Hiking Dude Blog
2019 - Apr Mar Feb
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I saw something interesting at this spot.
I walked 17400 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 8 miles today.
Check out my current location on the map. Looks like everything is aligning for me to hike the Superior Hiking Trail again. I've been sweating up the local hills every morning doing about 10 miles and the legs feel good. The weather looks good with mild temps and just an occasional chance of rain. Hopefully, the humidity won't be bad. The plan is to head to Grand Marais on Thursday and start hiking at the Canadian border early Friday morning. If all goes well, I'll finish on the next Friday or Saturday. I'm hoping to do the entire 310 miles down to the Wisconsin border but we'll see what happens. This post is mostly to test that my phone blogging is working.
No Fame 4 Me
An old high school friend sent me a message on facebook about a new adventure TV show being filmed this summer, and said I really should apply to be on it. What the heck! So, my son and I both applied on the last possible day, with high hopes of fame and low expectations of acceptance.
This week, they announced that casting was closed and they've contacted those that will move forward with the project - we weren't contacted. :-(
Oh well, now my summer is free for other adventures. I'm most likely going to see how fast I can thru-hike the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail in July. The record is just over 8 days, so there's a slim chance I can better that by a couple hours if I can just do it before the real heavy-duty long distance hikers discover this wonderful trail. Once "Anish" decides to do it as a warm-up hike, that's game over. (look her up online, she's amazing)
If you're looking for a companion on a week or two hike between now and November, give me a holler. I'm always interested in any place new, and I certainly don't need to hike 20+ mile days every day (but I can).
Green Belly Meal2Go
I've tried various nutrition bars for hiking energy, but they tend to be lacking in the taste department and get boring pretty quickly.
So, when Chris at GreenBelly.co sent me a few of his Meal2Go food bars to try, I didn't have high hopes. But, I'm always willing to try new things. Lucky for me this time.
Well, I ate 1/2 of a Peanut/Apricot bar (2 bars per pouch) about halfway through my 5-mile morning hike today. It was great! When I opened the resealable mylar pouch and took a whiff, it really smelled like fresh peanuts. The brown rice was crunchy and the tapioca syrup held the bar together, giving it a nice chewy feel. The taste was also very good, like dried fruit and nuts rather than sugar and dry flour. 3 hours later and I'm just now starting to get hungry again.
On my long backpacking treks, I'm leaning towards no-cook meals these days. I can see these Meal2Go bars being a great part of a backpacking meal plan. Eating a whole bar seems like too much to me. Since the pouches are resealable, I'd consider breaking the bars up and repackaging 1/2 a bar of each flavor into a pouch. That way, I'd get a variety of flavors while hiking through the day. They'd be a good on-trail snack for grazing as a replacement for trail mix or candy bars.
There are three flavor choices: Cranberry/Almond, Dark Chocolate/Banana, and Peanut/Apricot
The bars are 117 calories/oz in a good mix of fat, carbs, and protein. There are two bars in a pouch for 645 calories in 5.5 ounces. Each pouch itself is heavy-duty mylar with a resealable zip so they can be reused for storing other food that you open but don't finish.
I'm looking forward to trying the other flavors on more hikes soon. Find out more at GreenBelly.co and add some nutritious mix to your outdoors menus.
After tramping around my local area for the past few months, doing my 5-7 mile morning walks, and not having much to write about, I've got some news to share.
My next long hike isn't really going to be very long, but it will take a long time to get to it. Anyone recognize the photo above? It's a very well-known mountain and I'll be standing on top of it on Valentine's Day 2019 with my wife (and probably a few dozen other people).
Something like 50,000 people try to climb this 5,895 meter (19,341 feet) high peak each year with about 65% of them being successful. We are going with an organized group from our church being guided by an outfitter at the mountain. It will be an 8-day trek up and back down, but covers only about 71km ( or 44 miles).
Well, enough suspense - we will be taking the Lemosho Route up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Kili is the highest mountain in Africa, with Uhuru Peak being the highest point.
It will be weird to have someone else carry all my gear, have someone cook my meals, and sleep in huts. But, that's the way it's done with the guides and porters, so it will be a new experience.
I'm hoping for clear weather so we can summit and have great views since I doubt I'd make another effort after this one.
After our climb, we will spend a week visiting communities in the area, and going on a couple short safaris. I've never been to Africa, so this is a very exciting opportunity to learn more and meet people on the other side of the world.
