I am giving a workshop on building your own multifeuel backpacking stove through the local Adult Education program in October. Limited spaces!
Make Your Own Backpacking Stove
— Read on fivetowns.coursestorm.com/course/make-your-own-backpacking-stove3
via–>>> Snowbound | Outside Online
Outside Online posted this excellent report, which includes three short Youtube videos taken shortly before the hiker, Stephen Olshansky, perished in 2015 at the end of his southbound thru- hike attempt in the Southern San Juans in New Mexico. “Otter” was an experienced long-distance hiker who died on the trail waiting rescue, despite having adequate food, and using a heated tent. I can relate to the dangers of that section of the CDT. In 2013, I was forced to bail out on the “official” CDT and take alternate forest roads in the San Juans in early June due to weather and excessive snow depths.
Otter’s death was similar in one aspect of the death of a hiker named Geraldine Largay, AKA Inchworm, who died on the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 2013, 26 days after she set up camp. Both hikers died less than 8 miles away from a highway, both patiently awaiting rescues that never came. Both hikers were without their own personal locator beacons.
For more stories of backpackers and day hikers who have fallen into the abyss where they experience multiple unfortunate mistakes in the wrong places and at the wrong times check out these two excellent books: Not Without Peril: 150 Years Of Misadventure On The Presidential Range Of New Hampshire Paperback – by and Desperate Steps: Life, Death, and Choices Made in the Mountains of the Northeast, by Peter Kick.
Since Largay’s death, I’ve been using a satellite based communication device, and subscribe to the $12 a month charge.
It allows me to text messages via sattelite, so now the numerous areas I explore without cell coverage are not a problem. I’ve started packing it in my day pack. Who knows what might happen out there, where age is not our friend ?
As famous teacher once advised me, “Avert the suffering before it comes” .
Please considering commenting if yu do take the time to read and view the Outside Online material.
I’m on a roll with outdoor reading this summer. Since January I have been reading at least an hour a day. I’ve racked up 33 books so far. Here’s my updated 2018 list: Goodreads Challenge .
Today I’m posting a different sort of reading list, with a decidedly British emphasis, brought to us by one of my favorite authors, Alistair Humphreys, author of a unique book called Microadventures.
There’s adventure reading gold to be mined here for sure, so consider Aistair’s list. There isn’t much time left for summer reading, although winter is coming!
Several of these titles are at my local library, and I plan to pick up this one today:
Are there any really good outdoor adventure books that you can recommend as well?
Start: Seely Beach campsite
End: Fundy Trail Interpretive center
Mileage: 6.7 miles Elevation gain :1,279ft
Elevation profile:We were up by 6 am, when we packed up all of our gear, which was heavy to carry. The campsite here was well protected but rather close and dank this sodden morning. I had a brief midnight battle with a racoon who was pushing his nose into my tent’s screening. I won. Next time I will be more careful about eating in my tent. There are excellent bear lockers at each of the official FF tent sites that are apparently there for a reason.
We had a noon deadline to meet our shuttle ride back to the Fundy National Park. Although this section was reported to be the easiest of the Footpath, there was still a path relentless ups and downs, although of a much more moderate nature.
Luckily it was low tide when we set off at 7 am, so we were able to walk on big rocks above the back flow of tidal water into the Bay.
Here’s a feature of this section: a formation known as the Dragon’s Tooth. Too bad it also had one of those garish promotional signs right close to the rock itself. I decided to keep this photo real. The thick moss and lichen cover here by the shore is soothing to experience just by itself.
The closer we got to the Western end of the Fundy Footpath the worse the footing became.
That surprised me. In my experience, the mile or so of trail that leads for trail parking lots is often the best kept aspect of a longer trail, as that seems to be about the extent of most people’s comfort with leaving their safe shell of a vehicle and entering the wild stuff. Not here. It was very apparent that the focus of the work down on this part of the Footpath is going into the development of an access road that will parallel the shoreline and lean toward the Fundy National Park, a mere 30 miles of line of sight up the coast.
We had a difficult time rediscovering the Trail when it passed through the new Long Beach parking lot, visitor’s center, picnic tables and privys. Everything was locked up and the lot was vacant even though it was 9:00 in the morning. Eventually we had to push through some very thick brush to return the last section of trail. The intersection here might be more clearly marked and the access opened up a bit. It would probably be easier to pass through here if one were heading east on the FF.
Eventually we reached the long suspension foot bridge that leads to the main parking lot and the Visitor’s Center, which unfortunately sold no maps for me to purchase and enjoy viewing at home.
