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#72917 - 04/27/07 08:41 PM backcountry stupidity ?
tarfu Offline

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 5
whats the most stupid thing you've seen someone do , haul , abuse , or just generally mess up on your backpack trips ?
i will have to think long and hard before i post mine... just too many to sort thru...

Edited by DownsD (04/29/07 07:10 AM)

#72918 - 04/28/07 12:43 AM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
frenchie Offline

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 461
Loc: Lyon, France
Seen a family with small kids start an afternoon trail in flip flops, shown them the posters saying '"CAUTION! HAZARDOUS PASSAGES ALONG CLIFFS!", warned them repeatedly....
And getting numerous bad mouthed answers in response <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> .
At that point, I let them go.
I just came from that trail, and some parts were definitly scary, nearing via ferrata: plain slick rock, very few foot holds, a steel cable as handrail, coming as a surprise after a beautiful forest trail.
I hope they didnt't go that far!

#72919 - 04/28/07 12:41 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
aimless Offline

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2964
Loc: Portland, OR
The Mt. Washington wilderness in Oregon has almost no water sources and several of these dry up as the summer progresses. The main source on the PCT is Coldwater Springs. At the time I am speaking of, it was more of a seep or a shallow well, dug to a depth of a few feet, with wooden walls around it, to facilitate access.

Long ago, I camped there near a party of Boy Scouts. In the evening I went to draw water from the well and several of the scouts (no adults nearby) were washing the food from their dinner dishes directly into the well, soaping them and rinsing the soap into the well, too!

I was only 17 years old at the time, but I gave them a good scolding, you bet! The scoutmaster came by later and apologized, but my friends and I were not in a very forgiving mood and were probably a bit short with him.

#72920 - 04/28/07 07:29 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
Wolfeye Offline

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 413
Loc: Seattle, WA
This wasn't really a botch-up, but I thought it was funny: My dad and I had taken his skiff to an island to do some offtrail mountain camping. The next morning, this was what we came back to when we made it back to the beach:

That gray boxy thing is the boat. We had to spend an extra night to wait for the next high tide. We half expected this to happen, so we came prepared and had told our contact back at home that we might be a day late. There's nothing quite like watching the tide ~ooze~ on in as you sit on a beached boat. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

#72921 - 04/28/07 08:02 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
DJ2 Offline

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1348
Loc: Seattle, WA
I camped at Marmot Lake in Washington State many years ago. Fires were still OK. I went to pick up firewood and found a perfect little pile of wood near the lake, in a beaten down dirt area where people usually put up their tent. I'm thinking "How thoughtful, firewood left for the next camper."

I bent down, opened my arms and picked up the pile of kindling with outstretched fingers from both hands.

Not so lucky. Someone had taken a "big one" right there and then covered it with the afore mentioned wood. I was left with excrement covered hands just before dinner.

#72922 - 05/02/07 06:08 AM Low IQ Kills! [Re: tarfu]
do1625 Offline

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 20
Loc: Stamford, CT
I've done many stupid things but will think twice before humiliating myself by revealing too many details. In my early years of backpacking I didn't know about the problems with wearing cotton. In fact I frequently packed all cotton. Luckily no harm came from it other than wondering why I was always wet and cold.
Two years ago I spent a couple of nights at an established campsite in the Cherokee Forest. The site showed few signs of recent use except for a large pile of clothes. Since I normally cook on an open fire I thought I'd try to burn the clothes to help tidy the place up. This pile consisted of 2 pairs of blue jeans, 2 large cotton bath towels and four complete sets (tops and bottoms) of cotton thermal long johns. It took an enormous effort to even pick up one of the items. First I had to drag each item close enough to the fire to dry it, then finally toss it in to burn.
Apparently four guys had gone camping or hunting and their trip had come to a miserable end. My hiking buddy and I amused ourselves by imagining the multiple scenarios that may have been involved.
And in the end I thought "There, but for the grace of God, go I "

#72923 - 05/02/07 08:07 AM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
Fiddleback Offline

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
Drink on the trail/in camp.

I like booze...I like it a lot <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />...but I don't imbibe in the car, on an airplane, or on the trail.

