Author Topic: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16  (Read 4193 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Wood Trekker

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1410
    • Wood Trekker
Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« on: January 26, 2016, 10:40:55 AM »
This advice is not intended for the tenderfoot, for he should never attempt to "rough it," and that is just what it means to "travel light," for when making long journeys over land, carrying the camping outfit and food on one's back, one must leave behind all of those little articles which are so necessary for the comfort of the tender one. The instructions given here are for the hardy outdoor man, inexperienced in bush life, but with a desire to learn of the methods employed. I give my own methods of traveling and camping out, and if others think they have better ways, they should remember that we woodsmen are all cranks and that their modes might seem as absurd to me as mine do to them. Elmer Harry Kreps, 1910

I know that this is probably more trip reports than you guys want to see, but since I am doing this Classic Camping thing as an experiment, I think it?s important to share what I am doing as much as possible.

My goal for this past weekend was to do another three day trip. I took Monday off, and planned to start out on Saturday. We were supposed to get a snow storm on Saturday, and my plan was to go into the woods right before the storm hit, so I could try camping in the type of weather which I imagine is the most difficult to do when Classic Camping, where it would be difficult to maintain a fire at the same time as sheltering yourself from the elements. Unfortunately, the storm hit earlier than expected, and I couldn?t get the car through the snow. Ye olde Camry just wouldn?t budge. So, I waited for the snow plows, and started out on Sunday morning. Most of the roads into the mountains were closed, so I had to keep driving north until I found one that wasn?t.



I started out around 9 am, low in elevation, with my plan being to move up the mountain until I found an area with more resources, i.e. pine.

The snow was knee deep. I didn?t bring snowshoes because I don?t have any period appropriate ones, but travel wasn?t bad on account of there being no ice layer that I would have to punch through.

The weather was supposed to be warm, going up to about 32F (0C) during the day. However, I figured something wasn?t right with the weather predictions, as when I left the house it was 9F (-13C), and it was certainly colder in the mountains. As a result, I brought and extra sweater, and wore my wool pants and a cotton anorak over my top layers, mostly to keep the wind from cutting through the wool layers.

Since I was bushwhacking, some of the terrain was pretty tough to get through. There were many stream beds that had been covered with snow, making it hard to figure out where to place your steps. It was a time consuming process.



Eventually I reached a small patch of pine. The time was shortly after 1 pm. I selected a sheltered spot, and started setting up my camp.



I used the same stick-bed method from last trip. Initially I tried doing it just with pine boughs, but it was going to take way too much to complete because the boughs were compressing a lot.

The next step was to gather some firewood. I knew the night was going to be colder than on my last trip, so I gathered some extra wood. Before I left for the trip, I contemplated bringing my boy?s axe to make the gathering of firewood easier, but at the last minute I decided against it. I wouldn?t be able to utilize it fully because as on the last trip, I wasn?t willing to start felling large trees. For the wrist-thick firewood which I was likely to collect, my hatchet was more than enough.



The wood gathering was slow going. I was looking for dead wood to process, and slogging through the snow in search of dry pieces protruding from the snow was time consuming. The hatchet made quick work of it though.




I kept gathering firewood for some time, adding to the pile, and stopping from time to time to hydrate and have a few crackers. It took me approximately two hours to set up camp and to gather the firewood. It was faster than I expected, and I was mostly ready for the night around 3:30 pm.

I took care of some minor tasks, and near 4 pm I was ready for the night. With sunset at 5 pm, I had some extra time. I usually like to time it so that I am done setting up right as it gets dark, but I got done early this time. That meant I had to keep warm for another hour or so before going to sleep. I put on all the clothing I had, put on my dry gloves, and got the fire going, drying out my wet gloves and cooking dinner.



As usual, at sunset I wrapped myself up and went to sleep. At first things went well. I slept for a few hours, but abound 8 pm I woke up with the fire out and me shivering. The rest of the night was very unpleasant. The temperature dropped down to about 5F (-15C). Sleeping for any period of time became almost impossible. Unlike on my last trip, where I could get the fire stoked up, get my body temperature up, and then sleep for a few hours before I got chilled, this time, I would get cold the moment the fire died down. I was up every half hour to feed the fire. With sunrise at 7 am, it was a very long 14 hours of night.

The problem wouldn?t have been as bad if I was using large logs that I could toss on the fire. Larger logs can burn for two hours or so before needing tending. With the wrist-thick wood I had though, half an hour of burn time was about the most I could expect.

