Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nights 88 and 89

Hi and welcome back!

First off, I would like to tell you the answer to Friday's trivia question. The answer is Aconcagua!  Aconcagua is located in Argentina, and it is 22,837 feet high.

I know I've mentioned that the tree frogs sometimes keep me awake at night.  Yesterday we took some video (audio doesn't post for some reason) so you can hear what they sound like. It's posted at the bottom.  They go like this ALL night.

Unfortunately, my little brother J has not slept out with me yet. He was hanging out in the tent with me yesterday afternoon, and he was all excited to stay in the tent last night, but mom decided that he should wait until it's a little warmer.

J Hanging Out
Even though J didn't sleep out, Maisy did! She was much calmer than she was before, because I took one of her bones out with us.  She was either chewing on that or curled up at the foot of my sleeping bag the whole night.

Today dad and I hiked at dusk, and it was raining harder than we realized. I stayed dry and dad got wet, even though only the front of my jacket is waterproof, and his whole soft shell is water repellant. We had especially good times up the hill (9:39 for dad, and 10:28 for me).

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Night 87

Hi and welcome back!

Today I was unable to hike with my dad, so Maisy and I went together before soccer practice.  For one of the first times, she actually listened to me! We left the house at about 4:00, and our time up was 11:35.

My favorite backpack for longer hikes is an REI Flash 18, which lets you take out the foam sheet that's used for padding so you can use it as a sitting pad.  I put the pad in my CamelBak, along with Eiger Dreams, which I read for about 15 minutes up on the top of the hill.  It was a lot of fun, and I want to do it more often!

Right now my sister has two friends sleeping over, and my little brother (he's almost four) is hanging out with them, so it might be hard to get him outside.  He says he is still planning to sleep outside, though.

This week's trivia question is about another one of the Seven Summits.  What is the highest peak in South America?  I'll give you a few letters to get you started: A - - - - a - - a.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nights 85 and 86

Hi and welcome back!

I had trouble sleeping on Tuesday night because there are tree frogs at the pond that were really loud. There were also coyotes howling up on the hill. Tomorrow I am going to take a video of the pond so you can hear the frogs.

On Wednesday, my dad and I had an especially slow hike for some reason with a time of about 15 minutes.

Last night, I again had a hard time sleeping because of tree frogs and geese instead of coyotes.

This morning after that we had a time of about 12 minutes, my dad and I saw that both the sun and the moon were up at the same time which I thought was pretty neat.

Tomorrow, my dad, my brother and I are all going to sleep out, so I'll be giving you some live updates from the tent.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Night 84

Hi and welcome back!

Last night I woke up during the night, and not knowing what time it was I went to the house. I saw my dad sitting on the couch working on his laptop, which told me it was not about 5:00 am like I thought. I asked him what time it was, and he told me that it was 1:00 a.m. After that I went back out to the tent and fell back asleep.

My dad had a meeting at 3:30 today, and it was about an hour and half away, so just Maisy and I hiked this afternoon. She ran away from me about half way up the hill, and I assumed that she would find me eventually so I didn't try to catch her. My time up was about 12:15. I didn't see Maisy for the rest of my hike, which made me worried, but when I got home she was already inside.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Night 83

Hi and welcome back!

Last night my mom actually slept in the tent with me!  I decided that for my post tonight I would ask her a few questions about it.

1) Were you comfortable overnight?

I was more comfortable than I thought I would be, but I was cold, and I woke up with a stiff back and a sinus headache.

2) How did you feel at first about sleeping out?

I was excited to spend some time with my first born, but although I love the outdoors, I've never really enjoyed sleeping outside.

3) Did you wake up at all?

I woke up about 1:15 a.m. and was awake for probably 20 minutes.  But then I didn't wake up again until about 5:45, when freezing rain and snow were hitting the tent.

4) Were you warm enough?

Even though I was wearing a Capilene base layer (top and bottom), yoga pants, a hoodie sweatshirt, and heavy wool socks, and I was in the 20 degree bag with a flannel-lined bag over top of me as a blanket...I was cold, yes.

