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  1. #11
    Senior Member The Belgian's Avatar
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    Well I only have one bad experience; it is also what hooked me on winter hiking. It happen back in 1997 when a buddy who I had been 3 season hiking with for three years and I decided to test our grit with winter hiking. Even though we were ill equipped (cheap rain poncho was the extent of our rain/snow protection) we thought how tough could it be. We decided to do a back tracking trip on a section of the AT that runs boarder of NC and TN(Yellow Mt. shelter over Little Hump Mt. and Hump Mt down to Apple House shelter) one day across and one day back I believe the total mileage was 17 miles. We arrived at the Yellow Mt. shelter Friday night to a temp. of 28 degrees and just patches of snow here and there, we both slept great and stayed warm. Saturday morning we got up and headed across Little Hump and Hump Mt. since these two are bald the wind was quite fierce it was hard to walk without being blown sideways still there was only patches of snow. We made it to the Apple House shelter around 2:00pm plenty of time to gather firewood and sit back and talk about the dayís events. Around 5:30 two more people came and joined us they were headed out to 19E the next morning, they told us that rain was forecasted for lower elevations on Sunday. Well that got us concerned just a little by the time we got to bed the temp registered 38 degrees since we had came down in elevation from the night before. The next morning we woke to sleet hitting the metal roof on the shelter the other guys suggested that we hike out with them and that they would shuttle us over to our car, we respectfully declined. We ate a light breakfast and suited up in our rain ponchos took a temp reading of 36 degree. Well about half way up the backside of Doll Flats it turned to snow. As we made our way up Hump Mt the snow got deeper and the wind got stronger. Just as we were about to clear the wood line and head out into the bald section we decided to grab a bite to eat and drink of water, after that everything that could happen did. As we made our way over the first bald the snow ended up being around 18" of course we didnít own any gaiters at the time ďnot funĒ. The wind got so bad that the only way we could communicate was to stand shoulder to shoulder with are backs against the wind and yell back and forth. Of course we had water issues caps on our canteens froze to appoint that we were not able to open them. I checked my watch when we got in between Hump Mt. and Little Hump we tried to get water and food in us it was around 1:00pm, thatís when I notice as we stood there that we going into the first stages of hypothermia. Our speech was becoming slurred we could comprehend what each of us was saying it was even hard to put our thoughts to words. About five minutes later my buddy decided to sit down and started dozing in and out, still not all there myself I donít know if I was seeing things or not but there was a break in the clouds and everything got bright the sun was poking through the clouds and I kind of snapped out of it long a enough to see that my friend had fallen asleep. I realized that wasnít right so shook him awake and forced him to get up and keep moving as long as we were moving I thought we were okay. From the point when we took that break to when we got to the car everything was a blur. When we got the car of course I got it going and turned up the heat, as the car warmed up we changed into some dry cloths that we had left in the car. Just as the car started to warm up my legs locked up it felt just like a cramp shortly after it eased up. I donít remember none of the drive off the mountain, all I remember is pulling into McDonaldís parking lot to get something to eat.
    Sorry for the long story but in the end that trip is what hooked me into winter hiking.

  2. #12
    Senior Member eflat7's Avatar
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    Can't pinpoint one specific night, but sleeping wet, or cold, or hungry, or all 3 will definitely make on miserable.

    I have been hiking since I was a kid and have had many miserable nights. The one good thing about getting older, is getting wiser. The older I got, the more my trips improved.

    This can all be attributed to planning and experience. I know I could still get caught off guard, but luckily I mostly have comfortable trips.

    I came close on a solo motorcycle trip a year ago. Rained really hard and I forgot my rain clothes. Once I got to camp I had some drying out to do.

  3. #13
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    I've gotta get in on this one Sometimes you just gotta step away from the sewing machine and take a break...

    This is a miserable cold night story, but it was pretty funny. A few years ago on one of our annual Yosemite Valley trips my buddy and I made a quick push up El Cap. We ran out of water about 4 hours from the top in 105* heat but had to keep pushing on. By the time we reached the summit the sun was setting and we were too trashed to hike down in the dark so we had the "sorta planned" bivy we had hoped to avoid...

    We stumbled around for hours looking for run off or hidden bottles of water which people sometimes leave up there but couldn't find anything. So after eating the rest of our food with no water we pulled out our sleeping bag liners and emergency blankets for a cold miserable night. We made a fire and built up some rock walls but it was still shivery cold. Not much sleep was happening with the horrible cotton mouth we both had, the crinkling of the space blankets and the sheer over exhaustion...

    Then these two Spanish climbers show up staggering through the brush. The first guys yells "Halo, do you have any water?" and I reply in a stupor "no, do you have any water?" to which he responds, "no, do you have any water"...

    That went on for some time between me, my buddy and the two of them until we all very slowly realized we had no clue what we were talking about and were completely loony not to mention none of us had water... We laughed for a good 10 minutes which was followed by a group blank stare into the woods... What a night. Miserable when it was happening, but we survived and it sure seems funny now. Probably more to me, but I had to share.
    Evan Cabodi
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  4. #14
    New Member Jdubbery's Avatar
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    My coldest experience is somewhat different in that it was mostly on purpose. I was involved in a survival course, and the "final exam" was a 72 hour solo with a just a knife and a metalmatch. Temperature got down into the 30s at night, which wouldn't have been so bad except that all i had was a columbia jacket and a pair of quick dry pants. I built a shelter, used pine needles for duff (insulation), but it wasn't exactly a AHE New River... I didn't sleep much those 3 nights. Compound the cold with only eating cinquefoil, strawberry leaves, grass, rose berries, and stared at my empty snares... those were probably the longest nights of my life. Yelled a lot at the squirrels who stared at me and my snares all mirth-ily.

