Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Essential Camping Skills" Seminar & Outing

January, 2011

So far in January, there are no opportunities for sleeping outdoors. The temps are in the 20s; I could handle that for the night as long as temps were above freezing in the daytime. I have a place picked out that is close, and has year-round camping; but I'm hampered by the weather. Besides the cold, it's been snowing or freezing rain on the week-ends. Luckily, there's usually been a window of some time available for daytime fun.

On this week-end, I participate in an all-day outing teaching the essentials of camping: how to choose a back-country campsite; where to set your tent in relation to streams, your "kitchen", etc.;  how to use water treatment systems; a demonstration on cook stoves.

I had been busy at work, and didn't think this through. I knew it was all day; but I hadn't planned that we'd actually be hiking somewhere in order to set up camp. My own fault. In addition, I want some help understanding all the gidgets and gadgets on my tent; they suggest I bring it with me. So for the first time, I'm actually backpacking with a load. I have my non-waterproof trail running shoes on, rather than waterproof hiking shoes. Even so, I'm pleased - I did well physically. Though I was glad to get the pack off, I didn't feel overly burdened by it. I was able to keep up a decent pace.

The day was chilly and overcast, but hiking kept us warm. The two instructors were personable and very  knowledgeable. My short, local forays into car camping paid off. I felt comfortable with the group, knew what they were talking about, and could assimilate more information than just the basics. I was prepared with very specific questions. I learned how to use a camp stove and have bought one since then!

I also learned more about the proper way to hang bear bags; emergency supplies to pack (just one example: dental floss for sewing repairs), and more specific tips on eating properly - especially for a good night's sleep!

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