The Weminuchi Wilderness – 2021

June 27, 2021 § Leave a comment

Before we even finished The Eagle Cap Wilderness, we had our next destination decided. It started with a discussion around one of our camp fires where Larry (and maybe Drew) brought up the subject of “Where next?” Now, they came prepared to propose the Weminuchi, but they pretended to let me think I was in control of future destinations. Like I am some kind of adventure tyrant who says “This is our plan, take it or leave it”. In fairness, that is how the 2012 Grand Canyon played out. I chose the route, the dates, and simply said “Be there or be square!”, and they all complied. On a return from Phoenix, my favorite brother-in-law, Walt, gave me a copy of Backpacker magazine which had a lengthy article on The Highline Trail that crossed the expanse of the High Uintas, and I was immediately taken with it, and that is where I picked, and that is where we went in 2014. Banff was next, as Mike B asked me if we could target that and bring him back to the mountains he visited many cycles of the sun earlier in his life. There might have been a woman involved, but I investigated, and picked a route, and that is what we did. Scott attended that trip which his partner home pregnant and a baby girl in their future, and while we were on that trip he mentioned the Wallowas, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and that is how 2018 came about. The idea of Oregon allowed our Oregonians (Scott, Mike S, and possibly Dan) to attend, however circumstances always get in the way, and Scott was unable to join us except on our last night in Oregon after the trip before we all flew out. Dan and Mike S camped with us before we went into the back country.

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On a Roll

April 3, 2021 § Leave a comment

Having purchased my own snowshoes from REI, I was ready for a more challenging adventure. I had already been to High Point 3 times, the first written about here, and then two more follow up trips, the weekend prior where I introduced the activity to Robert Risberg and his family. Robert had actually mentioned that he and his family were taking some time up outside of New Paltz, NY and asked whether I would be interested in a snowshoe hike in the Catskills. I was very interested, however when I checked in with him, he no longer had the time in his schedule, so I looked to Mike to see if he wanted to give the Catskills a go. Now keep in mind, getting to High Point takes about 90 minutes, maybe less when there is no traffic, however getting to the Catskills is 3 hours, so if plans aren’t made to spend the night up there, and they weren’t, then that is 3 hours up, hike all day, and then a 3 hour drive home. Six hours driving in one day is lot for anyone. Add the efforts of a snowshoe hike, and chances are high, I would get a good nights sleep when it was all over.

Micro Spikes are terrific
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Snowshoeing Again

April 2, 2021 § Leave a comment

An unusual thing happened this winter. It snowed! It didn’t just snow, but it snowed a lot. I live at the Jersey Shore, where I wouldn’t say that it doesn’t snow, because it does, but the Jersey Shore just isn’t a place where it snows a lot. At least not consistently. Occasionally there are storms that come, and dump, and the conditions are right, and a lot gets dumped, but those conditions are rare. This year, the snow gods aligned their energies, and the conditions were right. That isn’t necessarily enough though, because sometimes, when it snows a lot at the Jersey Shore, it doesn’t snow a lot where it’s better to have a lot of snow. Like in the mountains. That wasn’t the case this year. While the Jersey Shore got 10 inches of snow, High Point NJ got almost two feet! With two feet of snow, there are a lot of options on the winter sports table.

The day after the storm ended, and the roads were clear enough, I drove over to my local hiking park, Hartshorne Woods, and donned my micro spikes, and set off into the normal loop I do with Mike and Jed. The going wasn’t too bad. There was about 8 inches of snow, and only a few people had been on the trail, however that included one brave soul who took in Laurel Ridge on cross country skis. A cross country skier, I am not, but Laurel Ridge seems like a pretty challenging route on skis, but this skier was perhaps a very experienced one, and able to make a go of it, as the tracks looked to be fairly stable, and I didn’t see anything that looked like the person had suffered for their choice of route. There were no broken trees, or bloodied bushes, so control seemed to have been maintained.

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Brokeback Mountain Weekend Dec 4-6 2020

April 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

The planning of this weekend has somewhat been discussed, as here for example, already, and perhaps there is some humor and purpose to scribing some of what the weekend actually entailed. There was at least one first for any of these “Weekend Warrior” type trips, and perhaps, to some degree, maybe another, though the former is much more notable, than the latter.