"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

#72924 - 05/02/07 06:39 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
Slosteppin Offline

Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 33
Loc: NW lower Michigan
It wasn't backpacking, just a day of skiing with my son (then 20) in a National forest. A few hours from the car we met a family group, 4 adults and several kids. The adults were passing around a bottle.
We said hi and kept on going. A few hours latrer we met 2 girls, about 10 yo, crying and scared. They didn't know where their parents were or where they had parked. We gave them water and candy then said if we couldn't find their parents we could take them to the Ranger station.
The girls' parents were at the same lot where we parked. The adults were drunk and angry! Accused us of trying to kidnap the girls.
My son is much bigger than I am and at that time had a very quick temper.
My son got angry fast. he said "Which do you want, the forest Rangers or the State Police - both are just a short distance away."

They all got in their cars and left in a hurry. This was abuse.
We did tell teh Ranger but forgot to get license munbers.


#72925 - 05/02/07 09:33 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: Slosteppin]
CJC Offline

Registered: 04/16/04
Posts: 738
Loc: Southern Nevada
Upon finding the girls and knowing the parents had been playing pass the bottle why did you let them off? No need to answer, but that is a ranger call and please meet us in the parking lot in ___ minutes. Glad your son kept his cool and did not mix it up with the drink and drivers.

#72926 - 05/03/07 05:24 AM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
grit Offline

Registered: 01/11/02
Posts: 208
Loc: Happy Jack, AZ
Forgot toilet paper.
Forgot the poles for my Cloudburst.
Forgot the cooking pot.
Got lost in the Sawtooths.
Cannister ran out of gas after one meal.
Didn't take long pants or repellent while hiking next to a lake after a hatch.

No wonder my wife won't go BPing with me

#72927 - 05/03/07 01:35 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
Jelly_Donut Offline

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 67
A friend and I went on a short trip with established backpacker camps. When we arrived at the site there was a small pile of thin sticks next to the fire ring. That night we sat close to the small fire, loving the smoke around us for keeping most of the flying insects away.

A couple of days later our faces and necks became itchy, red, and swollen. I'm suseptible to poison oak, and have had it several times. Never this bad, though. I was worried about all of the smoke I must have inhaled, so I went to the doctor. The steroids got rid of the problem in a few days.

I dislike taking medication, but not as much as my friend. He was an itchy mess for several days, but it eventually passed.

The next time I see wood next to fire ring, I'll double-check it against the brush in the surrounding area.

#72928 - 05/05/07 10:21 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
Paul Offline

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
I carefully packed my MSR whisperlite stove and the fuel bottle. Hiked thru the beautiful scenery, found a lovely camp spot for the first night, pulled out the stove and the fuel bottle. Gee, shouldn't that fuel bottle have the pump screwed into the top instead of just that cap? And no, you can't cook Ramen on top of your Bleuet lantern - I tried! Fortunately my breakfasts and lunches were intended to be cold anyway. But I was mighty hungry four days later when I finished the trip!

#72929 - 05/08/07 02:14 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: grit]
sabre11004 Offline

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee

I think I might try a"checklist" after leaving all that stuff...Hope this helps...Happy Trekking...sabre...

The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there!!!!!
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

#72930 - 06/04/07 02:14 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: Paul]
wildthing Offline

Registered: 01/11/02
Posts: 982
Loc: Victoria, B.C.
After all the stove funnies, I think I'm going to "test" each cannister I plan to take on a trip with my stove, just before I pack them in my kit. Ya know, I wouldn't want trouble 8 days away from a resupply in the real wilderness. As for all the other stuff I've forgotten it's usually something that you really don't need but particularly wanted that trip. Like extra mossie repellant (bummed some from a wagon train of ATVs), extra blister protection (had to use tape and that is all I use now) and sunscreen (got a bit red but it worked out okay that time. Other places I would be burning up 2 hours from the car.
Listen to the trees in the wind

#72931 - 06/04/07 06:19 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Picture a beautiful evening, my buddy and I camped on the shore of Lake Superior (Isle Royale), filtering water after a perfect day's hike. As we finish, I notice him grasp the hose on his filter and begin to windmill it, really fast, so centrifugal force will spin the water out of the hose.