Overall, a very miserable night. When I started out with this Classic Camping thing, my goal was to explore the origins of backpacking. Well, this is not backpacking. This is a ?survival? trip. Sure, I can do it, but there is nothing enjoyable about it. Even if I was willing to start bringing down large trees for firewood, it still wouldn?t be a fun experience.

I?ll have to come up with some other options for cold weather backpacking. Steve Watts contacted me last week, and recommended a cotton lined down comforter. They were certainly available at the time, and are mentioned by some of the authors. It doesn?t seem like they were a primary choice for many at the time, but they would be period correct, and might solve the issue. A woven fur blanket might also work, but the cost is too much. Anyway, I?ll keep thinking about it.

One of the worst problems is getting up to pee. It?s a whole procedure, where you get very cold, have to stoke up the fire, warm yourself back up, then wrap yourself again. You can?t tell because of the facemask, but I?m frowning.



So, I made it through the night, packed up, cleared up the camp site and headed back. It took me about an hour of walking to get completely warmed up.



As with last trip, some of the gear was not exactly period correct. I?m still using a water bottle with a plastic cap, my anorak is a cotton nylon blend (85% cotton-I believe) and has a zipper, my boots are still my regular boots, etc.

Anyway, there are still things to work out, especially when it comes to the sleep system. I?ll figure something out eventually.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 10:52:05 AM by Wood Trekker »

Offline DirtandYarn

  • Mousepad and Sandpaper
  • Posts: 8
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 12:05:48 PM »
Thanks for writing all this down.


Using Tapatalk.

Online wsdstan

  • Supporting Member
  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 8654
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 12:26:29 PM »
Ross you need to get a pee bottle.  Period correct and worth having along to save getting up and wandering off in the night.

I wonder if a good set of fishnet long johns (which were used by the early Norwegian explorers) would help with the sleeping issue?

This last report was a good one, thanks.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline Wood Trekker

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1410
    • Wood Trekker
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 01:16:18 PM »
I haven't read of anyone using a pee bottle during that time period. I use one in my regular camping, and would certainly use one if I found any period sources using one.

I doubt there is any type of clothing that would really help. At some point you just need more insulation, and I think this is certainly that point. :)

Offline Wilderbeast

  • Vendor
  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 4944
  • Member #007
    • Military Spec Surplus
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 01:20:25 PM »
Thank you for reminding me why I prefer the present to past. 
Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? One should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved.

Online wsdstan

  • Supporting Member
  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 8654
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 02:09:34 PM »
I haven't read of anyone using a pee bottle during that time period. I use one in my regular camping, and would certainly use one if I found any period sources using one.

I doubt there is any type of clothing that would really help. At some point you just need more insulation, and I think this is certainly that point. :)

They were probably too modest in those days to put it in print.  Trust me, they used them.   >:D
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 08:13:09 PM by wsdstan »
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline wolfy

  • Supporting Member
  • Belt Grinder
  • *****
  • Posts: 18376
  • "You want a toe? I can get you a toe." -Sobchak
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 02:13:48 PM »
I haven't read of anyone using a pee bottle during that time period. I use one in my regular camping, and would certainly use one if I found any period sources using one.

I doubt there is any type of clothing that would really help. At some point you just need more insulation, and I think this is certainly that point. :)

They were probably to modest in those days to put it in print.  Trust me, they used them.   >:D
I believe the early pee bottles were beeswax-lined pee gourds.  :[
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline brad.clarkston

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 295
    • Middle Age Ramblings
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 04:49:35 PM »
Thanks for the trip report and no we don't get tired of them :)


Offline Wood Trekker

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1410
    • Wood Trekker
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2016, 05:10:54 PM »
:) Thanks

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk


Offline OutdoorEnvy

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 3897
  • Outdoor Junky Approved
    • OutdoorEnvy
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2016, 05:46:18 PM »
Looks like it's time dust off a bucksaw and larger axe and then give this a go  :thumbsup:

Good report as usual Ross.  I enjoy your thoroughness and willingness to talk from experience.  I hope you tough it out for a third trip!

Also it's been in the 50's(F) here the last few days.  Just had to mention that for you   ;D
Proverbs 27:17    "As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend"
http://outdoorenvy.blogspot.com/

Offline Wood Trekker

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1410
    • Wood Trekker
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2016, 06:49:21 PM »
:) It's the strangest weather I've ever seen. That's why I had to drive north to get to an area that was LESS covered in snow. This week we are supposed to hit over 40 degrees as well. Pretty soon hell will be freezing over.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk


Offline vallehombre

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 472
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2016, 01:19:06 PM »
Great report, as always. Thank you.

