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#93369 - 03/28/08 07:23 PM First overnight gear/skills test
SquareGlobe Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 41
Loc: Nebraska
My husband and I went camping at the local state park with all our gear that we'll be using this summer. We loaded up our packs and hiked for 2 miles in our new boots and set up our tent, used our stove, and the clothing we plan on taking. Wow, now I can see why you all stress so much about going out and getting some practice before you actually go out in the wilderness! My pack was comfortable, but my legs were sure sore the next day even though I've been working out regularly. Obviously no excercise will get us ready for this better than just hiking with packs on. It should take us about 5 minutes to set up our tent, but we must have taken 20 minutes or more just trying to figure out how everything goes! It got down to 27 degrees that night and I got cold in my sleeping bag and had to add more layers, but it warmed up a little at around 1 or 2 a.m. and I was comfortable for awhile till the temp dropped again. It's really good to know all this stuff now. Thanks to everyone for advising us to go out and practice with our gear in cold weather, I'm alot more confident that when we go, we'll be ready for this. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#93370 - 03/28/08 07:49 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
jaiden Offline
member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 123
Great to get out there! Maybe it was your pad not your bag? I try to learn something every trip.

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#93371 - 03/28/08 07:59 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
squareglobe
There's a lot more different muscles used hiking on a rough surface than you work on in a gym. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Keep hiking to break in those boots, and feet too. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

As far as the tent goes - you can practice in your living room, just do it. You should be able to have any tent set up and staked in 5 minutes. If your tent has a separate fly and body, you need to know how to set it up fast so the inner tent doesn't get wet when its raining.

How did the stove do in the cold?
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


Edited by Jimshaw (03/28/08 08:06 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#93372 - 03/28/08 08:30 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: Jimshaw]
SquareGlobe Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 41
Loc: Nebraska
Yes, we want to go out and set it up in the rain too so we can figure out how to keep the inner tent dry. We have the MSR Hubba Hubba. It looks like we might be able to set up the fly first and then clip the inner tent up afterwords. We're going to try it. The stove is a MSR Windpro and it worked really well. It was almost dark out when we used it to boil hot dogs but the cannister wasn't exposed to the cold for very long. We got to the campground late in the afternoon and hiked right away, then we set up the tent and tried to build a fire but the wood was too wet to burn well. That's another skill we'll have to work on. My sleeping pad is a thermarest trail lite and I didn't feel any cold from the ground but there was a breeze flowing into the tent. I'm going to try to stake the fly closer to the ground next time. My sleeping bag is a TNF fission which I really like because it's so light but I'm thinking it's more like a 30 degree bag rather than 20. We also have a couple of 600 fill down bags (REI Mojave 10) that would probably be warmer. We'll try them out next time but the Fission will be okay as long as I stay warm down to 30 for Yellowstone in August I think.

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#93373 - 03/28/08 09:52 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
SG, Good for you. As you said, now you know why so many of us recommend trying gear out before the big trip.

As far as getting cold-try eating more right before bed, so your body has some fuel in it. Chocolate or something similar is a good bet. That plus a hot drink should help. You will be burning more calories than you think, so don't worry about over eating. Fairly unlikely.
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#93374 - 03/29/08 09:28 AM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Don't forget...use a separate stuff sack for the tent and fly in order to keep the inner from getting wet when you pack up.
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#93375 - 03/30/08 06:30 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: bigfoot2]
SquareGlobe Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 41
Loc: Nebraska
Yes, good idea, thanks. I set the tent up in our living room to see if I could put up the fly first and then clip the inner tent up from the inside. It worked really well. That will be nice in the rain. We decided to go to Yellowstone this summer. I sent in the forms to reserve campsites at Heart Lake and Shoshone lake for 2 nights each. Hopefully it will be a good choice for our first real trip. We were going to go to the Winds but decided we don't want to be so far out and at such high altitude our first time since we're lowlanders. We'd like to go to the Winds or Tetons next time though.

