Own two tarps. Both Spinn. MC Delux and WB Mamajamba. The MC & I have spent a few nights experiencing moderately high winds (+30mph) and driving rainstorms. Stayed dry. Have yet to use the BMJ under similar conditions. Picked it up for wet or colder season camping and the hopes of one day taking a trip to Molokai probably during the wet season. Previous trips to Maui we experienced rain almost every day. This was during April & into early May. Larger tarp for more dry living area more than for more dry sleeping room. If you have not yet considered the WB MJ take a look. The Spinn packs small for the size and is relatively light.
Curious about your work. Any published info regarding the bird survey? Many moons ago I was planning to either head to graduate school or what I ended up doing. Graduate studies would have been in population genetics/ornithology investigating migratory behavior & patterns of the Bald Eagle. Do you end up hauling water to most your base camps?
Last edited by koaloha05; 03-09-2011 at 15:27.
Bird surveys are typically only done as day trips these days, but there are a few more remote areas such as some of the upcoming maui transects where you might have to spend a couple nights on the transect. Nothing like the week or two in the field they did during the original surveys when they covered far more area and elevation. The first survey I helped with we had to bring 3 days of water, and I brought too much - somewhere between 6-9 liters, and my overloaded pack was killing me for the first couple of days. Gave away or poured out 2/3 of that water.
Maui Forest Birds put out a very vague report based on the 2009 volunteer survey: (a deliberately obfuscated version to discourage trespassing - we actually made detailed maps of survey detections and likely home ranges of each bird)
Originally Posted by koaloha05
My undetailed 2009 journal entry: http://www.pbase.com/bkrownd/20090918
My unfinished 2010 journal entry: http://www.pbase.com/bkrownd/waikamoi_2010
Finished the big island surveys last week and getting ready for the Hanawi NAR survey now...
Last edited by bkrownd; 03-21-2011 at 19:29.
Thanks for the links and sharing your info and photos.
I have a MacCat deluxe now, for my first real rainforest expedition. Rain, potentially heavy, and thunder is in the forecast. This time I hope to get some more interesting camp setup photos in the rainforest, instead of the usual cattle pastures. I haven't been able to put up the hammock in a REAL forest since 2006, and even that wasn't a difficult spot. Could be very challenging to find both an appropriate place to set up and places to tie everything off. Some of these forests are a mass of shrubby twiggy growth that you have to cut a tunnel through, and this area is very steep and highly eroded. 7600 feet to 3300 feet elevation in just 2.7 miles.
Here's a page with a spectacular image of the upper end of where I'll be in Hanawi NAR: http://www.hear.org/starr/images/ima...-2300&o=plants
Last edited by bkrownd; 03-30-2011 at 18:33.
This could get interesting....in all the wrong ways...
The first round of the East Maui forest bird survey was a great success. Despite the ominous forecast the weather was actually perfect. It was unusually dry for this area, never raining during daylight! This presented an unexpected problem - once again I wasn't challenged at all with my pack and hammock, or with any of my gear and food selection. We breezed through the transect in just 3 days. The terrain was a little gnarly, though all downhill. Squeezing through thick steep muddy rainforest with a tall 30-40 pound pack is an exersize in full-body hiking. Tunneling through scrub, crawling under tree buttresses, sideways under deadfall, on our butts and bellies over piles of deadfall, sliding down slopes, falling on our arses frequently.... I was even on elbows and knees to pull myself up a slick rock face on one waterfall climb.
I packed the right amount of water this time - 3 liters for 2 days, expecting to replenish via either rainfall or filtering from three "water" sources noted along the transect on our maps. I drank the last of my packed water before sleeping the second night and set up the catchment funnel on my tarp, but the expected thunderstorms didn't materialize. We filtered water from a tiny stream through our second camp that trickled at perhaps 1 liter per minute, but all other streams we encountered were dry. In drier weather even this stream might have failed to flow.
I brought vastly too much food again! I packed roughly 4 days of vitamins and energy-bar type food, labelled at about 2800 calories a day, and only consumed the equivalent of just 1 of these. I mostly ate jerky and string cheese, and managed to force down a couple bananas and 3 energy bars that I wasn't really hungry for. The pie-yogurt-brownie breakfast I ate before getting in the helicopter was probably powering me for the first couple of days. 3 days of food consumed: 8 string cheese sticks, 1 large jerky pouch, 2 Clif Builder's bars, 1 Tiger's Milk bar, 1 Judy's mixed nut brittle, 2 bananas, 3 5-Hour Energy shots, 3 Emergen-C packets, 2-3 tablespoons of Gatorade powder.
