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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Stealth Camping's LiveJournal:

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Friday, January 4th, 2008
9:11 am
9:05 am
Great Western Loop
Belated kudos to Andrew Skurka for completing the 6,875 mile Great Western Loop!
Sunday, November 25th, 2007
8:50 am
First CDT Yo Yo
Congrats to Francis Tapon who walked the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada, turned around and walked back to Mexico!

Yeah, he's a vegetarian.
Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
5:42 pm
Totally Scored
Hit the discount job lot store today. Polypro long johns tops and bottoms, $5. Polyester fleece pullover, $10. Big polyester fleece socks, $3; I'm thinking would be nice to sleep in.

Only thing I don't have for third season is long pants.
Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
10:05 am
My Supercat
I think this is about where I want to be for boiling a couple cups of water. Part of the joy is that it takes about two minutes to make the stove, using a cat food can and a paper punch.

Monday, October 29th, 2007
12:25 am
Frosty Nights
Outside right now is as cold as I ever want to sleep in: 31f/-1c.

I've just been out trying out blankets. I put down a space blanket ground cloth on the grass. Walmart blue sleeping pad. Bundled up with wool sox, long pants, t-shirt, down vest, fleece long sleeve shirt.

After trying several combinations, I was comfortable enough with combined army wool blanket and an all weather space blanket. Too much to carry.

I think a quilt is the way to go. Silk long-johns, too.
Sunday, September 16th, 2007
9:55 pm
Test Biscuit One
Today I baked a biscuit in a Kmart grease pot, using three tea candles.

I'd cut the rim off the grease strainer, turn it over and dropped it into the bottom of the pot, turning it into a steamer. I also wrapped the pot with cotton cord for insulation.

Quarter inch water in the pot, fifteen minutes preheat, fifteen minutes baking.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
8:45 pm
My Penny Stove
Following wise advice, I made a penny stove with cotton wicking inside to prevent spashing.

I knocked it around with a long stick and it didn't spray lit fuel, so that's a plus. Boiled two cups of water in less than six minutes. Roughly ten minutes of burn on 2-3 ounces of fuel.
Thursday, September 6th, 2007
1:00 pm
Hiking to School
I'm amused how school book packs add the popular features from hiking packs. Last night I was looking at an eight dollar pack with side mesh bottle holders and daisy chain loops. Might've had an ice ax loop, but I didn't look that close.
Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
12:13 pm
Ding Dong the Witch is Dead (locally)
Mosquito season is over! Went camping last night and was delightfully unmolested.

I really need to work out a good system for staying warm in the hammock. Yeah, I know, there already are systems. Sometimes I just need to reinvent the wheel. Extra blankets don't do it. No way to layer them out in a hammock. I just wind up with a weird kind of ineffective nest.
Monday, August 27th, 2007
9:25 am
Nobody would even see ya...
I call the station at a north shore state park to confirm that I wouldn't need a reservation for the day after Labor Day. Yeah, it's dead out there on week days. I asked what the policy was for just going off the trail and putting up a hammock for the night and he's like, "who'd even notice?" As long as I don't build a fire.

We're getting to prime stealth camping season. The nights are colder, but fewer mosquitoes and car campers. It's like the forest is all mine.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
9:58 pm
Back on the trail...
I'm wrapping up my busy season, so looking forward to getting some more camping before the snow falls. I don't have much experience in third-season camping, so back to tweeking my sleeping system.

I vended at a trade show, recently. I use disposable plastic table cloths when I vend. I'm looking at this five by nine foot pvc sheet, thinking, "this would make a pretty good lightweight tarp". I'll have to try one out and see.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
3:26 pm
My First Geocache Adventure
I've finally yielded to the temptation to buy a hand held GPS, an eTrex Legend. I got it for trail mapping -- showing people where I've been. However, I've also wanted to try some geocache searching.

In May, 2005, PlasteredDragon hid an ammo box in Coggshall Park, Krotan's Aerie. Dozens of people each year, aided by GPS units, find the box, sign the log, exchange trinkets. It's only three-quarter miles from my house, so an easy first cache for me.

Hidden in a rocky cavern

The treasure box

Coincidentally, my first stealth camping night was only yards from another geocache. I'm gonna have to go back and find that one.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
9:45 am
Ultra-ultra light
"When you joined the Hudson Bay Company, you got a paper bag and a stick. You boiled your tea in the bag and you killed your food with the stick. If you lost either one, by god, you reimbursed the company!"

Don't know where I heard that quote. It's most likely mangled a bit.
Monday, July 16th, 2007
10:50 pm
Muddy Pond Shelter
This weekend I hiked what trails.com calls Midstate Trail Northbound Day Eight; twice.

I got the guide free, because trails had a two week free trial and there were only three guides I wanted so I printed them and closed the account.

