Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nights 147 and 148

Hi and welcome back!

We had a wet night on Tuesday.  When I got in the tent I thought the top looked like it was sagging a little bit. After a couple of minutes I decided to push up on it. I then found out that there was so much rainwater on it that it made parts of the tent sag! Nothing came inside, though.

Yesterday my dad, my brother J--, and I hiked over to the graveyard behind the church near our house. J-- enjoyed listening to my dad reading what some of the headstones said. I don't think he really understood the whole thing, though.

Everest in 1963
Yesterday also marked the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's first summit of Mount Everest! In honor of the anniversary, a Russian BASE jumper named Valery Rozov parachuted from 7,220m up on the north ridge. You can see the video here.

BASE Jump from Everest
Today was my 4th grade field trip, and we spent the day at an Amish farm near Lancaster.  I took a picture of the goat area, where there was a sign that said "Mt. Goaterest."

Mt. Goaterest
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nights 145 and 146

Hi and welcome back!

Welcome to the new viewer from Belgium!

On Sunday night I took a walkie-talkie out to the tent with me. Around 1:30 in the morning I heard it crackle to life so I picked it up. I listened to it for a couple of seconds and then realized that it was not my dad trying to talk to me but someone out there with the same brand walkie-talkie as me. That freaked me out for a little bit, but then I forgot about it and fell asleep.

Hiking with Maisy Sunday Evening
Yesterday dad and I hiked to the pond, and I showed him how I was pumping water from the pond to the puddle for the tadpoles. He thought I was really smart until I got thirsty and squirted some water from the filter into my mouth...without thinking that it was drawing water from a muddy corner of the pond.

This evening when we hiked there was some fog coming down over the hill out back. I thought it was especially cool the way the fog made the field look like a completely different place.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nights 143 and 144

Hi and welcome back!

Bivvy Gear
On Friday night I bivouacked once again. This time I slept in a SOL emergency bivvy instead of just on the ground. Inside of it I put a Sea To Summit Reactor Extreme Thermolite Liner.  You can see how small these are in the picture.

The bivvy is supposed to be windproof, but halfway through the night the wind picked up and it went straight through the bivvy and liner. Thankfully I had the 40 degree bag with me, so I stuffed it in between the liner and bivvy to block the wind.

Yesterday when my dad and I hiked, we found out that the grass around the pond had been cut and the tractor had driven straight through the puddles where the tadpoles lived, turning them into small strips of mud and water. We were able to get more water into the puddles and clear out the mud so they became puddles again.

Today my dad and I took down the tent to let everything air out. When we were clearing everything out I found a big spider on one of the RidgeRests. We got it out of the tent, and my dad took a picture as it crawled across the toe of his shoe. It was at least 2 or 3x the size of the other spiders I've had in the tent.

Fly-Only Pitch
I tried to set the tent up as a fly-only, but it didn't work. I need to get the footprint for the tent (the footprint is the protective floor that goes under the tent) before I try again.

Maisy and I hiked to the pond again this afternoon, and I took my dad's water filter. The tubes that the water goes through are long enough that I could put the water "in" tube in the pond and the water "out" tube in the puddles and then pump the filter to transfer water faster and more efficiently than just scooping water out with the plastic bowl we were using before.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Nights 141 and 142

Hi and welcome back!

First, welcome to the new readers from Qatar, Panama, and Ukraine!

On Wednesday I found out that the spider on my pocket knife was actually the shed skin of a spider. I could tell this because it was brittle, opaque, and had a slit through the back.

Yesterday when I hiked I had to look for Maisy, because she ran away about 30 minutes before I left the house. I was unable to find her, but then my dad heard her barking just as the rain was starting.  He found her a few hundred yards from the house soaking wet and pretty scared. She was so ready to go home she didn't even hike with him when he went last night!

The thunderstorm we had last night turned out to be a pretty bad one.  I was expecting it to hit around 9:45, but thankfully it went just south of us. The radar on my dad's phone had it as dark red, which signals that it's a severe storm.  We had some strong winds and rain, but the lightning missed us.  Here's some audio that really lets you hear the rain.