Apparently the maps are out of stock everywhere and are awaiting a fresh print run.
In summary, this is a grueling hike, given the heat of the summer, the humidity, our tow days of rain, and depending on which valleys you include, at least a dozen times when you go down and up or up and then down as much as 750 feet in elevation above sea level.
A search of the Internet in preparation for hiking the the Fundy Footpath suggests that having the Fundy Footpath-Hiker’s Guide Book is essential for hiking the 30+mile trail.
The problem is that the book is sold out and out of stock at visitor’s centers on either end of the path as well as at the office of Red Rock Adventure, the guiding service that best serve the FF hiker. If you have unlimited time, and the ability to carry as much as 5 day’s worth of food (ten extra pounds in my estimate), then take it as it comes, but a four night experience I advise taking along tide charts of the region, or you may find your self crossing Goose Creek at the 2 AM low tide, like I did on my 2008 thu-hike of this highly interesting hike.
Start: Little Salmon River campsite
End: Seely Beach campsite
Mileage: 7.0 mi
Mark Shaw, AKA Bad Influence, posted this 2 minute drone footage that takes off from Goose Creek and then continues along the coast. Mark is a professional sound engineer who also owns and operates Trail Head Shuttle, a Vermont AT and Long Trail hiker shuttle service, and now is available for commercial drone work in real estate, 3-D mapping, via Skyview VT. It’s very informative about the breadth of some of these tidal crossings.
Mark and I joked about forgetting how challenging this trail really is, especially given the fact that we hiked it 10 years go. While he swears this is the last time on the FF for us, I started thinking how we might streamline a future walk along the coast, via engaging the drone to view any possible passage along the cliffed shoreline during low tides. Mark successfully put the drone up to get us out of a huge marsh that confounded us on the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland last summer. It’s like having s SUPER tall guide who can really view an obscure trail.
Another tool that worked well for me was my Delorme InReach Explorer+.
The unit is able to serve as an emergency locator and communication device. I entered in a few pre-set messages, essentially confirming that I was OK. I sent evening messages to both my wife and the shuttle operator with a map pinpointing the location of our campsites, along with GPS coordinates. I have added the unit to my day hikes. When I find myself injured and need of assistance, I should be able to get help. I believe it is an essential part of my kit, particularly when I am guiding clients in the wilderness. There was very spotty cell service available on this hike. I pay $12 a month for the service, which can be turned off for any months where travel might not occur.
It rained yesterday and rained today as well. With the very high humidity the first two days, we were forced with the very unwelcome situation of donning cold wet socks, footwear, and clothing each morning. I’m in the habit of leaving any spare clothes home these days, in an effort to reduce my pack weight. I do carry a dry set of sleep wear on all my hikes, that allows me to be very comfortable when it’s time to sleep.
One tip that I can offer the wet hiker is to put on a wind shirt or light synthetic jacket over your wet shirt when you reach camp. If you are fortunate enough to have found clothing that is truly breathable, your body heat dries out the wet clothing in an hour or two. I have had great success with Patagonia’s Houdini windshirt and their 10 oz. Nano-Air Light Hoody. The Hoody was developed to pass copious amounts to perspiration while at the same time providing adequate insulation for winter use. I have been amazed at the width of the range of temperatures that I wear the Hoody, from winter biking in freezing conditions to summer evenings. I like the blaze orange version for visibility.
If your clothing is not totally sopping wet, it can also be dried by wringing it out and putting in on top of your sleeping pad and under your sleeping bag where your body heat drys it out overnight.
Day 1 of 5
Start: lower parking lot, Point Wolfe Campground, Fundy National Park, NB, CAN
End : Goose River Trail Campsite at western border of FNP
Mileage: 5 miles
First, here’s some skinny on the Fundy Footpath (plus more info from the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve website):
Total Length: 41.4 km ( 25 miles)
Trail Rating: Challenging
Add the Approach: 8 km approach trail from Point Wolf parking area in Fundy National Park to Goose River, the eastern terminus of the footpath.
Background Information: Established in 1994, this 41.4 km coastal hiking trail stretches from Goose River, the Western boundary of Fundy National Park, to Big Salmon River, a popular tourist destination East of the community of Saint Martins. The area is considered by many to be the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline between Florida and Labrador.
