Salutations Oh Ye Swayers......
The trip ended being 2 night and 3 days of Winter Wonder. Every year I realize that when breaking trail in powdery snow that the going is slow especially when toting your goods into the woods. Kurt Papke was an excellent hiking partner ... very strong and self-sufficient. I like that in a backpacker!
The wind was whipping off of Egge Lake when we pulled in there at around 3:30 so we stealthed up in the woods away from the lake and got into the shelter of trees. Nice to have hammocks for that. My hammock set-up was quick and easy with the straps and rings and biners on my DIY hammock. Kurt used the standard Hennessy knots and lashings and it looked easy for him and quick. Fired up the MSR Whisperlite stove and started making water ... good ol' HOT water! Cocoa Time! Slept in my REI 0º bag with full UQ, BA insulated pad and a blue CCF pad slipped into my SPE. Did not bring the wing pads for the SPE and I wish I had in retrospect. Slept warm and dreamy.
Woke earlyish but did not egress the hammock for some time. It was around -5º! Boiled water on my Mini-Atomic alky stove from Tinny at MiniBullDesign and had a hot breakfast from the hammock. Oh Glory!
Off to Camp two .... we backtracked and stopped back at my van to resupply for what we knew was going to be a dangerously cold night. I grabbed an second sleeping bag and more white gas. We were only about 15 minutes there. South now to Leskinen Creek. Trail was broken for a while then we had to break. It is so tiring and we switched off a lot. Kurt can break some trail with his long strides. Windy at campsite so again we headed up a ridge and found a sheltered spot. Heard the wind all night and trees cracking but we only got a wee bit of a breeze. Dinner was quick, a hasty cigar, boil tons of water for the night and morn', and start the crawling in process. I awoke a bit cold in the feet even though I was wearing down booties. Took them off and slipped the JRB Down Sleeves over my feet and that was an improvement! Slept pretty warm ... not cold ... fairly warm. Warm on bottom but if I ever go out this cold again in a hammock I would like to double up UQ's on the bottom. That would be bulky but ideal. The pulk sled worked well ..... on hiking out on day one it kept tipping over and I was cursing it. I stopped and did a looky-see and found that my beeners were both on the same harness hook. Gremlins!!! Once I corrected that all was good again. I did take my pack and put sleeping bags and down in it and wore it and the heavier stuff in the sled to lower the center of gravity. That is the way to go!
Morning was -27º and ....wow ....that is some kinda cold. Boiled enough water from the hammock for a hot cocoa on the mini-atomic and that got me up and out. Boil, boil boil. Hot grits, bacon, pop tarts, Whoppers, Kit Kat, coffee and banana chips. Smorgasbord of all things bad for you. Whoooo Buddy!
We decided to bag it and go on home .... we proved our point ... fun can be had although it is a strange sense of fun. Kurt took off and I followed ... stopped to do more video. It was hard to find as much time to film as it is so cold you end up doing the essentials to survive and keep your toes and fingers. Crucial....
got to the Van and of course .... dead battery! Popped the hood and within minutes a local named Joe saw us, drove by, turned around and came back and gave us a jump! THANKS JOE!!! ENDS UP THAT HE IS A HAMMOCK HANGER!! The world really is a great place.
*Do not scrimp on carrying EXTRA WHITE GAS!!!!!
*Have a back-up stove or plan for FAST BOILING
*Have EXTRA SOCKS AND GLOVES..... SERIOUSLY...
*You will not cover a lot of miles on snowshoes especially breaking trail in deep snow
*Take time to stop for a hot drink when you get cold hiking
*If your toes or hands are getting cold ... take care of the situation poste-haste.
* Winter in the Piney Woods is True Glory
Lots of Whoooo Buddies in this vid ... sorry... went nuts on that!
All secure and Frosty in Sector Seven......
Thankee for watching