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#93376 - 03/31/08 01:33 AM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Good for you! You may want to do a few more of these "shakedown cruises" until you feel more proficient. I hope that in your living room you set the tent up and took it down at least half a dozen times, as Jim recommended. As you found out, you need to have the technique memorized so you can easily do it when tired on a cold, windy, rainy night by headlamp without the printed directions!

With the fire, this might be something to practice in your barbecue (unless it's propane) outside at home. You need some kind of fire starter and lots of little tiny sticks. Frizz sticks, which you make by shaving curls off a stick with you knife (leaving them connected to the stick), work well--they expose the drier wood inside. You need to let the fire starter dry out lots of the little stuff and get a bed of coals going before adding thicker wood. Fanning the fire gently with a pot lid or hat is usually needed to assist this process. Remember that in a lot of the backcountry in the west, fires are restricted or prohibited anyway--a fire is mainly for emergencies. Often where there are designated fire rings, it's pretty hard to find wood.

Yellowstone has its own problems, like grizzlies and inflexible itineraries due to the permit system. And it has the same weather, only slightly attenuated by the lower altitude. Read up on the bear precautions (like cooking well away from your tent) and practice them on your "shakedown cruises." Yellowstone is not a place I'd chose for a beginner's trip for those reasons, but Hike Your Own Hike and Your Mileage May Vary definitely apply! Do plan to get up really early in the morning, well before sunrise, for the best wildlife viewing.

Just out of curiosity, what part of the Wind Rivers had you planned to visit? I'm just wondering if it's where I'm going (Lord willing; at my age I can't leave out that proviso!). Had you also considered the Big Horns, which are gentler than the Winds?

It sounds as though you may need either more clothing to wear inside the sleeping bag or a warmer sleeping bag. Try the former first as it's the cheaper solution. This is one place where a heavier base layer (as suggested by several of us in your clothing review) will help. One problem with pulling the fly down too far is more condensation inside--ventilation is the key to preventing it.

You don't say where in Nebraska you are, but unless you're at the eastern end of the state you might consider a June trial run in the Black Hills, which are really pretty at that time of year. They're too far if you live in the Omaha-Lincoln area, though, certainly with current gas prices.


Edited by OregonMouse (03/31/08 02:00 AM)
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#93377 - 03/31/08 02:41 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: OregonMouse]
SquareGlobe Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 41
Loc: Nebraska
Hi OregonMouse,
I definately want to do several more cold weather trips with all our gear as well as a real backpacking trip. Unfortunately we do live in Southeast Nebraska, but we've been to the black hills several times. I wish we could get over there for a short trip, but like you said, too expensive! The thought of bears in Yellowstone makes me pretty nervous so I called a backcountry ranger there and told her of our plans and that there would only be 2 of us. I wanted to know if they thought that would be a bad idea and she said "Oh no, it's less impact on the environment so we like that." I told her I was asking because of the bears (I'm concerned about the environment too but..). She said we should be fine. To be honest, I think she was more concerned about the mark we would leave than of our safety so not sure if I should feel comforted or not! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> Someone in another forum told me that there have been grizzlies at Shoshone Lake and an attack not long ago that I wasn't aware of. Anyway, if I'm not reasonably sure about our safety by the time we get ready to go, we'll go somewhere else. I was originally thinking that we would go to Elkhart Park and hike the pole creek trail to Cook Lakes, and then up to Titcomb basin, and come back on the Seneca Lake trail. I don't know if we'll have a campfire, but I just want to practice in case we need one in an emergency. Thanks for the tips. I used to have wood heat a long time ago and was very good at starting fires but it's been awhile. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#93378 - 03/31/08 05:51 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Interesting--that's the same trip to the Winds I have planned for this August, except in the reverse direction (in via Seneca Lake and out via Pole Creek).