Offline Wood Trekker

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1410
    • Wood Trekker
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2016, 04:18:26 PM »
Thanks :)

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk


Offline Yeoman

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1922
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2016, 12:37:56 PM »
Ross,
Another good trip report and really man, many thanks for posting them and sharing your experiences, observation and conclusions.

The quilt issue may solve some of your problems, but as discussed in the last thread from your first outing, the long fire would be the most period correct method of staying warm. I know that the modern legal and woods ethic prevent or limit this as an option, but maybe you can scout out some dead falls that could be used on future trips? (Either that or come up over the boarder and I can introduce you to Crown Land).

I don't know if pee bottles were in existence back then for camping but we know for sure that chamber pots were used in house-holds so I'm pretty sure by anyone's definintion they are period correct. Even an old tin can has to count.

Camping and hiking existed a hundred years ago as recreation separate from hunting. Question I've got is this: are there indications that people were winter camping or hiking for fun and for other than for hunting or mountaineering? I guess I'm wondering are you making this too hard on yourself?
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline Wood Trekker

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1410
    • Wood Trekker
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2016, 01:05:53 PM »
Ross,
Another good trip report and really man, many thanks for posting them and sharing your experiences, observation and conclusions.

The quilt issue may solve some of your problems, but as discussed in the last thread from your first outing, the long fire would be the most period correct method of staying warm. I know that the modern legal and woods ethic prevent or limit this as an option, but maybe you can scout out some dead falls that could be used on future trips? (Either that or come up over the boarder and I can introduce you to Crown Land).

I don't know if pee bottles were in existence back then for camping but we know for sure that chamber pots were used in house-holds so I'm pretty sure by anyone's definintion they are period correct. Even an old tin can has to count.

Camping and hiking existed a hundred years ago as recreation separate from hunting. Question I've got is this: are there indications that people were winter camping or hiking for fun and for other than for hunting or mountaineering? I guess I'm wondering are you making this too hard on yourself?

Thank you. I appreciate it.

In many of the forests around me I have no serous restrictions on the use of firewood. It is mostly self imposed. I know a number of spots where there is sufficient dead fall where I have good size fallen trees that are not rotten and would be good fire wood. I can certainly go there with my boy's axe, spend an hour cutting logs, and can show you me camping with a large fire (I still don't like the long fire as a layout. I think it is wasteful even when large logs are to be used), but that all seems to "staged" to me. As with my other backpacking, I want to be able to go wherever I want, into areas that I don't know, and still be able to camp there. I like the sense of freedom it gives me. Since I am doing that, I'm intentionally going into areas that I don't know. I have no idea where I will end up, or what wood I would have available, aside from my ability to select the terrain as I go. I am trying to figure out how to do that in a more conservative manner.

According to my reading, backpacking for fun especially in winter, started around this time. It was considered to be something very hard and most of the writers struggled with it. Writers like Warren Hastings Miller discuss going out once a month year round. They also discuss the difficulty of doing that, and spend a lot of time writing about new systems they are developing to let them do it.

All accounts I've see of winter camping prior to the 1880s or so, has been for commercial purposes, and one was expected to tough it out for the paycheck.

At the end of it, I like the challenge of it all. For me this is not a stylistic choice, and I have no attachment to any particular time period or gear. I'm doing it because I wanted to make my backpacking trips harder and to learn about what some of the people whose writings we read went through and put that writing in context. I may very well be making it harder on myself than I have to, but then again, I could just bring my modern gear and do it in complete comfort. :)

Offline Yeoman

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1922
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2016, 03:11:46 PM »
Thanks very much for the explanation. I was curious from the experimental archeological POV, certainly not from any criticism of style or of conservationalist choice. Conservation certainly did not start in that period but it certainly gained momentum as people started using the bush for recreational purposes.
I'd never heard of Miller. Another on the to read list.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline wolfy

  • Supporting Member
  • Belt Grinder
  • *****
  • Posts: 18376
  • "You want a toe? I can get you a toe." -Sobchak
Re: Trip Report Part 2: Classic Backpacking 1/24/16 - 1/25/16
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2016, 04:06:43 PM »
Yeoman, you can read one of the thirty or so books he wrote here....

https://archive.org/details/campcraftmodern01millgoog
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX