Sit. Rep. #93: Knots, Lids, & Permits

1- OK!  You have spent at least a month getting in physical shape for your first hike or backpacking trip.  You have learned how to mentally deal with physical exertion.  You now know how it feels and you can muster through it.  You have put up & struck your tent many times including several times in the dark.  Packing your backpack should come second nature because you have done it several times.

2- Planning your first trip with an experienced buddy will seem easy & natural once you do it & see the “because” behind the “why.”

A- Plan a short hike.  And a hike that minimizes changes in elevation.  Let’s say less than 5 miles per day and less than 2,000 feet of total elevation change.  Be smart if you leave home at noon & it takes 2 hours of travel to the trailhead.  Then you may only want to hike in only a mile or so before setting up camp.  That will leave you enough daylight to set up camp and cook supper.

B- Get any local, state, or national permits that are required at least a week in advance or allow an extra hour at the Ranger’s Office for paperwork.   If you are crossing or using private lands, get permission in writing.  Leave copies of all permits with your home base partner.  Treat all wilderness areas with great respect and follow Leave No Trace guidelines.

C- Also let someone at home know all the details of your trip.  Trailhead & destination are also good data to leave at home base.  Give your home partner your buddy’s name & contact information.  Let your home partner know what time to expect your arrival at home.  Transportation details like the make & model of the car with the license plate number & state should also go to your home base partner.  If you are running late, give a courtesy call to let them know you are safe & your new home arrival time.  Your safety is better guaranteed with a home base partner that knows all the details.  ALL THE DETAILS!

D- Menus drive cooking gear.  Cooking gear drives menus. (in 2020 dollars) You can spend 10 $ per meal per person or you can spend 5$ per meal per person.  That budget number should include trail snacks.  How are you going to heat and cook your meals?  Backpacking stove or MRE heaters (chemical / exothermic reaction heaters – all you add is water – yes they can burn you – they get that hot) or cold / no-cook meals.

How many pots & pans do your menus require?  Special cooking utensils required?  Knives, cutting boards, spices, salt, pepper, sugar, creamer: are also items to consider.  Do any of your groceries require refrigeration?  Or marinating?  Or re-hydration such as dried beans?  Practice your menus at home.  Consider adding some hard candy to your grocery list.  Hard candy will keep your mouth watered while you are sucking air during a hard climb.

E- A small notebook or index cards & writing utensil is something I recommend.   Take notes of what goes well so you can plan on doing that again.  Notes of things to improve on will help make the next trip better.

A-What do you call a happy cowboy?
B- A Jolly Rancher.

3- Gear/equipment thoughts:  Buy the best you can afford.  Take care of it like it was gold!  You may want to borrow or rent for your first few backpacking trips.  I still have & use a 1976 backpack that I love!  It easily has over 1,000 days of hiking in its resume.  I choose to buy & use a 60 $ stove that lasts for 20 + years over a 6 $ stove that does not make a full year without dying.  If an item is borrowed, please make sure that you return it in like condition or better condition than when you borrowed it.  Return it promptly.  The rental store extracts cash if you do not this part of the trip correctly.  Friendships are more precious than cash.

4- How many knots do you know?  I hope that we are all up to speed on these beginner knots.  Here is some knot instruction from YOUTUBE.  Here is another link with a few more knots.

– Overhand knot
– Double overhand knot
– Square knot also called the Reef knot
– Bowline
– Sheet Bend
– Half Hitch
– Taut Line Hitch
– Figure Eight knot

C- What do you call a goat on the top of a mountain?
D- Hill Billy Goat.

5- Boiling water may not quite be as simple as boiling water.  Let us examine in detail.  At sea level, the boiling point of water is 212 degrees F and 100 degrees C.  As the altitude changes the weight of the air above the cooking pot decreases so the temperature that the water has to reach for it to evaporate is less.  In Denver, Colorado at approx, 5,000 feet in altitude the boiling point is about 202 deg. F and 94 deg. C.  But it may take longer to reach because the fire in your cook stove has less Oxygen (O2) to work with so it burns less hot.

5B- Added solids to water may slightly affect the boiling point temperature but only slightly.  If you add a pinch of salt or any dissolved solid to water the boiling point only shifts about 1 degree.  Same for sugar.

5C- If you are going traveling to high altitudes for extended periods, consider getting a pressure cooker.  The pressure cooker will shorten your cooking time.  Require less fuel to cook.  And will help obtain higher temperatures at altitude.  Practice cooking with the pressure cooker at home and learn how to use this device correctly & safely.

5D- Keeping the lid on a pot of water helps the water boil faster for 2 reasons.
1- The lid keeps the heat from escaping out the top of the pot.
2- The lid increases the pressure inside the pot so that less water evaporates taking with it the heat of evaporation.

E- What do Americans eat in Korea?
F- Seoul Food.

Semper Paratus,

Superior Campfires by Thomas Mercaldo

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