I call it a weekend, but really it’s a three day weekend. The average age of the crew, brought down somewhat by the recent addition of a one Dan G… (name protected to protect the innocent), hovers in the very high 50’s if not almost low 60’s, so, looking back (as I am at the moment) to all the weekends that have come before (and there were many), the trend (some would say not a great trend) has been towards less backpacking, and more hiking. That is to say, backpack in, establish a basecamp (I think one word works fine here), consume beers the rest of Friday which could (not always, but has) include a late night hike (but this weekend did not), and then a hike (sometimes challenging, sometimes not) on Saturday, leaving plenty of time to harvest more trapped CO2 in form of downed timber, followed by more beer consumption, and finally a backpack out. On occasion, there has been a late night hike as well, however, the few times that has occurred has been within the “late night hike rich” confines of Dolly Sods in West Virginia.

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Planning a Brokeback Mountain Weekend

February 14, 2021 § Leave a comment

When non-camping friends I have ask me just how do these weekend trips get planned, it’s hard to really comprehend all the negotiations that occur to determine a weekend, then to determine where we go, and finally to determine what we will do, besides build a big fire, consume the hauled-in assortment of quality craft beers, cook and share the equally well thought out food stuffs and smoke the many fine cigars and cigarette tobaccos. What is going to be posted here, for all to read, is some, maybe all the correspondence that flies around that great echo chamber known as The Internet as we work these details out.

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Hunterdown & Bucks Counties Take 1

December 19, 2020 § Leave a comment

The misperception of my home state, New Jersey, is rather vast and narrowly confined to the NJ Turnpike corridor. That perception begins, from the South, as you cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge and espy the Industrial properties that occupy both shores of the Delaware. There is a break for many miles, until you approach Port Reading and Carteret where the Tanker Farms begin, then transitioning into all out oil refineries, before phasing into the Meadowlands, peppered with the transportation industry. Considering that a majority of through traffic travels the 95 corridor, this is what those travelers see all the time, though to be fair, since the very last section of 95 was completed only a few years ago, some traffic has shifted away from the Southern 5 exits of the NJ Turnpike.

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AT Mass 2020 – Postscript

November 13, 2020 § 2 Comments

Ali and I spent a week, only one week, on the AT in Massachusetts for Cripe’s Sake, and though we accomplished our goals, we did not get through the entire encounter at no personal cost. I think Ali fared a LOT better than I did overall, the dude ate bone broth for dinner, and really I did very well on the trail, however, there was no real way my feet were going much further. If I had to put it politely, I complete fucked my feet over. Don’t worry, I am NOT posting any pictures of my feet (that is mainly because I didn’t take any, which implies that if I had, you would be viewing at least one right now), but take my word for it, they paid a price for this journey. When we got back to Ali’s car, I switched from my boots to my sandals, BUT I DID NOT REMOVE MY SOCKS. So, I put that great reveal off until I was comfortably sitting in the safety of my house in Ocean NJ.

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AT Massachusetts – That’s a Wrap

November 12, 2020 § Leave a comment

When we left off our last discussion, we were three, and happy and warm in Mark Noebels Shelter. For Ali and myself, we had just over a day remaining on the trail, and for Paul, he would accompany us to the summit, and there would branch off onto a side trail for a change of scenery. Mailman was with us as well, and had his own plans for the day. The only downer to start the day, is the rain did finally arrive before the sun came up, and there was a steady, moderate amount still falling from the sky. Today, at least the morning, would require proper rain gear, but, considering we weren’t under any real time constraints, there was no rush to get going. Even Mailman had his reservations about venturing out.

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AT Massachusetts – Treats on the Trail

November 9, 2020 § Leave a comment

By now you are aware that four of us started this adventure, and now only two remain. We have four days, including our biggest day, behind us now, and 3 and half days ahead of us. Since we started up the Race Brook access trail, we haven’t crossed a road that has contained anything remotely treat worthy, so we have been eating nothing but what we brought with us. While this doesn’t change on Day 5, it does change on Day 6, and then again on Day 7. Also, though Kevin got the call that told him if he wasn’t hiking then he should come home, and so home he went and we would not be seeing him on our last two days, we did pick up a new hiking mate for one night on the trail. That and more details follow in this edition of The Adventures of The Bird and The Persian Prince.

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The Persian Prince and The Bird

October 29, 2020 § Leave a comment

Ali used his normal a.k.a. as his trail name, The Persian Prince, and I saw no need for yet another alias in my life, so I simply used my cycling nickname, Big Bird, or just Bird. It’s the culture of thru hiking to have an alias. One it gives you a little bit of anonymity, but in another it actually better identifies you. You tell your family you are going to “off the grid” (though that really isn’t the truth anymore), for a long period of time. You tell them where you are going in, where you expect to come out, and more importantly when you expect to come out, and if you are diligent, you sign all the registers along the way, so that should you not come out when you are expected to, then authorities can scan those registers and try and find the last place you checked in.

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