I had a great hike yesterday morning. Since I wanted to keep it simple and not get myself into too much trouble I went up to an area that people use for Nordic skiing. Right now the trails are snow-less and make for easy walking, running or biking. Most everyone else who hikes does so on the more challenging trails. This meant that I was practically alone. I saw two runners, two mountain bikers and one other hiker.
I had planned on a one-hour hike. At the 40 min. mark I tried to head back. However, those ski trails are a maze and I’m unfamiliar with the area. This meant that I was lost. The good news is that I could tell from the crappy maps that were nailed to trees that all the trails were connected, so, it was only a matter of time.
After another 15 minutes I got desperate and tried the iPhone. When I parked I had the foresight to use a parking app to mark my car location. This little app was good enough to give me a bearing to follow. I discovered that I overshot the parking area by a half mile or so and ended up hiking down a slope to get to the road. My hike ended with a highway walk back to the trail head. Overall I spent 2 hours hiking which was longer than I planned but not a loss because I needed the exercise.
Here’s a few select images from the hike:
This little lost event underscores what I already knew: When hiking I need to carry a small pack containing emergency basics including a compass. After I returned I went to this mega sporting goods store to purchase some basics. Well I see that outdoors has gone high tech since the late 80′s. I wanted a simple shoulder pack but all of what I saw looked like it was made for the elitist (douchey) outdoors man. Prices ranged from $39 – $89 — forget that!
I ended up purchasing a compass, some glow sticks and a snake bite kit (there are rattlers in these here parts). I decided to re-purpose the combat lifesaver bag I carry in my car trunk. I just transfered the basic medic supplies into a plastic container and threw it back in the trunk. Back in the Army days I had this bag in the field and it’s pretty rugged. Also note that you can get one online for $18! Over the next few months I’ll slowly add to my little hiking bag. I need to get a better knife or maybe a multi-tool, a signal mirror a whistle and a fire-starter. Besides the above it already contains some basic first aid supplies, a very outdated pocket knife and a laminated Army medic cheat-sheet that covers basic medical emergencies. Expect a post concerning what I stock the bag with!
I had already planned to purchase a hand-held GPS. I priced them yesterday and they run anywhere between $89 for the most basic to upwards of $500. Since money is currently tight I decided to pass. Back at the hotel it hit me: I bet there’s an app for that! Sure enough I found the Motion X GPS for the iPhone in the Apple Store. 99 cents later and I had it downloaded to my phone. Included among the features is the ability to set way-points. Next weekend I’m going to test it out on the mountain.
Black bear have been reported on the mountain and in the area. Also about an hour west of here there have been many recent Grizzly reports. Sadly, I did not see much: One squirrel, a few birds and one antelope on my drive up.
I also found what I believe to be evidence of a Dojo Rat in the area:
Two other observations:
- The smell of crisp pine-scented mountain air is priceless.
- I found myself getting out of breath and suspect it’s due to the altitude. With time I hope this gets better.
Until the next hike!