My First Stealth Camping Night

I was here: Google Map: Pine Hill, Coggshall Park.

It's only about a mile from my house; easy overnighter with my daypack. Two liters of water, no food. Explored the park for a couple of hours -- the early blueberries are nummy. Took too long to find a good spot, so tied up using my headlamp.

I'd hoped that my light 45 degree fleece bag would be ok for a mild night in my clothes. No. With the low sinking to the upper 50s, I added my car shade mylar+foam pad, bandanna head cover and my backup space blanket. Need to see if I can fit my fluffy sleeping bag on that pack.

Clear sky, so tried using my tarp in the stuff bag for a pillow. Not comfortable. Maybe try something inflatable next time.

Of course, when you're cold at night, you pee a lot. I wanted to get away from the hammock, but I was also concerned about losing it in the dark. My headlamp has a flashing mode, so I hung it on a tree as a return beacon. Used my tiny backup light for walking. Seems dangerously high tech. What do other people do to keep from getting lost in the dark?

Ready for Launch

I think I have a daypack that works for me! Found one at Walmart, $20, Outdoor Products. It has comfortable yoke shoulder straps, sternum strap and hip belt; Cyclone hydration bladder. I took it out for a few miles today and it wears fine.

I also picked up a 45 degree fleece sleeping bag at KMart, $10. Should be fine for the summer.

With the addition of the bag strapped to my pack, I think I have everything to get through a night. Thunderstorms predicted for tonight, so wait until tomorrow to go field test. Then we'll see what I need to add or abandon to get more nights.

More Monoosnoc

I've got a box of cheap day packs. Today I put all my stuff in the largest one and hiked up from West Street to the top of North Monoosnoc Hill. The pack was too big -- all my stuff was settled over my kidneys an there was no hip belt. I'm thinking of making a gearskin style pack to try out -- just a quick mockup with some muslin I have laying around.

North Monoosnoc Hill, overlooking Twin City Plaza and Pierce Pond.

Monoosnoc and Cold Nights

Here's the trailhead of Monoonsnoc trail in Leominster, Massachusetts between Sholan Farm and the Sterling border. There's parking for day use, but the trail is closed after sunset. The well marked, nine mile trail clips the edge of the city through undeveloped land bordering Leominster State Forest. Lots of trees. Not far from my house.

I was wondering if my ultra-compact poly-coated space blanket would be warm enough for the mid-40s, like last night. I tried it out on my front porch. I was survival warm, but cold drafts from less secure corners convinced me to make room for something else in my pack. Blanket? Quilt? Sleeping bag? I'll see. I'll keep the space blanket for a little extra on top when needed.

Tweeking the system

Today I pooped in a hole.

Yeah, it was gonna happen sooner or later. I'm making short hikes to shake out my gear. All of my pooping in a hole equipment works fine.

In other news, I've discovered the result of overturning an Hennessy Hammock. Turns out the bug mesh can hold my weight and it's very difficult to exit when the slit is pointing upward.

Crow Hill

I'm easing in to my new ul+hiking+camping hobby. I live a few miles from Leominster State Forest. This morning I took a ride down to the ranger station, picked up a trail map. Parked my car at the climbers lot, strapped on my pack and walked up to Crow Hill, found where it intersects the Mass Midstate Trail.

The local 'skeeters got frisky about half way, so I dug out my eucalyptus lemon repellent and spritzed. It works OK. If you really want to live in a mosquito free world, around here, chew up a quarter clove of garlic. Yea surely it stinketh, but the local bloodsuckers hate it. I'm gonna make up some garlic flax-seed crackers to make eating it a little less traumatic.

Ok, I'll Start

When I was seven, I obsessed over the idea of putting some essentials in a backpack and living in the woods. I saved my allowance and finally bought a haversack at the Boy Scout department in Sears. Of course, I really had no clue where to go from there. Turns out my pillow just fit in the pack.

Well, it's forty years later and I have the interweb with all human knowledge at the my fingertips. I also have an Hennessy Hammock and a rather neat little orange shovel and a few other odds and ends. I'm goin' campin'! I'll tell you my experiences, if you tell me yours.