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  1. #1
    Member Gilwell Beaver's Avatar
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    Froze Toes Hike/Camp trip - Providence Canyon, GA

    I have just returned from a great camping/backpacking trip with the Troop to the Providence Canyon State Park in SW GA – in between Lumpkin and Eufala, AL. We arrived about 2000 local time Friday night and setup camp – the boys largely used their Eureka Timberline tents, while I and the SPL set up our Hennessy Hammocks. It rained intermittently as we set up, and stayed cloudy with spitting rain throughout the night. Temps the first night dipped into the 40’s, and the 4-season shelter worked well with the Explorer Zip and the modified US Army mummy bag that I use for a TQ. I use the Hennessy Monsoon tarp. The SPL used a CCF Wal-Mart pad and a Coleman 20* sleeping bag with the stock tarp for his Hennessy Expedition bottom entry. We spent a nice night, got up early and packed up, and headed out through the canyons. After touring the canyons, we hit the backcountry trail to make our second night’s camp. Weather was forecast to get windy and cold, and it certainly did that! High temps during the day’s hike never topped 50 according to my personal thermometer, and by 1500 were dropping. We had lunch on the trail and after a short 3.7 mile hike and a nice climb up to the top of a ridge, slightly down the back of it and up to top another, we found our camp. We passed up the first campsite atop the first ridge because although it was nicely situated, it was small and dominated by a shelter. While the shelter was someone’s Eagle project, the boys pooh-poohed the idea of setting up underneath a shelter, preferring instead to camp like “real Scouts,” a decision they might have regretted later that night. The second campsite was absolutely fantastic. Large space for setup, plenty of trees to hang from, a cairn of stones set up high to make a fire ring that was protected from the wind – all in all, a near-perfect site. Of course, it was on top of a ridge, so the wind ripped over and through the site without mercy. The boys sited their A-frame tents facing into the prevailing winds so that the vestibules could be closed against the wind and the tents would stay stable. After some though, I angled my hammock and tarp so that I was neither cross-wise to the wind nor long-wise into it, thinking that making my tarp a funnel for the wind was not the best idea. I hung the tarp nearly to the ground with the hammock right up against the tarp ridgeline. The SPL hung his hammock in a similar orientation, climbed in for a minute, then decided that he was sleeping in a tent that night since the wind cut right through everything and his stock tarp offered no protection. By that point the wind was getting icy. We cooked our dinners, (mine was Gorge Rat Hash, thanks, HawkEye!) gathered round the fire for a short bit, hung bear bags well down the trail from camp, and went to bed early. I managed to avoid CBS (a Thermarest Z-Lite pad helped) but my feet were ice-cold all night despite staying in the footbox and two pair of wool socks.

    I lost my thermometer somewhere along the trail, so I don’t know how cold it got that night, but I know that all the water bottles froze almost solid, though the hydration bladder stuffed into my pack only got slushy. Breaking ice out of a Camelback bottle to melt for coffee in the morning was an interesting experience; the view from atop the ridge as the sun came up and the mist hung in the valley made up for it a thousandfold.

    Lessons learned:

    1) Scouts will over pack. A caveat to this; they will over pack food, snacks, and useless things. They will fail to pack warm clothes, gloves, extra socks. One scout brought 8 liter bottles of Smart Water!
    2) Boots that you hiked in all day will not dry out overnight. When the temperature drops below freezing, this moisture will be VERY cold.
    3) Let Gorge Rat Hash sit in the cozy for a full 15-20 minutes, NO MATTER HOW HUNGRY YOU ARE. The taste is the same, but crunchy beans and chewy meat may not be to everyone’s liking.
    4) If you want to capture a boy’s excitement for the outdoors, backpacking, and hiking – a short, overnighter to a beautiful location is the best way to do it. The hike was not too long, the hill was challenging but not too high, and every single Scout was asking before we got back to Florida when we were doing a trip like this again! Not to mention, three of them wanted to know where the SPL and I got our hammocks from!!

    I only wish my UQ and TQ from HammockGear had arrived in time for this trip – perhaps my toes might not have been so cold! It would have been the perfect outing for their first run! Ah well, when they do arrive, it will be sweet indeed whatever the temperature.

    Hope you enjoyed the trip report; any suggestions on how to improve these will be welcome!


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Funny Money's Avatar
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    Sounds fun - I like "Little Grand Canyon".

    Were your socks snug? Were they the same socks you hike in? If so that's probably at least PART of the problem.


    I bring a slightly loose, wool or fleece pair just for sleeping. Was fine Saturday night @ 27*F in my Golite Ultra20.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Meriadoc's Avatar
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    Nice write up! Way to bring the joys of the backcountry to the scouts.

    For we clueless folk, what is a "SPL"?

