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Old 12-29-2017, 09:07 PM   #1
bioguide
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2018 New Years Camping Trip that wasn't

I’ve planned for this trip for over a year now. At least based on the fact that in the summer of 2016 I bucked, split, and stacked a stash of hard wood maple in anticipation I’d be returning to burn it one day. (I know it’s still there I stopped by to check on it the last day of hunting season.)



I was to stay for 3 nights over this New Years. I’d go in on Friday and return on Monday New Years Day. Everything was coming together and based on prior experience I had everything packed and I was off. After my arrival and having loaded and tied down my gear on the sled I put on my Permafrost Parka and hood but couldn’t locate my Buff (despite having it on my check list of equipment) but I did locate my backup balaclava.



The familiar ¾ mile sled haul across the lake was next and I knew I’d soon be setting up camp near my stash of dry hard wood for the weekend. The three night dinner menu consisted of venison back straps, homemade lasagna, or venison/bacon burgers. Breakfasts would consist of Oscars smoked pork tenderloin, hash browns with green peppers and onions, duck eggs, coffee, and OJ or instead of eggs buckwheat pancakes and maple syrup. I had some chili if I elected to eat lunch but I usually wouldn’t. Extra sharp cheese and crackers for hors d'oeuvres and to drink I had a new, for me, mead called Odin’s Tears by Heritage Meadery or I’d sip on Buckshot a peppered and maple bourbon whiskey gifted to me by my wife.



Over the weekend I had plans to extend my ski trail through the hardwood glade with my new skis, buck up some more wood for the wood stash, and drill some ice holes and try some fishing. Mostly however I would be savoring the moments being outdoors in the cold, sitting next to the wood stove gazing out my vinyl window listening to the cracking of trees and lake ice as they freeze up, the wind howling and rattling the tent at night, and listening to an audible book recommend to me by my brother: Astoria by Peter Stark.



Alas it’s not going to occur at the lake this New Year…
About 1/3 of the way across the lake I had a fleeting thought that there were no snowmobile trails that usually ran up the middle of the lake. A little further along I suddenly ran into a small patch of slush but quickly scurried through and around it. Mind you when you’re hauling a sled and backpack and do the “quickly scurried maneuver” you expend a fair amount of energy and well… I needed to pause for a rest. That pause resulted in my first sled freeze up. I quickly overturned my sled and scarped the slushy mess off and hauled further away from the area finding a slush free area to rest.



Having recouped I hauled on and nearing my ½ way mark it was now very apparent to me no snowmobiles have been on the lake at all. Simultaneously my tracks began to quickly fill in with slush so I attempted a 180 degree turn but by the time I passed my sled in the turn the slush locked onto its bottom and my skis. I was stuck... solid. Safe but stuck. I had to remove my skis and walk with them to find a slush free area and remove the now freezing slush on the skis bottoms. I reapplied “Glop Stopper” to the skins and rested. I eventually returned to the sled, turned it on its side, and began scraping the freezing slush off the bottom. It was at the beginning of this second, and move severe, slush event that I had decided I wasn’t going any further and that I would return home. I wouldn’t risk getting bogged down in any more slushy areas, perhaps several, to get to my camping area and stash of wood. These two events were exhausting… and had I gone on and encountered more slush I still would have to set up camp.



Overall it was a good day to be out and about in winter. I’ll still enjoy everything I was bringing with me camping I’ll just be enjoying it at home next to my wood stove in the den.

Cheers and Happy New Years Everyone!
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:30 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear that Kelly. I was on Thirteenth Lake today pulling a sled and there was a lot of slush there too. Like you I thought it was odd that I didn't see any tracks or evidence of others. Hopefully things will improve soon.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:31 AM   #3
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Bio,
Bummer! After all that preparation! Who would of guessed slush with the temperatures hovering so low?
I have been out and about and have noticed fast flowing water with ice formed below the flow of water. How could ice form below the water surface I queried myself. At first I thought the stream froze whilst at a lower level and the ice got buried with an increased volume. But why would there be an increased volume, its been colder than all get out?
I theorize that the newly formed ice dammed up the path of the stream flow forcing it to reroute and eventually spilling atop of the formed ice. Does that make sense?
So I now theorize that might of happened to you. The weight of the ice forced the water to the edges of the lake and thus flooded the surface of the lake?
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:57 AM   #4
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Bio,
Bummer!
So I now theorize that might of happened to you. The weight of the ice forced the water to the edges of the lake and thus flooded the surface of the lake?
Yes, a bummer. Slush was in the middle of the lake as well. Here is a good explanation from an experienced winter trekker/camper of slush formation (or overflow as they call it in Alaska) on lakes:

