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Dude, where's my tent? Apr. 30th, 2005 @ 06:50 pm
This week has been hectic. I'd been up to the site on Monday to check on stuff and all was well. Wednesday evening, M and I got bored in the evening and decided to do a night hike on a whim. Perfect chance to test out my headlamp. The headlamp works awesome and I'm insanely pleased with it. However....

When we got to the site, something was missing. I rather good sized something. The sleeping mats and bags were laid out neatly, with my stuff stacked next to it. My tent though, was not in sight. My tarps were also gone, even the crappy two dollar one I'd put under the tent. They also took my cooler and the cans of food I'd carried up as well. Nothing else was missing. Very odd. It's hard to be very upset, considering that they didn't leave the place trashed and left the rest of my stuff alone, but it's certainly put a damper on my plans. I'm suddenly very, very glad I'd bought a cheap tent instead of leaving my good one out. Obviously my stuff simply cannot be left unattended, but I lack the funding to get super small, light stuff that I can carry everywhere. I am wondering if they left the rest of my stuff so neat because of my Girl Scout binder. It was very clearly labeled as being a Scout binder and was still in good shape. I think they must have stolen the tent, etc that same day because its pages weren't even damp.

I was looking forward to this, but now it has been grounded before it even fully started....there just isn't enough wooded area to hide in here.
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: M snoring

Tying up loose ends Apr. 22nd, 2005 @ 04:05 pm
Got my mailbox today and my storage unit. I'll be moving next week. My room is so empty looking now (which is good, because the unit is *tiny*). The storage place was even cheaper than I thought it would be, because they gave a three month discount and a student discount.

The weather here is glorious! I'm already having to turn the fan on upstairs, but the site is nice and cool in the shade.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

Leveled at last Apr. 19th, 2005 @ 05:18 pm
Finally got to level the site a bit since the ground has dried out some. The leveling went surprisingly quickly, although one corner is still lower than the rest. I found that if I move the pads about six inches inwards though it's pretty level. This has the added benefit of keeping my bag from brushing against the way as much. I made a break of sorts of small logs to redirect water around the tent.

On the way up, I saw a bobcat! At first I thought it was a normal house cat trotting up the trail, albiet with exceptionally long legs, but then as he got closer I could see the black ear tufts and I saw the lil bob tail as he jumped offtrail into a thicket.

this fellow could be his twin

As I was leaving the site, I saw a brush rabbit under a tree. No doubt a popular dinner item!

Now one, two, three...awww!
Current Mood: chipperchipper

Reach out in the darkness... Apr. 14th, 2005 @ 04:55 pm
and you may find a friend!
I think it's so groovy now
That things are finally coming together,
Think it's wonderful and...

Erm, yes and now back to your regularly scheduled entry...

I thought about buying or better yet imporvising some kind of candle lantern to give me light in the tent and maybe a couple degrees of warmth, but then someone suggested an led headlamp. I'd seen cheesy ones in the outdoor section of Freddies but didn't trust those, so off to E-bay and the outdoor catalogs I went! After much searching and review reading I narrowed it down to these two:

The Petzl Taktikka:

and the Black Diamond Moonlight:

The Taktikka has this cool flip down red lens that I was quite intruiged with but was about twenty bucks more than the Moonlight for a comperable 4 led version. The Moonlight has good reveiwes although there seemed to be mixed reviwes on its durability. Since there was a big price gap and all, I went with the Moonlight. I figure the Taktikka is still really new and the price will have gone down by the time the Moonlight needs replacing, especially since I take good care of my stuff.
Current Mood: mellowmellow

Suppose I should update again, eh? Apr. 13th, 2005 @ 08:40 am
Has been rainy and wet here so I've been doing my packing and hauling massive loads to Goodwill. Actually, they probably wouldn't be massive on anyone else's terms but mine, but being a pedestrian, I think of anything needing both arms as massive. The majority of my stuff is packed, just need to take my books down to the used bookstore still and donate the rest. Already gave the library my Backpacker mags and a couple others I'd gotten as freebies. I haven't wanted to do the sight leveling in the rain for fear of turning everything into a giant mud wrestling pit, but according to three different weather sites, it is supposed to clear up for a few days early next week. This week's goal is to finalize my packing and get my storage unit and mailbox, so I can get everything moved next week. Didn't want to get them and by paying before I'd started using them by weeks on end since they do pro-rate. Figure the leveling will take one day and moving stuff to storage will take another. In the meantime I'll keep checking on the site just to make certain no one has found it or the tarp hasn't fallen down or anything else. Getting closer!
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Other entries
» Techno-hippy!
My phone just arrived, and I am now charging it so I can activated it. I detest phones, but jobs and such kinda expect you to have one and all. I got the cheapest pre-paid phone from T-Mobile and will be getting a $100 phone card in a month or so for it, since the minutes it comes with are only good for 60 days. The $100 card is good for the whole year, so I won't have to worry about the minutes expiring on me and I figure that will last me about a year based on my current usage. Man, I shoulda done this long ago, that is sooo much cheaper than just the amount I pay for local (which I rarely use) split with my roomie.

