Friday, September 9, 2016

Off Trail - Explanation

It has been a week or so since we left the trail.  I meant to post this sooner, but ....

First, let me say that the experience was amazing.  I was honored to be a part of my daughter's team on this test hike.  And, we supported each other though the days we spent in the woods.

For those who are not aware, Big Little Sister (BLS) plans to through hike the Appalachian Trail (SOBO) next year.  Being an inexperienced long distance hiker, she chose to complete this test run on the 100 Mile Wilderness.  She needed the first hand feel of the trail ... you don't really know anything until you do it (as we learned when we started to incorporate foraging into our diets).

It did not take too long for us to learn a lot of stuff.  We spent a total of 72 hours on the trail from the time Wendy dropped us off to the time we were picked up by Bill (the husband half  of the fabulous folks, Bill and Linda, from Whitehouse Landing Camps).

First, I mis-posted my starting weight.  With the 26 lbs of food, 6 pounds of water, and the other 30 lbs of gear, my pack weighed in at 62 lbs starting weight ... way too much.  BLS, weighing in at 110 lbs soaking wet, had over 50 lbs in her pack ... way too much.

The hike started as expected ... we hiked the 3.3 miles to the first lean-to and stopped for the night. We ate dinner.  We then diligently hung our bear bags to save of food from the ravaging bears.  By 20:00, we were in our tents for the night.  It is incredible how quickly our bodies adjusted to the sun's schedule.

Morning brought a new threat!  The mice, not the bears, ate a hole through BLS's waterproof bag and had a party in it.  Mice are not particular where they do their business.  BLS's paper oatmeal packages did not do much to keep the contents dry.  Much to her dismay, it was a loss ... all of the oatmeal, but little else.  So, she skipped breakfast and we packed up to go.  LESSON:  vacuum sealed food escaped the mice!

Not far along, she started feeling nauseous.  I had her stop and eat something.  While we were at it, I had her drink some water, too.  As we continued, she began to feel better and recovered. Unfortunately, I started the day off dehydrated and, in spite of the gallon+ water I drank, never caught up.  So, by the end of the day, I was dragging.  We knew we were not going to make our intended camp site, so we stopped at Rainbow Lake campground (on the trail), which turned out to be a far nicer place than the Rainbow Stream Lean-to.  We were short 4 miles for the day.

The second night was very informative.  We met a few NOBO through hikers nearing the end of their trail.  One struck a chord with BLS.  He carried only 7 lbs of gear ... tent, sleeping bag, ipad, snickers, and peanut butter.  He did not carry water ... he drank when he found it ... I assume he treated it.  If it rained, he took a zero day (no hiking = zero miles).  Clearly, he had learned a lot on the trail ... he admitted to starting out just as heavily burdened as we were.  We were in the process of hanging a bear bag and were told ... "just sleep with your food, because the bears are not going to bother you, especially with a dog".  LESSON:  Bears are not really a huge nuisance in Maine, so hang one if you really want.  NOTE:  This does not hold true on other parts of the trail where the bag really is needed.

Day three was much better for both of us.  We planned only to hike the 4 miles we were short, because there was a mountain that we would have to climb to make the next camping spot.  Alas, we arrived at noon and decided that we would not wait to cross the mountain.  We were making good time and feeling good.  So, after lunch, we moved on.

While climbing the mountain, we noticed that Cheyenne was starting to limp.  On the way down the mountain, a mile or two from the next lean-to, BLS twisted her ankle.  We both knew that we could not stop.  She continued hiking, crying the entire way, twisting her ankle a second time, hobbling all the way to camp.  We got in at 18:30, a very short time before darkness fell in the deep forest.  We had just enough time to set up our tents, listen to the huge contingent of NOBO through hikers talk about their plans for the next day, and start off to find water to filter.

Day four, BLS felt fine to continue and so did I.  We started out and noticed that Cheyenne was limping worse.  So, we started planning out extraction.  We knew that Whitehouse Landing Camps was somewhere near the trail, but had no idea how to find it.  We also knew that people we shuttled in and out of Jo Mary Road ... 20+ miles further down the trail.  We planned to stop there and get picked up.  Happily, we found a sign for the Whitehouse Landing Camps 32 Miles along the trail and took the option.

So, we finished only 32 miles of the 100 we had planned, but we accomplished that which we set out to do ... learn!

It turns out that there are many extraction points along this section of the trail ... logging roads for shuttle and resupply, campgrounds a mere mile off the AT that can be driven to, even friendly folks who will come pick you up in a boat and feed you a very large, filling hamburger!

I know I have more to say, but can't think of it now.  Feel free to ask your questions.  I will happily answer.

