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Monday, 4 September 2017

Backpacking Checklist










Our backpacking checklist is your tried-and-true guide to packing smart for overnight hiking trips. The list is intentionally comprehensive so you don’t forget anything important.

The Ten Essentials

The must-haves for safety, survival, and basic comfort:

1. Navigation

2. Sun protection

3. Insulation

  • Jacket, vest, pants, gloves, hat (see Clothing, below)

4. Illumination

5. First-aid supplies

6. Fire

7. Repair kit and tools

8. Nutrition

9. Hydration

10. Emergency shelter

Clothing: Warm Weather

  • Wicking T-shirt (synthetic or wool)
  • Wicking underwear
  • Quick-drying pants or shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt (for sun, bugs)
  • Sun-shielding hat
  • Bandana or Buff
  •     _______________

Clothing: Cool Weather

  • Wicking long-sleeve T-shirt
  • Wicking long underwear (good sleepwear)
  • Hat, cap, skullcap, balaclava or headband
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Rainwear (jacket, pants)
  • Fleece jacket or vest, and pants
  •     _______________

Footwear; Assorted Personal Items




How to Pack and Hoist a Backpack

a backpack with scattered backpacking gear
Packed efficiently, a backpack can swallow an amazing array of gear. But what goes where? There’s no one right way to pack. Lay out all your gear at home and try out different loading routines until you’ve found what works best for you. Use a backpacking checklist to ensure you have everything and make notes on your list about what worked well (or poorly) after each trip.
This article offers packing tips and explains the proper way to hoist your pack when it’s full. A well-loaded pack will feel balanced when resting on your hips and won’t shift or sway as you hike with it.
Packing can be broken down into three zones, plus peripheral storage:
  • Bottom zone: Good for bulky gear and items not needed until camp.
  • Core zone: Good for your denser, heavier items.
  • Top zone: Good for bulkier essentials you might need on the trail.
  • Accessory pockets: Good for essentials you’ll need urgently or often.
  • Tool loops and lash-on points: Good for oversized or overly long items.
Visualize stacking cordwood. You’re laying down rows, not building columns: Fill nooks and crannies until you have a solid, stable load—and be sure weight is equally balanced on each side. Tighten compression straps to streamline your load and prevent it from shifting as you hike.

Video: How to Pack a Backpack

Bottom-of-Pack Items

detail of the bottom part of a hiker's backpack
Bulky items you won’t need before making camp include:
  • Sleeping bag (many packs have a bottom compartment sized for one)
  • Sleeping pad (especially if it rolls into a tiny shape)
  • Any layers, like long underwear, that you plan to sleep in
  • Camp shoes or down booties
Packing this kind of soft, squishy gear at the bottom also creates a kind of internal shock-absorption system for your back and your pack.

Core-of-Pack Items

backpacker loading the core of her backpack
Heavy, dense gear you won't need to access during your hike includes:
  • Food stash (entrees, not snacks)
  • Cook kit
  • Stove
  • Water reservoir (unless you prefer bottles for hydration)
  • Bear canister (containing food and all other scented items, plus whatever bulky items help fill it to the brim)
Packing heavy items here helps create a stable center of gravity and directs the load downward rather than backward. Placed too low, heavy gear causes a pack to sag; placed too high, it makes a pack feel tippy.
Carrying liquid fuel? Make sure your fuel-bottle cap is tight. Pack the bottle upright and place it below (separated from) your food in case of a spill.
Consider wrapping soft items around bulky gear to prevent shifting. Use these soft items to fill in gaps and create a buffer between bulky items and a water reservoir:
  • Tent body
  • Tent footprint
  • Rainfly
  • Extra clothing
Tip: Trying to slip a full reservoir into a full pack won’t be easy. Even if it has a separate compartment, it’s best to fill the reservoir and put it in your pack first.

Top-of-Pack Items

backpacker loading the top of pack
Bulky trail essentials work well here:
  • Insulated jacket
  • Fleece jacket and pants
  • Rain jacket
  • First-aid kit
  • Water filter or purifier
  • Toilet supplies (trowel, TP, used TP bag)
Some people also like to stash their tent at the top of the pack for fast access if stormy weather moves in before they've set up camp.

Accessory Pockets

backpacker showing the side pocket of a backpack
Packs differ in what they provide—lid pockets, front pockets, side pockets and hipbelt pockets. Some pockets even have a lot of smaller pockets inside. All of these options help you organize smaller essentials:
  • Map
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Sunglasses 
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Headlamp
  • Bug spray 
  • Snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Raincover
  • Car keys (look for a clip inside one of the pockets)
  • ID and cash stash

Tool Loops and Lash-On Points

detail of backpack lash-on point
Some of the most common gear to strap on the outside of your pack includes:
  • Trekking poles
  • Tent poles
  • Large sleeping pad
  • Camp stool or chair
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Climbing rope
Many packs have special tool loops, fasteners or other storage solutions for some of this gear. Daisy chains, lash patches and compression straps can also be used to wrangle gear that simply can’t be carried in any other place.
However, because this gear can snag on branches or scrape against rocks, you should minimize how many items you carry on the outside of your pack.

