Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunrise Hike

I didn't need the alarm from my trusty LG G2x to wake me up today, I just woke up! and it's still early enough to hike and see the sunrise. Yeah!

No time for a shower, grab a few things and dash outside, shoomp shoomp my tacoma fired to life, after rolling through the local Starbucks drive-thru grande latte in hand and singing along to AC/DC Big Balls I knew it was going to be a great day.

This is all the video I have the battery in my old cell just quit on me. Grrrrrrrr!

LMAO I had thrown a Starbucks VIA and two packets of oatmeal into my pack along with my LiteTrail cook esbit system for my morning meal, the funny thing is I forgot a lighter or firesteel, the reason is because I grabbed my *everyday* pack  Good thing I decided to get a blueberry muffin at the drive-thru and it sure tasted good.

Pro's: Had a great hike, it was very short, but any time outside is awesome.
Con's: use hiking pack next time, bring SPOT, put a lighter in *every* pack I have, upgrade my not so trusty cell phone.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Megan & LiteTrail Version 3 cookset

It's been too many days since I have been hiking.  I have had 2 road trips to Northern California in 2 months and some crazy weekends that have hindered getting out but hopefully things will change.
This week I received a new cook kit from the "thin wall" Ti 550 and I was able to talk Megan into a local day hike after work with the promise of a trip to our nearby REI to look at some gluten free hike meals that we could cook up after our hike.

This cookpot worked out great, better than I expected and the clean up was a snap, I was worried that the Esbit would mess up the pot and be all stained, using a baby wipe soon after the cook and it looks good as new. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blue Ridge Passage #28 Part 3 Sept 12'

This is my third shot at AZT Passage #28, I started out around 0900 from the Southern end of Passage #28 where the trail intersects with FR300, My plan was to hike all the way to the gate just south of the Blue ridge reservoir to finish up the passage.
That just didn't happen, and most things never go as planned.
Starting off was great (Laugh out Loud) as I over-shot the trail that runs by General Springs cabin and had to retrace my steps.  Stopping by and taking pictures of this cabin was fun, I even took what I consider to be awesome mono-color photos with my android phone.
Just North of General Springs cabin.
Ok so the mono-color was completely by mistake, either my 32GB micro drive was on it's last legs or my very old Android phone killed it, I think it was the former and I lost a ton of photos to include the cabin.
I quickly switched back to color mode.
Soon into the hike I suddenly realized that this is a wonderful hike, tons of shade this early in the morning and I was feeling great, it was very refreshing to see pools and puddles and smallish trickles and streams, I am guessing from all the rains the passage has been receiving.
water, precious water.
On my last two hikes of this Passage I saw trash that I picked up and carried out, this hike wasn't different.

Yep, It's a golf ball!! A freeking golf ball.
I was totally stunned when I saw this golf ball, I stood there really to pick it up and carry it out but instead took note of where it was perched, did it drop out of the sky and bounce onto this stone ummm I don't think so, with it being a holiday weekend I am hoping someone (some idiot) left it there as a joke.

2nd Breakfast! Yep McD's Bacon, Egg, Cheese biscuit.
Enjoyed 2nd Breakfast in the shade.

I caught myself stopping very frequently to stop listen and look around especially before entering a clearing and thought to myself why am I doing this, (do other hikers do this)?  It must be a hunters habit.  Yes I do consider myself a predator, certainly not prey, but maybe as a novice hiker I should modify my behavior, it would be great to see some critters but then again I don't want to startle a bear.  So I decided that I would let out a little deep "woof" every so often as I walk.

I just couldn't get over how this hike was different for the previous hikes, smooth paths that were moist and quieted my foot falls, even the occasional sandy spots were moist and lacked the crunchy noise i am so used to.

Blue sky and Green trees! 
Thinking back with a little amusement at seeing a family on the other bank of this stream that I have been walking along, when I first came upon them I spotted a blue poncho draped over a tree and thought gosh look how that stands out against the green.  It looked like they had been hit with rain and were drying everything out.  lmbo just as I was about to give a cheery greeting I noticed the mom pick up a bow and reach for an arrow then look my way, I just keep going.

Shorty after that I was passed by a couple walking fast with just Nalgenes (I guessed headed to a spring for fresh water) They must have been the Blue REI dome I saw along the way.

Lunch snack at the Hearth
These flat stacked stones and my Gossamer Gear sit pad made this break nice.

I got to remember these for the next trip.
I have got to say LUNA makes some really tasty snacks and at my age I sure can use the fiber so I took this photo as a reminder to get more.
A few people have asked why I hike in ACU's (Army Combat Uniform).  I have decided I just don't care for the feel of synthetic hiking pants, I have a pair but don't wear them.  Plus ACU's have a ton of pockets and I think the pockets for knee pad inserts might workout (kneeling to setup my tarp hurts my knees), I am looking for the right thickness of closed cell foam.

