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  1. #1
    Senior Member brambor's Avatar
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    Mt.Moosilauke Loop - First time in winter hammock

    The plan was to hike up to the summit of Mt.Moosilauke, continue to Mt.Blue and Mt.Jim spend a night and then continue the loop back to the parking lot.

    I have winter camped before and I consider myself a 4 season outdoorsman but I have never tinkered with winter hammocking. So it peaked my interest and armed with BB1.7, Winter Yeti and a winter sleeping bag I thought I would give it a go.

    My pack was about 35 pounds + water. I need to lighten it up a bit. It will be my gradual project.

    My winter backpack is about 4lbs. I pack the foam pad right inside the bag. It looks big but the foam pad takes up majority of the space.

    In the backpack:
    For the sleeping and emergency clothing:
    Ridgerest foam mat
    BB1.7
    Granite Gear Northern Light Tarp + 2 Beakers
    TNF -20 Sleeping Bag
    Big Agnes Copper Spur Footprint that I planned to stretch on the ground under the hammock
    Small CCF Foam piece to sit or stand on.
    Stephenson Vapor Barrier socks, pants, shirt
    Patagonia Wool longjohns and longsleeve top
    Down vest
    Merrell thin down jacket (soon to be replaced by Jacks R Better down sleeves)
    Dachstein Wool Socks
    Wool Headmask
    Ski Googles
    Nalgene Bottle - water
    Thermos - hot tea

    For the food:
    Bottle of denatured alcohol
    Solo Woodburning Stove (Bushbuddy knockoff)
    Trangia Alcohol Stove
    Titanium Cup
    Titanium Kettle
    Titanium Fork and Spoon
    HawksWhittles - 2 meals
    Instant oatmeal - 2 small pouches
    Trader Joes Condensed Milk
    Salt mixture
    Matches/Firestarter
    Starbucks Via Instant Coffee
    Two tea bags
    Kuksa cup
    CRKT Minimalist Knife
    Nalgene Bottle - Pee Bottle
    Titanium Shepherd Hooks
    Bunch of lines for tarp management
    Other miscelaneous(small toilet paper,towelettes etc)

    For the extras:
    Amazon Kindle
    Small Radio
    Hiking Poles
    Traction clipons
    Headlamp


    It takes almost 3 hours to the trailhead by car from my house in Maine. I started a bit late. I think around 10 am or so. I was surprised by decent amount of snow cover right at the trailhead. In the past 3 weekends of hiking I encountered snow but usually halfway up the mountain.

    The trail I wanted to take was Gorge Brook trail.



    It is a very pleasant hike up this mountain. The trail meanders between medium up and steeps but it never hits you like some 'traditional' New England straightuppers. Very soon I hit steady snow on trail, about 6 inches or so. Everything was 'christmas white', the skies were blue. It was glorious.





    After I cleared the tree line I saw sunlit snow summit of Moosilauke. I donned on my second layer, hooded jacket, hat, headscarf, ski googles and summited with joy. There are trails to the summit from 4 different directions. I think I saw about 20 people in various groups on the summit.



    I continued past the summit to the other side of the mountain via Beaver Brook trail.



    The other side had wonderfully plastered trees with snow. I took a few breaks to sip on hot tea but continued pretty much without a break until about 4PM.



    My campsite was cramped. I ran out of sunlight soon after I pitched my hammock and tarp. My first headscratcher - how will I attach the tarp guy lines in deeper snow, with small pine trees in the way everywhere? I couldn't really attach them to the small pine trees with a couple exceptions, the sheppard hooks disappeared in the snow quickly and I feared losing them.

    Nevertheless, the tarp was more or less pitched although with fewer guy lines than optimal. Hammock was set up with the underquilt and sleeping bag. My chest pack clipped nicely right to the ridge line.

    My intention was to test the new Solo Woodburning stove but that idea was abandoned as I was running out of daylight and everything was under snow cover. I utilized my alcohol stove instead.

    This was also my first time with an alcohol stove. In the past I was pretty much a pocket rocket stove user. The canister stove performance in the winter is lousy, hence I switched over to the alcohol stove.

    It's a beauty. Quiet and gets the job done. I dropped the Trangia into the Solo stove for a windbreaker. Soon the water was boiling, I poured it onto my African Stew for dinner and also made my self a Starbucks Via Decaf into my Kuksa cup. Then I boiled another batch of water for my Nalgene Bottle to be used as a hot water bottle for the night.

    By 5:30PM everything was pretty much pitch dark. I did some minor acrobatics on the small foam piece by undressing all of my layers, putting on my VB shirt, pants and socks. Then Dachstein Wool socks, wool underwear and wool top.

    6:00PM I was in the hammock eating my dinner and listening (kind of) to my small radio. The signal was faint. It was ok.

    After dinner I prepared to stay in the hammock for the night. I was comfortable a little too hot on the top but there were a couple spots on the bottom that did not feel warm. I knew that those could mean misery during the cold night. So I was shuffling the underquilt and tried to work it but for a while it was futile. I began to worry that I might have to go to ground.