    Have you tried a small pad under your feet? Or down booties?
    "Not all those who wander are lost."
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  4. #4
    Senior Member SteelerNation's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great trip. I have hiked the little grand canyon a number of times but have not camped there yet. Maybe need to give it a go

    I agree with the separate socks, and I believe that an SPL is a Senior Patrol Leader.

    SN
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  5. #5
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Nice report!
    Try putting your jacket or vest over your footbox at night.....I do and it really helps keep my feet good. Normally my warmest body part.
    Shug

    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
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  6. #6
    Member Gilwell Beaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    Nice report!
    Try putting your jacket or vest over your footbox at night.....I do and it really helps keep my feet good. Normally my warmest body part.
    Shug
    Thanks, Shug! I let out a "Wooo, Buddy!" as I crested the first ridge just to hear it echo off the trees - I didn't forget you and all your good advice in the piney woods!

    And now, I have more good advice to try out - thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc View Post
    Nice write up! Way to bring the joys of the backcountry to the scouts.

    For we clueless folk, what is a "SPL"?

    Have you tried a small pad under your feet? Or down booties?
    I'll have to consider the down booties. And an SPL is Senior Patrol Leader - that's the boy that usually works the hardest, though ideally the Patrol Leaders should do most of the work.



    Quote Originally Posted by Funny Money View Post
    Sounds fun - I like "Little Grand Canyon".

    Were your socks snug? Were they the same socks you hike in? If so that's probably at least PART of the problem.


    I bring a slightly loose, wool or fleece pair just for sleeping. Was fine Saturday night @ 27*F in my Golite Ultra20.
    They were a different pair of socks, but they were snug. I'll have to look at getting a loose pair for sleep socks. That seems a little counter-intuitive to me but I'm willing to try anything - cold feet are miserable.

    Thanks for the advice!
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    But now I've finished Beavering, I don't know what to do
    I'm growing old and feeble, and I can Beaver no more
    So I'm going to work my ticket if I can!

    S487-132

  7. #7
    Cali's Avatar
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    Great trip report, and I will have to backpack that area. Yes, cold feet are no fun. I got a pair of down booties (thanks to REI sale $10), and I bought a pair off a member here, and have been using them and love them. My feet stay toasty warm. I got a mild case of frost bite on my feet while in the Army and do all I can to keep them warm now.
    Happy Hangin!!!


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  8. #8
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    OldScout, I really enjoyed reading this trip report, it made me nostalgic. I grew up all over GA, but the largest # of years were spent in Columbus and Blakely, and 1 year in Bainbridge. When I was in the later 2 towns, most of our family were still in Columbus so lots of time was spent driving back and forth on Hwy 27 right past your canyon. Then as a young adult going to college in Columbus, I had a pretty little girl friend living right near Lumpkin. I would drive way down tere to pick her up for dates, back to Columbus for the date, then back to Lumpkin to get her back home.

    Never occurred to me to hike that area, but now I want to!

    I also just enjoyed reading about your first winter hammock trip along with your scouts. And, when you say "the 4 season system", is that the HH Supershelter? Looks like you did OK not only in freezing conditions, but with the added stress of high winds! I don't know if you were aware of it, but if you were indeed in the HHSS, you were probably benefiting greatly from the HH Undercover blocking much of the wind that was still getting past your tarp, if any. In fact, that might have been the difference between you and SPL, who- though set up in similar orientation to you, quickly decided he wanted no part of that wind!

    Hate to hear your feet froze. The 2 pairs of socks might have been a tad tight. Seems like even minor constriction can give folks cold feet. The down booties that were recommended can be a great help. As can the use of- with any UQ or any non-pad system- a leg pad. Did you have a sit pad with you anyway? A small piece of WM or any CCF in the foot box of your quilt or just under your bag can be a big boost, and it is hardly noticeable even in the hammock. Finally, consider just one pair of really loose socks ( or any kind of booties) over some Stephenson Warm light vapor barrier liner socks. ( or even bread sacks- but over thin liner socks) Those are little foot ovens for me.

    Great report from the land of my youth!
    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

  9. #9
    richtorfla's Avatar
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    Nice report. Also nice that you have some hearty scouts who like to get out and venture! I can testify that tight socks give me cold feet. I bought some of the sierra designs down booties and this was my ticket to heaven with the cold feet. They worked for me. The green (BSA) thorlos hiking sock they sell in the scout shops are a nice hiking sock and they are a "loose" design. You might want to try a pair of those out as well. Also like others have said changing to a pair of bedtime socks helps a lot. I can a test to that too. Shugs idea is the best. I put my fleece jacket over the end of my footbox on my sleeping bag but haven't got to try it over the hammock.

  10. #10
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    Did you guys camp at site 5 on the back country trail? We camped there a few weeks ago....great spot but there was alot of trash there that we packed out.

    Glad you guys had fun!
    When life gets you down......make an underquilt!

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