I am so grateful for this time in my MooseBoots travels.

Here is BLS's write up.

Special thanks to Wendy and the girls for their support!

Off Trail - Explanation

It has been a week or so since we left the trail.  I meant to post this sooner, but ....

First, let me say that the experience was amazing.  I was honored to be a part of my daughter's team on this test hike.  And, we supported each other though the days we spent in the woods.

For those who are not aware, Big Little Sister (BLS) plans to through hike the Appalachian Trail (SOBO) next year.  Being an inexperienced long distance hiker, she chose to complete this test run on the 100 Mile Wilderness.  She needed the first hand feel of the trail ... you don't really know anything until you do it (as we learned when we started to incorporate foraging into our diets).

It did not take too long for us to learn a lot of stuff.  We spent a total of 72 hours on the trail ... from the time Wendy dropped us off to the time we were picked up by Bill, the husband half  of the fabulous folks (Bill and Linda) from Whitehouse Landing Camps.

First, I miss posted my starting weight.  With the 26 lbs of food, 6 pounds of water, and the other 30 lbs of gear, my pack weighed in at 62 lbs starting weight ... way too much.  BLS, weighing in at 110 lbs soaking wet, had over 50 lbs in her pack ... way too much.

The hike started as expected ... we hiked the 3.3 miles to the first lean-to and stopped for the night. We ate dinner, diligently hung our bear bags to save of food from the ravaging bears, and were in our tents by 20:00.  It is incredible how quickly our bodies adjusted to the sun's schedule.

Morning brought a new threat!  The mice, not the bears, ate a hole through BLS's waterproof bag and had a party in it.  Mice are not particular where they do their business and BLS's paper oatmeal packages did not do much to keep the contents dry.  Much to her dismay, it was a loss ... all of the oatmeal and little else ... so she skipped breakfast and we packed up to go.  LESSON:  vacuum sealed food escaped the mice!

Not far along, she started feeling nauseous.  I had her stop and eat something.  While we were at it, I had her drink some water, too.  As we continued, she began to feel better and recovered. Unfortunately, I started the day off dehydrated and, in spite of the gallon+ water I drank, never caught up.  So, by the end of the day, I was dragging.  We knew we were not going to make our intended camp site, so we stopped at Rainbow Lake campground (on the trail), which turned out to be a far nicer place than the Rainbow Stream Lean-to although we were short 4 miles for the day.

The second night was very informative.  We met a few NOBO through hikers nearing the end of their trail.  One struck a chord with BLS.  He carried only 7 lbs of gear ... tent, sleeping bag, ipad, snickers, and peanut butter.  He did not carry water ... he drank when he found it ... I assume he treated it.  If it rained, he took a zero day (no hiking = zero miles).  Clearly, he had learned a lot on the trail ... he admitted to starting out just as heavily burdened as us.  We were in the process of hanging a bear bag and were told ... "just sleep with your food, because the bears are not going to bother you, especially with a dog".  LESSON:  Bears are not really a huge nuisance in Maine, so hang one if you really want.  NOTE:  This does not hold true on other parts of the trail where the bag really is needed.

Day three was much better for both of us.  We planned only to make up the 4 miles we were short, because there was a mountain that we would have to climb to make the next camping spot.  Alas, we arrived at noon and decided that we would not wait for cross the mountain.  We were making good time and feeling good.  So, after lunch, we moved on.

We climbed the mountain and noticed that Cheyenne was starting to limp.  On the way down the mountain, a mile or two from the next lean-to, BLS twisted her ankle.  We both knew that we could not stop.  She continued hiking, crying the entire way, twisting her ankle a second time, all the way to camp.  We got in at 18:30, a very short time before darkness fell in the deep forest.  We had just enough time to set up our tents, listen to the huge contingent of NOBO through hikers talk about their plans for the next day, and start off to find water to filter.

Day four, BLS felt fine to continue and so did I.  We started out and noticed that Cheyenne was limping worse.  So, we started planning out extraction.  We knew that Whitehouse Landing Camps was somewhere near the trail, but had no idea how to find it.  We also knew that people we shuttled in and out of Jo Mary Road ... 20+ miles further down the trail.  We planned to stop there and get picked up.  Happily, we found a sign for the Whitehouse Landing Camps 32 Miles along the trail and took the option.

So, we finished only 32 miles of the 100 we had planned, but we accomplished that which we set out to do ... learn!

It turns out that there are many extraction points along this section of the trail ... logging roads for shuttle and resupply, campgrounds a mere mile off the AT that can be driven to, even friendly folks who will come pick you up in a boat and feed you a very large, filling hamburger!

