Friday, May 29, 2015

Hidious HideOut to Hobo Hampton

Back a few months and we are all eager to get some camping in before the bugs start and the low overnight temps, ~20ish,  give campfires extra meaning besides cooking dinner. That and summer sucks for camping, too many people walking around and you don't get any solitude.

All the bikes have a heavy load of gear. Nobody is going light on food and all the fixings of a well provisioned camp site. I have some extra gear and some experimental gear. A folding saw is the first. It rocks and we get to burn  full size logs and not armloads of sticks a human can break off of dead and downed trees.
We arrive at our camp site and promptly fall off the grid. We planned to arrive late so that the natural order of , set up camp, dinner, fireside talk and sleep would all land on the correct chronological landmarks.
After we all fire roast our dinners and have a long talk about nothing it's time for me to learn how to pitch a tarp shelter. I don't expect snow and there are certainty no bugs. I did no research because I wanted to have an authentic experience and it's a tarp, how hard? About 11pm, i'm hunting for a site that has some natural curve or something that makes a wall or anything hollow to tarp. I don't want to use a ridge pole or make a scout tent that is open on both ends. It's windy and I expect it to build and blow like mad so shallow ground hugging is the plan but enough headroom to get into the bag. I struggle for 30 or 40 minutes and come up with this Hidious HideOut. It works, I sleep and don't have a tarp in my face or feel like I'm in a body bag, al la Bivy Sack, and the wind doesn't thrash it all night and keep me awake.
In my defense, it was in a small hollow between two small berms so I had just enough room to crawl and the wind past over and not into my shelter and the end mostly closed so I had some feeling of being in a shelter. I've slept under a tarp (folded taco style) a few times and it works but it's sleeping only fit for the most desperate of circumstances. Hardly my circumstances so we are skill building. Below is a daytime look at what I ended up with. I need to do better. (zero rated sleeping bag)
6am I wake and take a picture from my 'front door'. We forgo breakfast, pack up and ride out to get home before 8am as we all have plans and i'm suppose to go ice diving (yes, lakes still have ice and windchill is near zero)
The rest of the crew packs up and we all leave as a group but it's not long and we all take our own route home. I ride an hour into a vicious headwind and almost lose a finger to frost bite.

My bike has maybe 20 pound of gear on it. Large saddle bag, frame bag, bar bag.... That also needs to change. Putting all the gear on the bike is much better than on your back but it still loads you down. This trip, I planned to not use a backpack. 

The next trip out and it's only two weeks later and this time I have a new plan for a tarp shelter after a few clicks on YouTube and other UltaLite and BushCraft sites. I pack down my gear to just the best stuff but without going without. Anyone can go lite if they want to suffer without. I bring a camp chair, stove, shelter, and a load of food and water.
 Above, my ride, Below, 'their' rides loaded with gear.
Below, my gear. Its maybe 10 pounds and that includes the 2 liters of water. They all laugh at me and ask if I even have a sleeping bag! They are force to suspend disbelief when I list all the gear.

Left to right. Folding saw, bivy bag, 2 liters water, 2 inch pad, chair, Inside: 35degree bag, Esbit stove, telescoping wiener fork to cook veggi brats, veggi brats, mac&cheese, snacks, oatmeal, coffee, insulated mug, tarp, some cord, winter hat and gloves. Leatherman multi tool, flint to light the stove, headlamp .... all the good stuff and I forget all the small items like extra flash light, batteries...

 Remember, I said it was spring and still cold out.

Shortly after getting to camp I needed to try my tarp plan. I didn't know for sure it would work and I had to allow time to set it up. Last time I waited until 11pm, no good. This time it worked great and all the guys gave it a huge thumbs up for being, well,  totally awesome and a proper Hobo Hampton.

 Our camp was a real hobo site with all the trash connected with the cruft of society.

If the name "Stag horn diners club" ever comes up, this is the fireside talk that coined the term.

The camp site is full of trash but looking past that, I needed to put out the fire and it was a simple matter of finding a 1 gallon jug and scooping up some river. A task that took less then 10 minutes in the dark. We all crawl into our shelters and I'm full of hubris about my tarp-craft and I still have one more design to try but summer and bugs arrived before we could get a third night out.
 A roomy morning. I cook from my sleeping bag. This is not easy in a real tent because the door gets in the way and it's too sealed to cook indoors. That and the nylon melts easy and your out a $400 tent if ANYTHING goes wrong. With a tarp it was easy. I make oatmeal and coffee about 6:45am. I stay in bed for a long time. It's nice and I have plenty to eat and drink while I wait for the others to rise.
 Recall, all this fit in my small pack and I'm totally happy in Hobo Hampton.
All things end and it's time to ride home and get on with our Saturday. These are 'free' nights. We camp Friday night so that we can use the entire weekend and still leave 2 days open for bigger activities.

This site had a name, we think it says "Peaceful Plaze". It looks like "Peak Hull Plaze". I like Peak Hull because with this much trash it isn't peaceful and nobody wanted to spend the night solo or risk getting jacked by a hobo that thinks my shack is his. There be strength in numbers and Peak Hull definitely loves the company.

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