5)  Was there anything that surprised you about sleeping out?

I thought this tent would be more like the Polaris, but you're very exposed to the elements, and it doesn't provide any warmth whatsoever.

6) What was your favorite part?

When you and I were laughing uncontrollably at Maisy running in and out of the tent.  The funniest part was when we thought she brought a dead mouse into the tent, but it was just a pine cone.

7) What was your least favorite part?

Being cold and feeling a little claustrophobic.

8) Would you sleep out again?

Ask me again when it's warmer.


Dad and I hiked up the hill a little before dinnertime tonight, and we had a good time to the top (about 12:15).  We never did get any snow, so I guess that's about it for winter.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Night 82

Hi and welcome back!

No Fly
Since dad and I took the fly off the tent last night, it was a tiny bit colder than it would have been with the fly. It was nice to be able to look up and see the sky and moon. There's a picture at the right to show you what the tent looks like without the fly. It doesn't hold any heat in this way, that's for sure.

Today I found out that the reason I saw the Easter Bunny walking up the hill was because it was hiding Easter eggs for an egg hunt that was part of the bazaar.

When we hiked today, our time was pretty much blown, because Maisy was NOT listening.  I did time how long we were looking for her instead of sticking to the trail, so we knew about how much time to subtract to get the correct time.  Our time was about 14:10 after we subtracted the time spent searching.

Tonight mom is definitely sleeping out, so you can count on hearing about it tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Night 81

Hi and welcome back!

Mt. Vinson in Antarctica
The answer to yesterday's trivia question is Antarctica! Mt. Vinson was first climbed in 1966, it is in the Sentinel Range, and it is named after U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson. It is also one of the Seven Summits, which are the highest mountains on each of the continents. So far I've mentioned two of the other summits in my trivia questions (Mt. Everest and Mt. Denali). The other four will appear in trivia questions over the next few weeks.

We're still expecting a storm here starting tomorrow night. My mom told me a long time ago that she would sleep out around her birthday, which is Tuesday, and she thinks she will probably do it Sunday or Monday night, which will be in the middle of the storm.  We'll see if she does.

This afternoon I went for a hike with Maisy.  A nearby church was having an Easter bazaar, and I saw someone dressed as the Easter Bunny exiting the church and walking up a hill near the pond.  Maisy started barking at it, but thankfully I don't think the person heard.

When dad and I hiked again this evening, there were a few minutes when Maisy wasn't listening and she was chasing a rabbit (a real one) in the woods.  This time, though, she came back after a minute, so we didn't have to go get her.  We had a pretty good time up to the top of the hill (12:15).

When we got back from the hike, I decided to take the fly off the tent, because it was a clear evening, and I wanted to look at the stars a little bit.  Also because I'll definitely be cooped up in the tent with the fly zipped tight the next few nights when it's snowing.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Night 80

Hi and welcome back!

Last night it was about 20 degrees with some light wind. I woke up this morning at 5:00, but it was pitch black and I didn't have a watch with me so I didn't go inside even though I couldn't sleep. I stayed in the tent until my mom took Maisy out and happened to hear me coughing. She told me what time it was and said I should come inside and take some cough medicine.

Mount Vinson (16,050')
Today Maisy wasn't listening once we entered the woods, and she ran off.  We spent about five minutes trying to find her.  We think she was eating something, so she wasn't coming when we called her.  Since we spent so much time trying to find Maisy, we didn't have time to go all the way up the hill.  We will make up for that tomorrow.

We might have to put the Polaris back up over the weekend, because on Monday we might get a big noreaster that could dump up to a foot of snow on us.

Here's this week's trivia question: on what continent is Mount Vinson located?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Night 79

Hi and welcome back!

First, I want to say thanks to Kevin at his blog "see Kevin go" for mentioning me in this post on February 26.  He lives in Kansas and he said a lot of nice things about me and my project.  If you have some time, make sure to check him out.