The Fundy Footpath offers hikers an opportunity to observe some of the last remaining stands of old-growth coastal Acadian Forest in the world as well as spectacular vistas, pristine beaches, unique estuaries, interesting geology and lots of wildlife. The FFP is a remote and challenging hiking trail and should only be attempted by those with suitable physical abilities and wilderness equipment. There are also several side trails to bay viewpoints and waterfalls like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum falls. In other cases the Fundy Footpath crosses numerous gorges and ravines which can be explored like Walton Glenn Brook, Eye of the Needle, Little Salmon River and Goose Creek. There are dozens of spectacular waterfalls along the many streams, brooks and rivers the Fundy Footpath crosses. Hikers with a keen eye can also spot remnants of logging operations from many years ago.”
Both Bad Influence and I had completed his hike going East in 2008, accompanied by Xenon and Rangoon. This time we ended up walking it in the opposite direction. You can review the four days’ of 2008 blog posts here.
Two of us made this hike: me and my trusty hiking, biking, motorcycling, and backpacking buddy Bad Influence, in real life as Mark Shaw, hailing from Vermont. We each tried to find another person to come with us to cut costs and make it more interesting, but had no luck.
Our shuttle was provided by Red Rock Adventure and cost us $250 total, for 1-4 people. Remember that the US dollar is enriched right now to the tune of 30% Canadian. The roughly 160 mile round trip for the driver took at least four hours. Straight line distance from end to end is just 30 miles, but as they say in Maine, “You can’t get there from here.”
Each of us coughed up $100 each for the long ride, which was made sweeter by free lattes at Red Rock’s base of operations. Two more folks with us could have cut the fee in half.
We didn’t need to do much walking to get to our first campsite. After leaving our car at the Point Wolfe Parking lot it was a relatively easy 5 miles of meandering along an access road through the shady woods to reach our chosen site.
We were on the edge of the Bay Of Fundy, at a grassy site with piped spring water and a clean outhouse (with toilet paper) nearby.
Later just one young couple passed us on their way to their campsite along the Point Wolfe River. It was a clear but warm evening. The temps stayed warm but not hot for the whole journey. Our issue on this adventure was the discomfort of constantly wet clothes, first due to excessive humidity, and the two days and nights of rain. At least it was sunny and drier walking out on the last morning.
Here’s my trip report of my first day hiking the Fundy Footpath- from 10 years ago.
Fundy Footpath , Day 1 of 4, Oct.10, 2008 – Tom Jamrog’s Weblog
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/tjamrog.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/oct10-day-13-fundy-footpath/amp/
Did you every hear of this #microadventure of a thru- hike? My backpacking buddy Bad Influence and I are hearing up to New Brunswick to rehike this most unique trail. Oh, Canada!
Walking Canada’s Fundy Footpath | Travel | The Guardian
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/travel/2017/mar/28/canada-fundy-bay-walking-adventure-tides-footpath
I’m a hiker and a backpacker and I’m peeved when people react negatively to my speedy walking on trails.
Here’s what this is about: I’m descending a trail, trekking poles in hand and moving quickly. I am a heavy guy, around 200 pounds, and this much weight isn’t often the ticket to quick uphill climbs, but put me on a descent and I usually do better than most. Momentum helps! I also believe that my decades of off-road biking have trained me to discern sight lines that are the best for foot placement. It doesn’t happen often, but I have had folks tell me to slow down, or they might mutter a disparaging word or two as I hop my way past them. “Excuse me, but I can”.
And here’s a sample of citizen hiking-speed-police attitude that was only one of many reader comments from a recent national newspaper column on the added benefits of brisk walking: “What about the pleasures of feeling the breeze, watching the toddlers earnestly examining a leaf, marveling at the astonishing variety of canine life at the end of every leash? For heaven’s sake, enjoy your walks! It’s not a job, not a race to be run, it’s a walk. It feeds the human spirit. Chill out, people.” (Eleanor, CA) in reaction to Walk Briskly for Your Health. About 100 Steps a Minute. The New York Times by Gretchen Reynolds, June 27, 2018.
What do I mean by fast walking ?
A steady walk is 3 miles per hour. A brisk walk approaches 4 miles per hour.
A recent study looked at not just the total number of steps people took per day but also how quickly they took them. “Those who had a faster stepping rate had similar health outcomes—lower BMI and lower waist circumference—as those who took the most steps per day,” says John Shuna, Ph.D., one of the study authors. He recommends trying for a minimum of 100 steps per minute (roughly 2.5 to 3 miles per hour) or as brisk a pace as you can (135 steps per minute will get you up to about a 4 mph pace). Keeping up a conversation tops out for most folks at a speed over 3 miles per hour. Brisk walking ramps up the pace and results in a noticeable increase in breathing and starts for me anytime I walk over 3.5 miles per hour. Some very fit folks hit this level at 4 miles per hour on a flat terrain. The very fastest walkers are race walkers who are able to reach 5 to 6 miles per hour or even faster.
