Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Surviving the Seasonal Job

 Waterfalls and rock scrambles make living on the mountain worth it. The job is challenging because of staffing issues. Namely, unskilled, non English speaking workers who aren't motivated. They've got a couple weeks until they return to their country. I don't blame them Viva America.

Oh well. Wild blueberries are in season, so I'm eating them, and other wild plants, as I enjoy the great views. There are a lot of people on the trails, in spite of the road construction making driving through the park tedious. I laughed yesterday when an older guy asked if Snow Lake was just half a mile further. I said yes. His wife then asked, Uphill? I replied, everything in this park is uphill.

This view is from the top of Pinnacle Peak. Fantastic. Its a 1.3 mile hike to the saddle. The last tenth is a  rock scramble, not unlike Chairback Mountain in the Hundred Mile Wilderness. Doable, but take your time. I found descending to be more treacherous. I hike alone, and if I fall, it might be awhile before I can crawl out.

With eleven weeks to go until the end of season, I'm still hoping on doing the Wonderland Trail, a 93 jaunt that circumvents the mountain whose profile resembles tines on a fork. Permits required. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

News From the Mountain

A few gear reviews are in order. I bought this electric heater one month ago and absolutely love it. It was on sale for $11 bucks at Walmart. At first, I hesitated. The original price was $38.99, so how could I go wrong?

It seemed like it would take up a lot of space and the description on the box said it took a while to warm up. Based on circulating hot oil through the coils, it looked sketchy. With 34 x 8 feet of living space, I consider each item carefully before I add it to my collection.
This piece, however is a total winner.

Within ten minutes, you can feel the heat building. There's no open flame or noise. Imagine that. Silence! Its heaven.
There are three settings on the main knob, plus a range of heat options on a second knob. The brand name is Pelonis. Not sure if other brands would be as lovely. I use it quite often here at Mount Rainier because the evening cool off wonderfully. This item is a definite keeper and belongs on an R-Ver's wish list.

Next, for only $12, also at Walmart, I bought this "electric" kettle that heats 1.7 liters of water within minutes to boiling. Now, you might ask yourself why you'd want that. Well, if your water heater runs only on propane, but you are hooked to shore power, you can heat enough water to wash dishes, take a sponge bath or make oatmeal and coffee. If you do tea and instant coffee, you use this instead of a coffee pot. It has an on/off switch and coils inside the pot. Two selling points.  
I use it daily.

Next on the wish list: a car dolly. In three months, I'll be pulling away from here, towing new car. Any recommendations? I will be choosing between a trailer and dolly.

This little wooden set is part of my interior decorations. They make me smile.

Good news. All my leaks have been adequately sealed by yours truly.
The learning curve is flattening. I'm getting the hang of this and love it. Buying this motor home has proven to be a great decision.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hunting for Caves

I found this awesome cave at Mount Rainier National Park while on a solo hike. I won't divulge its exact location in case I ever need to totally escape. Water, wild edibles and complete shelter are its perks. I created a second video detailing my 'bug out' kit, which is a grab and go pack weighing under five pounds. Stay tuned for that post. Please comment.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Surviving the Motor Home

So its onward to Pull-you-up today. At least that's the way I pronounce this 'big' town near Mt. Rainier. Last week my family delivered my  to me....cause I was too scared to pull it with my obscenely long motor home through the mountains.
Obviously that's gonna change. I'm dolly shopping on craigslist as we speak.
So the shopping list:
Caulking of every known property...must be pliable, must be durable, must withstand mini earthquakes such as driving a motorhome entails. Obviously, outdoor quality.
A caulk gun. Duh. Left mine somewhere in Georgia, three years ago.
A back-up electric heater. Long as I'm on their shore power, might as well not kill my only heater.
Peculator: hot water. And no, my water heater is not propane and electric. Already checked that out. Propane only, but boy, is it hot.
Food. Healthy food. Can't be eating chips and junk cookies on my days off just because they're the only things remotely reasonably (and I actually choke to say that) in Ashford at either 'grocery store'.
A big, big tarp. You'd be surprised what a great and common solution that is to the stubborn roof leak. Just spread that baby over the problem area, make sure it slopes away from the low spots, and wait for sunshine to get up on that roof and fix it.
Duct Tape. I'm out. Who lives without the master of all fixer uppers?