I like the trail markers up high like this.

The trail to a point had mostly been level with a few small up's and down's and some twisty's mixed in but I remembered from looking at the profile image that I was going to have a steep climb.

At about mile 3.25 I started to climb (I think it had about 5 or 6 switch backs).

About half way up I ran into mister croaky and had to take his picture for Megan, this little guy was quick but I caught him, but he wouldn't sit still for a photo!

peek-a-boo I see you!

This photo doesn't give the proper coloring of this amphibian. 

Note this was the last photo that I took.  Soon after reaching the top of this climb I started feeling very nauseous, dizzy and had a nasty headache, I felt like I was going to fall over.
I took note that I had sweat out a lot, so much that my shirt sleeves were white & crusty from the sweat drying. So I mixed up some Gatorade took a sit and drank it all.

This trip I started out with 2 Evernew 1.5L soft bottles at this point after seeing all the water along the way I felt comfortable that I would be able to filter water along the way but I only had a half liter left.
with only about 2 hrs of daylight remaining (I wasted 2 hrs trying to feel better) I found a puddle in the middle of a forest road and filtered 1.5L with my Sawyer squeeze filter drank all of this, waited and still didn't feel better, so after all this time not feeling well I decided to hike out to FR123 that was 3/4 mile to the West and hope to hitch a ride back to my truck and seek medical attention. I filter another 1.5L encase that ride didn't happen along and got stuck for the night.

I got lucky, a nice couple stopped after I waved them down (they were headed North) and I needed to go South, once they heard my troubles they took me out of their way, back to my truck.

Once I got to my truck I slammed a 32oz gatorade and headed back to the blacktop and then home, as soon as I reached Payson I was hungry and feeling better.

What happened?  Exhaustion?  Not the right mix of fuel and electrolytes? 
was it secretions from the little toad?

Dunno..... I am going to finish this passage. I think next weekend.

Start and End for this trip.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blue Ridge Reservoir Hiking the Arizona Trail

I'm back home, back home to the un-holy furnace that is Phoenix, I have been section (also known as) Passage hiking by the powers to be with the Arizona trail founders
So far I have been unable to get a shuttle to or from the trail heads, so I just park at the trail head hike a piece of the section camp overnight then hike back.
This last piece I have done was from FR 751 South bound from the Blue Ridge Trail head 5 miles and then retrace my steps back to my truck.
5 Miles doesn't seem like much, the issue is water, the most I am willing to carry so far is 4 liters of water it's pretty heavy stuff! once I get better at finding springs it will increase my mileage.
Friday 2013.07.06  3ish PM I parked my truck and start my hike, immediately I notice my head throbbing and I say to myself what the hell is this, should I be hiking today?  I try to remember if I have taken my morning dosage of BP meds.  I can't remember, grrrrr I think damn this could mess up my hike, I stop in the shade if a gnarly old  juniper tree take few deep breaths and the throbbing goes away, it must just be excitement.

I rested up in the shade

I hike on, I feel good except for a little back pain the first few miles are mostly flat and I am moving at a good pace, then as I knew it since I check google earth, I drop into the canyon that holds the West end of
Blue Ridge reservoir which is dry this time of year.

Area Map                              shows the terrain here

The hike into the canyon, okay well maybe it's more of a ravine but to me it's plenty steep is going well I am palming the top of my trekking poles and going creepy crawly slow, the soil is firm and moist, traction is great, I smile and thank God it hasn't rained hard today, then in the same breath I mutter that I sure could use   some water puddles instead of carrying my water. (note I have a 1 micron water filter that is only 3 oz)

All along the way down I am seeing a hikers footprints and they are using every rock and stump to scrap off the sticky clay mud, it must have been a battle, every rock and stump looked like this

from the direction of the scrapes they were hiking up

The going is slow, my knees are groaning and making crazy noises and I tell them to stop complaining and that my lower back thanks them for cushioning the weight of my 12 lb pack

break time

I am taking lots of breaks (maybe too many) and drinking plenty of water (maybe too much) and finally the bottom is barely in sight, which is fantastic because it's almost time for my 5:30pm meds so once I get to the bottom it's big break time: pee, sanitize, snack, rest, meds & hydrate (in that order).

gravely rock Blue Ridge in sight

Just as I crossed the gravelly bottom and started to climb the other side 3 young teenagers (the only people I saw or spoke with) the whole time I was hiking came running down the side I just came down yelling some kind of victory yell and seemed started to see me, thank God I said to myself I least they didn't know I was there and didn't make a YouTube video of my urination. whew!

and hopefully they didn't see me cache 1.5 liters of
water here, I was going to need it.