Many, I'd say MOST, people I've met on trail listen to music while they hike. It's a great way to help pass hours of walking, especially on the less interesting portions of long trails. And, with electronic music players so tiny and inexpensive, it's very easy to provide a little entertainment along your walk.
I've tried it on one long hike. My wife loaded some albums on my cellphone and showed me how to get it to play song after song, one after another, cycling through dozens of tunes. It was a big change to get used to for me.
I felt like I was insulated and missing out on the natural sounds around me. My stress raised a bit because I wondered if something important was happening around me that I didn't notice - like a snake, mountain lion, or bear sneaking up on me. Or, more seriously on roads, a car approaching - I'd never consider plugging my ears on a road walk.
So, I don't listen to music much while hiking. Do you? Has it ever caused you any problem?
The fact that I don't have earbuds in doesn't mean I don't enjoy songs while hiking. I will often hum or even try to sing songs, especially ones that have a beat close to my footsteps. I've found that can really help me keep my pace going longer and I think it helps me do more miles. I tend to sing out loud more when I'm solo hiking in remote areas - I once had a summer job peeling paint off camp buildings just by singing at them.
Here's a very old song that pops into my head when I'm plodding up a long hill, or sometimes a never-ending flat section. I guess it's kind of my Hiking Mantra. It gives me energy, lightens my mood, and makes walking fun again. Plus, it can make the hot sun feel a little cooler.
What about you? Do you have any favorite songs you like to sing out loud, or just listen to for motivation, when hiking? Maybe I can give yours a listen.
Hey, last night we talked to a couple dozen people at our church about our PNT thru-hike, and it got recorded. So, if you have 45 minutes (or more) to spend, you can have a look.
Yesterday, we had a fun time talking about our PNT thru-hike to a standing room only crowd of about 70+ folks at the Midwest Mountaineering Expo. It was entertaining to remember and joke about things that happened along the trail.
One of the things that continues to pop into my mind often is the first day in Glacier when Josh fell off the trail. It makes for a great story now, but was about the scariest moment I can recall from all my miles on trail so far.
Traversing a steep snowfield, he slipped and slid for more than 50 feet to the rocks at the bottom. From my view above him, I only saw a cloud of ice crystals as he tried to dig in with his feet and hiking pole handles to slow down. Pretty helpless feeling, just standing there and watching him hurtle towards the end of the snow where it turned to rock.
When he hit the rocks at the bottom, the cloud of ice turned into a cloud of dust. I've hit rocks at the bottom of a glissade before, and it is very dangerous! Luckily, it was all smaller shale and not solid rocks and boulders so he skidded on it to a quick stop.
As you can see, he took a beating with lots of cuts on hands and legs, but nothing deep. I checked him out and all his joints and muscles still worked, and there was little bleeding, so we climbed back up to the trail past the snowfield.
A few weeks later, all the cuts were healed and scarred (which he still has) and they are a reminder of how a split-second can change a fun time into an emergency. Even being trained, cautious, and aware, accidents can still happen so you should have some wilderness first aid skills before going into the wilds.
Oh yeah, we're presenting about our PNT hike this Wednesday at our home church so that should be fun to see what our friends ask us about. :-)
Outdoor Expo Talk
Josh and I will be presenting about our Pacific Northwest Trail hike at the upcoming Spring Outdoor Expo in Minneapolis, MN on April 28 at 11:45am.
See details HERE.
There are lots of other interesting talks to attend at the Expo. If you're in the area, it's a great way to spend the day.
When you're hiking for two months, you're bound to encounter some strange things.
In eastern Washington, we had to take a very long (like 50 miles) detour due to wildfires. Along this reroute, while looking for a place to camp at the end of the day, we found this crazy tree. Yes, it's covered in hundreds of shoes, boots, slippers, all sorts of footwear.
For the next few days, we asked folks if they knew of it. Only a couple knew what we were talking about and they just said 'folks nail their old shoes to it', but they didn't know why.
Another strange thing we found were rocks painted yellow scattered in an alpine meadow on the very top of a mountain. The mountain is Bunker Hill in the Pasayten Wilderness in Washington. We found some old structure foundations on the hilltop also.
The meadow was dry, dead grass so I walked around the rocks and finally figured out what they were.
If you click the link below, I think you'll figure it out also.
Yes, they weren't actually scattered around. They were arranged.
One last strange thing I recall. For some reason, a person with a chainsaw cut a hole through this tree somewhere in Montana. The tree is still alive and seemingly healthy, but we could figure out no reason for this.
Do you have any explanation for that cut?
Or, what strange things have you seen on trail?
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