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  1. #21
    samiam2714's Avatar
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    Aww thats a good story.

    I don't think we've had the dogs be too cold on our trips. Even make the short hair wear a silly doggie sweatshirt when it feels too cold.
    I blame all grammatical errors on the iPhone

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    Full Time since Dec '11

  2. #22
    Senior Member Mister Dark's Avatar
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    My most miserable was several years ago, while I was still a ground sleeper. I was on tour with a band, and we were about to have a few days off in Albuquerque, so on the way in I had the bus drop me off at Chamisoso Canyon in the Cibola NF. I had looked up the local weather which called for low 30s and light snow - but didnt account for the fact that the trail climbed a good 3000' above the nearest town. My sleeping bag had been rated at 30f, but had never been tested below 40. Also, it was a Sunday, and the ranger office was closed, so I couldnt get a map. Being a smart fellow, I took a picture with my cellphone of the map at the trailhead!

    So after a couple of hours of absolutely beautiful hiking up the canyon, I got to around 1000 feet from the summit. In no time at all, it went from sunny and 40 to heavy, wet snow and low 30s. This was the first and only time I have been in a thunder snowstorm! Scary. I set up my tent as fast as I could, gathered (what I thought was) a good pile of wood, and got a fire going. I think hypothermia was already starting, because even though I had good rain gear in my pack, I just sat there beside the fire in my fleece midlayer and plain-jane cargo pants. I never noticed if I was shivering or not. All that mattered was the fire. I didnt even fix anything to eat. Eventually I realized I was completely zoned out and my fire was being put out by the volume of snow coming down. I climbed (wet!) into my bag, and texted my GF for a while.

    She kept the messages for a while, they were a little weird.

    Right around sundown my fire finally gave out. Luckily the bag had warmed me up enough to realize I was shivering badly, and still wearing soaking wet clothes. Pulled off all the wet stuff, put on everything else I had with me, wrapped my AMK space blanket around me and curled back up in the bag for a very cold, fitful night.

    The next morning I woke up to 11+ inches of fresh snow. The trail was completely hidden, I was still cold, all the wood was soaking wet. Oh well, at least I had my map/photo, right? Wrong. During the night the phone somehow wound up outside my bag, and in the 17 degree weather, the battery totally died. I had a solar charger, but with heavy cloud cover it was gonna take an hour to power the phone enough to fire it up. At this point I became a little worried. Finally. LOL

    I knew from the previous days hike that there was a forest road running along the ridge, so I packed up and postholed my way UP the mountain. Long story short, I found the road, walked down to the trailhead and received a very stern lecture from the rangers on duty while waiting for a ride into town.

    Lessons learned:
    Always print out a map.
    It WILL get colder than I plan. Always.
    Test EVERYTHING before heading into the woods.
    Hypothermia is insidious.
    Sometimes, it ISNT easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
    Last edited by Mister Dark; 01-28-2011 at 23:39.
    It could be that the purpose of my life is merely to serve as a warning to others.

  3. #23
    Joey's Avatar
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    I was a 18 yr. old. PFC in the Marines going through Infantry Training School at Camp Geiger, NC. It was October 1985, and was very cold and rainy. We set our shelter halves up all neat in a row in an open field, then went to shoot different weapons on ranges all day. I was fine wearing my poncho, but was made to take it off when I shot the grenade launcher.

    When we got back to our tents it was dark. The field was flooded. My mat was floating. I snuck off in the woods and curled up in a hollow log I found. I was fast asleep when I was drug out of the log. One of the instructors didn't like that I wasn't apart of the nice neat tent set up. I was ordered to get in my hooch.

    I put my hand in, and my mat sank in the water/mud. A few yells from my fearless leader, and all the way in I crawled. I layed there wondering what I had signed up for.

    All of us were severely hypothermic in the morning. We all thought for sure they'd take us back to our barracks and let us get warm and dry. We packed up and went for a nice 8 mile march. We were warmed by the pace, and then realized it was a nice big welcome in the world we'd just volunteered for! It was 4 more days before we went back to hot showers and a dry bed.

    I love my nice warm hammock and dry tarp. My comfy sleeping bag, light pack, stove, quick dry clothes, and everything else I now head out into the wood with.

  4. #24
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    It seems that at least one miserable and maybe even dangerous past experience outdoors is fairly common to the members here. No wonder we love our hammocks and gear to keep us warm!
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  5. #25
    Senior Member Captn's Avatar
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    As a newbie ground dweller I was hiking with a buddy in Texas. We decided to cow boy camp in the open, next to a lake, but have our fire and dinner further up the valley.

    I had tossed out my bag to loft up .... Which got damp when the temperature dropped below dew point, then froze ...

