Day Hike And Testing Out My New Hammock

I ordered up my first hammock several weeks ago, a Warbonnet Blackbird 1.1 DL, but haven’t had a chance to hang it yet. Needless to say every day the Blackbird was staring at me from the corner of my room, cawing at me to get outside and let it stretch it’s wings. Today was the day, gorgeous weather, and some free time. My girlfriend and I took a trip to our local state park. Nothing too strenuous, the main goal was just to get out, hang the hammock and test it.

The pack for the day, a REI Flash 18, I absolutely love this bag for day hikes. I added some shock cord through the loops on the outside to put my sweater or jacket for quick access. It works out great.

The contents: Warbonnet BB 1.1 DL, my rope bag, first aid kit, small fire kit, my Mora Clipper in Kydex sheath with firesteel, rain coat and beanie, a sitting/kneeling pad, and a few waters/snacks tossed in the top.

The drive in, we live about 20 minutes from here so it’s not a bad drive at all. It was a really nice day today.

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BCUSA Meet Up – Mendocino 2012

We had a meet this past weekend at Mendocino National Forest in Northern California. Justin, Kyle and myself drove up early on Friday morning to scout out a camp location, it was about a 3 1/2 hour drive north. The drive went quick enough, lots of really great views and not many cars sharing the road with us.

A few shots from the drive in:

We stopped to take some pictures and Justin went off to relieve himself, next thing we know he’s yelling at us. He found a HUGE score of obsidian, some of the pieces were 3 feet in diameter. We grabbed a few pieces and pressed onward.

Justin with some of the obsidian, every piece of dark rock on the ground here is obsidian

The obsidian continued down the other side of the hill too, its hard to make out but it makes up all of the rocks in the drainage.

We get to the area we gave coordinates too, parked the jeep and headed off to find a suitable camping site. We wanted to stay close enough to the road so we could head the other members honk when they arrived, so we picked a spot down a little hill just off the road.

Here is camp a little after our shelters were built.

In a forum post I saw recently, there was a tarp shelter I saw that I wanted to try, so that’s what I slept in this weekend. It worked out really well, very room and easy to set up.

Not much later a few more people arrived and right away everyone started to get to know each other.

Dark came quick enough, and we all huddled around the fire. Lots of stories and laughs were had. The first night it got down into the high 20’s, I slept in a 35 degree sleeping bag with a wool blanket on top of me, I was warm enough.

Early the next morning Mike arrived at camp, it was nice to meet some more forum members and see everyone’s different styles and approaches to camping. I learned a lot just by observing everyone.

Here is Justin cutting down a tree, they were taking turns hacking at this thing for 25 minutes, there was a chainsaw on deck too but where is the fun in that.

Back at camp, everyone getting to know each other. 918victors wife and son came down and brought chicken for everyone (thanks again, it was delicious!)

Justin, Kyle, and myself went off on a little scout around camp in the afternoon, the area we were camping in was fairly new growth, just over the ridge there were massive pines.

There was a little rock outcropping that gave a great view of the snow capped mountains in the distance.

We got back to camp and conversed for a few hours, 918victor and his friends had to leave so we said our goodbyes and there were only 4 of us left. After they left we started the firewood game, the entire day was very cold so we knew at night it would get pretty cold. We made a fairly large fire and all hung out around it. Everyone brought a lot of food so we pigged out, lots of bannock was made, bacon, eggs, hotdogs, ramen… there wasn’t a point someone wasn’t cooking something for most of the night. I whipped up another batch of my boil baked muffins, these things are excellent.

Kyle approves

It got down to 19 at night, I woke up to go to the bathroom and stoke the fire at around 5am, it was bone chilling cold out. I hopped back in the sack and slept for a couple more hours. When I woke up Mike had the fire going and was making coffee. Kyle woke up shortly after.

We gathered a bit more firewood, made some breakfast and packed up camp. All in all it was a great trip, I had a blast and met some really cool people. I hope to do this again real soon. I’m sure there will be more pics added by others who went as well. Thanks for looking.

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Backpacking Weekend – Cache Creek Wilderness Area

Justin , Kyle , Connor, and myself set out on Friday afternoon for a few nights of backpacking in the Cache Creek Wilderness. We didn’t get many pictures the first day, mainly because after only an hour or so walking it started to get dark on us.

Driving in

Here is the trail map, our original plan was to take Judge Davis trail to Wilson Valley, camp there for 2 nights, then take a different trail out to where Justin Parked his car. We didn’t get to keep with our original plan for a few reasons, more on that later.

Hiking up the hills

Now entering the wilderness, they even have a sign notifying you of how wildernessy it is.

After about an hour of walking it started getting dark out

The dark wasn’t going to stop us

Now here is where a little bump in our plan came to be… We reached a fork in the trail and took the path we thought was correct down into a valley, walked for about 30-45 minutes down this path then we started hearing cars and we realized that we actually took the return loop back to the car. At this point it was completely dark outside, about 730 if I had to guess the time. We decided to turn back around and head up the hill again, after what seemed like forever we reached the fork in the road where we made the wrong turn. We took the other path this time. After about 30 minutes of walking, it started getting really cold, dark, and windy out. Still wanting to find a decent camp site we pressed on, noticing the trail was beginning to get smaller and smaller on us. We eventually got to a point where moving on would have probably gotten us lost, we couldn’t see any trails because it was dark, the bushes were getting thick and making it difficult to walk, and we were pretty far away from any water source. We found a little cove cut out of the bushes and hunkered down for the night. I didn’t get many pictures of the first nights camp, too much to do in the dark.

The view from the next morning, the night sleeps was interesting… Very windy all night, in a tiny cove surrounded by bushes… None of us slept very well. I didn’t get any pics of the camp, I think Justin did though.

We broke camp, packed up and headed down what we thought was the correct trail, this turned out to be yet another nail in our plans coffin. We bushwhacked (literally) for an hour down into a valley only to find our trail end abruptly and us in the middle of miles of 9 foot tall bushes. We still had not found a water source and were getting down to our last few sips. We turned around and went back up through the hell bushes to the first nights camp. We regrouped there for a few minutes and discuss our plans, we decided to take the loop back to the car as fast as possible, get some water, then just drive to the other trail head (where we originally planned to exit from) hike in a few miles to the creek and camp for another night. This time our plan went well, a quick hour or so later we were at the car, watered up, then drove up the street a few miles to the other trail head. I didn’t get too many pictures of this hike it, my phone battery was dead.

The hike in was grueling, especially after our 3+ hours of hilly hiking we did before we started on the new trail. We finally made it to the creek, and an amazing camp site. Here are some pictures from the next morning (I got none from the night there)

Camp, night 2. It got cold, real cold, all of our water bottles were almost completely frozen over when we woke up.

My home for the night

This is where Kyle and Connor slept. Justin slept next to the fire.

This is what I woke up too

Some more nature shots

After breakfast, and boiling some water for the hike out, we broke camp and hit the trail. It was a fairly decent hike out, but it went quick enough. I am sore from head to toe, but it was so worth it.

Thanks for looking.

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