How to Hoist Your Loaded Pack

backpacker preparing to put his backpack on his back
A common mistake made by beginners is to lift a pack by a shoulder strap. Not only can this damage and prematurely wear out your shoulder harness, it also makes it difficult to control your pack as you try to wrestle it onto your back.
Instead, follow these steps and you’ll be able to smoothly hoist even a heavily loaded pack from the ground to your back:
  • Loosen all of your straps slightly to make the pack easier to slip on.
  • Tilt your pack to an upright position on the ground.
  • Stand next to the back panel; have your legs well apart and knees bent.
  • Grab the haul loop (the webbing loop at the top of the back panel on your pack).
  • Lift and slide the pack up to your thigh and let it rest; keep your hand on the haul loop for control.
  • Slip your other arm and shoulder through one shoulder strap until your shoulder is cradled by the padding.
  • Lean forward and swing the pack onto your back. Now slip the hand that was holding the haul loop through the other shoulder strap.
  • Buckle up and make your usual fit adjustments.

Video: How to Hoist a Backpack

Practice the art of hoisting a backpack at home. If you can easily remove (and rehoist) your pack at every rest stop, you can stretch out fatigued muscles and finish your hike with more energy at the end of the day.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Woodside Inn,

Woodside Inn,
2226 Lougheed Hwy.
Mnt. Woodside
AGASSIZ B.C. VOM 1A1
A Quality Gem,
of a Little Motel.
Find Nature….
Just up or Down,
the Road.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce this little motel operation, and when I say little that is exactly what I mean. There are only four units, but they are probably the most beautiful well laid out little kitchenettes that you will find anywhere.





I had the pleasure of staying in unit #1, seen here with the door open and the entrance light on.













Harrison Hot Springs is only a 90-minute drive east of Vancouver and less than three hours north of Seattle.
How to Find it
The quickest route here is via Highway 1, taking exit 135 at Bridal Falls. The route I prefer, at a somewhat slower pace, enjoying the scenery of Hwy 7, through Mission.
Interesting Facts About Harrison Hot Springs.
Harrison Hot Springs has been a hotbed of Sasquatch sightings for centuries.
·         Harrison Lake is a; a major resting area on the north south migration of many bird species. In the fall Harrison river is also HOME TO ONE OF THE LARGEST CONGREGATIONS OR BALD EAGLES IN NORTH AMERICA.
·         For a truly amazing sight, visit Weaver Creek spawning channel in October, in Harrison Mills. You will be treated to the beauty of red and green salmon spawning by the thousands.
·         Harrison Hot Springs is a provincial and national winner of the prestigious Communities in Bloom Competition.
·         Harrison Lake is 60 km long and 275 metres in depth in some areas, covering approximately 200 square kilometres, making it the largest lake in southwestern BC. It is still sparsely populated and boaters are urged to stay tuned to VHF channel 68.
·         Local sturgeon can grow to 14 feet in length and weigh in excess of 15,0 pounds.
·         The hot springs can be enjoyed year round by visiting the indoor public pool. The pools are sourced by two hot springs at the south end of the lake.
·         The Potash spring has a temperature of 40C (120 F and the Sulphur Spring is 65 C (150 F).

·         Harrison Hot Springs is a mecca for musicians and artists. 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

COOKING WITHOUT THE PAN


PLEASE NOTE: The following cooking methods have absolutely nothing to do with barbecue; which is actually a method of disguising the taste of, or preserving food and involves the application of sauces and/or spices.

Pit, Steamed-Baked

Although not identical, this style of cooking is very similar to the Hawaiian Pig Bake, see also, Clam Bake

1. At night when you're camping out, the first thing you do is to dig a pit according to the size of your fish, meat cut, or pig, usually about 3 feet deep and five feet in length. Line pit with stones or bricks, leaving a space in the centre for the fish or meat. Build a fire, using heavier wood and keep it going until it burns right down to coals.

2. Wrap your fish or; meat in a well-washed cloth and seal tightly.

3. Lay over a burlap or gunny sack, take some clay or mud, and slap the mud right over the original cloth; pat down on to cover all sides.

4. Wrap the burlap around and tie with cord. Lift onto coals in the pit, and lay something over it; a piece of canvas an old tarp or any such thing you may have.

5. Fill it with dirt. In the morning take the roast out and enjoy.

No. 2

These two recipes are extremely similar-however they are not the same.

1. At home, for a special treat (if you have the room and it's not against the law). Build a good fire. Make a hole for the meat. Put a few logs on and let them smoulder away.

2. Take a good sized cut; wash it; put on some salt and pepper,

3. To seal in the moisture, wrap the meat in oiled brown paper.

4. Wash a burlap or gunny sack well; rinse; wrap the sack around the paper. This will keep the paper from burning. Then wrap the burlap in heavy aluminium foil.

5. Put a few hot coals in the bottom of the hole; place meat over them and bury with hot ashes.

6. Leave for a minimum of 6 hours, it will be tender and juicy.

More Cooking Without the Pan

Fried Moose Steak

Look for 2 flat rocks. Put the rocks into hot coals, and build a fire right over the rocks.