Two Woodpecker Holes
Even though it was in the high 20s overnight, and my dad was in a 20 degree sleeping bag, he was complaining about being cold just before sunrise. He thinks it was because he was up against the side of the tent.  I think it was because he's soft.

Somehow he convinced me not to hike in the morning, which I knew we would regret.  It's just too easy to stay in a warm sleeping bag on a cold morning.  After school we hiked up the hill, and I had a time of 13:30.  His time was 13:45 because he stopped to take some pictures.  So I actually didn't regret hiking later in the day, because we had fun.  Plus, the sun was up, and I was able to stay warm in just a base layer shirt and no coat.

We shot some video this afternoon of Maisy.  She's still being really good about staying close when she's off the leash, but you can see from this that sometimes she comes to us only when she wants to. I think she's a slave to her nose.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Night 78

Hi and welcome back!

Sunrise on the First Day of Spring
Last night it was in the mid twenties. When I went out to the tent it was very windy--when Maisy came out to wake us up a little before 6:00, the stake that tightens the vestibule had been pulled out of the ground by the wind.

When my dad and I hiked this morning it was about thirty degrees out.  Our time up was about 13:15 which was pretty good, because I had a really bad cough.

Since today is the first day of spring,
I hope from now on the nights will be
warmer, making it easier to sleep out.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Night 77

Hi and welcome back!

8:00 a.m.
Last night when I went out to the tent it was in the high twenties and snowing. My dad came out around 1:00 and said that we had about 2 inches of snow, so I was surprised that I hadn't woken up to the tent collapsing.

When I woke up this morning, my dad told me that I had a two hour delay because of the snow (which was at least three inches deep with a thin coating of ice on it). We didn't end up hiking until about 8:30. Because of the snow and ice, we had a hard time hiking, which resulted in a time of about 19:45.

5:00 p.m.
When I got home from school today, I saw that almost all of the snow had melted because it had been sunny and in the high forties for part of the day.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Night 76

Hi and welcome back!

Last night, I expected to wake up hot because I was in a 20 degree sleeping bag and it was supposed to be around 30 degrees. Thankfully, overnight it dropped into the low-twenties so I didn't have to worry about moving from one bag to another (which is never fun).

This morning when my mom woke me up, I noticed that I had a pretty bad cold. Since I wasn't feeling 100% my dad and I took it easy on our hike and we still got a time of about 13:45 up.

Tonight we're supposed to get a significant amount of snow and some freezing rain so I'll get to see how my tent holds up against that.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Night 75!

Hi and welcome back!

First, welcome the new viewer from Ukraine, and I'm glad to see that someone keeps coming back from Portugal, Germany, Canada, and a few other places, too!

Maisy in the Morning
Last night my dad brought Maisy out to the tent, and she kept us up for at least half an hour, because she was jumping around and licking our faces. We kept trying to get her to settle down in one of our sleeping bags, because it was pretty cold, but she was too hyper.  When we woke up, Maisy was gone. One of the doors was open, and she fit under the fly, because it wasn't zipped too tight.  We yelled for her, and she came bolting back into the tent.

No leash!
This morning we tried hiking with Maisy off the leash.  She has never been off the leash (other than when she runs away), so we were surprised that she never went much more than 15 feet away from us! I think she will have a lot more fun hiking now, because she won't be pulling at the end of the leash the whole time.

Our time up the hill was about 13 minutes, which was good, since I had 16 pounds in my backpack, and there was some snow on the ground.

This afternoon my family went climbing with some of our friends (including C-Man, TS, ER, and a few others I might have mentioned before) at a climbing gym nearby. It was a lot more crowded than it usually is when my dad and I go, which meant we had to wait to climb a lot of the time, but it was still a lot of fun.  We all did some top roping and a little bouldering.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nights 73 and 74

Hi and welcome back!

I wanted to post last night, but I was skiing with one of the teachers from my school and didn't get home until almost 10:00.  By then I had a bit of a fever, and while I was waiting for some tylenol to kick in, I laid down on the sofa and tried not to fall asleep.  I went out to the tent about 10:15.

