3/4/03 This has been the first cold winter in several years. It has been great skiing and snowshoeing. For the first time in seven years Grand Traverse Bay (part of Lake Michigan) has frozen and ice boaters have been out in full force. As for me I have had fun with a new tent. Golite discontinued the Hex 2 and introduced the Hex 3. I picked up the Hex 2 for less than half price. It has already proven to be a great winter tent (link).
12/702 Instead of a tarp and a poncho I'm going with a tarp/poncho combination made by Moonbow. In combination with a good water resistant bag bivy, this is entirely practical. The best lightweight bivy for summer camping is the Nextec Epic top, Silnylon bottom, with removable mosquito netting Bivy made by Oware and I have upgraded to it.With the rest of my free time, I'm practicing my primitive living skills and enjoying the early snow here is Northwest Michigan.
7/19/02 Tracker school was fantastic (see entry for 6/.30/02). I highly recommend this week to anyone who ever thinks about becoming more aware, independent and at home in the wilderness.
6/30/02 The gearlist for cold weather has been updated. My son and I are off next week to Tom Brown's Tracker School for the Standard Class.This is what I am doing this summer instead of a longer backpacking trip. This should be interesting. I wonder if I'll get hooked or just get my curiosity satisfied? I shall see.
6/23/02 New Summer Gear List and page describing the Sierra Zip Stove. I haven't updated the cold weather and winter gear lists yet. That will come. On my last hike, just a few days ago, I gave the zip stove a good trial and it passed. I also have removed the waist belt from an old G4 pack and sewed it onto an old LLBean fanny pack which eally works as both a waist belt for the fanny pack and as support for my Breeze backpack. Also, I have written a description of my hike to the Hoist Lakes Foot Travel Area.
5/20/02 I just purchased a new stove, the Sierra Titanium Zip stove. The initial back yard try out was very encouraging. I think I am going to like this stove. For those not familiar with the Zip, it is basically a miniature black smith's forge. There is a fan that recycles heated air to the burner chamber where any kind of combustable material may be burned. Normally this material will be twigs, pine cones etc. from the forest floor. It is powered by a AA battery which should last through 6-8 hours of fan operation. An optional adapter allows use of a C battery with an expected operation time of 36 hours. The big weight saving advantage of the Zip, of course, is that you pack no fuel. With the battery, my stove weighed about 10.5 oz. and it fits like a glove inside my 0.9 L titanium pot. I will use Coghlin's Firestarting Paste, carried in a film cannister, to quickly get things going. I am told that cotton balls smeared with vasaline also work well. More on this stove after I try it on a few hikes.
2/23/02 I sent my mesh bottomed Rab Top Sleeping bag off to Nunatak gear for some major modifications. It is back and I've had a chance to try out the changes on a winter trip. These changes, with photos, are described on the Sleeping Bag secton of Notes page. Also, Leila from Oregan has shared a great recipe for home made energy bars which I have included on the trail food page.
1/12/02 Updated the Notes page and the Winter gearlist to include my sleeping bag changes. These modifications should give me a very comfortable, lightweight, four season sleep system. This winter I purchased Icebreaker Skin Leggings (Marino Wool long underwear) to complete my return to wool underware. Outdoor Sports in New Zealand Link sells these, I think, for a very reasonable price ($36.00 including shipping) They also arrived within 10 days after I placed the order. I have worn them a lot and they have performed extremely well.
8/08/01 Another trip report. This one about Grand island in Lake Superior and near the town of Munising in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Link
7/08/01 Added a page all about tarp camping
7/1/01 Photo Journal of a Hike on the Bruce Trail of Ontario. Link
6/24/01 Just returned from a 5 day hike on the Bruce Peninsula of Ontario where I gave my Breeze pack a good test and tried out my new Original Bug Shirt for the first time. As a result I have modified the summer gear list and added some things to the Notes page. By the way, the hike was fantastic.
4/27/01 Added a gearlist page for early spring and late fall backpacking.
3/8/01 Added a page about winter camping
1/20/01 Updated the pack information on the Notes page and added a section about camp light choices.
12/29/00 First tests on the new Golite Breeze Pack, New pack information on the Notes Page and a gearlist update to record changes made to accommodate the new pack.
12/16/00 Added Pukaskwa National Park Trip Report Link
12/10/00 Superior Hiking Trail Trip Report Link
12/8/00 Purchased the Golite Nest 1 and Cave 1 (tarp and tent made of netting that hangs inside the Nest 1) See Shelter on the Notes page