Monday, January 25, 2010

I went hiking this past weekend on the Appalachian Trail. The area was having an ice storm. My friend and I had to put ice clips on the borrom of our shoes to hike up the mountain. There was so much ice that my friend had to set his tent up inside the shelter so that the large chunks of ice would not damage his tent. I set up my Clarks Jungle hammock with speer peapod to weather the storm. The trail became a 4 inch ice path. The return trip was hard, at one point I had to slide on my backside for a long distance to get down the mountain. The ice chunks falling from the trees were the size of large ice cubes a hard on the head.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stories to tell

Whike hiking I explore trails finding unusual facts about the plants, animal, geology and folk lore along the way. I work as an environmental engineer ( a Hydrogeomorphologist). I redesign streams so they mimic their original natural state. I spent some time as a marine biologist and studied plants and animals around estuarine streams. I have collected a million stories about the people I have met and the places I have been. One person I met was a man hiking the AT from Hawaii near Waynesboro Virginia. He had a very unique story. Do you have a story to tell ?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Winter hiking

Hiking solo in the snow in winter can be a very rewarding experience. While walking in the snow animals get wet fur and each animal gives off a different odor. Coyotes, deer and bear all have odors specific to them. A coyote has a musty smell while a deer has a sharp simi sweet odor. Bears have a ransid ketone odor from the metabolism of the yellow fat in winter. When you hike solo you can move quietly enough to be within the smell of wild animals. If you hike in groups the animals see and hear you long before you see them. But if you hike in winter youmust take every possible safety precaution. I leave a detailed map of my route and carry a locator beacon, a GPS as well as a SAT phone. I also carry a pack with extra winter supplies (dry clother, etc).

Bear stories

I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in the fall and had heard that there had been a lot of black bear activity along the AT. I had been hiking for about 24 miles and got to a shelter late. By the time I had fixed dinner, pitched my tent and hung my bear bag it was dark. I had read that if you sang songs it would scare bears away. It was late fall and there were no other hikers around. I had heard a lot of noises around the shelter and was expecting to see bears any minute. So I made up a song and sang it as load as I could. I made up my own words to Old MacDonald had a farm. It went bit like this "Old MacDonald had a woods and in the woods he had a bear and the bear said gerrrr hear and a gerrrr there and gerrrr all around." I sang it clear and load many times. I didn't hear any bears but I did hear someone off in the distance say, "Hey mister if you don't mind we are trying to get some sleep and would you please shut up." My voice had carried to a bunch of turkey hunters camping several miles away. I felt really embarrassed.