When you think the rocks are hot enough, brush each one clean; rub one rock with grease, place the steak on it and cover with the other rock, which is also greased; it will sizzle.

A Word of Caution- Do not use rocks which have been lying in or near water. Water-soaked rocks could explode when heated.

Steam Baked Elk of North American Mouse

This method keeps the seasoning and the moisture sealed in and

**This same basic method can be adapted and used for other meats, game, any oily fish, or poultry. **

1. Lard meat, and rub well with garlic and either 4 whole allspice berries or a few crushed juniper berries.

2. Sprinkle with 1 cup red wine and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup or brown sugar. Add 1 large onion, sliced, and 1 or 2 bay leaves.

3. Marinate for several days in the refrigerator, turning frequently.

4. Remove meat and discard marinade.

5. **Take 3 sheets of brown grocery paper and thoroughly saturate them with oil.

6. Lay 1 sheet over the meat

7. Make a thick paste of flour and water and with it, coat the sheet of paper which is laying over the meat (If out doors, clay, mud, or sand can also be used for this purpose).

8. Lay the other 2 sheets over this, and wrap securely around meat. Tie with butcher cord**

9. Bake at 325 F. about 35 minutes to a pound

10. During the last 1/2 hour of cooking, crack open the dried out paste and discard.

11. Baste generously with butter, dust lightly with flour, return to oven and bake until golden brown.

While this method resembles the Boy Scout method of Aluminium Foil cookery it is much more satisfactory (aluminium has been linked to Alzheimer disease)

Steam Baked in Rock Salt

Make a thick paste of rock salt and water and plaster it thickly over a large joint, or bird until completely encased in a crust of salt (the meat will not become salty). Bake the meat as above or in a moderately slow oven (325 F.) for about 22 minutes per pound for a 6-8 pound roast. Take meat from the oven and immediately remove the crust of rock salt with a hammer.

Boiled Venison

Put meat into a hide bag with water and very hot smooth, round rocks.

Or

Put meat, seasonings and water into a container made from bark, canvas, hide or other flammable material and hang directly over the fire. The material will not burn, so long as the flames are kept below the water line.

Wild Goose Steam Baked in Mud:

1. Clean goose and chop off legs and neck; leave feathers on.

2. Salt inside, and tie goose, to hold in wings.

3. Make a big ball of mud around goose, and lay this in a nest of hot coals; build a good- sized fire over it and let cook for 1 hour.

4. To break open casing, insert a knife into it, and bang knife with a rock or log. The feathers will be pulled off with the clay

Fish, or Meat Steam Baked in Clay:

1. Cover fish with a good thick coat of mud or clay.

2. Bury under the ashes of a hot fire, and bake until the clay has hardened. When the casing is broken the scales will come right off.
Note; The tribal peoples of North America, and the early European settlers, also fashioned bake ovens and/or fire-places out of clay--these ovens or fireplaces were used both for cooking and to heat the home or abode. 

Fish, Baked in Newspaper:

1. Take a fresh whole fish (of the Fat or Oily variety) sprinkle inside cavity with salt can be stuffed if desired.

2. If the fish is less fat or oily, brush fish and newspaper with melted fat.

3. Wrap fish in lots of newspaper. Dip the whole package in water, so that paper is thoroughly saturated (if doing this indoors use less paper and do not saturate. Paper will not burn).

4. Bury under hot coals (not a fire) and leave 25-30 minutes per pound of fish. To serve, cut paper open; the skin will come right off with the paper. This is probably the best method of doing a larger fish .in the house.

Fish, Cooked in Parchment

2 lbs. boneless fillets

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. onion, minced

1 Tbsp. parsley minced

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

to taste Salt and pepper
Dampen 2 sheets of parchment paper and spread out flat. Brush with oil, or fat. Cut fish into serving pieces and place half the pieces on each sheet of paper. Place 1 teaspoon each of butter and onion on each serving and sprinkle with parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Gather edges of papers and tie securely. Place in boiling water and cook 15 minutes. Remove fish to a hot platter, taking care not to lose any of the juices. Serves 6.

The seashore is the natural place for a clambake, but it is possible to have one at any place where there is a flat open space. Preparations should begin several hours before the time set for the meal.

Clambake (Steamer)

1. Make a circle of flat stones-from 2 to 4 feet in diameter, according to the size of the party- and on this circle build a hot fire of wood. Let this burn 2 to 3 hours.

2. Rake off the fire and cover the hot stones with fresh seaweed.

3. On this lay fresh clams in their shells; also, if desired, oysters, potatoes in the skins, corn in the husk, and any other food that may be steamed.

4. Cover with a thick layer of seaweed, and over all spread a large piece of sail cloth, fastening down the edges with stones.

5. Leave for 2 to 3 hours; remove the cloth and the top layer of seaweed, and rake out the clams and other foods as needed.
The same materials may be cooked in a large kettle with the bottom covered with water and wet cheesecloth between the layers but will lack the fine flavour of the real clambake