first would only help about an hour, then the fire would disappear into the snow. I think this is the poorest snow year since I've been in my place here and I've owned this property since '80. Duane