[This is LRC's dad wrapping up. We went for our hike around the field after he typed up the beginning of this post, but he decided mid-hike to stop and bivouac rather than come inside and finish up. I should have known something was up when he spent 10 minutes stuffing all sorts of gear (including a headlamp and book) into his pack before we left...

When I left him he was unrolling his bivy sack and sleeping pad out in the field. He asked me to post this, and he said to tell you he promises to write again tomorrow.]

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nights 139 and 140

Hi and welcome back!

While my dad and I were hiking yesterday, a rabbit ran right up the path in front of us.  Even though Maisy is a beagle, and she should be able to smell rabbits from a mile away, it took her about 30 seconds to realize it had been there. Once she did, she went crazy. You can see in the video.

Last night when I went out to the tent I saw there was a yellow jacket flying around AND a large spider on its back on my sleeping bag. I shooed the spider outside and left the tent door open until the yellow jacket finally flew out. I didn't think I could sleep knowing it was in there with me.

Dad and I checked out the tadpoles again today. They seem to be doing OK. We put a bit more water in the puddle, because it has been pretty warm and there was no rain today.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nights 137 and 138

Hi and welcome back!

First I would like to welcome the new viewers from Hungary, Dominican Republic, and Turkey. Lately I have been wondering about who is reading in some of the new countries.  I would enjoy it if you would comment to tell me about who you are!

On Saturday night I fell asleep while reading again, but thankfully I had turned off my headlamp prior to falling asleep.

Yesterday when my dad and I hiked we had to go through 2 and a half foot-tall grass that was wet from the rain we got earlier in the day. It was terrible because I was wet up to above my waist and my dad was wet to his thighs.

Today when we hiked we saw a ton of swallows at the pond. My dad took a video of them when they were swooping down to the surface of the pond. You can see one fly right toward the camera toward the end of the video.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nights 135 and 136

Hi and welcome back!

The Moose's Tooth - West Ridge Route
First, I have to tell you that a few minutes ago I got an email from Mark Smiley!  I exchanged some emails with him in December after my dad and I saw him speak at the Philadelphia Reel Rock 7 film festival.  He and his wife are in Denali National Park right now, and tomorrow they hope to start their climb of the west ridge of the Moose's Tooth.

Mark and his wife are also in the middle of completing the 50 classic climbs of North America.  You have to go check out their website and read about their project.

I had a lot of trouble sleeping on Thursday night because it was really warm out (at least 70 degrees). I ended up unzipping the 40 degree bag and sleeping underneath it, which was only a tiny bit better than sleeping in it.

Clean at Last
Also on Thursday night my dad and I heard some kind of animal down near the pond calling to another one. It kept us up for about 10 minutes. While it was calling my dad tried to record a couple of seconds of it, but when we listened to it later we could barely hear it. I didn't think it was a big deal, but dad thought it was creepy.

Last night I fell asleep with my headlamp on. When I woke up this morning it was still on which is good because now I don't have to replace the batteries!

Self Portrait
Today my mom FINALLY washed my hat. While she was putting on the clothes line to dry she took a picture of it to text to my dad. In the text she said that it was "nasty no more."

For those of you that are wondering what I look like, I am going to post a caricature of myself that I had to make for art class a few weeks ago.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Nights 133 and 134

Hi and welcome back!

Wednesday morning just Maisy and I hiked. I just had a short sleeve shirt and as soon as I started hiking I was freezing because I didn't realize how cold out it was, since I was in a warm sleeping bag overnight.

Thursday morning I woke up cold around 3:00 a.m., but the only other bag that I had with me was the newer 20 degree one that would definitely be overkill, so I just toughed it out for the next 3 hours.

While we were hiking Thursday, a groundhog that was about 2 feet long ran right in front of Maisy and me. Maisy almost dislocated my shoulder because of how hard she pulled on her leash while the groundhog was running. Luckily I was able to hang on to her.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nights 131 and 132

Hi and welcome back!

Yesterday I found out I had over 1,900 hits and viewers from 7 new countries on Sunday! Those countries were Vietnam, Philippines, New Zealand, Argentina, Netherlands, Japan, and the Czech Republic.

We saw from the comments that a website called the Muir Project put a link to this blog on their Facebook page.  Thanks to their link, I finally passed 10,000 total hits today!

