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#163464 - 03/07/12 09:37 PM From one beginner to another.
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
So let's say you're from the south(louisiana), and you move to the west(SLC), and you decide to do an overnighter during WINTER. Don't forget gloves! Ouch! Also, take into consideration that snow tends to cover up the trail!

Due to my inexperience in solo backpacking, I scouted the area via day hike before deciding to try an overnighter. After a successful day hike, I decided to go back for an overnighter. I hiked all day and decided to pitch a tent due to some gnarly weather rolling in. The next day, due to the excessive snowfall, I managed to get lost and turned around on the way out. I was very thankful that the trail I was on was so close to the city. I managed to get out of the woods safely. I realized that if I had been in the middle of some under-maintained trail in a "real" backcountry scenario, I would have been totally screwed. This experience presented a few valuable lessons:

1. Always be very observant. Just because you think you know where you are doesn't mean you should blast down the trail like your Gary Cooper! Take time to enjoy the scenery, and you could avoid some serious backtracking.

2. If you lose track of where you are, turn around, and backtrack on the trail you came down. Never assume the road is "right over there." Bushwacking is ONLY for experienced woodsmen\woodswomen.

3. Extra socks are worth their weight in gold... Always! No matter what anyone says.

4. Never forget gloves in the winter. Even if they're itty-bitty rinkity-dink childrens gloves! hehe

5. Last but not least... in the event of weather that reprimands you to your tent. Always bring something to read. Being wide awake in a tent is no bueno.

I read in an earlier post about camping during the winter and its benefits. Having a snow trip under my belt, I can comment. IT'S INCREDIBLE! The sound of the woods after the snow stops falling is one of the most incredible things that this country boy has ever experienced. I've never experienced such calm in my life. It's like nature puts a damper on all the sounds buzzing around outside of and inside of your dome. Take the money you were going to spend on a meditation instructor and invest a few pieces of gear. DON'T FORGET GLOVES!


Edited by Dyingjohnnie (03/07/12 09:38 PM)

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#163468 - 03/08/12 12:16 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah




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You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163493 - 03/08/12 01:40 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1111
Loc: Madison, AL
Nice trip! and.... glad you made it out safe and sound!

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#163500 - 03/08/12 02:34 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Doood! I didn't recognize you without your sunglasses...and the cold weather changed the color of your beard! Its only kinda red now. wink

Looks like fun. Way to break into it.

sK

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#163525 - 03/08/12 05:34 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: skcreidc]
HikerChick Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 18
Loc: CA
Sounds like your ready for your next winter trek. Don't forget a map and compass! Some trail ribbon might come in handy too. I swear, I can get temporarily discombobulated (not really lost) in my backyard after a huge dump. crazy Nothing looks the same after a couple of feet of snow. BTW my yard is 40 acres!

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#163529 - 03/08/12 06:19 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: HikerChick]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
In regards to a compass... should a beginner bother with one of those robocop-like compasses... or will a basic model do for starting out?
_________________________
You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163533 - 03/08/12 06:57 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
As far as a compass is concerned, just make sure you know how to use it. After that, it is up to you what you get. I usually only take a very basic (and light) model out with me. BTW, there are a couple of major threads on compasses here...not very old either.

I personally think snow can wreak havoc on trying to navigate in the back country. I don't have one, but a GPS unit would be a handy item to have in the snow.

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#163538 - 03/08/12 07:35 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
A simple base plate compass like this one-
http://www.rei.com/product/727086/suunto-a-10-compass
or this-
http://www.thecompassstore.com/starter.html
will work just fine. You also need to know how to read a topographic map like the ones the USGS publishes. Available online or at a good outdoor store like REI.
The Compass Store website has about any kind of compass you could want. I have one similar to the baseplate Starter, plus several others including one similar to this one-
http://www.thecompassstore.com/trekker.html

For learning, there are websites with instructions or get a book like Land Navigation published by the Sierra Club; the newest edition also has info on using GPS
http://www.amazon.com/Land-Navigation-Handbook-Compass-Adventure/dp/1578051223


Edited by TomD (03/08/12 07:47 PM)
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#163540 - 03/08/12 07:50 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
People who grow up in snow country hear all the horror stories throughout their lives. You gain a lot of respect for winter and learn a lot of the basic rules of staying alive simply by all the outdoor play you do as a kid. (Ever talk the dumb kid into licking the metal fence post when it is below zero?). When in college at U of Wyoming, it was 30 below zero. A gal from the south, decided to go running. She died- froze her lungs. It is a funny thing- REALLY cold does not feel that cold when you first step out into it. That is what you learn when you grow up in these conditions.