    I was never so. Happy to see the sun come up after laying and shivering all night.
    Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage
    William Shakespeare


    "Insert witty and intelligent statement here"

  6. #26
    Senior Member wi1ecoyote's Avatar
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    I allowed a buddy of mine to talk me into a hike along the part of the AT in NC. We attacked a mountain called 'the Priest from the north. It was a miserable trudge up many false summits (I could actually hear the mountain laughing at me) I hiked so hard my nose started bleeding. This was in early October and the scenery was beautiful! But I missed the views in my misery. Finally we reached the summit and the shelter (if indeed there was one I don't remember) was full. I was completely soaked with sweat and it started snowing and was growing dark. I stripped my wet clothing and dove, shivering like a dog passing razor blades into my sleeping bag. Alas, I had consumed most of my water on the trip up the hill and spent a cold, sleepless night on the verge of hypothermia and dehydration on the windward side of that blessed peak. After a couple of days climatizing and finding my own pace, we covered our planned 100 miles on schedule. But that first night was an epic failure for me to not hike my own hike.
    Silver on the Sage, Starlit Sky's above, Swingin' from the trees in a Hammock that I love.....

  7. #27
    Senior Member Krissa's Avatar
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    I have a cold hike story (forgive me that it didn't happen at night). My husband, in-laws and I were in the Smokey's one year the right before New Years. The day before my husband and I summited Rocky Top and Thunderhead and that day we were going to summit LeConte. The weather was the same as the day before, but the in-laws were coming on this hike. I wore the same clothing that I used for the hike the day before, a light coat, wool hat and gloves.

    About a half mile into the trail my father-in-law gets a leg cramp. We had been hiking very slowly and the trail had just begun to climb. We suggested turning around but he wanted to keep going. 2 hours later we were no where near the summit and I was beginning to get very cold. My husband and I normally hike very fast and push ourselves so the clothing I was sweating in the day before was doing nothing for me at all. I would jog ahead on the trail and then wait 10 min for them to catch up. I started doing jumping jax and squats trying to keep warm.

    We lost the sun 3 hours into the trip and I started shivering. I told everyone I was really cold and we had to move faster but the in-laws couldn't move any faster. All I got was a couple of remarks about how skinny I was and if I had more fat I wouldn't be so cold.

    It took us 4 hours to reach the 'hotel' area on the mountain, I went into the headquarters to get away from the wind but there was no heat up there so I still could not get warm. My mother-in-law wanted to climb to the summit and I flat out refused. We started back down going even slower because my mother-in-law's knees hurt going down. I was really cold by this time and was still running ahead along the trail trying to stay warm. My husband came along behind me to find me trying to climb straight down a cliff because I could see the trail below. He said it scared him to death, and he finally realized how cold I was. He said I wasn't making any sense at that point, I was also being very rude to everyone.

    Long story short, he got the car keys from his father and he and I ran down the trail to the car. We waited in the warm car for the in-laws to finish the trail.

    Lessons learned:

    A person with hypothermia should be considered insane - I had no idea what I was doing.
    ALWAYS bring a day pack with extra warm clothing for winter hikes.
    I now stop and put on more clothing BEFORE I start shivering.
    Don't hike up mountains with the in-laws.
    As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. ~Ernest Hemmingway

  8. #28
    Senior Member whayneneal's Avatar
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    I spent more wet, cold, nights near hypothermia wrapped in a poncho/liner than I care to remember while in the Army. Ah, the good old days.

    When I was young (14), I was up in the Pecos Wilderness of New Mexico. We left our sleeping bags out in the sun to air out while we went on a day hike. Bad idea. We were on top of a mountain above tree line. I can't recall which now. When a thunderstorm suddenly came on us. Lightening and hail hitting everywhere. Well, we scurried like rats off the top of that mountain and ended up lost. LOL.........we hiked and hiked and finally found our way back to camp after dark. When we arrived, we were soaking wet and so were our sleeping bags. Brilliant! Needless to say it was a long, wet, cold night. I never did that again though. I love backpacking.
    Last edited by whayneneal; 03-12-2011 at 21:21.

  9. #29
    Senior Member BullFrog's Avatar
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    Unexpected snow

    Last year in March, a few buddies and I went to Sand Dunes NP in Colorado for a short backpacking trip. There was a couple inches of snow on the ground, and the forecast was for low 30's at night and clear skies. No problem! We got halfway to our campsite and decided to climb up and sled down a sand dune on our pads. Climbing up sapped all our energy; it was steep! When we made it back down, it started to snow. By the time we reached our campsite, it was almost dark and there was easily 3 feet of snow on the ground. We were soaked from walking through waist-deep snow, and it took us forever to dig out (wet) wood to burn to warm up. We couldn't find enough to dry out our stuff, so we hung our wet stuff outside the tent. The temp got into the teens that night (past our sleeping bags comfort zones), and when we woke up, our socks and boots were frozen solid. When we finally got them on, we hiked out, cutting our trip short.

    Never got hypothermic, so not as scary as many stories here, but definitely uncomfortable. I'd never huddled so close to three other guys before

    That was the last time I underestimated mountain weather!

  10. #30
    grok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graciious View Post
    I have slept in abandon buildings, under bridges, in abandon houses and cars, I have slept in too many homeless shelters to count and am really looking forward to getting off the ground on my first hang.
    I think graciious just earned the trail name Super Tramp! That is a high complement

    Had to edit this one. Watched the movie 'Into the Wild'. If you are a female... oops. It wasn't meant that way. LMAO
    Last edited by grok; 03-12-2011 at 23:25. Reason: OMG

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