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November 2004 Archives

November 8, 2004

Foray Into Fastpacking

My good friend Lee (We've been friends since highschool, that should tell you a lot about his character...and mine) and I are planning to go on a "fastpacking" trip this coming weekend. Oh yeah, he's the one in the middle with the striped tie.

What is fastpacking you might ask? Basically, it is taking as little gear as is possible (and what gear you take should be super-lite and durable) so that you can travel great distances in the wilderness unimpeded. Since this is our first big trip, we've done a couple small practice hikes, our goal is to have no more than 20 pounds in our packs including all necessary camping gear, food, and 70oz (2 lites) of water. With this weight on our backs we plan to hike from Harpers Ferry, WV all the way to Georgetown, Washington, D.C. in 48 hours or less. In case you are wondering, yes, that is quite a distance! 61 miles in 2 days!

We're thinking about it as a nice walk in the park :)

We plan to hike along the C&O Canal trail which is nice and flat the whole way.

To make it spicy,Mother Nature (and the Internet) tell us that temperatures will be in the low 30s at night. We're not bringing sleeping bags...we're commited to the core! Or is that frozen to the core?

If you are interested in fastpacking, or are just looking for your own sufferfest (I mean-- ADVENTURE!) in the wilderness, then check our some of the links below:
- Backpacking Light Magazine
- GoLite Equipment
- Ultralight Hiking Site -not updated often
- The Lightweight Backpacker Site
- Some guy named Michael's personal site
- The guy who wrote the book "Beyond Backpacking" that convinced me this was a good idea...-- Ray Jardine (inventor of camming units for rock climbers)

November 21, 2004

First Foray Into Fastpacking

Well, I gave fastpacking a shot for the first time. It didn't at all work out as a planned but turned out to be a really fun experience anyway. Lee (remember Lee?), had to bail at the last minute due to an injury sustained while training for the trip as well as a last minute deadline at work that kept him up till past midnight on Friday. So, I decided to suit-up the hound and take a less ambitious trip just for fun.

It was forecast to be perfectly clear all weekend (having rained like mad all day Friday) with a high of 50 degrees during the day and about 30 degrees at night.

We got up Saturday and puttered around the house until about 2pm. We then went over to Carderock and hopped on the C&O Canal Trail heading West towards Cumberland. We hiked about 6 miles through Great Falls, MD to the C&O Canal's Swains Lock and campsite. We setup camp and tested out some of our new gear. I had bought a Katadyn Hiker water filtration system. I'm used to just using iodine, but thought that the filter would strain the water in addition to making it potable. It worked GREAT! It was easy to pump, generating several liters of clean, fresh water in a matter of minutes. We then tried out my new ultra-lite stove, the Snow Peak Giga Power Stove with Piezo ignition button. This stove is incredible! Weighing just a few ounces, you just screw it into a small fuel canister press the Piezo button and the stove cranks up! It takes seconds! No priming or pumping. I had a liter and a half of water boiling in about 5 minutes. It even simmers.

I had a hardy dinner of ramen noodles, GU, and leftover halloween candy. Scout had kibble and ramen noodles.

We watched the sun go down over the Potomac and settled in for an early night.
I had a sleeping system consisting of all the clothes I had brought on the trip, a foam sleeping pad, bivy sack, and a sleeping bag liner which was supposed to add 15 degrees of warmth to your sleeping system.

It seemed to be going well and I anticipated a restful night of sleep (perhaps with a tiny bit of a chill...). Scout had her own dog-sized sleeping sleeping pad that I made for her and a spare shirt of mine to wear.

THAT is when the incessant whining started. As it got colder, Scout got less happy with the whole camping experience. After about 3 hours of non-stop whining, trying to climb into my sleeping bad with me, and growling/barking at any noise outside the tent I decided this wasn't really fun anymore. We busted out the cell phone, called Melissa who graciously left a going away party for a friend (don't worry, the friend isn't really leaving for another month or so) and she came and picked us up. As soon as Scout got into the heated car, she settled right down and not another peep was heard the rest of the night.

All in all though we had lots of fun, learned how to use a bunch of new gear, and discovered that Scout may be my trusty companion in the woods...but is more of a warm weather camper.

You can see pictures of our brief experience into fastpacking here!

About November 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Hart and Melissa's Fabulous Website in November 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2004 is the previous archive.

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