Winter in the mountains outside SLC is real winter. Little mistakes that are only an inconvience in the summer can turn deadly in real winter. Personally, I think going out in the winter, without experience, by yourself, is downright stupid. There are tons of folks in SLC who are great winter hikers - find a group or a buddy to go with and learn the tricks of the trade. Go to one of the excellent outdoor stores in SLC and buy a book on winter backpacking. Learn winter camping a little at a time.

I used to teach winter climbing and survival - 3 weeks in the mountains of Wyoming in dead of winter. Even with that experience, much later, when I no longer had all my winter equipment, I decided to do an overnight winter backpack. I nearly froze my feet. I misjudged the softness of the new snow and it took twice as long to get back to the car even with snowshoes. Instead of buying the right boots, I thought I could make do. Big mistake. I really cannot overemphasise, that you really need to do it right in real winter conditions.


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#163542 - 03/08/12 08:36 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: wandering_daisy]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
Thanks for all the advice!

I actually just got back from the local REI. Turns out there's a compass and map basics class on the 20th! Looks like I'll be attending that!

Think it's possible to start a fire with a mirror like the one on those nifty compasses?

_________________________
You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163552 - 03/08/12 10:17 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I seriously doubt you can start a fire with a mirror, which only reflects the rays and does not concentrate them. Some compasses do sport a small lens which might work under optimum conditions - right sunlight,high noon, no wind and excellent, dry materials. Of course how often do you need a fire when those are the prevailing conditions?

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#163557 - 03/08/12 10:34 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: oldranger]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
hehehe. Indeed!
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You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163562 - 03/08/12 11:15 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Napa, CA
Originally Posted By Dyingjohnnie


Think it's possible to start a fire with a mirror like the one on those nifty compasses?



Nope. And even less likely in a snowstorm.
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#163577 - 03/09/12 10:16 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
So, did you do this this last Friday, or Wednesday? Where did you go?

If you want a good place to go that always has lots of snow, and the roads are also plowed, try Strawberry Reservoir. Of course, it will be a LOT colder than the Salt Lake Valley, and have more snow.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#163580 - 03/09/12 10:54 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: finallyME]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
I went out Tuesday morning and returned Wednesday morning. I hiked the Bonneville Shoreline trail and continued on some unmarked trails after the BST section ended.

Wandering_Daisy: One of the reasons i refer to this area as not being the "real" backcountry is because Downtown SLC is visible from the trail about 75% of the time.

Finally Me: I don't think I'm ready for a real deal snow adventure yet hehe! I need some snow shoes, or atleast some better boots. Speaking of which, why can't I find a pair of hiking boots that do not look like they've come from the international space station? Surely someone makes a boot that is simple and to the point. A BOOT! I just want a regular old heavy duty hiking boot! Any suggestions?
_________________________
You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163581 - 03/09/12 11:14 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
In regards to my anti-space boot mentality... anybody hike in miltary issue combat boots? The price of these surplus boots is super alluring.
_________________________
You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163584 - 03/09/12 11:58 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
In the winter I hike in military issue gortex, leather, cold weather boots. They aren't for supper cold, but they do pretty good in Utah. They work great for hiking to around 0F and sitting around camp in the teens. I am trying to get some light weight supper insulated boots for sitting around camp.

Anyways, here is a picture of what I use in winter. The main reason I use them is because they work, and I didn't have to buy them.


If you want some good boots, go check out Sportsman's Warehouse. Cabelas has some good ones, but Sportman's is closer, and generally cheaper. And, for some reason, they have my size more than Cabelas does. Other places to try are REI, Kirkham's, and Recreational Outlet.
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#163590 - 03/09/12 12:44 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: finallyME]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I have these boots and love them: http://www.amazon.com/Danner-Desert-TFX-...4790&sr=8-1

It says desert, but they work well in the winter, too.

They are comfortable right out of the box. The first day, I hiked 14.9 miles in them. They feel like I'm just wearing socks.

They are completely waterproof. No need to take them off to ford shallow streams.

Before buying surplus, be sure to check the reviews on Amazon. Many boots are just for garrison duty or other specialized uses like the deck of an aircraft carrier.

The downside to a tall boot is they are a little hard to get on and off for those trips at night.
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#163618 - 03/09/12 05:58 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Gershon]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
finallyME: Thank you so much! I found this army surplus store on redwood, and while they didn't really have much "surplus", the place did give me a good idea of what the boots actually look and feel like. Also, thanks for the info on Sportsmans.. I've been looking frantically for something cheaper than REI.

Gershon: Those are nice! Wow, a pair of Danner's under 300 dollars... I'm blown away! hehehe! My roommate has the Mountain Light II's, and I really like them, but they're 300+.

finallyME: Also... are you familiar with Bates brand? or cambrelle? Are their gortex boots satisfactory? They seem pretty durable.
_________________________
You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#163762 - 03/12/12 10:11 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Cambrelle isn't a boot manufacturer. They make linings for boots.
Cambrelle

Bates make good duty boots. They are comfortable for walking around base. They do have some models that look like they would be good in the bush. I have never used them, but they do have a good rep in the military. Gore is pretty strict with companies that use their product. This means that if a company has the goretex logo, then they perform similarly to other boots that have goretex in them. This only relates to waterproofing. I have no clue if the actually boot is good.

I shop at the army surplus on Redwood all the time. I would never buy boots from there. Sportsmans has better ones for less money, and a bigger variety of sizes with each model.

Oh yeah, if you are looking for something cheaper than REI, you really need to check out Recreational Outlet. They are the Harbor Freight of the outdoor retailer stores.


Edited by finallyME (03/12/12 10:13 AM)
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#163827 - 03/13/12 01:50 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: finallyME]
Dyingjohnnie Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 51
Loc: SLC, Utah
nice! Thank you!!
_________________________
You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished. - Yvon Chouinard

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#164046 - 03/16/12 11:19 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: wandering_daisy]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
WD,

Froze her lungs? I know people run and bike (crazy) here even to 50 below. Maybe they breathe through polar fleece?

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#164059 - 03/17/12 11:09 AM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Heather-ak]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Hard to say if she also had some kind of a lung problem to begin with. But that was the offical "cause" of her death. I have heard of other cases of this being potentially dangerous in Antarctica. It may have a lot to due with a combination of exceedingly dry air in addtion to the cold. It was also very windy - like 40mph wind too. Unless you have lived in Laramie Wyoming you have no idea of how windy it can be ALL the time! I was taught to always use a face mask or have a tunnel hood with a fur lining-the design is to help pre-warm the air.

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#164128 - 03/18/12 07:01 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6765
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Ah, good old Laramie! While there are other places in Wyoming I have thought about, I would never, never consider moving back to Laramie!
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#164132 - 03/18/12 08:41 PM Re: From one beginner to another. [Re: Dyingjohnnie]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Dyingjohnnie
finallyME:

Gershon: Those are nice! Wow, a pair of Danner's under 300 dollars... I'm blown away! hehehe! My roommate has the Mountain Light II's, and I really like them, but they're 300+.

finallyME: Also... are you familiar with Bates brand? or cambrelle? Are their gortex boots satisfactory? They seem pretty durable.


I have a pair of Danner Mountain Lights, too. It took me 50 miles to break them in plus a lot of time walking like a monk around the house. But now they are extremely comfortable.

Bates is a favorite of law enforcement. Keep in mind, they have a little bit different criteria than hikers.

It's real difficult to get information on how many miles leather boots will last. Pay special attention to reviews by soldiers on Amazon if you are looking for a leather boot.

According to the clothing store at Ft. Carson, these were the top choice of soldiers going to Afghanistan.
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