I know I have more to say, but can't think of it now.  Feel free to ask your questions.  I will happily answer.

I am so grateful for this time in my MooseBoots travels.

Special thanks to Wendy and the girls for their support!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Off The Trail

We are officially of the trail and home. Cheyenne's leg was not holding up to the challenge and rather than risk further injury Big Little Sister (I gave her the trail name Inverted Turtle) called it.

We learned a lot. Stay posted ... Lots to come.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Here We Go

We leave for the trail today.

My pack is about 50 pounds ... with a half gallon of water in the container. It is about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted, but the weight will drop quickly ... half of it is food.

Here is a link  to track my progress.

Note: There will not be any tracks until later this afternoon, so you will get an error until then.



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Test Hike

45 lbs. The whole crew.

We leave in less than 2 weeks. We need to shift the focus to food and clothing!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Test Hike

I learned today that everything needs to be strapdown tight no bouncing pieces

Hike: 5 miles with Cheyenne
Time: 2 hours
Weight: 17 lbs


Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gearing Up!

It has been a long time since I have done a proper post … too long. My journey is, as always, busily filled with living life while trying to fit it learning and growing as a part of the natural world. Rest assured, I am still treading this MooseBoots trail. In fact, I have both an exciting announcement and a request for assistance.

Big Little Sister is now an adult and a world traveler. She recently completed one of the things on her list of 100 things (her bucket list) by traveling to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This was her first trip overseas and she completed it alone. We have encouraged her to live out her dreams now, while she is young, and then get tied into life.

One of the other things on her list is to through hike (hike end to end non-stop) the Appalachian Trail. Big Little Sister has been purchasing her gear over the last year or so … carefully researching each piece of equipment needed and buying it with an eye toward having to carry it for the full AT. As a trial run, she plans to hike the 100 Mile Wilderness later this summer.

As a concerned parent, I told her that I did not wish her to try this alone. I asked her to find a partner for the trip. I also told her that if she couldn't find one that I would hike it with her. To which she responded, “We go in August.”

Photo by BobWalker

I can not tell you how excited I am to have this opportunity to spend time in nature with my daughter!

We have been passively planning this for the last few months. I convinced my boss to allow me to roll over (against published company policy) 2 weeks of vacation time to spend on the trail. I have begun reading everything I can about gear, about the trail, about anything related.

Of course, the harsh reality is that I now have less than 2 months to gear up. Even more harsh, I do not have the finances to be able to purchase the extensive list of gear needed for the two week outing. So, I need your help.

Here are some ways you could help:
  • Click on this link, Expedition Kit Contest, and enter, which will give me bonus entries into the contest. If you win, I might ask you to borrow your gear.
  • Round up any gear that you might have around. I would love to take it off of your hands, even just for a couple of weeks.
  • If you, or someone you knows, works for (or owns) a company that makes this type of equipment and would like to sponsor the trip, please let me know. I will take seconds that are otherwise unsalable.
  • While I would prefer one of the previous options, you could make a donation using the button on the sidebar. I will use the money to fund the trip, but would really rather you let me use your gear.
  • Share this post with all of your friends and family! Post a link on all of your social media sites, too.

I will post a complete listing of the gear I plan to carry along with the current equipment weight. If an item does not have a weight listed, it is because I do not yet have one to use. While I am not seeking brand new, cutting edge technology, please bear in mind that I will need to carry the full equipment list and 20 pounds (10 kilograms) of food for 100 miles.

One might ask what all of my learning has been for, if I plan to take all of this gear. I intend to forage foods along the way. I also intend to try to do this as primitively as possible, but I want to be prepared in case my skills are not up to the challenge, Yes, it is a better safe than sorry argument.

Big Little Sister will be carrying a camera to capture the sights. I will be carrying a journal to write my observations. I would post real-time posts, but I understand that cell service is very sketchy in that part of the country. So, you will have to wait for photos and thoughts. Who knows, it might even turn into a book.

I think my MooseBoots journey is going to take an enormous turn this summer!


I am so grateful for the chance to do this with my daughter, for your support in this, and for the Universe's continued guidance in all things.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Chanterelle

The chanterelles are starting to pop up after a few days of rain.

It is still a little early for blueberries.

I love Foraging Sundays!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Foraging Sunday

It took all day, but the smoked venison roast was delicious! Oh, and everything else was found in our little quarter acre slice of heaven ... Even the oyster mushrooms!

Life is good.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Foraging Sunday Dinner

Yesterday, I scored some oyster mushrooms and dryad saddles! Sautéed with wild greens and a side of rainbow trout, it sounds like dinner.