Monkey see, monkey do - and I'm watching the pre-filter make a long, graceful arc about 30 feet out into Lake Superior, never to be seen again.

Duct-taping a small rock to the hose served the same weighting purpose as the pre-filter (though much less aesthetically), but I had to disassemble and clean the filter twice as a result.

At least my buddy enjoyed it - a lot! (He also stopped using that technique.)

#72932 - 06/05/07 08:45 AM skunk Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
BarryP Offline

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
I was in a deep sleep in my GG Classic Squall tent. I was awakened by a scratching sound by my door. Then it moved under the floor. It got louder and louder and louder. I could not fall back asleep because of this RUDE noise. I got out my Fenix light to shine it on the “noise”. A skunk was clawing his way in. It so happened he was after my cup which had hot chocolate residue all over it.

I shined my light in his eyes. He was so cute! Are they allowed to be that cute? Ohh, look at those eyes. Anyway, I remembered: I was upset for the rude awakening and yelled, “HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” The cute skunk turned around. I thought “that is the most beautiful tail!”

Maybe I’ll finish this story later. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />


#72933 - 06/07/07 10:46 AM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: Glenn]
Paddy_Crow Offline

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
Picture a beautiful evening, my buddy and I camped on the shore of Lake Superior (Isle Royale), filtering water after a perfect day's hike. As we finish, I notice him grasp the hose on his filter and begin to windmill it, really fast, so centrifugal force will spin the water out of the hose.

Monkey see, monkey do - and I'm watching the pre-filter make a long, graceful arc about 30 feet out into Lake Superior, never to be seen again.

Duct-taping a small rock to the hose served the same weighting purpose as the pre-filter (though much less aesthetically), but I had to disassemble and clean the filter twice as a result.

At least my buddy enjoyed it - a lot! (He also stopped using that technique.)

On a similar vein, I was hiking along the big lake in Ontario (LSPP). After eating, I decided to wash my bowl and spoon out in the lake. Just as I finished up, a wave crashed and knocked the bowl and spoon out of my hands. Retrieved the bowl, but the spoon was gone. Had to eat with my fingers the next couple days...

#72934 - 06/09/07 10:30 AM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
trekkin Offline

Registered: 02/05/07
Posts: 19
Loc: PNW
I knew two sisters who were hiking the AT in Pennysylvania. They came to a new, wonderful shelter and decided to wash ALL their clothes. I think they were down to bandanas wrapped around themselves.

Then the rain came in, and it rained for the next three days, and the clothes did not dry until the sun came out again.

#72935 - 06/28/07 06:27 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: frenchie]
fingerlakeshiker Offline

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 5
A quick overnighter in nearby Nat. forest. Need morning coffee got out my esbit stove, but forgot to pack something to heat the water in.So I put cold water in my french press and placed it near the fire to get it somewhat warm , but kind of melted my frenchpress somewhat .

#72936 - 07/01/07 06:49 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
phat Offline

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Let's see, normally my phone gets turned off, and with my wallet and car keys
it gets sealed in a ziploc and stowed in the top of my pack, and I don't look
at it for the whole trip.

However, one point my son is with me and he's time obsessed, and
grumpy. Rather than explain why looking at the sun is close enough, I
pull the ziploc out, turn on the phone, and look at what time it is.. No prob.

Then packing up from that water stop, put my pack on and hastily
zip the ziploc and stuff it in my shorts cargo pocket as we only have about 6 Km to
go. (stupid.. stupid stupid stupid....)

200M down the trail is a (fast) river crossing I'm taking my kid through,
I go downstream side of him to give him some confidence and at one point
shuffle the wrong way and go in up to my butt. no problem. continue on...

Half a click down the trail I realize my cargo pocket is empty, I backtrack but
without much hope, as I know exactly where... Ziplocs float real good...

