And at the end of the day (or week),

Your feet should be dirty,

Your hair messy

And your eyes sparkling

~Author Unknown

 

So….it’s Thursday and my hair is still a mess, I keep finding dirt under my nails and my eyes are definitely sparkling;  stronger, braver and wiser.

IMG_2086Last week started with a trip to Colorado Springs to check out a project for work.  We managed to sneak away just before dinner to see Garden of the Gods and get our wilderness fix.  A piece of my heart definitely belongs in the mountains.

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5 days of food and supplies- 32 lbs not including water

The week ended with my backpacking demo for the Scout Leaders on Thursday  night and then taking that same backpack camping with the Scouts on Friday for a weekend outside.  I packed early for the demo, mostly because I knew I wouldn’t have time with my trip to CO.  But, it was satisfying to know that I could just grab my demo bag, swap out a couple of items and be ready for camp on Friday night.

Shooting Sports weekend with 18 scouts was more relaxing than I had expected after a long week.  I credit the awesome Scouts and Adults in my troop for their servant leadership and working together to make sure it all came off without a hitch.  Thanks guys!

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Sunrise at Stearns Scout Camp

I put up my tent in a quiet little wooded spot off on it’s own (which ended up being a total tick’s nest…gross).  We hiked a new river trail, discovered deer skeletons, shot rifles and shotguns and I even got a quick little catnap in my hammock.

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Hammock up, earplugs in, Scouts at the range…

Here are a couple of new Gear reviews and my favorite new gear hack:

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My tent looks like a giant night light.

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 – Solo tent maiden voyage…

Pros:

  1. Super light at 2lbs fully set
  2. Compact.  I was able to pack it INSIDE my pack instead of strapping it to the outside.
  3. I set it up (unintentionally) on a slight hill, so I slept in it upside down…with my head in the foot box.  I’m 5’9″ and could actually sit up and put on my shoes without doing a 180.
  4. Excellent screens!  I had over 20 wood ticks on my tent over the weekend and NOT ONE got in….I have no idea why they loved my tent so much, but I was glad they stayed out and I didn’t have to burn my new tent.  Ticks are jerks.
  5. Big Agnes has AMAZING customer service.  I bought this tent gently used and they charged me either nothing or very little for the couple of repairs it needed to get it rolling.  BA totally rocks and I highly recommend them!

Cons:

  1. Fairly easy to set up, although I never did figure out how to clip in the footprint so it slid around.  Next time.
  2. It’s tiny.  I’m 5’9″ and fit in it just fine but I can’t imagine any average sized men I know fitting comfortably in it.  But it worked well for me.
  3. Needs a few more guy lines.  It got a little flappy in the wind and one of the lines broke.  I’ll probably re-do the lines and add one more to the upper side loops.  I wasn’t in the rain in this tent, but would be concerned about it standing up in a heavy storm.
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Note to self, sleep the “other way” next time.

REI Women’s Serrana Sleeping Bag

Pros:

  1. It’s not the lightest backpacking sleeping bag, but it might be the coziest!  The waterproof down and extra filling in all the right spots means you won’t wake up chilly when the dew rolls in at about 3am (like every other sleeping bag I’ve ever had)
  2. Rated 25 degrees.  I stayed perfectly cozy in the low 40’s.
  3. Worth noting, the pattern inside is really nice.  Fancy even.

Cons:

  1. At 3lbs and a 20L stuff sack volume, it’s a bit bulky and takes up close to half of my 55L pack.  The smaller tent offsets this though, so it ended up working out.

 

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Ticks are jerks.

Evercare Giant Pet Lint roller my new favorite camping hack!  Tell everyone!

I discovered the usefulness of carrying a lint roller on hikes last spring at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, where I found my first (and hopefully last) deer tick while lint rolling the dog.  A lint roller is a fabulous initial defense against ticks.  Get them before they get you!  I also designate specific hiking clothes for the season that I treat (very carefully) with Permethrin, but like the lint roller because it you don’t have to use chemicals and can go over your whole body pretty quickly whenever you have  been out in the woods.  I have camped over 100 nights in the last 5 years and only found one or two ticks.  Found 27 this weekend.  Be aware, they are definitely out and about!

Keep those boots dirty, hair messy and eyes sparkling!

~WP

 

 

 

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