The last two nights have been somewhat colder than it's been lately, but still warmer than it was in late January.  Last night I fell asleep reading with my headlamp on, and when my dad came out around 1:00 he turned it off.

Maisy Coming In

Getting Ready to Hike
This morning Maisy woke us up by running into the tent, jumping around, and licking us.  We're planning to take her out to the tent tonight to sleep.

When we hiked today (at about 5:00 p.m.) there was at least an inch of snow, and it was still coming down.  Our time up was about 16 minutes.  It was slippery on the way down, because it was very wet snow.

Thanks for reading!
Snow in the Valley

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Night 72

Hi and welcome back!

Last night when I fell asleep it was in the high thirties so I slept in the 40 degree sleeping bag. This morning I woke up cold at about 5:00 so I moved to the 20 degree sleeping bag that I had with me but about 30 minutes later I woke up even colder than I had been had been in the 40 degree bag. Thankfully about 5:55 my dad came out and told me that it was time to hike which allowed me to get up and get warm.

Today there were very high winds and when I got home from school my dad told me that he had to stake down my tent again because it had been upside down in the wind and held down by only one stake.

If you would like to take a tour of my tent, click play on the video to the right of this paragraph!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Night 71

Hi and welcome back!

When I went out to the tent last night I noticed a very shallow puddle in the front of the tent. So my pillow wouldn't get wet I put the extra Ridge Rest that I had out with me over the water. It fit in the front of the tent perfectly and it didn't allow any water to get on anything.

This morning it was 35 degrees out with no wind when my dad and I hiked. On our way up we heard an owl in the distance that might have been the one that we sometimes hear at night. We had a pretty good time up of 12:40.

I'm sorry that I haven't had to many pictures of my hikes in my posts lately, but because of the daylight savings time all of them have been have been just about pitch black.  Here's what I mean:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Night 70

Hi and welcome back!

When I fell asleep last night, it was just cloudy but when my dad came out at 1:30 it was pouring which was surprising because I had no idea that it was going to even drizzle overnight. I was worried that everything might get wet because nothing on the tent was guyed out, but thankfully the only thing that got wet was my sleeping bag which was barely damp.

By this morning, the pouring rain had dropped to a light rain which was good because I couldn't find any waterproof jackets. It was only 50 degrees so I decided to just wear a non-cotton baselayer. Our time up was about 13:45 which is okay. I was amazed when we got back because I was dry even though I had nothing waterproof on except for my gaiters.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nights 68 and 69

Hi and welcome back!

Yesterday my dad and I didn't hike in the morning, and because of the nice weather I went on a hike with my mom and Maisy. My time up was 11:45.  On the hike, we saw these little white puffs floating in the air.  My mom said it might be milkweed, and we were able to track it down.  She was right!

The Milkweed I Found with Mom
I went a little ahead of my mom once we got to the hill, and she passed me when I was on the top. She was going to keep hiking along the ridge, so I decided to descend alone.  I thought that I heard Maisy barking, but I wasn't certain so I didn't turn around. I later found out that she was barking at a white tailed deer.  Mom recorded audio of her, but we weren't able to upload it.

I went for a second hike with my little brother and my dad late yesterday afternoon.  When we were going up, I thought I was just ahead of them, but once I got to the top I noticed that they were nowhere on the trail.  When I came down, I saw them across the field at the pond.  My time up on my second hike was 9:50.

Last night I slept in the 40 degree bag.  I was hot at first, but I woke up when it was still dark out and I was freezing.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any other sleeping bags with me, because my dad wasn't coming out to sleep in the tent, and it wasn't supposed to get any colder than 35.  I ended up lying awake for about 15 minutes because of the cold before my dad came out to wake me up at 6:30.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Night 67

Hi and welcome back!

The answer to yesterday's trivia question is Alaska!  The peak's name is Mount McKinley, also known as Mount Denali.  Its height is 20,320' above sea level.  It was named after President William McKinley, and it was known as Denali "The High One" by the Athabaskans.