I suspect that if you read and heed all the precautions on the park's website, you'll be fine. One good thing is that getting away from the roads is the way to really see the park. I'm looking forward to a trip report!
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#93379 - 03/31/08 06:29 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: OregonMouse]
SquareGlobe Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 41
Loc: Nebraska
I bet you'll have the best scenery on your trip! We wanted to hike from Elkhart to GR lakes but a shuttle would have been a hassle so then we thought about the loop trip.
It makes me feel a little better when I think of the fact that a lot of people hike in Yellowstone and very few have had a bad experience with bears from what I've read. This trip works really well for a visit with my mom too because she loves to go to Yellowstone and sightsee. She's going to try to meet us after our hike so we can all stay at Old Faithful and explore the park together. We should have lots of pics and I'll try to figure out how to post some of them here after the trip.

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#93380 - 04/01/08 09:42 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Squareglobe
Um I detect a bear phobia here. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> I understand - trust me, the first bear I ran into while solo hiking alone in Yosemite scraed the bejeezus out of me. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />BUT the bears of today are not the dangerous bears of Daniel Boones era. I have spent extensive time in bear country, yes in National parks too, and I haven't ran into a bear yet that didn't run from ME, and this represens hundreds of days with maybe half a dozen back country encounters. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />They are not unlike scaredy cat dogs. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Yes be careful in Grizzly country, but the odds of having a problem are less than the odds of dying in a car accident driving there. If you see a grizzly count yourself lucky. In fact if you see a bear or a lion, relish the moment. In those same hundreds of days of backpacking I have maybe had 8 to 10 seconds of seeing mtn lions, and that includes being attacked in the dark, which does happen, but the odds are so slim and you just yell and scream and get all hostile and they go away thinkin "thats why my momma told me to avoid them things".
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


Edited by Jimshaw (04/02/08 02:16 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#93381 - 04/02/08 11:21 AM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Hi OregonMouse,
The thought of bears in Yellowstone makes me pretty nervous so I called a backcountry ranger there and told her of our plans and that there would only be 2 of us. I wanted to know if they thought that would be a bad idea and she said "Oh no, it's less impact on the environment so we like that." I told her I was asking because of the bears (I'm concerned about the environment too but..). She said we should be fine.


I hike in grizzly country all the time. As long as you take appropriate precautions with your food and smellibles (hang or locker, or bear canister used appropriately) you should have nothing to worry about.

Remember that smellibles includes garbage, toothpaste, tolietries, and feminine hygine products.

Bears are not white sharks, so it's not a case of a drop of food will bring them for miles, but you simply
do not want your food and smellibles with you. You want them somewhere else, secured.

You should also not hike "silently" stalking down the trail, because you don't want to surprise things. The
only time I hike silently is when I'm hunting. The rest of the time I give a little yip every few hundred meters when solo, or just talk to my partner if not.

I do firmly believe that I am in more danger driving my car to the trailhead than from a bear while hiking.
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#93382 - 04/02/08 11:27 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: Jimshaw]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Yes, you are detecting a bit of a bear phobia in me, which I shouldn't have transmitted to Square Globe. Sorry! The problem I have is with habituated bears in many national parks, definitely colored by my many experiences with Yellowstone bears as a child and teenager (we went there almost every year), to say nothing of the many apocryphal bear stories I grew up with living in Wyoming. Of course Yellowstone bears are far less habituated than they were in the 1950's, thanks to the 360-degree turnaround in park bear policy in the 1960's. (In 1968 the "bear jams" from bears begging along the roads had completely disappeared--in fact, we didn't see a bear the whole time we were there, to the great disappointment of my children.) Bears outside of national parks don't bother me because they are far more shy of people. My second prejudice is that I have always disliked Yellowstone--a couple of hours around stinky hot water has always been enough to make me want to head for someplace scenic like the Tetons. My third prejudice is an aversion to the bureaucracy you have to deal with to backpack in any national park. I hate being so inflexible. Finally, national parks won't allow my dog, so I don't backpack there!

Your Mileage, of course, May (and will) Vary!