The Pond this Evening
On Sunday night I had trouble sleeping, because of these two mockingbirds outside of my tent. They went on for a good 45 minutes.

On our hike yesterday my dad and I took 2 tupperware containers with us so that we could move the tadpoles from the puddle to the pond. This ended up being a lot harder than we thought it would be because most of the tadpoles would go to the other end of the puddle and we would end up with a container full of mud. But we were able to get some into a container that we brought home so we can watch them.

Actually, one of the commenters yesterday said they are probably toads. I'll let you know what they turn into.

Last night it was 27 degrees out, which is a lot colder than has been for the last month or so.  Since it was so cold out last night I woke up around 2:00 in the morning freezing, and I moved to the older 20 degree bag which has not been used for a while.

Today dad and I hiked up around the hill and down to the pond. We added water to the puddle where the tadpoles are living, since we haven't had rain for a few days.

I know I've told you all about Maisy, but we have another beagle, too. Her name is Clover and she will be 14 this fall. She doesn't hike much anymore, but she joined us today so we took a picture of her.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nights 129 and 130

Hi, welcome back and happy mother's day!

Last night instead of sleeping in the tent I bivouacked on the hill. "Bivouac" is a French word that means "a temporary camp without tents or cover." I just rolled out my sleeping pad and bag and slept without anything waterproof on me, so thankfully it didn't rain overnight. Maisy slept with me so I rigged up a chest harness that had her leash attached to me. That way she wouldn't run away. I slept well through the night until Maisy literally pulled me out of my sleeping bag at 5:15 in the morning. 

Today just Maisy and I hiked in the morning. Halfway through the hike we found a leaf that was more than a foot long and smelled horrible. I couldn't tell what kind of leaf it was, so I carried it home. I asked my dad if he knew what it was, and he had no idea.

This afternoon I hiked again with my dad and Maisy. We didn't go all the way up the hill, but because I lost my headlamp when I was sleeping last night, we went up through the trees to look for it. We couldn't find it. When I was taking my sleeping bag out to the tent, though, I found it at the bottom of my bag! That was a big relief.

Saving Tadpoles
When we got to the pond we saw that there are still a lot of tadpoles in the puddle. Some of them have worked their way across the little breaks between the puddles and gotten closer to the waterfall that will put them in the creek, but I'm worried that the puddles may dry up before they all make the trip.

I scooped some of them up and put them in the pond, but dad and I are going to take a cup or something tomorrow and try to get the rest of them.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Don't forget the Great American Backyard Campout is just a little more than a month away. I'm going to set up an email address so you can tell me about your plans to camp out and then send pictures after the big day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nights 127 and 128

Hi and welcome back!

Yesterday my dad checked the stats for the blog and noticed that over 250 people had visited in just 24 hours. That's a lot more than we usually get, and then we had comments from two people in LA, and one of them said she saw my blog on the REI Facebook page! Welcome to the new readers who came here from Facebook--especially Michelle's friend. Tell me about your plans to camp out in June!

Mount Whitney - Taken by Galen Rowell
Another commenter, Rohan, said he's getting ready to climb Mt. Whitney again in a few days! Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the continental United States (14,505'), and I definitely want to climb it some day. Rohan, you need to comment and tell us how the climb goes!

Galen Rowell

This picture of Mt. Whitney was taken by Galen Rowell.  He was a mountaineer who photographed everything from the Sierra Nevada mountains in California to the Karakoram in Pakistan. My grandfather once took a photography course with him, and he has an autographed book of his. He was killed in a plane crash (Galen Rowell, not my grandfather) a month before I was born in 2002.

We had a big thunderstorm on Wednesday night. At first I was a little scared, because the thunder was really loud, but eventually I started to like it a little bit. The thunder and lightning stopped around 8:00, but the rain kept up all night. The tent held up really well. There wasn't a single leak all night.

It was raining when dad and I hiked tonight. By the time we were halfway up the hill, both of us were soaked, because we only had shell jackets on, not pants. It was a little better once we got in the woods, except it was hard to stay on the trail because it was so dark.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Night 126

Hi and welcome back!