http://www.wintertrekking.com/commun...34765#msg34765
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:20 AM   #5
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Yes, a bummer. Slush was in the middle of the lake as well. Here is a good explanation from an experienced winter trekker/camper of slush formation (or overflow as they call it in Alaska) on lakes:

http://www.wintertrekking.com/commun...34765#msg34765
Nice explanation, thanks for the link. May you fare well on your next expedition.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:53 AM   #6
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Bio - Sorry to hear your trip didn't go as planned. Right now we've had so little snow in my part of NY that the ice is solid and in really good condition. What wind we've had has kept it snow free so all these freezing temperatures have created some of the best ice I've seen in years. Can't wait for it to get a bit warmer so we can skate on our pond.

That's all for now. Best of luck with future adventures and until next time....be well.

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Old 01-04-2018, 12:05 PM   #7
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Bio,
Just curious... What device do you listen to your audio books on?

I absolutely love bringing along my small Bose Bluetooth Speaker on winter overnight trips & listening to a live downloaded concert or two. Great sound & definitely helps pass the time on those long & cold winter nights.

Also, I’m a little surprised that you decided to completely throw in the towel on the entire weekend. Definitely better safe than sorry, and I know you were looking forward to getting back to your spot & burning your firewood stash, but why not try & salvage the weekend & shoot for a plan B, and maybe just purchase some firewood in either Speculator or Indian Lake, and find a suitable camping spot on State Land for the hot tent that’s not too far from one of the numerous parking areas that are on or near Route 30, and enjoy the rest of the weekend?

Last edited by Justin; 01-04-2018 at 05:09 PM.. Reason: Added link & “hot tent”
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:37 PM   #8
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Also, I’m a little surprised that you decided to completely throw in the towel on the entire weekend.
When you have your heart set on a hot tent, huddling around a camp fire and then waking up cold probably doesn't have the same appeal! I mean, at least for me. Of course, I don't own a hot tent so I'm just speculating. Maybe next year....
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:59 PM   #9
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When you have your heart set on a hot tent, huddling around a camp fire and then waking up cold probably doesn't have the same appeal! I mean, at least for me. Of course, I don't own a hot tent so I'm just speculating. Maybe next year....
Why couldn’t he still use the hot tent?

As an example, I may have done something like stopping in at the Speculator Market, and purchase a few bundles of firewood, and maybe pull the toboggan a short distance up the Dunning Pond trail, and looked for a suitable place to set up the hot tent 150’ from the trail or parking area. The short trail to Auger Falls could be another example. Easier said than done I’m sure, but there are other options further up or down Route 30 as well, not to mention the Route 8 East Branch campsites.

Was just a thought...I felt bad for Bio watching the video, he seemed pretty disappointed & bummed out, and perhaps just too pooped out to pull that heavy load any further, not to mention hauling in the firewood also. Glad he made it out safe without any other issues.

Last edited by Justin; 01-04-2018 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 01-04-2018, 01:31 PM   #10
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Why couldn’t he still use the hot tent?

As an example, I may have done something like stopping in at the Speculator Market, and purchase a few bundles of firewood, and maybe pull the toboggan a short distance up the Dunning Pond trail, and looked for a suitable place to set up the hot tent 150’ from the trail or parking area. The short trail to Auger Falls could be another example. Easier said than done I’m sure, but there are other options further up or down Route 30 as well, not to mention the Route 8 East Branch campsites.

Was just a thought...I felt bad for Bio watching the video, he seemed pretty disappointed & bummed out, and perhaps just too pooped out to pull that heavy load any further, not to mention hauling in the firewood also. Glad he made it out safe without any other issues.
True! I'm curious now as well. I'm gonna keep you on speed dial in case I'm ever looking for a Plan B. You always have a good one!
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Old 01-04-2018, 01:35 PM   #11
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I'm gonna keep you on speed dial in case I'm ever looking for a Plan B...
Ha!
I think everyone should always have a plan B, especially if plan A involves crossing questionable ice.
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:04 PM   #12
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Bio,
Just curious... What device do you listen to your audio books on?

Also, I’m a little surprised that you decided to completely throw in the towel on the entire weekend. Definitely better safe than sorry, and I know you were looking forward to getting back to your spot & burning your firewood stash, but why not try & salvage the weekend & shoot for a plan B, and maybe just purchase some firewood in either Speculator or Indian Lake, and find a suitable camping spot on State Land that’s not too far from one of the numerous parking areas that are on or near Route 30, and enjoy the rest of the weekend?
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Why couldn’t he still use the hot tent?

