Monday, August 31, 2015

Running Out

Here on the mountain, I run out of ideas for posting.
Sure, I've been trying new ideas in the backcountry, but nearly every trick under the sun has been seen and done.

The chef gave me one idea, though, for my last hike that I'd never seen before. Instead of carrying a bottle of 100% deet, I put six paper napkins in a pint size Ziploc bag, doused it good with deet and brought that.

At night, I wiped my sweaty body down, removing dust, applying deet. In the morning, I flipped the napkin over and wiped my face. Somehow, and this may gross you out, I actually felt refreshed. Sweat gone, a fine layer of oily bug repellant installed.

It worked. End of trail, I had used every paper napkin and endured not a single gnat or bug.

Of course, what works for me might disgust you. To each their own. As the saying goes, hike your own hike.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wonderland Trail Brutal but Beautiful

I met lots of groups on the Wonderland trail. Everyone hiking this circle around Mount Rainier needs one, so that in the end, each campsite is full, but none overfull. There's a lot of rock and slope, so finding a stealth camp would be hard.
When the chef gave me 4 days to go get er done, I did. Permit in hand, I left my motorhome eating an apple. The first photo opt, at the Longmire junction, was before daylight.
With GORP and gear, my pack weighted 10 pounds. Water, was extra. I kept a good handle on that so never got dehydrated. Below, see the prototype 'bivy'. It weighs 12 ounces. A tad claustrophobic, but it held the heat in good. You can see the red quilt inside, tested for 40 degrees at one pound. Primaloft fill, the best I could find, is considered synthetic down.

I asked a woman to take my photo. This was coming over Summerland. You can see the sleeping pad is used for my hip belt. My food bag is in the front. I carried 4 pounds of Gorp.

Because there is over 20,000 foot elevation change in these 93 miles, the toes take a beating. Even with my wide toed hiking boot (not trail runner) I fear I might loose toe nails. The price we pay for freedom!
This magnificent trail usually is done in 10-12 days because it is indeed brutal. I did it this way because it was the most days off I could snag up here while cooking for the employees. Many, many thanks to my chef, Chris, for understanding my need and ability to undertake the challenge.