    I persevered, and at some point it appeared that I found the sweet spot by having warmth for the entire underside. One factor that worked really well was placing my hot water bottle under my upper thigh - essentially lifting the coldest spot off the sides of the hammock.

    I tried reading my kindle but soon after I fell asleep. I had some bizarre dreams, one of which was a pretty vivid dream telling me that my hammock sagged all the way to the snow. I woke up, checked and I was still about 30 inches clear off the snow.

    At 1 AM I woke up and could not fall asleep again. I read my kindle for about 30 minutes and then fell asleep again. During my reading a light icy rain fell onto the tarp but the shower was brief. I utilized my pee bottle successfully and fell back asleep.

    I think the temperatures got a little warmer for the remainder of the night. A couple of tosses and turns but basically I just slept really well until about 7AM.

    I woke up to condensation on the inside of the tarp. The tarp was pitched really close to the hammock and it sagged a little bit overnight.

    I got out of the hammock, performed reverse acrobatics to get back into my hiking layers and packed my tarp and the beakers. Soon after it started to rain - but the shower again was very brief. I got lucky.

    My site in the morning after packing everything:


    I cooked hot tea and hot coffee and skipped the breakfast. Then I packed my hammock and the rest of my stuff and headed back onto the trail. After a few hours I was back at the parking lot.

    Things I would change:
    I will be buying the Jacks R Better Mt.Washington 3 on sale to hopefully gain more coverage for my underside.

    The thin down jacket was too much. I will replace it with the down sleeves and utilize it with my down vest.

    I will bring additional bottle of alcohol for cooking. I ran out just in time and it was barely enough.

    I will skip bringing the radio. The reception was not optimal for enjoyment.

    I will definitely use the footprint under the hammock next time. I ran out of time to do so on this trip and it could have been better.

    I will probably bring different tent stakes. The variance of site choices makes me a bit nervous about my confidence to set up the tarp well.

    I wonder whether I could find a wider foam mattress than the Ridgerest.
    Last edited by brambor; 11-12-2012 at 10:25. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    BigLazy's Avatar
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    Looks like a great trip. The pictures were awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Member Borday's Avatar
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    Great pictures, I do miss the Maine woods in winter.
    I can levitate.......................................... .................................................. .................................................. .In my Hammock

  4. #4
    ... the odds be 50-50 G.G.'s Avatar
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    Great trip. I wish the whites were closer.

    Nothing like Dachstein's.

    How do you like the Stephenson's?
    Last edited by G.G.; 11-11-2012 at 21:12.

  5. #5
    Senior Member brambor's Avatar
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    Stephenson VB clothes are all about function. They work well...they look like crap ...;-)

    But I have had them for over 10 years, their sleeping bags and their tents even longer. If you accept the fact.that there is no customer service then their stuff is great. :-)


    Quote Originally Posted by G.G. View Post
    Great trip. I wish the whites closer.

    Nothing like Dachstein's.

    How do you like the Stephenson's?
    Stealth camping is all fun and games until you have to take a dump.

  6. #6
    mbiraman's Avatar
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    Beautiful winter scene. Nice write up. I like it when there's enough snow to be beautiful but not enough to put snowshoes on,,,i like that too but with 6" you can travel faster.
    -Tarp stakes in winter. One thing you can do is break off a branch 1'-2' long. Bury it in the snow where you want it and pack snow on it but DON'T put tension on the tarp line yet. Leave them for about 20mins to half an hr and then tension your tarp lines. Works very well because the snow sets up and prevents the branch from pilling out.
    -Wood stove. If it looks like your going into an area where dry wood might be doubtful take a baggie with a couple of handfuls of dry little finger size sticks and some birch bark if you have BB in your area. Once the stoves going well you can put damp branch wood from the trees in the stove. There's been a couple of times where dry wood was almost impossible so a handful of dry wood was a good thing.

    Question; does trader joes milk work for warmer temps like in the 40's-50's.

    Thanks for the great pics

    bill
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

    “The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” ~Wayne Dyer

    www.birchsidecustomwoodwork.com

  7. #7
    Senior Member brambor's Avatar
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    It is a condensed milk. It is thick and sweetened . The opposite is a concern. In cold temperatures it could become too thick to flow. In warm temps it will be fine. It won't spoil easily. The sugar conserves it.

    Last edited by brambor; 11-11-2012 at 20:19.
    Stealth camping is all fun and games until you have to take a dump.

  8. #8
    2ply's Avatar
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    Great pictures! Love the snow covered mountains.
    Everyone ought to believe in something....I believe I'll go set up the hammock!

  9. #9
    Senior Member GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pictures and write-up. I used to live in the area, have done the summit on Moosilauke via the Gorge Brook trail myself. It was where I saw rime ice for the first time, looks like you had a bit of it up there yourself.
    Freaky!
    Grizz
    (alias ProfessorHammock on youtube)

  10. #10
    Senior Member MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Stunning stunning stunning!

    Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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