On the plus side my son perked up immensely laughing at the thought of mom
giving me heck for sending wallet, credit cards, keys, and a new cell phone on a
solo whitewater rafting trip down the Fiddle and Athabasca Rivers (or at least I assume
it managed to float down to the Athabasca). Spent the next 6 km hiking me into
the ground chorting about what mom was gonna say. He was mostly accurate.

The moral of the story things that seem dumb but expedient, well, are both.

Oh and I usually break down and wear a watch if I'm with anyone else <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures

#72937 - 08/11/07 10:39 AM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: tarfu]
ajherman Offline

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 208
Loc: Rock Springs, WY
i use pop can stoves. i had a great idea for a tripod pot stand made of alum. tubing from the local hardware store, not thinking that the stove will burn hotter than the alum. melting temp.

i took it untested. the first night it melted. i found an old canteen that looked like it had been chewed on by a wolf or a fox. i used my multitool to rip it open and make a pot stand out of it. it worked fairly well and lasted for the next 10 days of my trip.

#72938 - 08/11/07 11:15 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: DJ2]
sleddog Offline

Registered: 01/24/04
Posts: 23
On one of my earliest backpacking trips while still in high school a friend and myself headed up to Ribbon Lake for a weekend. The trail is very easy, I think around 8 miles, but just before the lake there is a steep cliff with chains to use as a climbing aid.

About half way in we came across three women trying to roll a full sized barbecue up the trail with a 20lb tank of propane still attached. It was a very comical sight. With much profanity they told us they were supposed to be heading to the lake to party with their boyfriends who had arrived earlier in the day and gone up the trail with the packs.

With more profanity the women told us that if we came across their boyfriends to send them back to help with the "camp stove".

We chuckled to ourselves and commented that it might not be a very peaceful campground as we headed up the trail where we met their boyfriends at the bottom of the cliff.

It was easy to tell they were from the same group when they asked us if we had 12 D cell batteries for their portable stereo as theirs had died on the hike in. Along with huge stereo and their overstuffed packs they had hauled in several flats of beer and a large cooler full of food.

We mentioned that we had come across their girlfriends down the trail and that that we didn't think that it would be possible to drag a full sized barbecue up the cliff. The guys started laughing in disbelief and told us that they had left a message for the girlfriends to bring the Coleman camp stove that a friend had left on the back deck.

So two of the boyfriends headed back down the trail to placate their girlfriends and deal with the barbecue/camp stove leaving one behind to guard the packs, cooler and beer.

Having gauged the mood their girlfriends my friend saw a great opportunity and quickly offers the guy guarding the beer, who looked exhausted, a deal. In exchange for a couple of cold beers from the cooler we would haul the flats up the cliff and the last mile to the campground at the lake.

The guard thinks this is a very generous offer since he has been lugging these things for hours. He gave us a couple of cold ones from the cooler which we quickly drank while stuffing our packs with as much beer as we can carry and head up the cliff and on to the lake where we wait to see if our plan has worked.

As my friend figured from the mood of the women hauling the barbecue, no matter how much beer was at the top of the cliff, there was no way that party was going to happen.

We enjoyed a peaceful weekend at the lake and made many friends sharing our free beer with anyone who came by. We half expected to find a cooler, stereo and barbecue abandoned along the trail on our hike out but it appears that they took it all back out with them.

#72939 - 08/12/07 03:11 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: sleddog]
Keith Offline

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1667
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
>"We half expected to find a cooler, stereo and barbecue abandoned along the trail on our hike out but it appears that they took it all back out with them."

So, they weren't UL campers but at least they were Leave No Trace. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

#72940 - 08/13/07 07:19 AM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: sleddog]
WyoBob Offline

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 204
Loc: Buffalo, WY

We enjoyed a peaceful weekend at the lake and made many friends sharing our free beer with anyone who came by. We half expected to find a cooler, stereo and barbecue abandoned along the trail on our hike out but it appears that they took it all back out with them.

That's one of the most outstanding stories I've heard! I'll be grinning all day <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


#72941 - 08/27/07 07:13 PM Re: backcountry stupidity ? [Re: ajherman]
strongone Offline

Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 166
Loc: North Carolina
why are you using a stand? Not a side burner?

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