My pack was in the 30-40 pound range including water (forgot to weigh it) - say 35 pounds - which is near the graceful carrying capacity for the Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone, which is kind of like a glorified stuff sack on a fancy frame with straps. I also maxed out the useful volume, though it has an enormous vertical extension if you really want to use it. It's a bit narrow and tall for what I'm doing - a shorter and slightly fatter pack would be better in difficult terrain. I was always snagging the top of the bag on trunks and branches I was trying to duck under - I don't think the fabric ripped, though. It's also a bit flexy, so the load swings around a lot on your back in difficult terrain, whenever you go off-balance - leaning sideways, climbing, sliding, tripping, etc. Vertical climbs/drops involved a lot of anxiety with all that weight shifting around. The lack of outer pockets is a great annoyance. Interchangeable waist-belt is a plus - I installed a smaller size waist-belt last year and the pack was nicely snug this time, with minimal bouncing. I haven't used it much, so I can't say how durable the pack's frame is over time. One of the other surveyors also had the same pack and seemed to like it.
I wish I could make about 4-5 more trips down this transect to get all my planning, clothes, supplies and gear whittled down to the bare necessities. Opportunities to go on a real expedition in the wilderness are rare here.
Camp 1, 5500 feet elevation:
Our first camp site presented the first problem to solve: there was no open area to set up camp. The upper elevations of this rainforest are steeply sloped, and has no solid canopy so the ground level was choked with trees, shrubs and vegetation of all sorts. We searched the trail for over an hour to find a barely adequate site, and my big new tarp was somewhat of a handicap because of the cramped site. I set up my hammock on the trail itself because it was the only clear ground available, between the only two substantial trees available. I had to lean against the trunk of a sadleria tree-fern all night. The deeply eroded mud under the hammock didn't help matters - I was slipping everywhere. Things worked out fine, and the only rain of the trip streamed happily off my new tarp.
I quickly discovered that I had chosen the correct site. While setting up I noticed the only native snail I saw on the entire transect in one of the large ferns next to my hammock - a very good omen! Just after dark that night spiders came from everywhere and started trying to make their nightly webs on my gear and myself - my support-lines were a clumsy imitation of their efficient webwork. The next morning we had pretty much every bird species observed on the transect in the surrounding shrubbery and overhead trees, including at least one Maui parrotbill and a trio of 'akohekohe.
Takedown and re-packing the next morning was slow 2 hour process, with having to try to organize everything on the extremely uneven ground in the dark. Eventually we got going again.
Camp 2, 4400 feet elevation:
By the next night we had descended below the steep upper slopes of the mountainside, and were able to make camp on flatter terrain, under more complete canopy. We were fortunate to end the day at a frequently camped site, making setup far easier. There was even a gently flowing stream to replenish our water. (I had planned to use my tarp to catch rain in the expected storms that didn't materialize) Other good omens for this site were the first 'ohe mauka tree I saw on the transect and an unusually low elevation Maui parrotbill living in the area. We were also visited by pueo (owl) and ua'u (petrel) in the night. (...and pigs and a feral dog...)
I set up my hammock on the trail again, with far more room and a much greater selection of support trees. To minimize the amount of vegetation disturbance I chose what in retrospect was a very poor support tree. It was growing off an old deadfall trunk, so it sagged easily. I was also forced to hang the hammock low because of the slope of the ground and distance between the trees. By the time I noticed it was too late to rotate my entire setup 90 degrees to stronger trees. The flexy tree just held - by morning my butt had just reached the ground, but it was time to get up then anyhow.
I need to figure out how to hang my tarp higher - I had to spend hours stooped over under the tarp setting up and then packing up my camp, and it killed my back which was already sore from carrying the huge pack down the mountain for 2 days. There was a nice mossy streambed nearby to use for washing up, the burble of running water to get me to sleep, and it was generally a nice camp.
With the unusually dry weather we finished our last station on time (11AM) the 3rd day, and were immediately helicoptered out from our nearby landing zone.
Last edited by bkrownd; 04-10-2011 at 23:33.
I guess the photos might have shown up as password protected for some, since I linked them to a password protected gallery.
A couple more images of the landscape:
I still suck at setting up my tarp. I used the HH for the first time since March, and didn't make my tarp flat enough, so it hugged the hammock and I got condensation trapped inside with me the first night. Fortunately it was pretty dry, and I fixed it the next evening by tying each corner both down to the ground and up to something else. It doesn't help that I put up my hammock in the same spots every year, like the aviary in post #34, and get into a complacent routine.
I haven't backpacked to a camp or been somewhere new with the hammock since the previous post almost 3 years ago, but I'm recently thinking about doing a weekend guerilla camping expedition and seeing how minimal I can go. I'd have to switch back to the brown HH tarp for that, so the helicopters don't home in on my blue tarp as some sort of mayday beacon.
Anyhow, I've gotten lazy over the last couple of years. I need to come up with no more than 4 proper knots that I can reliably tie to set things up fast. I need to buy more figure 9's and some new tie-out gear. (surgical tubing tensioners on my tarp lines died after 2 years) I need to organize a bare minimum setup that's compact, fast and reliable. I need to do some bush camping to test all of it.
Last edited by bkrownd; 01-23-2014 at 14:09.
I love Hawaii, we spent 8 days in Oahu. We drove up to the north shore and I saw a lot of people camping close to the beach. I'm not sure if it was legal there but it was just woods.
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