Another perfect day in Dolly Sods Wilderness

Another perfect day in Dolly Sods Wilderness
Taken just off the Red Creek Trail/Blackbird Knob Trail Junction

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fishin Trip with my Pa 2011

Had a very nice fishing trip with my Pa. The weather was kinda moody, but any time fishing with the best Pa ever is all good. We headed down to Stonecoal Lake in Lewis/Upshur Counties in WV (depends which end of the lake, which county you are in) with the plan to rent a cabin at Wisper Mountain Campground, but the place is so far out that we thought we might end up in Kentucky! So we turned around and figured out a plan B. Plan B was to sleep in the back of the truck at the Broken Wheel Campground on Skin Creek Road. Small, older, but decent place.

We caught a few fish, dodged a lot of rain drops and I actually can still cook! Critters seen: Tame, free-range rabbits at the campground, Momma whitetail deer, baby whitetail deer, Momma turkey and her babies, turkey vultures, crows, 2 beavers, a turtle and lots of dragonflies/damselflies. We had a thunderstorm surprise us Tuesday around noon, hated that. We packed up and headed home Wednesday morning. Nice trip. Stonecoal lake is a very pretty lake. It has a 10 horsepower outboard limit, so no speed boats/jetskis pissing you off. And the bonus is that there is no trash on the shoreline. If you like a peaceful and pretty fishing, sailboating, kayaking experience on a WV lake, then I recommend this one!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Field tryout of WBBB and Tarp Flyz

Well, I made it out this weekend to try out my new Warbonnet Blackbird 1.1 double hammock and the itty bitty Tarp Flyz. Conclusions: I like hammock hanging! I was comfortable and stayed warm using a Thermarest Ridgerest pad. It is pretty bulky, but does work. I slept pretty well.
The Tarp Flyz from Dutchware rock! They make hanging & adjusting a tarp very easy. It is pretty much a one-handed operation. If you use a tarp, you need these things. They are very tiny, about 1 inch by 3/4 inch. I think they are made of titanium. They do not have sharp points, that could tear a light-weight tarp or snag on stuff. I will try to put together a video on my next outing to demonstrate them.

I did not pick the best two trees to hang from as they were a bit too close together which made getting the right sag impossible. I decided to go with it anyway. I still slept well. I put the tarp over the hammock, just in case of rain before daylight and to block off any breezes. Using pads works, but they are very bulky to pack. I have decided to invest in an 3/4 length underquilt from (3-season phoenix rated to 15 degrees, 15.7 ounces, 50 x 45 inches). I will still have to use a short pad for my feet, but this should be way better. I will continue to use my Montbell UL spiral #3 sleeping bag as a top quilt for now; it worked well. I plan to use my hammock next weekend too. It does make finding places to camp much less problematic on holiday weekends, since I don't need a "perfect" spot.

Well, I sure hope everyone got out to experience one of the few nice weekends we have had for a while. I definitely had a very nice time hanging with a friend and then "hanging out" for the evening.

Oh, one last non-objective thought: I do not like the Coleman cilantro and lime rice and beans. It was easy to prepare, and would be enough for one person, but I personally did not like the flavor, since I do not consider heat to be a flavor (even though it was not that hot, there was really no other flavor). I only ate 3 or 4 spoonfuls, and then chucked it in the garbage can. Thank goodness for Clif Bars!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dutch hooks and Dutch Flyz

I have just comleted a purchase at, for Dutch Hooks and Dutch Flyz. These itty bitty, Ultralight weight "tools" should make setting up a tarp a lot easier. They look to be ingenious gadgets. I will see about putting a review up when I have had a chance to use them. Just click the title above if you want to check out Dutch's site and check out his assortment of very useful stuff.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Warbonnet Blackbird Hammock

Well, I received my new hammock on Friday and the weather cleared enough today to set up my new hammock. The hammock is the Warbonnet Blackbird 1.1 double with the webbing suspension. The hammock was ordered on Monday and received on Friday. Very speedy!
It arrived in good condition. All seams are nice and even, no ravels, no loose threads. Everything that was to be included was received in good condition. Included stuff: webbing suspension, Bishop sack for storage shockcord guy outs for the hammock. Not included: Caribeaners (I plan to use Dutch clips), but used some stainless steel biners for test set up. Biners are not necessary for set up, but they make set up faster and easier.

The color is charcoal gray which will blend into the woods well. I plan on using my old Campmor 8x10 tarp for now. I seems to provide adequate coverage. I am still figuring out what insulation to use. For now, I am using some taped together pieces of a Gossamer Gear 1/4 inch Thinlight pad along with a Montbell UL short pad (35"). I will take a few extra insulation pieces the first trip or two until I get the hang of hanging :). It will be nice to have a "chair" to sit in while camping. It seemed very comfortable. The foot box is nice. I think this will be a nice summer adventure.
Price paid $130 + $10 for priority mail shipping
Video Review on my Youtube channel (Click the title above and you will be taken to the youtube page: i hope :). But just in case:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Warbonnet Blackbird Hammock

Well, I have finally decided to purchase a hammock for backpacking. Have heard that you can't beat comfort. So, after much research and debate, I have decided to go with the Warbonnet Blackbird 1.1 double with the strap style suspension. I don't mind tying knots, but with the learning curve of hammock camping, I decided to keep the suspension simple. I will use my 8x10 silnylon Campmor tarp for now, but I hope to purchase a Cuben fiber tarp later.