When I woke up this morning I felt a bump on the back of my head, which I realized was a tick. For the rest of the day I felt like there were ticks on me. It was not a good feeling.

Dark Skies
Today just Maisy and I hiked, and instead of going to the pond we went all of the way up the hill. When we got into the woods I felt like I was someplace other than the woods, because everything was so green. Once we were on top I saw that there is now an "R" along with the double "L" on the tree. Mom must have been up there recently.

Right now we're in the middle of a really bad thunderstorm. Mom is trying to convince me to stay in, but I'm going to get this posted and head outside. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nights 124 and 125

Hi and welcome back!

The weather has been really nice the last few days. We might get rain tonight, but the tent stays really dry, so I'm not worried.

I think I mentioned the other day that the things we were watching in the pond turned into tadpoles. We took some video of them yesterday so you can see how many there are. Each of the little black things in the video here is a tadpole (I think, that's what they are, anyway. We'll see if they change into frogs or something else).

A few of them moved from the puddle where the eggs hatched into the one next to it. If we get rain tonight, they may wash down into the creek below the pond. If they don't we might scoop them up and put them in the pond before the puddle dries up.

My brother J-- put his tent up in the living room yesterday, and my mom took a picture of it. He wanted to sleep in it last night, but I think he wound up in bed. I like this picture because you can see my tent through the window.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nights 122 and 123

Hi and welcome back!

Yesterday after AH came over, Maisy ran away, so our hike was spent looking for her.  We heard her in the woods so we headed toward them, and then AH heard her in between us and the pond. Then heard her in the hollow, so AH stayed above the hollow as I went down into it. When I was about half way down AH yelled down to me that Maisy was with him, so I ran up to him and put Maisy's leash on her. After that we went down to the pond where we found out to the wormlike thing had turned into a lot of little tadpoles!

Last night Maisy slept out with us. While we were talking to each other in the tent AH started sneezing a lot. Overnight Maisy moved from my sleeping bag to AH's and woke me up. Right then I saw that AH was sneezing again so I thought that something was up. When we woke up this morning AH told me that his allergies had been acting up, and that is why he was sneezing and his eyes were all swollen.

Today my whole family went to Collegville, PA for my sister's gymnastics competitions. My mom and dad went to Ursinus for college, so for our hike my dad and I walked around campus. My dad showed me the outside of the dorms that he lived in, the library, auditorium, etc.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Night 121

Hi and welcome back!

Dick Bass on Everest:
April 30, 1985
My dad reminded me that I never answered the trivia question from last week. The first person to climb the seven summits was Richard "Dick" Bass. 28 years ago this week was when he summited his last of the seven--Mount Everest.

Mont Blanc 3D
He also did an extra summit in Europe (Mont Blanc). Some people think Mont Blanc is the highest point in Europe, because Mount Elbrus is in Russia. The name Mont Blanc is French for "white mountain," but it's actually on the border between France and Italy.

Today my dad and I hiked around 8:00 p.m. We went around the field to the pond like we have the last few days. Earlier this week, I put a small piece of the thing we've been watching outside of the puddle. Today I found out that it was gone. My dad and I think it dried up or something might have stepped on it so you can't see it.  It was also dark when we got there, so we couldn't see very well.

Tomorrow my friend AH is sleeping outside with me. He probably won't have a hard time sleeping out, because he helped me test out the tent the day after Christmas during a bad snow and ice storm with high winds when it was probably around 10 degrees.

Thanks for reading!

NIghts 119 and 120

Hi and welcome back!

On Tuesday night I didn't take a watch out to the tent so when I woke up and thought it was 5:30 because there was a light on inside so I went in. Once I came inside I found out that it was actually 4:45.

When my dad and I hiked yesterday we found out that the thing in the puddle hadn't moved at all but when I hiked today I found a smaller one in a nearby puddle.

Last night my dad slept out so I let him sleep on the inflatable pad. He didn't want to sleep on it at first because he said that since he was 1.5 inches off of the ground he felt like he was on a pedestal but he eventually got used to it and now he likes it.

My dad told me to be on the lookout for PORCUPINES because he has seen some of them in the yard and because the last thing that I want is a porcupine in my tent.

Thanks for reading!