    Interestingly, I drank probably 6-8 liters of water a day, and my daily specific gravity (easy urine test to measure dehydration) was always barely high enough to not pull me out (it was a class, had to leave a urine sample every morning and night at my "mailbox").

    So that just tells you how much water you need to be drinking while you are out on the trail..
    For I know the plans I have for you, sayeth my wife.

    Money well spent is better than money not spent.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    Back in the early 70s I was hitchhiking across Wyoming. Evening fell and I found a grassy spot to lay my space blanket and Summer weight (best used in a livingroom) synthetic sleeping bag. It decided to get cold that night and I rolled into the SB like a burrito. At 08:00 the next day I rolled up and staggered on numb feet to a gas station to wash up (warm water...ahhhhh and ouch). The station gauge showed -17. It took hours for my hands and feet to get full feeling.
    Mark is the name and If there is more than one way to understand what I just said....I meant the good one.

    Earth First! We'll dirt bike ride the other planets later.

  6. #16
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackRock View Post
    The first guys yells "Halo, do you have any water?" and I reply in a stupor "no, do you have any water?" to which he responds, "no, do you have any water"...
    That's pretty good. I got a flash of that modern classic "Dude, Where's my Car?"

    Dude...

    Sweet...

    What's mine say?

    Dude.

    What's mine say?

    Sweet.

    What's mine say!

    Dude!

    What's mine say!

    Sweet!
    Love my JRB BMB

  7. #17
    Senior Member Cold Butt Stephen's Avatar
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    My worst night came on my first night of hammocking.

    I had not yet stumbled on the wealth of information here on HF and really didn't know anything about hammocks, but was just too cheap to buy a tent. So my buddy and I set out for the Shenandoah Valley for a nice 3 day hike. We're equipped with our hammocks, 15 degree bags and figure that, even if the temps drop below that, we'll just be a bit uncomfortable.

    We get to the park and find that it is closed for inclement weather (read:lots of snow), and we decide we are just going to have to hike the part of the AT that meets the entrance to the park. We are havin a good time and pitch our hammocks as night falls. We are using utility cord suspension, WM blue tarps and NO insulation underneath us. We didn't even bring pads. The temperatures dropped down to 9 degrees F that night with 25 mph winds (which makes for around -12*F windchill). I had not even thought about the fact that my insulation would all be compressed be the hammock.

    We felt stupid and cold and hiked out the next day. I think that chemical hand warmers were all that saved my thinly gloved hands and wet socked feet from frostbite.
    ------------------------------------------------------

    CBS (Cold Butt Stephen)

  8. #18
    samiam2714's Avatar
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    I only have one experience of being cold at night. But only a year later or even now do I realize what may have happened. I went on a camp out with one of my friends dad. He ran this camp thing with a bunch of kids around town. We went to Jackson lake. Had a blast all day. Smote and hot dogs for dinner the works. Scary stories after dinner. I was in my own tent with a sleeping bag never ment to sleep out side in. It was a really bad kamart bag for sleep overs indoors.

    I froze that night shivering to no ends I would have been better off abandoning my tent and sleeping next the fire. But I was only ten. Next day i told everyone how cold I was and no one had an extra bag. The dad offered me a spot in his tent. I was very independent and turned him down. Next night I was cold but not as cold as the night before I wore every piece of clothing I owned. when i go home I told my dad how cold I was and he couldnt believe my mom sent me off with that bag next trip same place and same tent but I had my dads 0* down bag warm and fun. Still offered a place in the tent with that guy. I said no I was warm and we ran off to do something else. Make pointy sticks or ride or mtn bikes somewhere.

    About a year later I come to find out that dad molested a girl in my class one of my best friends. I can only imagine what would have happened. *shudders*
    I blame all grammatical errors on the iPhone

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  9. #19
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Wow guys and gals, great posts! Some of them downright scary. There were some really close calls posted here, seems to me.
    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

  10. #20
    cataraftgirl's Avatar
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    How about something different? I'll tell you my dog's worst cold camping story.
    We always do a Memorial Day weekend float on the Snake River in Idaho with the doggies. You never know what kind of weather you'll get. Maybe nice, maybe cold & raining. Last year was cold & raining. My dog is a Mini Aussie. He has a big fluffy coat in the winter, but I always get him trimmed for summer (cooler dog, avoid big shedding event). Unfortunately I got him trimmed before the trip. So he was a naked, wet, cold pooch. We spent the weekend under the tarp in a cold drizzle. We had plenty of firewood, and a propane heater, but it was still cold. My friend & I were prepared with warm clothing, tents, and sleeping bags. Our dogs were pretty cold though. I have great video of my naked Aussie & his Lab wrapped up in our spare blankets, laying in our lounge lizard chairs, in front of the campfire. We gave them the comfy chairs and kept the fire going for them, while we sat in the crummy spare camp chairs. We sure love our doggies and I felt so guilty for "stealing" Tucker's fur coat. Of course he would hop out of his blanket in a flash whenever I picked up the frisbee. Even though it was a cold, wet trip, my friend and I had fun just kicking back, reading, playing cards, discussing life. Any time spent in the wilderness is time well spent.
    KJ

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