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The Next Step!

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The Next Step!

Post by Phillip Gross on February 8th 2014, 10:12 am

We've got the next two camps planned out, rain or shine!

Our next trip will be to another plot of private hunting land that one of our commanders has access to. This time the land is a larger plot allowing us to meander around and simulate a longer hike to camp. The boys did pretty well on the last trip with bringing all of their own items including food, but the hike to camp was a short one (you could spot the trucks through the woods if you tried). We learned a few things that worked and didn't work for backpacking even with that camp. Weather wise, it was perfect for a cold weather camp and let the boys know what they could handle. Trekking wise, it wasn't much different than a car camp because of the closeness of the vehicles. There were a couple of needed trips back to the trucks for things forgotten here and there.

This next trip will enable us to see how it is to travel 1/2 mile or more with packs. It will also have a good chance of being cold in mid-March, but the biggest obstacle will most likely be the wind. Have I mentioned that I really don't like March?? I don't mind the cold if I'm well prepared, but it seems like wind creates a whole new problem. For one, fires aren't safe or realistic in windy conditions. So this one will most likely be a cold campsite. That's not such a horrible thing either since there are lots of places that I've seen that forbid campfires. Just another layer of training and equipment testing with no fire to pick up the slack of inadequate clothing.

If I call the January camp a backpacking practice, and the March camp a dress rehearsal, then our camp in April will be a live show! (February was too short and filled too much to squeeze one in) We'll be heading up for a three day two night trip to Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area. We'll be likely to face cold nights in the mountains in April, so these first two camps should have everyone prepared. What we won't have been prepared for yet is the mountainous terrain over which we'll be trekking. These first two camps are down in the lowcountry area of SC which is all but devoid of hills.

The hiking reports I've read claim that the actual rock can be hiked to and from with a simple overnight, but I'm giving us more time to make sure the whole group can do well. If the hike to the rock is honestly fine for all then we'll use the extra time to explore, but I feel like the extra time will be necessary. We've planned this particular trip during the kids Easter break so we can leave Thursday morning and return Saturday evening.

Looking forward to expanding our backpacking experience!
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Re: The Next Step!

Post by Mark Jones on February 8th 2014, 10:33 am

Sounds to me you guys are going to have a great time. Well thought out and working up to it. Good job Commander.

Did you guys get any pictures? We have a bulletin board in our Ranger Annex. it's about 12 foot long 5 foot tall on the wall. Full of pictures from events and outings... Folks will stand and look for quite a while there.

The fire can be had. Bring in a small shovel and make a trench fire. A bean hole fire works great as well. Around here digging holes is hard so we don't use those very often. Most of the time when it's windy we find a wind block down in a lower area or just behind a clift or even with rocks or fallen trees. You can put up a tarp to block some of it.

We rarely have no burn orders. If that's the case we would stay home in cold months. Fire makes it warm and friendly. No fire and I would rather stay home. GRIN. With the biolight stove.. I will always have fire and enough heat for 5 friends to hang out around.

Mark Jones
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Re: The Next Step!

Post by Claymore on February 8th 2014, 1:32 pm

In the Military, our Detachment used Century Grasshopper Stoves.  The stove weighed less than a pound (not including the Propane Bottle).  It made almost no noise, had very little light signature, and it would boil a canteen cup of water in about 3 minutes.  Also, it didn't leave black smoke all over the bottom of your cooking utensils.

Century no longer makes the "Grasshopper", but they have some great single-burner stoves starting at $21.00 and 2-burner models starting at $52.00.

Grasshoppers can still be found on ebay.

If folks are cooking their own food, you only need 1 burner per about 3 people.

Also, if you are a "Do-It-Yourselfer", there is an attachment that allows you to refill the small "backpack" propane bottles off of a 5 gallon tank.

By the way, the Grasshopper was so handy that, when we went Family Camping, the Wife would immediately pull it out and use it for a "third burner" for making coffee & boiling water, while she used the Coleman gas-stove for cooking with pots & pans.

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