My buddies and I were hiking up Mt. Liberty in the White Mountains September 1973(?) from my notes: "Good weather during the ascent, fog at the top. Heavy rain the next day - trails were like ditches. People were hiking up the trail carrying grocery bags full of Coke and other canned foods, while packing huge rectangular sleeping bags on their backs. They suffered the next day!"
Folks had their arms full of paper grocery bags full of canned food, loaves of bread (Sunbeam), packages of burger, etc. while on their backs were the traditional 'Boy Scout' pack stuffed with clothes, 2 burner Coleman stoves, etc. with you're basic cotton rectangular sleeping bag tied to the top or bottom. There was no kind of shelter visible but they could have had a roll of Visqueen stuffed in the bottom of one of those packs for all I know... The weather turned nasty that night. I always wondered what became of those folks...
On the other hand, one of our party on the way up the mountain to claim our plywood tent pad perched on the side of the extremely bouldery mountainside, apparently did not sweat a drop. I was sweating like crazy and he never seemed to break a sweat... 'Course he was sicker than a dog. It was a miracle he made it to the campsite near the top of the mountain.
side note: Really enjoyed reading all these stories
I've only gone backpacking a handful of times (4 times). My first time though was much different then the rest... as I learned so much with the first time round <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
A friend and I reached the Mt. Rainier Ntl. forest and before getting a backcountry camping permit we looked over which trail to hike through. After a few seconds we picked a camp that was about 6 miles from us (we had 6 hours before nightfall).
6 miles, piece of cake. Only like a couple hours if we walk 2mph.
We didn't know there was a 2500 gain in altitude! I also overpacked by probably 20 pounds. It took us 6 and a half hours to get to the camp and I practically destroyed my legs. It also rained all day and night.
Worst part was when I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It took 2 charlie horses to get out of my tent...
Well, I spent the lovely Labor Day in Denali National Park. Denali is pretty adament about keeping their land and animals as wild as possible and viewing humans simply as another animal in the park, not as someone to eat or be overly used to. So pretty much, if you move a rock, put it back where you found it. That's the extent they want you to go through. No problem in my mind, I've nothing but respect for the rules that'll protect nature in its most original state.
Well, the first day we got out there, all was well. We walked a ways, set up camp, hid the bear cans and went out for a walk without the packs to explore the area. We stop and take probably an hour nap or so on the soft tundra moss and wake up to a nasty looking sky and rain coming down the mountains at us. We hurry on back to our camp and hide in our tents until the rain passes and the sun comes out. One of my buddies takes a nap and me and another guy decide to go and eat.
We get out the stove and food and cook. No problem. I finish my food and stare out over the tundra admiring he view. Well, the other guy decides that he can't finish all of his food. So, instead of just waiting and eating it a little while later, he dumps the food out onto the ground! I immediately get on him about it asking him what he was thinking. We'd already seen a bear 300 yards away on the opposite hillside eating the blueberries that covered the valley. So, to hopefully cover up the smell as much as possible, we cut out a hole in the tundra, scraped the food into the hole, dumped some water onto it, and put the dirt and moss over the hole.
Luckily no bear bothered the area that night. This is not the end of this guys stupidity though. We had another area we were to sleep in that next night, so the next day we packed up and moved out. We were going to follow the river all day next to Muldrow glacier, but we had to cross the river at least once. Well, we got out to the river flat where the river then becomes braided and pretty much becomes a number of large streams. Now, Alaska has a nice habit of raining at least once or twice a day, keeping the area fairly cool with the occasional wind when clouds move in and out. Well, I crossed the river to find good route and made it across just fine. This guy decides he's going to run across, even though I warn him there's some sudden drop offs. No heed to my warnings at all. He runs across and falls into the river, immediately getting up and finsihing the crossing luckily. He's soaked with ice cold glacial melt water, the wind is blowing and clouds are moving in. He did fine, he's lucky he didn't get hypothermia. We had to stop early and set up camp to make sure he got warm in his sleeping bag.
Needless to say I won't camp with this guy again.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle
Man......what a story <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />. I really don't know what to say. Hopefully people like that don't reproduce. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
I should preface this with the fact that this is mostly ignorance and stupidity. Thankfully no-one or hting was harmed. The guy in question has learned the error of his ways and doesn't do it anymore, however he still gets a load of crap every time we talk about camping.