Mount McKinley (Denali)

Last night, expecting wind again, I wore a down jacket to bed instead of a fleece.  And instead of a hat I wore a balaclava, because on Thursday night my hat kept falling off, which made me cold.  There was no wind when I went out, and through the night there was no more than a light breeze, so I slept without any interruptions until 5:30 this morning.

Today I actually got to the top of the hill before dad did (12:15 was my time, and 12:40 was his).  It actually took us less time to walk up than it did to walk down.  I think it was because we were talking the whole way down.

I didn't post earlier today because I was with my friend T.S. and his neighbor, climbing in the woods near their houses. It was a lot of fun, but it was also very tiring.  We spent at least two hours in the woods, and I'm exhausted.

I can't forget to tell my sister E.M.C congratulations.  At the state gymnastics championships today she won the uneven bars and got fourth all-around!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Night 66

Hi and welcome back!

Last night it was extremely windy, and I forgot to guy out the front of the tent, which let the fly be blown up about 3 inches above the floor. I then had a hard time sleeping, because this let the strong winds and blowing snow get in the tent and in my sleeping bag.

Snow in the Valley
I was cold in the first place, but once the wind went down my back I felt almost as if I was going to freeze solid. My dad came out at about 5:30 to wake me up, but little did he know that I had been awake for the past 20 minutes.  I don't keep a watch in the tent, and I didn't want to go inside because I was so cold only to learn that it was only 3:00 in the morning.

My dad and I had windy and cold hike today. Once we got up in the woods there was no wind whatsoever which was surprising, because it was blowing at about 15 miles per hour at our house. Our time of 13 minutes 45 seconds was not the best, but I had an excuse because when the winds got fast I stopped and leaned on my trekking pole for a couple of seconds to wait them out.

LRC Hiking in New Snow
A few wet days ago I tried out my new Outdoor Research Verglas gaiters.  Gaiters are coverings for your lower legs that keep dirt and/or snow out of your boots and are water and at parts abrasion resistant.

You would wear gaiters when there's snow on the ground or when the ground is wet or muddy.  Another time that you would wear them is when you have crampons on, so you don't shred your pants.

I really like these gaiters, because you can adjust them so they get really small.  For example, mine are an adult small, and I can adjust them so they fit perfectly.  I also like them because the part that covers my inner leg is Cordura, which is an extra tough material to protect me in case a crampon might hit me.

Here's today's trivia question: In what state is the highest point in North America?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Nights 64 and 65

Hi and welcome back!

Welcome to the new reader from Venezuela!

Sunset while Skiing
Tuesday night it was very windy, and I had a hard time sleeping because of it.   We were supposed to get at least 2" of snow, but when I woke up I was surprised, because there wasn't even a dusting.

Last night was a bit warmer (around 30 degrees), and we heard the owls yet again.  I heard two, but dad thought he heard at least three at one point about 3:00 in the morning.

Today I went skiing again, and the conditions were not good.  Instead of staying later, we came home early.  That's why I was able to post tonight.

It's 37 degrees outside, and I'm about to go to the tent.  I think I'm going to sleep in the double 20 degree bags.  We'll see how that works!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Night 63

Hi and welcome back!

The answer to the question from yesterday's post is Tenzing Norgay. Tenzing was born around May 29, 1914 in Nepal and died on May 9, 1986 in India. In 1996 his son Jamling summited Everest with Ed Viesturs.

Tenzing on the Summit, 1953
It was in the mid twenties last night. I slept in the 20 degree degree sleeping bag, which was perfect inside of the Alps Mountaineering Zephyr in stead of the Polaris. Since its fly isn't too tight, it was flapping around in the wind, which kept me (and dad) up for quite a bit of time.

This morning it was in the high twenties when we hiked. My dad and I both wore too many layers, so on our way up the hill we unzipped our jackets and were freezing on our way down, so we zipped them all the way up again. Our time was 12 and a half minutes, which is pretty good.

