Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mini Campfire in the Gulf Hagas Base Camp

One day, while hiking over a bog,I glimpsed this abandoned disk. Apparently someone with a chainsaw was creating steps for the soggy trail, and cast this one aside.
It seemed a great find, and although it was sodden, through and through, I fished it out and hauled it back to my base camp.

Every day going to and from work, I'd consider this round. In a fit of inspiration, I decided to make an Indian Bowl, thus killing two birds, as it were, with one stone.

After allowing this round to dry for two weeks, I began my project. Every night, after work, while sitting outside, I would place a few scraps of paper, two inches of mosquito "coil" (found in the junk drawer bin on location) and a bit of candle wax in the middle of the disk. Then, I'd light it on fire. The smoke wasn't too bad and the silver lining was it kept the hoards of mosquitoes at bay.

By utilizing small scraps of paper, bits of candle wax, and twigs, my mini campfire is sustainable and accomplishing multiple tasks. Getting rid of trash, keeping the bugs at bay, providing needed companionship, giving much needed light.

As a Leave No Trace educator, I found this campfire very rewarding. The land is not scared and the resources are not depleted.

Each morning before leaving for work, I scrape out the ashes, thus creating a bowl. When the season is over, I'll have a great souvenir of my season as Ridgerunner, stationed in the Gulf Hagas, 30 miles north of Monson, in the world renown 100 mile Wilderness of Maine.

Special notes: the metal plate below my campfire has one cup of water in it, thus preventing the base from getting too hot and scorching the platform.
Nearby, I keep a gallon of water, and metal bucket, should I need to extinguish the fire.
Before going to bed, I insure the fire is out, even scraping down to insure there are no glowing embers.
I never walk away from the fire, regardless how small it is. My home, the tent, is just a few feet away.
If there were high winds, I would not even attempt to have a fire, taking the road of caution, always.

Happy trails.

A complete video has been posted to my you tube channel. Other videos I've embedded here, seem to get cropped.

Monday, July 14, 2014

High Tide and Waiting

I took this short video while waiting on the north side of the Gulf Hagas River Crossing. My radio to the Katahdin Iron Works gate had died and there's no cell service. Thankfully, I was able to get a message out before communications with the staff was impossible. The river is down, and peace and quiet have returned. Thru hikers, both north and south, abound. Happy Trails.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Query for Alternate Lifestyle...Anyone?

I recently received this email and told Lanette I would post her query here. If you know of any groups, or have any ideas, please comment. To avoid stalkers, I have omitted the email and phone number. I presume Lanette is a woman, however, stranger things have happened.

Are you aware of any lesbian preppers or groups around Northern SC or Western NC and if not what is closest. I am feeling really isolated and looking for property to live off grid but having no luck. It doesn't even have to be a lesbian or a gay man because as you mentioned in one of your posts that lesbians in general are not man haters. 

Hi Lanette,

I am not aware of any such groups at this time, however I will  post your question to my blog and see if we can generate any replies.

Good luck in your searches. It is sometimes difficult to find people of like persuasion who also possess tolerable temperaments.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rise With the Sun

This morning I head back to work, but before I do, I rose with the light to take some sunrise photos of Acadia. As a minimalist, I tend to sleep when its dark and wake when its light. This way I don't mind being off the grid so much.

Acadia National Park is just 48 miles from Bangor. Its getting pretty busy now, so I'll probably not get back there until this fall. I did buy a year pass for $40. That way I can support my National Park of choice, plus drive the loop road for free. Its about 90 miles from my current work location, ridge-running on the Appalachian Trail.

One nice thing about Acadia, they seem to encourage tent camping versus RVs. Its getting where you seldom see families using tents. Its a lost art to pitch one of these structures. I hope the trend changes. Nothing like crawling in a tent, sleeping on a thin cushion, waking with the dawn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

War on the Appalachian Trail

My base camp is well thought out. I can cook under protection of mosquito netting, with a double canopy protecting me from the Rain gods. 
Maine is not to be taken lightly.
Mud, mosquitoes, roots, boulders.
Yes, you'll be swamped by all this and more.
South-bounders are facing wetter than normal conditions, but most are still smiling.

The mosquitoes and I are killing each other. I've declared war. Every time I go out of my tent, I secure the area by killing at least 100, then proceed with my tasks.

What tasks, you might ask, from the comfort of your air-conditioned, carpeted home with WIFI and electricity? (Do you sense a little creature envy...?)

Well, I get water from a nearby creek. Seems the skeeters love this activity the best. Can't tell you how many times they've chawed through my pants as I squatted to fill my gallon jug.

Then, there's the tightening of guy lines. Seems when I reach up to snug them up, one skeeter will always seek safety inside my nose. Can't tell you how many I've swallowed.

Then there's the privy situation.  One is quite vulnerable heading uphill, off the grid, to unfasten the door and avail oneself of a dry cathole.

Humm, one may ask, and rightly so, why am I doing this to myself? 
Cause I love the outdoors and meeting the hikers has been outstanding, the humor, the suffering. One guy complained about the leaves on the trail. I told him that was actually a good sign the water bars were doing their jobs.
Another complained a particular shelter looked like "the Projects" because of so much abandoned gear.

Please, hikers, carry out your trash, broken gear and extras. No one wants them either. By doing so, you will certainly feel the weight loss next section, and learn not to carry so much STUFF!

Happy trails. See you out there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Day in Paradise

Back on the grid at the best place to stay on the Appalachian Trail, I'm getting ready to get back on the job in the high mountains within the 100 mile wilderness. The Stratton Motel feels like home. A comfortable couch and full kitchen in the hostel side of the hotel allows hikers and backpackers a comfortable place to regroup, meet others of like mind and resupply. The grocery store is right across the street. There are several good restaurants in town.

I just read an article in the Oprah magazine called the New Nature Walk. Written by Nicole Frehsee, the essay says what all hikers know, a silent, peaceful walk in the woods is restorative, emotionally, spiritually and physically. It also inspires creativity and successful problem solving.

View along the Blueberry Ledges trail in Baxter State Park.

Transparently the Japanese call this shinrin-yoku, where the participants engage nature with all five senses. This requires them also to be quiet, silent. If you are with a group, this could be challenging. 
This "trend" further proposes that if one can hike silently and reflectively, blood pressure is lowered by as much as 10 points. One man called it "forest bathing".

Is this the New Age answer to stress? I think nature lovers knew this all along. Maybe we'll have some extra support maintaining the integrity of our National Forests if urban dwellers take a walk on the wild side!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Video of Moose at Cabin

Here's a short little film I made with a bold moose. I actually got a little scared and shut off the camera when he headed straight for the porch I was standing on. He snorted, stomped his foot and stared into my eyes.

 I nearly thought he would come right in through the screen.