About 10 years ago a bunch of my buddies knew that I packed and asked if I'd go with them. They were just getting into it and didn't necessarily want me along for experience sake, though it helped, but moreso because they new I'd enjoy myself. Because of that I didn't go with them when they bought or rented gear and did no more than pack my own gear, be certain we had the right community gear and pick a trail.
a few of the guys asked every question known to man to the salesperson at the 3 (now only 1) backpacking shoppes around town. The one guy was ex army special forces etc. (special being the key word here because he really is special.) He had the standard issue kelty pack, however I refer to it as a clown pack because it was like a clown car - small but the clowns keep coming out.(more on that in a bit). Generally speaking I go lighter but not light, I'm lighter now than I was back then, however I still have things you aren't going to get out of my pack - so I suck it up and carry the weight.
Back then I checked in at about 55lbs gear water and food. That probably included a bottle of something - for medicinal purposes of course. We all started out on the trail and Mr. Delta Force is really laboring and wants a break. No problem short loop trail, lot of time - we can take it easy. We all suck down some water, one guy grabs a bit of jerky, I have granola, another guy has nuts. Capatain America pulls out a 10 pack of snickers bars.
It was November and rainy and we started getting cold so a few of us started to layer up. He pulls out a pair of wool army pants (weight when dry was about a lb.), they were circa 1930 he also grabbed a cotton sweater. A few more miles down the trail all that food and water started causing some issues. I offer him my small plastic trowel, he says no thanks and pulls out of his pack a military entrenching tool which checks in at at god knows how many pounds.
So we finally get to where we are going to camp for the night - 1 guy on Water patrol, one on firewood, 1 on tents one on cooking. He's on his back in pain and can't understand why. We all had our own meals for the night - I brought some dehydrated pasta thing and similar all the way down the line for the others...Clint Eastwood pulls out a coffee sized can of dinty moore beef stew. Do you get the clown pack thing yet? Stuff just keeps coming out of this pack....but wait it gets better.
After dishes, general camp cleanup we hung out by the fire and all took our medicine for the evening. I prefer gin and tonic, but gin and flavored water worked well. Another guy brought a single 6 oz can of coke and a small flask of Jack. One guy wasn't drinking and low and behold Rambo pulls out a black contractor style garbage bag from his pack, reaches in and pulls out a beer. No big deal right, 2 bears maybe another lb in weight - hell the dinty moore must have been 2 -3 lbs. I asked my buddy how his jack and coke tasted - his reply - good but it needs ice. Gunny Highway says hey - just grab a few cubes - it was cold enough today that hardly any melted....So to the detriment of his back and clown pack, we all enjoyed ice cold cocktails 4 or 5 miles in the middle of nowhere in front of the campfire.
Curious, we recreated his pack once we got back home.....85lbs
By the way for my next trip coming up, roughly 10 years from this particular one Im sitting at 38 lbs w/o food but with water. He's checkin in at 44....
Edited by JudgeSails (10/17/0704:55 PM)
should be smails not sails but the m key on the keyboard sucks
Don't think it counts as truly exceptional stupidity though, merely the ordinary run of the mill stupidity of the clueless... I've lost count of how many times I've seen cases of beer and glass jars of food or peanut butter in someone's (very large) pack.
A few years ago, I was backpacking with this guy in the Porcupine Mountains in upper Michigan, known to have plenty of black bears. On our second night in, we had a beautiful campsite on the shore of Lake Superior and it was a crystal clear evening, temp in the mid forties. There was a fire pit, and the guys were bent on having a fire so they collected some windfall and got a nice little blaze going.
Anyway, this one guy who had been huffing and puffing on the trail that day suddenly pulls out a bottle of wine and a chocolate bundt cake. My first reaction was like, "WTF, no wonder why you were so winded all day. How much does your pack weigh?"
Then it occurred to me, it was pitch dark and we had already hung our food. So now I'm asking, "WTF else do you have in your pack? You're sleeping way over there, right?"
To this day, I don't know why we didn't have any nocturnal visitors...
I think I might try a"checklist" after leaving all that stuff...Hope this helps...Happy Trekking...sabre...
Have a check list for what to pack AND one for the stuff you put in the trunk and put in your pack at the trail head. I've been known to forget... - ground sheet - poles - water bottles - stove fuel and canister (not good when you hit your site 7 miles in with two hungry children!)
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Sleddog, That is a pretty funny story-pathetic, but funny.
However, I've got to place some of the blame on the guy who took his inexperienced friend without first asking the right questions. The one guy may or may not have been just plain stupid, but for sure he was incredibly ignorant; and there is a difference.
I have friends I would never go camping with because I know they would whine all the time and not have a good time. Plus, if anything did go wrong, they would be pretty useless. This isn't to say I know everything or won't go camping with a beginner, but it helps to know what people really know or don't know before you go.