Here's a shot of the tent:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I'll get more up up soon most likely.
» Confessions of a ramen junky
Well, okay not really, I was on a big ramen kick a bit over a year ago, then I got tired of the stuff and moved somewhere with a real stove again. Methinks I'm about to count it as a staple again. Mmmmm.... Could just be the whole "everything tastes better outdoors" thing, or maybe just the fast cooking time coupled with ease of clean-up. I remember I once went backpacking and we left from our last site in a hurry so we wouldn't be driving home too late and I threw my dishes in a bag and forgot to wash them until I went on my next trip two months later. They rinsed out clean before I even soaped them up. Amazing...

Erm yeah...but I'm sidetracked...so I tried putting the comforter under the lower end, but it really didn't make much difference, and it just slid down and wouldn't stay in place. Hmmm...not so good. So my options as far as I can think of right now:

A. Air matteress, not sure on how much it will help with the leveling, I was thinking that if I left it just short of bouncy firm full, perhaps my body could then level itself? The more I think about it, the less likely this seems to work though.

B. Wedge-shaped foam pillows sound like a good idea, although they would be costly and bulky to carry up and disguise and all. I don't really want it to be *too* obvious at the trailhead of what I'm doing. On the mildew front, I could use my rudimentary sewing skills to make a cover so they won't rot at least though.

C. Terraforming. It looks like the previous camper here (of which we have found more trash and cleaned up after), might have actually attempted to level the spot that I set the tent up, which would explain why it was so much flatter in comparison to the surrounding area. I could move my tent and try to level it out some more. The only tool I have at my disposal for this is a garden trowel, so it would be tough going in the clay soil, but it would be a permanent, no nonsense, cheap solution.

D. A final idea would be to use the tent to keep my clothes and stuff in and lounge in the rain in, but sleep in a Hennessey style hammock. I know it would solve the problem completely, but I'm not terribley enthused with the idea. I know I've read testamonials from people on backpacking forums, but I'm not really sold on the idea myself. I just can
t help but wonder how I'd keep mud out when I'm getting in and keep from getting soaked in the rain when I'm entering and exiting etc. Plus they aren't exactly cheap... Just because I like to liven things up with pictures though:


So yeah, any comments or suggestions on the slope issue are gladly welcomed!
» slip sliding away.....
I've decided to try folding my old comforter under the bottom half of my body before I try going the air matteress route to see if that helps with my slope issues. In the end, I'm worried about the longevity of said air matteress and that it would take up a ton of space in the tent, roomy as it is. I took a couple loads of stuff to Goodwill, mostly stuff that I had for "nice occasions, but realized that a) I don't go to any formal events anymore, b) it wouldn't even fit right since I've grown since highschool, c) they were tacky thrift shop and clearance rack items that never looked very good even when they were "new". I guess if the occasion ever arises, I'll just hit up Goodwill or take all the patches off my spare class A's.... While I was there, I went inside to see if they had anything foamy I could salvage for my leveling efforts, but instead found a nice metal/plastic Coleman cooler with a good metal latch. Now I won't have to hang my food from tree branches, yay! I'm not planning to use it as an actual coller, just as a way to keep coons and mice out of my dry foods. Stopped by the local mail box rental place and found out it will be like $25 for three months for a small box. Man, I was expecting them to quote me that much for just a single month! Score!
» First Night
Got the tarp set up in a modified lean-to and used my stove for the first time. The stove works awesome! It had a pretty short learning curve too (don't worry, dinner was pork and beans, so it would have been okay had I been unsuccessful). All of the little connecting paths have now been explored, so I have two good routes to use. One is shorter and puts me out right next to the store, the other is a few minutes longer, but will be much easier to navigate in the winter.

Here 's shot of someone else's stove in action. Mine is slightly different in design, mostly because it has two rings of burners, but this shot still gives a pretty good view:

Even though the tent is pitched on the flattest spot, the slope is still enough to slide sleeping bags and mata all the way to the far wall. Have to figure out a way to make a flatter sleeping area.
» It's a start!
Took me half an hour to hike in (counting slight detours) and twenty minutes to walk straight back after dropping off some gear. Got the tent set up, and am slightly impressed for it being such a cheapy. The poles are crappy fibreglass, but can be replced with aluminum should they break. It has a full bathtub floor and the rainfly justs out over the door and back window a bit. There were even tabs on the side so I could pull the sides out a little from the tent for better performance. The smaller tarp fit underneath perfectly, with a little to spare for a front porch. The tent was too long to fit in my bag, so I hand carried it and brought up my fleece sleeping bags (to use as liners), cook set, tarps, and some rope. Left my quilted wool flannel behind too.

On the way there, I accidently branched off too soon. The site I am at is nearish to the confluence of two little streams, I'll call them D1 and D2. D1 is the larger of the two and branches all through town. D2 is the one I am camping near. I somehow landed up on the other side of D1, but realized my mistake when I reached a deep part. I fell, or rather step/slid in while crossing in and got wet almost to my knees. Turns out I would have gotten my feet wet anyways crossing D2 though. No harm done, but was mildly amusing. Shortly after I had my streamside encounters, it started pouring. That deer trail gets pretty muddy in a couple places in the rain. I may do some sleath bolstering with leaves and stratigic branches to help keep it from washing out in the wet season.

So far so good. We'll be going out in another half hour or so for the test run.
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