I love my home on wheels. My yard is perfect. My walk to the shuttle is perfect. I cross a bridge and hear the river crashing down the perfect mountain. The shuttle is interesting, filled with  coworkers heading up to Paradise. That's the name of my work location. An oxy-moron. Work and Paradise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Good Stuff for the Boondocking

Every once in awhile, something awesome turns up on Facebook. Take for instance the   Free Camping Face book page . Hopefully, I'll get to scope this out soon.

Now that I have an awesome motorhome (which is providing lots of learning opportunities for caulking, bypassing water heaters,  and using electricty to dry stuff out) I can base camp in random places. I mean, after living in a tent for months on end, even if the home doesn't have water or sewer hook ups, its way better than a tent.

Solid roofs, or semi solid, go a  long way. This week I've been testing a lot of nearby vegetation for flavor. Lots of greenery here on the mountain, most still tender in May.
I've got my awning part way out cause the tree is in the way. Below, the tomatoes, are setting fruit. I eat lettuce and mustard leaves from the pots regularly.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sorry so Lame

My only excuse for not posting in ages is not having internet.
I moved to Longmire campground on Friday and after that, its been busy, hooking up, filming short adventures and learning my new job.
Looks like its going to be a fun season. Seasonal workers are arriving, moving in, some quitting after finding out its not what they had in mind.

Like I told my newest friend Cathy, moving into the campground quadrupled my happiness quotient. Trails and wildlife right outside my door. In fact, all over my door. I've caught 4 mice overnight. Hey, no one's giving birth in my motor home. Just saying.

Photos to follow soon. In all this rain, I don't take too many chances with this "smart phone". So smart, I had to reload the server here cause it lost it when I moved.
Life is good. People are interesting. Stay fit, they all say. That's how you stay young.

I finished reading the Land and Sea survival manual. Had to laugh. Under survival technique is you find yourself alone, it said, "Cuss outloud to hear your own voice." Yeah, I get that.

Scoping out edible plants here. Lots of good moss for fire starters. Haven't seen a bear yet, just deer.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Land and Sea-Survival Continues

Now that I'm back at a real job, punching a clock as a cook at Mount Rainier, I have to fit my passion for studying survival skills into  precious few hours.

Every morning, I practice tying knots, particularly the running bowline, which is handy for setting all sorts of snare and traps. Every night I read a few more pages in How to Survive on Land and Sea, and think about those concepts on the long commute to work.

Heads up. If you want to work at Mount Rainier, try to get housing at the same location. From my current location to my job location, its an hour shuttle ride. One way. I know. Yuck. At least everyone is nice and fun to talk to.

So, back to my topic. Survival lessons. One thing that seems obvious, but I never really thought about. If you set good snares in really random places, they're useless. find a game trail, or at least tracks first.
Also, I learned about making bird lime from pine sap and sticky natural substances. By putting that lime on the right tripod trap, with the proper bait beneath, your chances of getting fowl for supper are greatly increased.
Of course, the pages that deal with fire making are crucial. I had never heard the thong method discussed before, but it makes more sense than the bow and drill, if you have a long enough cord and a dry log to build embers.

As true survivalists know, a book can only plant seeds of knowledge. True knowledge is gained in the field. While walking to town, I tried making cordage from various plants along the ditch. Some were too brittle while others seemed viable. One thing is quite obvious. Patience is required and practice makes your efforts useable.

I'm finding this survival volume straightforward and useful. Often the author talks about using something from a parachute because this manual was originally written for downed pilots. Still, much information can be gleaned for the lay person.