Monday, July 30, 2012

Survival Kit with Bear Spray

I enjoy hiking alone. For one thing, you don't have to arrange your schedule to fit another person.
I'm basicially a morning person, getting out on the trail at daybreak. But sometimes I have to hike after work. I love walking a river trail, watching the water cascade down rocky bends deep in bear country, alone.

Wearing cargo pants, I can bring a few things like keys and employee I.D. But the most important thing I bring is my Sling. Watch the short video and see what I have in this ultralight survival kit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Electric Peak-Yellowstone National Park

Signs are posted, this one has an orange flag because its in the middle of a meadow and when the snow gets deep, it would be hard to see.

This pine tree is growing smack in the middle of a rock. Talk about a survivor.

One of the many "barriers" that must be skirted before climbing to the peak. When the trail peters out, and you're standing above the abyss on loose scree, turn around. You missed the turn off, seldom marked, and found on the other side of the wall.

Today I bit off a lot. On trail by 7 a.m a light mist was falling, the sky was overcast, a little sucker hole appearing momentarily, and I was headed for a mountain top 10 miles away.

I've heard about this peak, the sketchy last miles, the scree so loose grown men will cry. Now I see why. There were times I totally lost the trail, finding myself looking out over the abyss. Finally, I came to my senses, turned around, looked over the boulder wall I thought was put there to keep me from sliding off. Nope, it was put there to hide the real trail, a tight set of switch backs easily missed when they take off beneath a lone pine, squeezing behind a set of boulders or just appear out of no where.

By noon I'd decided to rest, sitting atop the final ridge, glancing up to the Knob which makes the summit. Or so I'm told. Two guys arrived, they weren't sure either what the official summit was. I hoped there would be a sign telling us we'd arrived.

I was testing a new pair of boots I'd bought in West Yellowstone. They are Merrell, the continuum series, a leather boot of sorts, high top and yet so light weight I actually bought them. There is a minature tag that says Waterproof on them. We'll see. I'll let you know.
The one thing I was disappointed with is the inserts. Its a shame a person has to buy decent inserts for a $100 boot and swap them out.. The tread is great on this hiking boot and they weren't hot on this 19 mile hike. All in all, it seems to be a good fit for the mountains here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ripped Butt Is Serious Stuff

I went on a full day hike with  a guy I just met at work. We carried light packs, food, water, necessities. I had chlorine for water purification. What I didn't have was a sewing kit or underwear.

Ok, here's the deal. While approaching this water fall, I was so amazed, I just kept going until the trail ended right on a big rock. I scrambled up, took footage. Seems the bandwidth here in Yellowstone doesn't like short videos. I'll keep trying

Well, on my way off the rock, I slid, felt my North Face pants rip, felt a sting on my butt, and knew it was serious. I grabbed hold of tree roots, pulled myself back up enough to unhook the pants.

Of course, I don't wear underwear hiking. I was lucky the pants didn't shred farther. No blood, just now concerned I have to walk with this new acquaintance and my .......showing, some skin, lets say. So, pulling my shirt down, pulling my pants up, I decided with my pack on probably I was ok. He never mentioned it, all 5 hours remaining of our hike.

Now, I'm wondering, does a person need to carry back up shorts, underwear, a sewing kit. I should have brought the murphy kit : the Ultralighters repair kit for all things that can go wrong. My bad. I learned!

The pants now have a large L shaped stitched repair. I will put a pocket over it, and no one will ever know....unless they ask how come the pocket isn't the same fabric as the pants. How about I put a real funky pocket on, like stripes or something, and it will become a fashion statement?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Buffs On the Move

I had a couple days off and decided to go visit my friends up at Lake Yellowstone. I love that location. Its only an hour and half drive when there's no traffic. This morning there was a little back up because the bison, or buffalo, are on the move. There were young calves among them. I didn't get out of my car, or get too close with my car. These dudes are bigger than a blue 1996 Geo Metro.

The weather has been good. We were favored with rain, and then heavy fog driving back the next morning. All traffic had head lights on. No one wants to meet one of these big 2,000 pound buffs around the corner at 45 mpg.

I picked up two hitchhikers at Canyon Junction. I normally don't have enough space in my car to even consider this, but today I did. The young couple was from Germany and had bought a Discovery Pass for under $600, 60 days of traveling by  Greyhound bus, large backpacks in tow.  Other than being a little cold, they seemed quite happy.

Before they stuffed themselves into my car, I told them I was going to Mammoth. They needed West Yellowstone. I said I'd take them to Norris Junction, 12 miles away. They were happy with that.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meeting the Most Unlikely People

I met this really great guy while camping last Sunday. He had a drift boat and was an experienced fly fisherman. Now, I don't know anything about fishing. He patiently filled me in on some of the aspects. It was obvious he was passionate about his sport, and those are always the kinds of people who excel.

I met him by walking down to the neighbor's camp, seeing all the fishing gear, having a night to chat around a campfire just seemed the thing to do.  He was good with that.

Later he went to the river and stood midstream casting gracefully into the water. I can see why a fish would be mesmerized, and take that bait.
We talked about gear, and found out we both like to design stuff. One thing led to another and we had a whole design worked out, but I can't divulge anything more.

I'm constantly amazed by the really cool people you can meet on your journey if you're not too shy and just say hello.