I will put together a review on the tarp after I receive it and have a chance to set it up a few times.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Road Trip to Laurel Fork Wilderness in WV

I have never been to Laurel Fork Wilderness, so I decided to check the place out. It is a nice wilderness. Not a lot of loop hike possibilities, but what the heck, The campground is rather nice, but WAY out in the middle of nowheresville. I took another road out and eventually came to one of the roads up to Spruce Knob. The lake was still about 1/2 iced over, but folks were still trout fishing. I decided to head on up to the top, but decided that discretion is the better part of valor and turned around a ways from the top. The snow was still pretty deep but patchy. Since I had no one with me to push or to warn me of being too close to the edge of the road, I decided to turn around and backtrack out. On the backtrack, I had to stop for a Wood cock, known in these parts as a snipe. Very cool. All in all, I had a nice road trip.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I made a few more stuff sacks out of spinnaker cloth. I also got my yogurt made. I do believe it turned out quite well! This will mean a few less Plastic containers in land fills. Yeah!

I need a hike!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Toe update (what a mundane post this is): Toe much better; I do believe hiking shall go on as planned. Will have to bandage it every day and treat for fungal infection, like EVERY day for probably a year, but life is all good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daggone it, I went in messed up my toenail. It will probably come off in a few days.
I drug the kitchen door over top of my foot while letting my spaniel out on Friday morning. What a way to start the day. Sure do hurt. I definitely hope this will not mess up the hiking year. I will find a way to get out at any rate: A Kountry girl will survive :)

I have also decided to attempt to make my own yogurt. I really hate the recycle places around these parts will not take the yogurt containers (#5 plastics), so I decided to make my own yogurt.
I will let everyone know how this works out.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

SPoT 2 unit

Shoot, I almost forgot that I finally decided to replace my old Spot unit with one of the newer ones.
It is certainly smaller and more compact. In some road use, it seems to work much better than the older one. So far it has a 100% send rate, while the old one was more like 75 to 80%.
The new one actually does let you know how it is working: It has indicator lights to let you know if you actually have a GPS fix or not, whether the messages actually did send or not and you do not have sit and stare at 2 blinking lights for 20 minutes. So far, I like it.

Okay, I have used the SPoT 2 unit on a road trip (March 21, 2011), once again with a 100% send rate. The trip covered lots of mountains, valleys, forest service roads, a rather remote campground and at the top of West Virginia (Spruce Knob). I am definitely liking this SPoT unit much better than the old one. I will continue this discussion later, on another post, after I have had an opportunity to take it on a hike, which I hope will be next weekend (first weekend in April)

Spring fever!

The warm weather has me thinking about Spring hiking. I hope to sneak out in March this year; I have never done a March B-pack trip. I hope to get at least 20 "bag nights" this year (defined as hiking at least 1 mile, setting up camp and exploring).

Today's gear project was to make a spinnaker stuff sack for the Backpackinglight Stealth Tarp. This was a good project to use up some scrap material. The sack weighs 8 grams including drawcord and mini cord lock.

I will be using a Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack for trips this year (size small). I am hoping that I can get all my gear and a 9 pound food bag in it for our annual Section Connection Appalachian Trail hike. I am shooting to keep my total pack weight (gear, food, fuel, water) for that first "stepping on the trail day" at around 20 pounds. If Ole Ma Nature is cooperative, I should be able to do it.

I am hoping to put together a picture or video review for the GG Gorilla pack and a few other gear items this year. Good hiking everyone!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Playing with my base pack weight

I believe I can get my base pack weight down to 8 pounds or less for 2 season (mid-spring to early Autumn in the middle Appalachians) backpacking trips. Check out Z Packs web site!
General gear list with approx weights:
Pack (Zpacks blast 26 with carbon fiber stays, top lid, etc) total weight 11.55 ounces
8x10 Cuben Fiber Tarp with 12 tieouts (z-packs) total weight 6 ounces
cuben fiber pack cover size medium weight 1.1 ounces
cuben fiber ground cloth 3.4 ounces
assorted cuben fiber stuff sacks (includes large food bag, medium + for sleeping bag, 2 medium for misc and clothes and a smaller one) total weight 1.57 ounces
30 degree down bag at a weight of 19 ounces
Neoair short sleeping pad at a weight of 10 ounces
Cook set at 10 ounces
Miscellaneous stuff at 10 ounces
Misc/water stuff/other stuff 10 ounces
Ribz Front pack at 10 ounce
Clothing weight (should cover most any weather) weight 46 ounces
SPoT Unit 6 ounces
Camera 6 ounces (optional)
This comes out to about 9 pounds total base weight, no suffering, no starving.
Add in a quart of water at 2 pounds and a 5 pound food bag and I should be around 17 pounds or so.

Okay, the only problem is cost. Cuben fiber is EXPENSIVE! I expect the cost for the cuben fiber stuff would be around $800 to $1000.
My base weight is between 9 and 14 pounds now, depending on the expected weather and trip length.

Still, if you are trying to reduce your pack weight, be sure and check out Z-packs, Gossamer Gear, Backpacking light, Six Moon Designs and don't forget about home made gear!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ah winter

I don't really hate winter, I just like it less. The Jeep Patriot is performing well and the gas mileage is not too bad for a 4x4. I have completed a few of my winter gear projects: Made some windscreens, made some cone-shaped windscreen/pot supports for my Heineken pot and Fosters pot, finally made a lid for my MSR Ti cup, made 2 super cat stoves.