I am just not going to lie, I am fat and way out of shape, the climb up the other side while not a as tall but maybe a little steeper really kicked my butt!  I was very thankful that I was slow because as I crested I saw a small harem of cow elk grazing about 30 yards away, no time for a camera, they saw or heard or wait that's it they smelled me, yep I was a sweaty smelly mess and they were gone.

Up at the top I had to go through a gate, one that was built by Boy Scout Troop 175 in 1998

I noticed as I took the photos that it was around 6:48pm and if I was correct it was going to get dark soon and I only had maybe enough water to make some Ramen or Quinoa (pronounced Keen Wa) or hike another 2 miles and try to find  Battleground Tank and filter some water, I decided to stash my pack and find some water, after hiking in the dark to where it should be I just couldn't find it, I returned to my pack having drank the water I would have used for dinner.  My dinner was 2 Luna bars (for women made by women) what was my wife trying to feed me??? they were very good.

Time to pitch my new Cuben fiber 52"x106" tarp, and hang a bug bivy under it, in the dark.  I was so dead tired that it took ten times longer to pitch the tarp than it should have and I realised the bivy didn't fit under it and being I didn't see much bugs just went with the tarp.
It didn't rain but it sure did threaten with lightning but no boomers and I think I fell asleep, maybe but I am awake now, some kind of small furry creature was under the tarp with me, I said "what the hell was that" a little louder than I needed to as it ran up my arm over me and out under the back end of the tarp.
the tarp was pitched half diamond.

Half Diamond or Pyramid shape (not my photo)

I almost thought I was dreaming, maybe it was just a dream, nawww it happened.

I did doze off a bunch of times but as I soon realized the Cuben fiber stuff sack diffuser night light I was using was drawing some kind of beetle about same size as Junebug to the light just the sound of it strafing the tarp and bumping into it would wake me up, it would crash into the light hit the ground then do the same thing over and over and over.  I turned the light off.  damn it's dark!

Blue Cuben stuffed into White Cuben stuff sack
White photon nightlight


I couldn't sleep very well and tossed and turned all night and into the early morning hours, then started to break camp after a breakfast of Luna bars around 3am, hiked back to where I thought the tank I was looking for yesterday should be, no luck so with no water my only choice was to start back early, at least I had water stashed.

Back into the ravine, it was fairly quick going with my headlamp, once I got to the bottom and retrieved my water I had a snack and 20 min rest break added some G2 gatorade powder to some of the water I started back out to my truck.

Here are some photos on the way out.


I made it back to my truck drinking all my water in the process, good thing I had 2 bottles of gatorade waiting, bad thing is that I spilt half a bottle on my shirt trying to find my mouth, guess I was a little thirsty.
after a quick shirt and socks change I was on my way home.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Arizona Firefighters

2013.06.30 Sunday night 19 Arizona Elite "Hotshot" firefighters of Granite Mountain based in Prescott AZ  lost their lives after deploying emergency fire shelters that failed to protect them.
This event drives it home for me, early summers in AZ are hot and dry so from here on out I pledge not to use Alcohol, or Bio-mass fuels (aka sticks off the ground) until the monsoon season and a reasonable amount of rainfall occurs. regardless that this fire was the result of lightning strike I will go Iso butane.
I mourn the loss of these fine protectors of my beloved wilderness, RIP

Monday, June 24, 2013

Arizona has stage 2 fire restrictions statewide

Arizona has stage 2 fire restrictions statewide    I had big plans to hike in passage 28 again this weekend until I realised that I didn't want to lug my JetBoil SOL alum down the trail and couldn't use Alcohol / Biofuels stove so I purchased a SnowPeak LiteMax @ 54g from REI (should arrive 28Jun) since they have a promotion running right now and use my Evernew Ti 400FD cup w/alum foil lid at 56g, current fuel canister weight is 180g.
I can just hear it now, that with some of the high winds we are having now that the burner will be blown out, well I plan on using a improvised windbreak or no stove at all.
The last few times I have gone hiking in passage 28 I have camped out at established campgrounds, but have recently been inspired by Tony Hobbs aka Tony's Wilderness to "wild camp" as he calls it, and that will require a stove that can be turned off.
LMAO this week Phoenix will reach 117F and I am sure the high country will heat up as well.

Cuben fiber stuff sacks

I received an order of tiny 3 x 5 inch Blue .51 Cuben fiber stuff sacks today, they are from Anthony over at note: they were purchased from his eBay store appalachianwildernessgear his cuben fiber creations have outstanding stitching and attention to detail. Here is a short youtube video I created of them.