When someone says that their idea of roughing it is "no room service", don't even think about trying to talk them into going camping. They might say yes.
On one solo winter trip (full trip report posted two years ago), I left my fuel bottle in the garage (but had a canister stove as a backup); didn't check my old tent for wear and found out the hard way the coating on the floor wasn't waterproof anymore; and carried way too much stuff (I was really beat and wound up making a second trip back for most of it the next day, but wasn't all that far from the trailhead, so not that big a deal.)
Other somewhat dumb things-solo cycling and hiking in the wilds of NZ (if I had crashed or gotten hurt, no one anywhere had a clue where I was); overprimed my XGK once (fairly big fireball, no damage); and although not camping, set my XGK pump on fire on my kitchen counter while testing it for leaks (slight cosmetic damage to the pump).
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
I am a beginner and I am going on my first backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon with 5 of my neighbors in 2 weeks from now.
I have been reading on the web and doing dry runs and this is what I figured out so far, before even the trip started:
1) Backpacking is not camping. I am too use to overpacking so that when my wife ask for something it is right there. (Thank God she is not going.. I would be carry my stuff and hers.. no offense ladies, but that is how it goes in my family).
2) Like in the first story with the Rambo guy.. I was in the Army too.. I had packed a handsaw and my M-9 baynet knife. My buddies already got their laugh and I am not bring them... hopefully I won't run into bears in the canyon.
3) The Great Deal I got at Costco on my 25 degree King size Sleeping Bag for $30 with a Flannel Blanket and really extra soft stuffing was not the right bag at 7.5 pounds and with extra ties could only pack down to about 2 basketball size. Figured out the sleeping bag was the heaviest thing in my pack after a 1.5 mile hike around my neighborhood. (Just brought a Matmor 15 Aspen for $40 (Dick's mismarked Sign and sold it to me at a discount)... big difference in price, size and weight). *** Also learn, when you walk around the neighborhood at night with pack on, people think you are a homeless guy.
4) Brand new pair of $25 Nevados Hiking boots is not going to make it in a rocky unmaintained trail terrian. Was told what is a bone bruise and nylon shank. (Just brought a pair of Vasque Breeze for the clearance price of $99.. I know I am cheap.. and I can find the deals)
I started out a week ago at over 50lbs without food and water. Now I am at 30 lbs with food, but no water.
* The trail is indeed steep. The gradient is around 900' per mile for nearly 2000' of altitude from the top of the trail to just above the bottom of the Supai. This is significantly more than the 700' per mile of the Bright Angel, for example.
* The trail is relentless. There is only one very short break in that 2000'.
* It requires considerable alertness to stay on the proper trail. In many places there are several nearly parallel trails. At their intersections, it is easy to jump onto an alternate trail, leading to difficulties. Only the proper trail keeps you from climbing over boulders or having to face a dry waterfall in the streambed. All of the comments about facing such obstacles come from people who have missed the trail!
* There is loose footing in a few places, unlike the corridor trails. Although this is not much different from most of the other non-maintained trails in the Canyon, if you are not used to trails like this, you won't like it.
* About one mile of the trail is along virtually the top of the ~500' vertical Redwall cliff. That is, for one mile, any slip off the trail is potentially deadly. Fortunately, nearly all the trail is good enough so that one isn't worried about the dangers of the trail. Again, this is not much different from many other places along other non-maintained trails.
However, there are two points along that section where the trail becomes poor, with the tread of the trail not horizontal, making it tricky to navigate safely. Fortunately, the tricky section at each of those two points is only 6-10' in length, and can be traversed with quick steps and a prayer. It would also probably be easy to do a bit of trail maintenance in those locations and eliminate most of the danger if one was willing to spend the time rather than just zip over those points.
I wouldn't worry about rain but I sure would go prepared for it. I lived in Flagstaff for six years and recall that the first real storms of the winter often arrived sometime in November. In Flagstaff and on the canyon rim it would be snowing and down in the canyon it would be raining. November can also be a dry month on the Colorado Plateau. You need to plan for either likelihood. The canyon is beautiful in the rain.
One other thing, snow on the trails near the rim can make the footing treacherous so be sure you have good boot soles; a lot of people take light-weight instep crampons for this possibility.
Loc: California (southern)
You can definitely get rain/snow in northern Arizona in November. It can be everything from a gentle episode of a few hours to a full fledged blizzard. Watch the forecast carefully and be flexible in your plans. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />