Continued from Part 2…
I woke up in the morning to notice that there was rain pounding on my tent. It had a strange sound to it. When I looked closely I could see that the outside of my tent was covered by a layer of ice. I am not sure why it was raining instead of snowing. Clearly it was cold enough for the rain to freeze upon impact.
It took me some time to put on all of my rain gear while in the sleeping bag. The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF is a tight sleeping bag. I would have to put on an article of clothing, then zip up the bag again to warm it up. When the rain gear was on, I went outside the tent to get the food bag. I made breakfast inside the tent. In the picture you see me wearing my Arcteryx Beta SV rain jacket and Marmot Precip full zip rain pants.
After breakfast I packed up. Here you can see the sheaths of ice on my tent when I moved one of the flaps.
After everything was packed, I started out again. The reality was that if I made good speed, I could probably get out by nightfall, but I had time, so I figured I would plan to stay another night. It was good not having to rush.
The rain was freezing upon impact, and all of the trees were sagging from the weight. It did however make for some interesting features.
Eventually I reached one of the view points I had passed on the first day. Even though the rain had mostly stopped, the fog stuck around.
I decided to take advantage of the fact that the rain had stopped to set up camp for the evening and make fire.
I spent some time by the fire before going to sleep. The best thing about winter camping is that you get to catch up on sleep.
The next day the rain had started up again. It didn’t matter much because I would be out of the forest soon. I put on my rain gear, packed up, and set out.
The trail was still tricky because of all the ice, but the temperatures had warmed up a bit. Before getting out of the forest, I stopped for lunch.
Two hours later I was back at the car.
So, what can I say? The trip was a miserable failure. I didn’t reach any of the goals I had set out for myself. I had miscalculated the distance I would be able to cover, I had misread the terrain features, and I am still not sure why I failed to find the crash site. I’ll have to go back to the drawing board and give it another try once the snow melts in the spring. Here is the GPS recording, which required three sets of batteries to complete:
Aside from the navigational issues that I have to work on, there were a few gear related items that I should address. There were two things that I wish I had brought on the trip with me. The first was my gaiters. I didn’t think I would need them, but they would have gone a long way to keep the edges of my pants dry in the snow. The second item was a thermos. Earlier you saw me review a 40oz Hydro Flask thermos. Well, I actually have a 18oz one as well. I took it out of my pack at the last moment. It would have been great to have with me. I don’t use a thermos to drink from. The way I use it is to keep hot water so I can defrost the water in my other water bottles. Even if it is not frozen, the water in the water bottles can be close to freezing, and very difficult (at least for me) to drink. Pouring some hot water from the thermos in it, makes it much better.
There were also two things I didn’t need. The first was the fleece pants I mentioned earlier. I was plenty warm without them. besides, once I had taken them off, there was no chance that I was going to stop to put them back on. I’ll probably look into full zip down over-pants for colder weather. I have also been finding on recent trips that I am not using the hatchet that I usually bring along. While it is fun to have, I’m just not getting much use from it. I’ve gotten accustomed to using small fires to warm myself and cook my food. I can’t remember the last time I had to split wood. The fires you see on this trip were all made with my Mora #2 knife and Bahco Laplander saw. I’m not sure the 1.5lb weight is worth carrying. I know some people will be upset about that that, but I just haven't needed it.
The rest of the gear all worked perfectly. I have absolutely no complaints. The only change I would have made is to bring some more fuel in case I had to melt snow, but it really wasn’t something that I expected.
Well, that’s it. I hope the next trip to be less of a mess, so you can actually see me doing something other than wondering aimlessly around in the woods.