Monday, June 9, 2014

The Liebster Award

So, recently I was tagged by Cesar for Cesar and The Woods for The Liebster Award.


No idea what it was, so I had to look it up. The award is bestowed by bloggers on other bloggers and intended to allow people to learn more about each blogger and lead people to new content. Each person can ask eleven questions to eleven other bloggers, and so on. In effect, it is a tagging game designed to spread awareness of different blogs within a field. So, thanks for the award Cesar, and here is my attempt to answer the questions:

1. What is your favorite flower and why?

Dandelions. A weed is but unloved flower.

2. Do you have any tattoos?  Why or why not?

No tattoos for me. I’m just too indecisive. What I think is cool one year, I find ridiculous the next. I suspect that if I got a tattoo, I would be very annoyed by it shortly after.

3. What is a simple little tip that helps you often on the trail that maybe not many other people do or benefit from?

I keep my shelter (tent, tarp, etc) in a waterproof bag. People always worry about how to keep their whole pack dry, but forget about to keep the items inside dry from each other. It makes no sense to have a dry bag for your gear if you are then going to put a wet tent or tarp inside of it with the rest of your gear. Then you have to resort to doing things like strapping your shelter to the outside of your pack until it dries. By keeping different types of gear in separate dry bags, it makes it easier to keep everything in the pack while preventing moisture transfer from one item to the next.

4. What are a few of your favorite encounters with wild animals?

My favorite encounter was probably my latest one because I was able to finally photograph a bear. I run into them often, but they always run away before I can take any pictures. This one stuck around for a while, and gave me the opportunity to take a few shaky pictures.


5. What is the worst injury you sustained while backpacking and how did it happen?

About five or six years ago I dislocated my shoulder on a trip. It was the middle of winter. We had had a few warm days, so the top layer of snow had melted. The temperature then dropped significantly, and everything turned into ice. I had spent the day backpacking, and was setting up camp for the evening. I was carrying some firewood that I had cut. I slipped and fell back, landing on my right shoulder, dislocating it. It popped back in fairly easily. The next day I packed up and made my way out. It wasn’t an easy task. Back then my gear was quite heavy. I had a full 75L pack to drag out. When I got to the car, I found it had been buried in snow, which had turned very hard. I wasn’t able to get the car out. I had to wait another day for them to clear the roads and have a tow truck come and pull me out onto the road. By then my shoulder was feeling better. 

6. What is something that other people do out in nature that annoys or irritates you BESIDES littering (which of course ought to bother us backpackers!)?

Luckily that hasn’t been an issue for me. I usually backpack alone, and tend to stick to areas that don’t see much traffic. When I have encountered other people, they have always been polite. My troubles with people tend to be online mostly. I tend to rub people the wrong way. In the woods however, it’s never been a problem. Even when with other people, everyone knows what needs to be done, and there isn’t much room for conflict.

7. What are a few of your funniest moments while out backpacking?

It’s usually my dogs being stupid. For some reason they can’t recognize me when I am coming back to camp with firewood in my hands, so they start barking at me. In the picture below Rhea was so tired that she jumped in the trunk of the car as soon as I opened it to put in my pack, and wouldn’t come out.


8. If you were given 1000 USD to spend only on backpacking gear, what would you buy?

I am pretty well set with gear I want. One thing I would want, is a new shell jacket. Currently I use the Arc’teryx Beta SV. It is a great jacket. I just need something with a more muted color that I can use while hunting. The bright blue of my current jacket is not cutting it. I’ve been eyeing the Arc’teryx Alpha FL jacket, but they just don’t have it in a color I want. I’m staying away from dedicated hunting companies like Sitka because I don’t want to wear camo all the time, even when not hunting, and they don’t make for the best climbing jackets. That would be about $400 right there. A set of La Sportiva Spantiks will bring me just over that $1000 mark. Do I need them? No. But I want them!

9. Of all the online backpacking bloggers that you are familiar with, whose gear list would you say would work for you best (i.e. who has the best/coolest/most dialed in gear list online)?

If I had to replace all of my gear with that used by another blogger, it would be that of Dave from Bedrock & Paradox. His thinking and approach seems very similar to mine. Quite often I would be thinking of something, and then he will do a post about it. I’m a big fan of his blog.

10. If you were to do a thru-hike of any trail, which one would it be and why?

If I had the time to be in the woods for that long, I probably wouldn’t hike any specific trail. I prefer the challenge of determining my own route through the woods. I would love to spend that time making my own way through Yellowstone. That being said, if I was going to do one, it would probably be the Appalachian Trail because it is closest to me, and would be the least expensive to do.

11. What is a mistake you made out backpacking that you learned a lot from?

The biggest mistake I’ve made while backpacking was to not be careful enough about moisture management. In particular, on several winter trips I made the mistake of getting into my sleeping bag with clothing that was not completely dry. The result was several miserable nights. Since then I have been very careful about how much moisture I have trapped in my clothing and how it will effect the rest of my insulation. With careful monitoring, I have been able to sleep comfortably in much lower temperatures then I was able to do previously with the same sleeping bags. Those mistakes have also largely altered my approach to selection of clothing. I heavily prioritize fast and easily drying clothing over other characteristics.

Well, those are the answer I was able to come up with to the above questions. Now, for the even more challenging task of tagging eleven other bloggers and asking them eleven other questions.

The Blogs:

The questions:

  1. Who are some of the people in the outdoor community, either past or present who you either consider mentors, or from whom you have gained knowledge about the outdoors, or inspiration to get out there?
  2. What is the typical duration of one of your trips, and how much distance do you tend to cover on such trips?
  3. What is your favorite instructional book about the outdoors?
  4. What is your vision of the woodsman, or the outdoorsman, at least as related to you and what you hope to achieve?
  5. Do you hunt, and if so, how do you incorporate that into your trips? If not, is there a specific reason?
  6. How much was your pack base weight on your last overnight trip?
  7. Have you been offered the opportunity to film any TV shows related to your outdoor pursuits? If yes, have you thought of accepting them? If no, would you be interested in such an offer?
  8. What is your preferred shelter system for winter trips?
  9. Are you a member of any outdoor organizations whether they be hunting, backpacking, etc?
  10. Have you ever found yourself in a survival or emergency situation while in the woods, and if so, how did you cope?
  11. Why do you blog?

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