Edited by OregonMouse (04/02/08 11:36 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#93383 - 04/03/08 02:28 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: Jimshaw]
SquareGlobe Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 41
Loc: Nebraska
Thanks for the encouraging words about hiking in bear country phat and jimshaw.
Yellowstone is beautiful and I don't want my fear to keep me away. Please don't worry that you put fear into me that I didn't already have OregonMouse. It's probably good that I have some fear so I'll be careful. I'm reading Stephen Herrerro's book and I read everything I can find on the net about bear safety so I'll be ready. I just need to get my husband to read some of this stuff too <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> I think he's a bit overconfident. I've almost changed my mind several times about going until I read another trip report from someone who came back alive from Yellowstone! We plan on making lots of noise and looking ahead with our binoculars while we hike, and we're going to hang both packs with the food in them and everything else except for our headlamps, and xtra clothes that don't smell like food. I've also been trying to learn how to identify the species and how to recognize bear sign. It's funny but I'm more worried about being attacked in our tent than on the trail even though that kind of attack is the most rare. From what I've read most people who have had a bad experience ran into trouble on the trail when they surprised a bear.

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#93384 - 04/03/08 04:49 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
phat Offline
Moderator

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


Here's Momma Griz.. walking along - Near Turbine Canyon in Kaninansis Alberta, Last October.. Note the claw tip marks far away from the toes - this is how you know it is a Grizzly as opposed to a black bear.




Here's a picture of the cub track that was following along - you can't tell from this shot but
junior's tracks are a lot smaller and the claws don't stick out as far.



Here's another sign you may see - in the spring (and other times) grizzlies like to dig up
stuff to find food - usually insects or rodents. These are grizzly diggings from a trip
I took into Nigel Pass, in Jasper National Park, July 6, last year. Basically this will look
like someone tore up large areas of the alpine with a shovel - which is pretty much what the bear does <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> - anyway, here's a shot of a digging:

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#93385 - 04/03/08 04:53 PM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: phat]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

And by the way - just because you know what the sign looks like, and find some.. doesn't mean to panic <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> - When I see it I think "neat" - I stay alert (and sometimes get to see bears!) but don't freak out or let fear ruin your trip. I just face facts that I share my hiking world with Mr. Griz - and I have have to give him/her the respect that is waranted - but then again it's been that way most places I go as long as I remember - I had bear safety drilled into me at a very young age <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#93386 - 04/05/08 12:00 AM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: phat]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Neat photos, phat! I never realized that grizzly tracks were that much different (aside from being bigger) than black bear!

I remember once being on a group hike in the North Cascades and, during the hike, spotting two bears (black), which our leader insisted was the same bear twice. As a result, the leader insisted on hanging the whole group's food from a tree. They tied everyone's food bags together, after many tries managed to get the other end of the rope over a high branch, and then two guys got on the end of the rope and heaved. Everything went fine until the food bags were just about high enough, and then the rope broke--splat! After that, I went and hung my own food elsewhere. Of course there was never any sign of bear near our camping area.


Edited by OregonMouse (04/05/08 12:02 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#93387 - 04/05/08 08:50 AM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: phat]
SquareGlobe Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 41
Loc: Nebraska
Thanks for sharing the cool pics phat! I don't know if you've already seen these but here's a link to some good pics that a guy, Dave Landreth, took of the Shoshone lake and Heart lake area with a pic of a grizzly that he had to use some pepper spray on.
http://www.griztrax.net/hiking/Yellowstone/ShoshoneLake/ShoshoneBP.html
He also watched a battle between 2 bull elk over a harem right from his campsite.
At Heart Lake there are big scratch marks on the food pole he was using!
The thought of seeing a bear on our hike is both scary and exciting. I just want to make sure I can keep my cool enough to respond the right way in different situations.

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#93388 - 04/05/08 09:10 AM Re: First overnight gear/skills test [Re: SquareGlobe]
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
Cool story. It shows how easy it is to stumble into a bear's comfort zone.

Also, good testimonial for UDAP.

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