We are expecting a pretty bad snowstorm tonight and tomorrow.  I hope it doesn't amount to too much and make the tent collapse under the weight of the snow.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Night 62

Hi and welcome back!

Before I forget, welcome to the new readers from Mozambique, Italy, and Portugal!

Overnight last night it was around 20 degrees. When I went out to the tent it was windy, and that wind kept up all night. At around 2:00 in the morning my dad came out with a sleeping bag and said that we should zip the two 20 degree bags together.  We did, even though I thought we would be hot in them, but when we I woke up I was warm but not overheated.

My dad and I went for an extra early hike at 5:30 this morning. When we left it was 25 degrees ambient temperature with 15 mile per hour winds that dropped the windchill to 13 degrees. Our time up today was about 13 minutes, which is definitely not our best.

Today when I got home from school I saw that the tent had somehow come unstaked and been blown over 150 feet across the yard! Since spring is coming I decided this was a perfect opportunity to put the 3-season tent back up.

Because this year is the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest, I decided to have a trivia question about it. What was the name of the Sherpa that summited with Edmund Hillary?

Edmund Hillary (right, before he was SIR Edmund) and _____ in 1953
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Night 61

Hi and welcome back!

Last night it was around 30 degrees, so instead of sleeping in the 40 degree sleeping bag (which I probably would have frozen in) I slept in the 20 degree North Face bag. I was glad that I switched sleeping bags, because I was perfect in the 20 degree one.

My dad and I didn't hike this morning because he was leaving at 6:00 in the morning to go to my sister's gymnastics competition. My grandparents watched my brother and me today, so I went on a hike with my grandpa and Maisy.  We did not go the whole way up the hill but just around the field, because my grandpa his having a hip replacement in a little over a week.

As soon as my dad got home we went for a hike. We figured out that our hike is .52 miles up and 1.04 miles round trip. We had a time today of 12 minutes and 45 seconds which is good but not nearly as good as yesterday.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Night 60

Hi and welcome back!
LRC Ready to Drop in on Widow Maker Last Night

Last night was colder than Thursday night but still sort of warm (low thirties). I fell asleep while I was reading Eiger Dreams with my headlamp still on as bright as it could get. I woke up at about 5:00 this morning and saw that the headlamp was still on and was surprised that its batteries had not died yet.  On that setting it's supposed to last 8 hours, but these are still the original batteries (I got it for Christmas), I've used it almost every night, and it's still going!

I slept in today so my dad and I didn't hike in the morning. Maisy was getting antsy this afternoon so I took her for a hike. As usual I timed myself, and I had a time of 8:38 minutes up. This time was not only a personal best but the best between my dad and me. [Dad says he has to see this in person before he will believe it.]

I hiked again with my dad after dinner.  We were trying to have a sub-12 minute time today and ended up with times of 10:15 (dad) and 10:40 (me).

Today my dad downloaded an app on his phone called Theodolite that gives you your elevation, GPS coordinates, the percent grade of a given slope, and lots of other things.  Theodolites are tools used for surveying (dad didn't know that), and it's amazing to think that an iPod or iPhone can do the same work...for just $3.99!

Antique Theodolite
Theodolite App Screen Shot

We found out that when we hike we gain about 375 vertical feet between home and the top of the hill.  It will be fun to take it on other hikes and see how they compare.

Thank for reading!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Night 59-end of month 2

Hi and welcome back!

The Christmas trees
It was very warm in the tent last night (about 40). Since it was so warm I decided to sleep in a 40 degree Slumberjack sleeping bag. At first it was perfect, but overnight I got cold and the only other sleeping bag that I had in the tent was the -20 so I just stayed in the 40 degree bag. When I woke up I noticed that my wool socks had come off during the night and that I could barely feel my feet they were so cold.

The field
Not too much happened on our hike today except there was a thin layer of snow covering the ground which was weird because there was no snow at our house. Our time today was 14 minutes up and 28 minutes round trip.

Thanks for reading - I'm off to ski!