Research is showing that a faster walking practice results in prolonging your life. Walking at an average pace was linked to a 20% reduction in the risk of mortality compared with walking at a slow pace, while walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24%, according to a new study. The benefits of walking are far more dramatic for older walkers. Average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46% reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast pace walkers a 53% risk reduction, the study found. These findings appear in a special issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine dedicated to walking and health, edited by Emmanuel Stamatakis, at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health.
Even Consumer Reports recommends brisk walking.
“Another way to get more out of even a shorter walk is to do it faster. A recent study looked at not just the total number of steps people took per day but also how quickly they took them. “Those who had a faster stepping rate had similar health outcomes—lower BMI and lower waist circumference—as those who took the most steps per day,” says Schuna, one of the study authors. He recommends trying for as brisk a pace as you can (135 steps per minute will get you up to about a 4 mph pace).- Sally Wadyka, April 04, 2018.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh recently revealed that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day lost weight even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits. Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent the bone disease osteoporosis.
“Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships,” says personal trainer Lucy Knight, author of Walking for Weight Loss. “Bones are like muscles in the way that they get stronger and denser the more demands you place on them,” Knight says. “The pull of a muscle against a bone, together with the force of gravity when you walk, will stress the bone — which responds by stimulating tissue growth and renewal.”
To burn fat quickly and effectively, you should master power-walking. Adding hills to your route will speed up calorie burning.
“On really steep inclines, it’s not unusual for even a fit person’s heart rate to increase by about 20 per cent,” writes Knight. Going downhill, you have to contract your leg muscles to work against gravity and slow your descent.
Walking on softer surfaces, such as mud, sand or grass, also uses more energy than walking on concrete. Every time your foot hits the ground, it creates a small depression so that the leg muscles must work harder to push upwards and forwards for the next step.
Walking on uneven ground may have even more benefits. Physiologists at the Oregon Research Institute have found that cobblestone walking lowers blood pressure and improves balance. Uneven surfaces may stimulate acupressure points on the soles of the feet, regulating blood pressure.
“We can still create a plan that has a fair amount of lower level aerobic movement, such as walking briskly, hiking, cycling at a moderate pace, etc. a few times a week and keep it at under an hour. Then, we can add a few intense “interval” sessions, where we literally sprint for 20, 30 or 40 seconds at a time all out, and do this once or twice a week”.-Mark’s Daily Apple (Mark Sisson) June 20, 2007.
In the end, it is important to recognize the value of walking of any intensity and pace, but if you are able and wiling picking up the pace, even for short bursts of faster walking or hill work, will result in increased bang for the walking buck.
If you are interested in surviving or enjoying a backpacking adventure this season you better be ready to embrace some suffering. At our house, I am constantly buffering my workout plans so that I don’t get into a disagreement with my wife and hiking partner, Auntie Mame. She is encouraging me to behave like a normal 68 year old guy and chill more often.
For example, I was falling behind in mileage regarding my goal of hiking 1,000 miles this year and outside the rain was falling. Skipping today’s 75 minute hike in favor of better weather would be what normal people would do.
Well, if you are a backpacker, then you will someday walk in the rain. Better get used to it . Also, most of us have purchased rain gear but you won’t know how it works unless you wear it in the rain, drizzle, sleet, or snow. Doesn’t it make sense to get out when you are close to home and you can warm up and dry out after the outing?
I am reading more and more about Stoic philosophy and mental/ physical training.
Check out this brief, but excellent email that I received from a Stoic website I subscribe to. It’s perfect! If ancient Stoics can practice in the rain or snow, why shouldn’t we ?
Henry Flagler, a top lieutenant for John D. Rockefeller and one of the pioneering developers of Florida:
“I trained myself in the school of self-control and self-denial. It was hard on me but I would rather be my own tyrant than have someone else tyrannize me.”
Like Cato, Flagler trained himself in doing without. He wore only a thin coat, he carried his own lunch, he economized. He did this so he could get used to feeling the sting of the cold, the laugh of his peers. He didn’t want these things to have power over him, and he never wanted to feel fear—the fear of what if something bad happens.
As a result of this training, he became stronger, he became invincible to fate and misfortune and as he said, tyranny. No one could be harder on Flagler than he was on himself, and while that might seem like hard living it was also free living. And that’s the point. It’s not easy to be a Cato or a Flagler, but when things get hard, real hard, you’ll regret being anything but a Cato.
(Want to discuss today’s meditation in more depth? Join Daily Stoic Life.)