Things I've learned...
  • I hike about half the speed of the people who make trail guides.
  • I needed a liter of water per hour, so two in my hydration bag and the one bottle I started with wasn't enough. Either carry more water, or take shorter hikes.
  • Bring a mesh filter and a rubber band for next time I have to fill my bottle out of a lake. Fortunately, I had iodine drops for emergencies.
  • Night hiking isn't for me. The trail guide was a bit misleading of where the shelter was and being out of water, I really wanted to spend the night there. I yo-yoed a quarter mile of the trail three times and fell down twice before I decided that the swelling under my right knee really needed me to elevate my feet and I found a place to hang my hammock. In morning's light, I found the shelter farther down the trail. I also found my wallet and map that'd slipped out of my pocket when I fell down the second time -- banging my knee in exactly the same spot as the first time. Fortunately, I had iodine drops for emergencies.
  • I need to keep my wallet in the inside pocket of my pack. Also a fluorescent yellow wallet would be a good idea.
  • Need a better exit strategy. Got no cell phone service for the entire walk back or I'd have probably called a cab from the nearest road.
  • Swarms of aggressive mosquitoes can make it hard to rest regularly. Even DEET isn't 100%.
  • The Walmart CCF pad made a difference in the hammock. Stayed toasty warm.

The scenery was beautiful. Muddy Pond shelter was a kind of Shangra La, surrounded by hammock trees and with a good breeze keeping the bugs away. I took a dip in the lake and relaxed for a couple hours. Next time I will hike there from the nearest road and spend more time at the shelter.

I had extra shorts and a shirt in my pack that I didn't believe I needed. However, on the return, a thunderstorm deluge make me think I'd have wanted dry clothes if I had to spend another night outside. At least shorts to wear to bed. Also, I didn't take my flip-flops and I would really have liked those at the lake.

Muddy Pond Shelter

Hammock Heaven
Friday, July 13th, 2007
8:09 pm
Stuff I got at the dollar store today

Light stew pan.
Nylon sports socks.
Smoked oysters.
Windshield shade. I use them as sleeping pads in the hammock. I'm also thinkin' it might make a cozy for ziplock cooking.
Light tuna in a foil pack.
Two-inch tea candles.
Hefty quart-sized ziplock baggies.
Carbiner backpack clips.
Cutting board mats -- to cut down as folded bowls, and, well, cutting boards.
Sunday, July 8th, 2007
3:52 pm
I <3 My Compass
When I moved to New England some years ago, all this green amazed me. I grew up in the Wasatch Valley, Utah, which is mostly desert. When I left home, I was in the Navy and was mostly ocean. Here in Massachusetts, there are trees everywhere. Can't keep 'em down.

I've seen a landscape map of nearby Leominster, Massachusetts, from the mid 19th century. All of the trees had been cleared for building and fuel and farming. In modern times, when the land is not farmed and the lumber is imported, many of those hills are once again covered with mature trees. You can see old stone walls, seemingly built through forest, but they used to mark the property lines of local farms.

In forests like this, you can get lost fifty yards from the trail. It's not unusual for bodies or even air crash sites to go unfound for decades only a few hundred feet from a road. I make it a point, when I leave a trail, to check my compass for the direction I'm going -- I don't want to get turned around and keep going that direction when I'm trying to return.

I like my old Lensmatic compass. I've used it for amateur mapmaking. However, it's a bit clunky for my backpacking; 2.2 ounces. I've replaced it with a key-fob compass, .4 ounces, that I wear comfortably round my neck on a lanyard.
Thursday, July 5th, 2007
7:59 am
Oh look, I've set myself ablaze
I made a pretty good alcohol penny stove. Used a push tack to make the burn holes and painted the outside with black stove paint to make it a little less Pepsican-ish.

Seeing that it worked well, I went to put it out. Moving the wind shield, I caught the base of the stove briefly, lifting it up a quarter inch and dropping it down again. This created an invisible fireball that singed my eyebrows. It also seemed to have sprayed burning alcohol on to my forearm.

Fortunately, my first panicked response was to "wipe" the fire out with my other hand, and that worked. Also, fortunately, I was home where I could ice up the burn and later smear it well with aloe vera gel.

Three lessons...

Pack aloe vera gel in the first aid kit.
Be very careful about knocking a burning alcohol stove.
Consider a solid fuel stove.
Wednesday, July 4th, 2007
2:46 pm

This is my new bag. It weights 1 pound, 13 ounces and has a two liter hydration bladder. I got it at Walmart for $20. I haven't decided if I like he bladder yet. Whenever I put the bag down, I'm afraid of the sip tube rolling around in the dirt.

Here it is with a bunch of stuff. I was a little bit surprised how much stuff straps on the outside. There's my pad and flip-flops and headlight and sleeping bag in a poly sleeve; hammock. Right now the only stuff inside is first aid, iodine+dropper, bug repellent, space blanket, tent pegs, 20ft 550 cord, umbrella, knife, compass, bic lighters, whistle, spare LED clip-on light, little shovel, wipes, hand sanitizer, couple of bandannas.

Oh, and an inflatable pillow. I made a muslin pillowcase which could be a cloth bag in an emergency that requires a cloth bag.

I'm pretty sure that's a little more than I'm likely to need, if I'm out between dinner and breakfast. I think, with the addition of some food, clothes and a few more toiletries, that it'd work for more than a day. I'll try it out and see.
Sunday, July 1st, 2007
9:16 am
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