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  1. #1
    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    HELP winter planning: how do I know I can find water?

    Ok so I am just starting to plan my first multi day winter trek. I live in MD and will drive up to 3-4 hrs (any direction) to get to an AT trail head. I was thinking of starting at Greenbrier or Gathland State park (or mabey some where in VA) and doing two days in and two days out. But I am very open to suggestions on places to go (as well as friends coming along for the ride). My big concern is how do I plan/know if their is going to be water where I am hikeing? I know streams freeze and usual water sources arent around in the winter so what do I do? Is it as simple as luck (I dont want to leave water up to luck ) or just boiling enough snow for an entire day water supply (but what if no snow). Besides finding water im all set on gear and am excited about my first winter trek.

    Dates: 12/26 am. through 12/30 pm.
    Start: to be determined
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

    Hiking is'ent about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to hike in the rain.

  2. #2
    Yoda's Avatar
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    You could check on White Blaze for water availability in the area/s that you are planning to hike?
    Formerly known as "Cranky Bear"....

    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway

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  3. #3
    BrianWillan's Avatar
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    Bring an Axe

    Greetings

    Bring an axe or ice chisel and if you encounter a frozen stream, use it to break through the ice. It shouldn't be so thick that you can't cut a hole through it in a reasonable amount of time.

    Also keep in mind that ice is 90% water and 10% air whereas snow is 10% water and 90% air. So if you are going to melt anything, pick ice over snow.

    Have fun on your trip.

    Cheers

    Brian

  4. #4
    Senior Member NFA's Avatar
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    I go winter camping a couple of times each winter, and I always chop through the ice on a pond or lake or stream...the ice and water can be melted much more efficiently than trying to melt snow IMHO...I boil or treat the water, as running it through a filter at those temps can lead to broken filters/cartridges...even on a ridiculously cold night, the hole that I chop won't have frozen totally back by morning...normally just an inch or two.

    Jamie - nfa
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Raul Perez's Avatar
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    Everyone just about summed it up. Check the AT maps for local water sources. Check on whiteblaze for current conditions.

    Snow does take a bit more time to get the same amount of water out of ice. If you use an alcohol stove bring more fuel just in case you have to melt snow (took me 19 minutes to bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil) in 20* temps on a shake down last winter.

    Water filters will freeze over.


    Here's some additional notes from my overnight trip last year in 3*F Low temps:

    When snow is not abundant and temps are in the teens the ground is like cement. I'm going to try roofing nails as my tarp stakes this year to break through the ground.

    In 15*F temps once you obtain water from a stream after breaking the ice the water begins to freeze in your container almost instantly. Amazing and scary all at the same time.

    I made DIY canteen cozies and I only bring stainless steel canteens so I can toss them in the fire if the water freezes over.

    Good luck cleaning your mess kit in 10*F. I may just opt to have mountain house pouches for deep winter camping. Clean up is challenging AND my mess kit froze together with excess water in the kit. But a few bangs I got it sorted out.

    You can check out my video on my first overnight trek in the winter to see some of the challenges I had.

    Raul
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  6. #6
    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranky Bear View Post
    You could check on White Blaze for water availability in the area/s that you are planning to hike?
    HAHA I havent been on white blaze in so long I almost forgot about it, thanks Cranky, and to everyone else who offered up advice. I did not know that ice melts better then snow thanks guys. Ill check white blaze and ill make sure to bring plenty of fuel (I use a Bush buddy with MBA back up).
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

    Hiking is'ent about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to hike in the rain.

  7. #7
    Hooch's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be so quick to trust water advice on WhiteBlaze as your sole source of intel. This is what you'll get: "Well, I hiked that section last year and all sources were fine then.", which doesn't help you at all. Call or email the AT trail maintaining club for the section you want to hike in, they're the best source for up to date water info.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  8. #8
    Yoda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooch View Post
    Call or email the AT trail maintaining club for the section you want to hike in, they're the best source for up to date water info.
    Thats actually the best advise right there!!!! This would be the first thing to do!

    I completely forgot about calling them for the info!
    Formerly known as "Cranky Bear"....

    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway

    It's always best if your an early riser!

    I like hiking as it's like exercise!

    My Blog

  9. #9
    Senior Member animalcontrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raul Perez View Post
    Good luck cleaning your mess kit in 10*F.Raul
    IF you have snow, cleanup is a snap...
    a handful of snow in your pot or bowl acts like a scouring pad - scrub it out using the snow and voila, clean bowl! Just dont let your leftovers freeze!!

    If no snow, it gets trickier!
    "Every day is a new day to a better future"
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Raul Perez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by animalcontrol View Post
    IF you have snow, cleanup is a snap...
    a handful of snow in your pot or bowl acts like a scouring pad - scrub it out using the snow and voila, clean bowl! Just dont let your leftovers freeze!!

    If no snow, it gets trickier!
    The time I went was just a dusting of snow. Definitely made things interesting.
    "If you give a monkey a gun and he shoots someone, you dont blame the monkey"

    The end of the world is not coming in December, it is happening now in my living room. - TFC Rick

    http://watermonkey.net/

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