As an example, I may have done something like stopping in at the Speculator Market, and purchase a few bundles of firewood, and maybe pull the toboggan a short distance up the Dunning Pond trail, and looked for a suitable place to set up the hot tent 150’ from the trail or parking area. The short trail to Auger Falls could be another example. Easier said than done I’m sure, but there are other options further up or down Route 30 as well, not to mention the Route 8 East Branch campsites.

Was just a thought...I felt bad for Bio watching the video, he seemed pretty disappointed & bummed out, and perhaps just too pooped out to pull that heavy load any further, not to mention hauling in the firewood also. Glad he made it out safe without any other issues.
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Ha!
I think everyone should always have a plan B, especially if plan A involves crossing questionable ice.
Hey Justin, I listen to books with my Android phone.

While I've done plan B's and C's before your question in salvaging this particular weekend with a plan B is reasonable. Had I been with someone to share tasks or perhaps 10 years younger I might have salvaged it. I could have camped at one of the car accessible sites (which I've done in the past) but I was, as you put it, "too pooped out to pull that heavy load any further". And in my experience I don't think I would have had enough daylight or energy to load the car, go purchase wood, unload the car and pack the sled, then break trail to perhaps Auger Falls and then set up camp. I was almost 2 hrs in dealing with the slush. It wasn't a simple task and it was ~1 pm by the time I got back to the side of the road and my car.

Anyways, while I was disappointed and bummed my plan B (throwing in the towel) worked out fine.

Cheers,

Kelly
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:24 PM   #13
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Reading Bio's story reminded me of last winters snow shoe trek I attempted up Crane Mt.
8"of fresh snow, I had to snow shoe in from the main road, breaking trail the whole way. By the time I got to the sign in station I was pretty tired, but I was intent on making it to the pond. I wanted to build a small fire and sip some whiskey next to the pond in winter.
I pushed on, still breaking trail through the steepest part of the mountain, huffing and puffing. I made it after an hour and a half to the last overlook of the ascent, which in summer takes 15 minutes.
I was pretty whipped and thought about the additional hour it was likely going to take....and the entire trek back out and threw in the towel.
I figured it was better to assume your limitations than to have them painfully proven while alone. I have to admit, I was pretty disgusted with myself for turning back, especially when a young guy caught me and passed me with little to no effort on the way up!
But the moral to my story is that I returned 2 months later on a beautiful spring day to climb the same mountain and had a heart attack in the process. So I believe the assumption of my limitations was rather fortunate on the previous trip. Kind of like my body was telling me something I had no idea was coming?!
Sometimes you just get that feeling you should turn back and it's not easily explainable, but maybe it's for a reason.
Great write up and pics Bio!
-Matt
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:19 PM   #14
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But the moral to my story is that I returned 2 months later on a beautiful spring day to climb the same mountain and had a heart attack in the process.
-Matt
Wow, that's a crazy story (and one of my biggest fears about hiking alone) but I'm glad you made it out in one piece!
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:31 AM   #15
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Bio,
Thanks for the reply, that makes perfect sense, better luck next time.

Skillz,
Wow man , glad you’re ok!
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:27 AM   #16
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Skillz,
Man that is scary and hits home as I prefer to hike solo. Glad you came back to tell the story!

Bio,
It is sometimes hard for a person with a body three or four decades old to understand the limitations of a person with a body of six decades old. The mind is game but the body is unwilling. I got wiped out just reading about your struggles just as I get energized by reading Justin's.

I find myself targeting shorter destinations and becoming more intimate with "place", whereas in times past I yearned for the journey alone.

PS I still prefer Boreas to be classified all Wilderness despite the decline in my limitations.
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:54 PM   #17
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Thank All,
I wasn't trying to thread jack or anything. Just kind of remembering the moment as I read Bio's story and it sunk home how familiar it sounded. Perhaps the frustration of the reality sinking in that a subliminal wisdom says live to fight another day!
I wish I had the gumption to plan and attempt such a trip, but I live, instead, vicariously through stories such as these..lol
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:54 AM   #18
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Bio, I just finished "Astoria". It was a good read! Thanks for turning me on to it. It really makes are exploits laughable. Those guys (and gal) were nuts!

You might want to check out this excellent article;

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/...rd-south-pole/
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:55 AM   #19
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Bio, I just finished "Astoria". It was a good read! Thanks for turning me on to it. It really makes are exploits laughable. Those guys (and gal) were nuts!

You might want to check out this excellent article;

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/...rd-south-pole/
Yea, our excursions are truly child's play compared to any of these explorations.

Thanks for your article link. I see his book is available as an Audible. I'll be getting it soon as I haven't finished Astoria yet.

In another forum I came across this that I just posted on the forum:

http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.p...317#post265317
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