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Alive - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Sep. 3rd, 2005

04:20 pm - Alive

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The hike was awesome and I am alive.

45 hours, 20 miles, 1 bear, 3 meals, a gallon and a half of water, 40 pounds of pack weight, 2 pounds of boots, 2 pounds of other people's trash picked up and hiked out, 12 downed trees, 2 peaks (Government Peak 950' climb from M-107, Escarpment 460' climb from Big Carp River), 3 campfires, 2 campsites, no rain.

Things forgotten: soap (I cleaned my dishes with boiling water and hoped for the best), eating utensils (I used the battery cover from my cell phone as a spoon).

Things run out of: water (I thought the Big Carp River trail would have plenty of streams to refill at but sadly the part of the trail I was hiking was all high ground far above the river, I rationed what I had, skipped breakfast, and didn't run out until about 5 miles from the car), moleskin (next time break in brand new boots before hiking 20 miles, my ankles are just gigantic sores now).

Most amazing moment: reaching the campsite at the top of the Escarpment on the Big Carp River Trail (before Lake of the Clouds) last night and after the grueling switchbacks seeing the whole panorama of the entire state park open up before me with the sun just over the ridge, both lakes and the Big Carp River valley in view. I just started laughing at the awesomeness of it.

Things missed: Stars. The first night was very cloudy and the second night I was too exhausted to wait for it to get dark before going to sleep.

The whole thing was AMAZING. I saw so many different kinds of terrain/ecosystems. I really put my body and mind on the right track. I got a lot of thinking and much more importantly NOT thinking done. I learned a lot about backpacking so I'll be more prepared to have EVEN MORE fun next time. I'm recharged and ready to rock the world.

I'll write much more about this and post pictures (from this and from the fest) later. Right now it's time to get some grub. I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm alive with no incidents.

Pack contents (40 pounds): Kelty Teton 2 tent, MSR SuperFly stove with 7.8 oz Primus Butane/Propane bottle, Sweetwater Microfilter, Backpackers' Cache, 2 D-Cell Maglite, Plastic Backpack Trowel, High Peak E-Z Pak 1000 sleeping bag, Thermarest Prolite 4 sleeping pad, Sea to Summit silk sleeping bag liner, Thermarest Neck Pillow, Sea to Summit Sn240 Pack Cover, Leatherman Wave, Coghlan's Emergency Drinking Water Germicidal Tablets, Suunto MCA compass, Canon Powershot SD400 digital camera, Gregory Forester backpack, Keen Newport Sandals, Carhartt Insulated Waterproof Steel Toe Workboots (on my feet), Ecotopia Emerging, Porcupine Mountains Companion (4th ed), an aluminum no-stick camping pot, 4 dehydrated meals (huevos rancheros, chilli, fettucini alfredo with turkey, organic southwestern couscous), 5 power bars, rope, 2 ponchos, emergency blanket, duct tape, aloe, lipbalm, vitamins, pain killer, sunglasses, first aid kit, head mounted LED light, zip-lock baggies, 3 large garbage bags, cell phone with 2 batteries, emergency LED strobe, toothbrush with cover, water proof matches with case, cough drops, wallet, nail clippers, moleskin, platypus style water bladder, 2 34 oz bottles of water, 3 t-shirts, 3 pairs underwear, 5 pairs socks, flannel pants, 3 bandanas, 1 pair blue jeans, long sleeve shirt, flannel shirt (all clothing listed includes stuff worn on body), non-climbing non-load-bearing carabiner clip, metal emergency whistle, 3 maps, back country camping permit, car keys.

Comments:

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From:malone
Date:September 3rd, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC)
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"Things missed:" Bringing Lady Malone with you.

Sounds amazing!
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From:skywind8
Date:September 3rd, 2005 09:56 pm (UTC)
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Excellent.
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From:soulsong
Date:September 3rd, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
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I know what you mean about the shoes - I made that mistake once as well. Never again. Always break the shoes in BEFORE the long hike ;-)
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From:wespennest
Date:September 3rd, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC)
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Well, using the battery cover is one way to go ultralight :) Clever, though!

I read a suggestion in a magazine a while back that suggested an alternative to moleskin: the little foam bumpers at the bottom of a spindle of CDRs. I haven't yet tried them, but it sounds plausible in theory.

Now, with the water tablets, did you find that they gave the water an unpleasant taste? I'm wondering if I should get the tablets and also pack some emergen-c to battle the taste, or deal with the space issues of a filter.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:September 4th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC)
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I only had the tablets as a backup in case my filter failed. I didn't use them. I used them a long time ago when I was in Boy Scouts and they did give a funny taste to the water but I was so dehydrated at the time that I didn't care. They're really only for emergencies, if you drink too much water with them over too short a period you'll get poisoning from them. The filter I got is very light weight and very small and proved very effective. I wouldn't use the tablets as a filter replacement, just as an emergency measure against filter breakdown.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:September 4th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
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Oh and as for the CD spindle thing, I don't use moleskin like that. I take whole pieces of it (no hole) and tape right over the popped blister. It works excellently for short term relief. It's like adding back the missing layer of skin. I only (always) ever get blisters on the back of my ankles and they always pop very quickly so at that point what I need is just something to get me through the day or two it takes to get to a place where I can let them breath and heal.

When I ran out of moleskin I just grabbed some first-aid tape and covered the whole sore area with that. It didn't help much but it kept them from getting worse and made the last 5 miles of the hike bearable.
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From:ex_peacock902
Date:September 3rd, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
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wonderful..i need to go camping soon. it has been too long. i use dto backpack too. i also woke up with a bear in my face once on mt. graham (mt. graham has had some controversy)...so good for the soul. glad you had fun.
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From:jasunshine
Date:September 3rd, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Welcome back! M and I will have to try to make it to the fest next year.

Wow! You listed everything but the lint in the bottom of the pack...
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From:zarfmouse
Date:September 4th, 2005 12:30 am (UTC)
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The list was for my own future reference. I want to make sure a) I don't forget anything b) I think real hard about what I can leave behind because 40 pounds feels a lot heavier on the way up the peak than it does in the motel room.
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From:grammarwoman
Date:September 6th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
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At least you didn't have to carry it in your arms while it wiggled...says the mom of the 27-pound Emperor. *grin*

Glad to hear you're safe and sound, and fresh from an amazing journey.
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From:culfinglin
Date:September 4th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)

welcome back

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glad to hear you had a great time and are safe. :)
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From:hecateuse
Date:September 5th, 2005 02:46 am (UTC)

... 1 bear ... ?

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Glad you had a good time! Looking forward to more detail when you get a round toit.
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From:its_expected
Date:September 6th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)

whew

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whew, i saw the title of your post and i thought that maybe you had to cannibalize a soccer team at some point on your trip.
anyway, i've been thinking about doing some backcountry camping, and that sounds like a pretty cool place.
i notice that you DID see a bear. did you have to loft your pack at night? would they let you bring a pistol with (as a noisemaker---hey, you know, i've been hearing a lot about this 'grizzly man' movie...) i know that they do at a lot of places in Arizona, but then again they're all total gun nuts out there. still, i can't see ted nugent in living in a state where one couldn't bring their piece camping.
also what was the temperature avg./difference night to day?
last backcountry camping that i did i cut my pants (one of two pairs) into shorts and got a horrible sunburn on wed--85˚--, and it was snowing and COLD 30˚ish by saturday evening (and i'm the only one who packed long underwear HA!). NO ELEVATION CHANGE! that's the SD badlands in early april, i guess.
i usually like to get out for a bit longer, but it definitely sounds like this would be a good "long weekend" sort of trip.
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