Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nights 299 and 300!

Hi and welcome back!

From now on I am going to list the temperatures of when I went to bed and when I woke up. 

Saturday night: 39 degrees
Sunday morning: 38 degrees
Sunday night: 46 degrees
Monday morning: 29 degrees

On Saturday night I slept in my bivvy/shelter. Even though it was mild (as you can see from the temperatures above), I slept in a 20 degree bag. did that because the bivvy/shelter sits about 6 inches above the ground, so I was susceptible to the wind. Around 1:30 I woke up and realized that I was outside of the bivvy/shelter. I think since the top of my sleeping pad is slick I must have slid off, and the wall wasn't low enough to block me.

About 2 hours later I woke up again with my head against the pole. Again, I must have slid off of my sleeping pad. I was surprised that the bivvy/shelter didn't collapse on top of me, because while I was setting it up I noticed that it seemed as if it could fall over easily. It must have been stronger than it seemed. Considering that I made the bivvy/shelter out of a bivvy sack, an extra pole from my tent, and some duct tape, I was very impressed by it!

On Sunday afternoon I went hiking at the Lehigh Gap with my friend T.S. and his family. The trail that we went on was called the Woodpecker Trail, and it went up the mountain and along a ridge at the top. We started on the Woodpecker Trail around 1:00.  It started out as a gradual switchback, but it became steep and rocky once we got in the woods.

We were hiking on part of the Appalachian Trail, so after about 20 minutes in the woods we came across one of the shelters they have along the trail for thru hikers.  We decided to go into the shelter for a few minutes.  About two feet above the ground it had a wide platform where you could probably fit three adults.  There was a fire pit outside of the shelter and also a small fire ring inside on the floor next to the platform.  There were even a few grates you could put between the platform and a windowsill so you could cook right next to your bunk.  After that we continued going up the trail.
Rock Seat

When we got to the top, it was a large, rocky slope.  I had checked the altimeter on my dad's Highgear watch in the parking lot, and it read about 100 feet above sea level.  At the top we were about 850 feet, so we gained 750 vertical feet, which I thought was kind of a lot for just an hour of hiking.

Since there are so many rocks at the top, T.S. and I decided to make a seat overlooking the other side of the valley.  We made it by finding a couple flat rocks and putting one behind a large, round rock and one upright behind that to make the back.  Here's a picture.  It wasn't very comfortable.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nights 297 and 298

Hi and welcome back!

Not much happened on Thursday or Friday nights, but tomorrow I'll be talking about sleeping in my bivvy shelter, which I did last night.  I will also be talking about an epic hike I went on today with my friend T.S.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nights 295 and 296

Hi and welcome back!

Greetings to the new reader from Algeria!

On Tuesday night it was the coldest night we've had in probably six months.  There was a hard frost on the tent and grass when I woke up.

Since it was cold, I actually had a bit of trouble sleeping.  I was on top of a ThermaRest and an L.L. Bean camp bag that was unzipped, and I was under the 20 degree North Face bag (also unzipped).  I got cold with that setup and tried to zip up the 20 degree bag, but my fingers were numb, and I couldn't get it zipped.  I just spent the rest of the night being cold.

Wednesday morning my dad wouldn't get up because it was cold (and he claimed to be sick), so mom hiked with me at about 5:30.  I guess now she isn't as soft as dad is.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nights 293 and 294

Hi and welcome back!

Mom and I saw several deer during our hike on Monday. As we were going up the hill we saw three of them running on the top, and as they were running through the christmas trees I could see the third one's tail bobbing up and down.

After that we saw four deer in the corner of the field by the newly harvested corn, then they ran up toward the very top of the hill.  It was amazing how fast they could run up such a steep slope.

Sunday and Monday nights were pretty chilly (I think it was just about freezing).  I'm looking forward to it getting really cold over the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Nights 289 - 292: the End of the Zephyr?

Hi and welcome back!

On Friday night it was really nice out, so I decided to bivouac in one of the 20 degree sleeping bags.  When I went to sleep there was dew on the grass, so the sleeping bag got a little wet on the outside, and it was cold enough overnight that the dew turned to frost before morning.  It was the first time we've had frost since probably April.

Too Much Sun
Today it was really windy, and at one point the only stake in the ground was the one at the back of the fly, where it had already ripped a little bit.  Because I had stuff in the tent and it was blowing and pivoting around that spot, it was completely ripped.

So I temporarily retired the Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 3 AL today.  I think it lasted about 230 nights (there were nights of bad weather that I slept in the Sierra Designs Polaris and warm nights that I took it down to bivouac).  Like I said before, I think it was all the UV light that thinned out the fly and made it not very waterproof and prone to ripping.

Bivvy Shelter
After I took the tent down, I took my dad's SOL bivvy, a short pole from my Alps tent, some duct tape, a few stakes, and guy lines and made a minimalist shelter.

First I duct taped the pole to the front of the bivvy and made duct tape loops on all four corners of it.  Then I staked out the back two corners and tied the guy lines to the front two corners.  When I staked the guy lines out it made it stand up.  

The bivvy is seven feet long, but since there's a peak to it, it shortened to about six feet.  The pole is in the front, so it would be good for someone less than about five and a half feet tall.  I tried it out, and it seemed like it would protect me from a drizzle but not much more.  The only thing is the sides were off the ground, so it wouldn't do anything against the wind.  I'll probably try sleeping under it on Friday, because it's supposed to rain for most of this week.
Jumping Spiders?

I had a rain jacket stowed between my tent and fly to patch leaks if I needed to, and I pulled it out when I took the tent down.  My dad and I noticed that there were a couple really thick spider webs on it with jumping spiders inside of them!   At least, we think they were jumping spiders, because I found a few of these webs (without spiders), and I've seen jumping spiders around the same time.

We left the jacket outside on the patio in case the spiders want to come out of it.  That way they're not in the house, which my mom would not like.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nights 287 and 288

The Smileys on Mount Fairweather
Hi and welcome back!

On Tuesday Mark and Janelle Smiley realesed their Mt. Fairweather video. They showed us a preview when we were in Yosemite, and I have been waiting for it to come out for a while.  It has been worth the wait! I think that it is one of their best videos.

Also on Tuesday my mom and I hiked together. At the edge of the yard Maisy was really pulling my mom, so my mom started to run with her. That gave me the idea to run up the hill.

I don't like running much (especially half a mile up a hill), but I thought it would be interesting to see if I could do it. I made it up in 6 minutes and 26 seconds, which is a new record! I was waiting on top for about another 4 minutes until my mom made it up and we then continued our hike.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nights 285 and 286

EMC will practice gymnastics anywhere

Hi and welcome back!

On Sunday our church participated in a CROP walk at the Lehigh Canal, so our whole family was out hiking. We walked about half a mile in on the towpath and then turned off onto a single track trail. The trail was made about 20 years ago by my grandfather and my cousin when he was my age.

The Lehigh River
We walked on that trail for about a mile until we got back on the towpath. We then walked for another mile to an observation deck and turned around.

Yesterday we rode our bikes at the Lehigh Gorge. We rode about 5 miles out to a sign that says "Watch for Black Bears" and had a snack.

While everyone else was still eating I scrambled down to a tiny beach along the Lehigh River. I noticed that on top of sand there was a thin layer of coarse black dust that I think was coal.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nights 283 and 284

Hi and welcome back!
Welcome to the new reader from Timor!

The answer to the other day's trivia question is a book. The book is titled The Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, which was written in 1979 by Allen Steck and Steve Roper. Ironically, the cam was also invented in 1979, and it revolutionized climbing.

It rained on Thursday night, and when I checked my tent I realized that it was leaking. Thankfully, earlier that day I had taken everything inside, because the forecast was calling for rain. I stuffed my shell in between the tent body and the fly, and that fixed the leak.

When it was time for bed I took my sleeping bag and my dad's SOL bivy out with me.  The bivvy is pretty much just a waterproof space blanket in a sleeping bag shape. Just in case another leak formed, I slept in the bivy and put the bag in the part of the tent that was least likely to leak. That way I was able to stay dry all night!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nights 281 and 282

Hi and welcome back!

Welcome to the new reader from Denmark!

It's been wet and warm lately.  I think at some point in each of the last few evenings it's at least drizzled at some point overnight.

On Tuesday night, as I was staking out one of the guy lines, the tent fabric ripped a bit where the line attached to the fly.  The UV light has thinned the nylon so much that it is starting to tear easily.  I also think being wet makes it more prone to ripping.

I'm a little afraid that the tent will literally fall apart before the end of the year.  It's not the tent's fault.  That's what being exposed to sunlight for almost 300 days has done to it.  I hope it holds up!

Since this is kind of a short post, I thought I would have a trivia question.  Mark and Janelle Smiley are almost done with their 50 Classic Climbs project.  Does anyone know where the list of 50 Classic Climbs of North America came from?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nights 279 and 280

Pull ups in the Woods
Hi and welcome back!

I hiked with my mom  yet again today. On our way up we noticed that they were cutting all of the corn down. It was a LOT easier hiking than before. It also smelled really good.  They were cutting the corn down with a combine and loading it into a tractor trailer.  We tried to get into the woods just as the combine turned away from us becuse we were afraid it would hit us.

On the way to the top of the hill, there are three logs that are in a cluster.  I stepped over two of them and then I was stepping over the third one and my foot got caught underneath and I fell.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nights 277 and 278

Hi and welcome back!
Marbled Orbweaver

Yesterday I hiked with my mom. We just went around the field. As we went around one turn I saw some movement in the woods ahead of us, and then a doe and a fawn jumped out and started running away. I noticed that they were a dull grey and not their usual golden brown which made think about the mule deer in Yosemite which are the same color. The mule deer were a bit bigger and more used to people. Once my dad and I even got to see two bucks rubbing their antlers on a tree to get the velvet off.

I also hiked with my mom today. Today, though, we went all of the way up. On our way up my mom got a really sticky spider web stuck in her hair. She told me to feel how sticky it was and I noticed there was a huge spider on her back. It had a red body and a big yellow abdomen. When we got back I looked it up and I think that the closest match to it was a marbled orbweaver.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nights 275 and 276

Hi and welcome back!

I've been back in the tent at home for almost a week now. It's been very warm, but I'm looking forward to the temperature getting cooler soon.

It's just not the same as hanging out in Yosemite, though...

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Nights 273 and 274

Hi and welcome back!

Northern Lights on Mount Washington

Today my dad found a picture of the Northern Lights taken last night from Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

The last few nights it's been fairly warm (in the 50s).  It's also been wet compared to California.  Because there's almost no humidity out there, there's no dew when you wake up in the morning.

Here, because it's humid, the grass is really wet in the morning when we hike.  Also, when I wake up the fly is usually wet, so when I get out of the tent I have to worry about the fly dripping into the tent and making my sleeping bags wet.

Thanks for reading!