It’s The Journey, Not The Destination…

Enjoy your time in the back country.

  • Robert Louis Stevenson said ‘It is better to travel hopefully than arrive’.
  • Stevenson was expressing the same idea as a Taoist saying – “The journey is the reward” indicating how hope can be pleasant in itself.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous quip from Travels With a Donkey — “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go” embodies this spirit.
  • I’ve learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it. – Anonymous

The credo; ‘It’s the journey, not the destination‘; was expressed to our winter camping group during a trip to Peaked Mountain in New York State’s Adirondack Park. The Peaked Mountain trail is an easy 2.5 miles and leads through a pretty mixed hardware and coniferous forest. The summit of Peaked Mountain is at 2,919 feet and the last third of a mile is rough climbing to ascend the last 600 feet. This last part of the ascent can be slippery depending upon snow and ice conditions.  The spectacular views from the summit include Peaked Mountain Pond and Big and Little Thirteenth Lakes.  There are also views of the Adirondack High Peaks to the north.  During one of our trips to Peaked Mountain we got a late start and did not reach the ascent, but enjoyed an excellent overnight camping trip none the less.  It was at this point that we started to focus on the winter camping experience and less on recording the accomplishment.

Some of the most enjoyable trips involved falling short of the intended destination.

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Useful Tips Using a Magnesium Firestarter

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How to Make a Great Campfire

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Len and the one night bivvy

A few years ago, on a trip to John Pond, Len decided to skip sleeping in the crowded lean-to with Matt, Mark, Rob, Ian and Sparky as he had a new bivy try out.

Below Len gets some help from Ian in setting it up.

Len set up his bivy on the fringe of the snoring sphere of influence which would emit from the lean-to at night.

During the night Len found the bivvy to be too confining.  There was no easy way to change clothes and moisture management was a problem.  We never saw Len’s bivy again.

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Winter Camping Tenting Options

What kind of tent do you have and use for winter camping?

Tents Collage

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Frost Bite Quiz

Now seems to be a good time to re-visit this Frost Bite Quiz posted by Backpacker Magazine.  Answers are posted at the end of the quiz.

1. Frostbite has two stages: freeze and thaw. Which one causes more damage?

A) Freezing

B) Thawing

 2. Why, by in large, are your toes, fingers, ears, and nose the most susceptible to frostbite?

A) They have less fat.

B) When the body chills, it constricts blood flow to the extremities to keep your all-important core warm.

C) The skin is thinner on the extremities.

 3. True or false In normal conditions, frostbite can’t occur if the ambient temperature is above freezing, no matter how cold the wind chill.

4. Which factor predisposes you to frostbite?

A) Dehydration

B) Hunger

C) Fatigue

D) All of the above

 5. True or false.   You should rub frostbitten skin to rewarm it.

6. Match the conditions with their symptoms.

I) Frostnip                                                 A) Area is pale white, icy cold to the touch, and feels wooden
II) Partial-thickness frostbite                B) Skin is white/yellowish, waxy, numb, and cold to the touch, but still soft.
III) Full-thickness (deep) frostbite      C) Skin is white, waxy, numb, cold, and hard. If you poke it, the dent stays for several seconds.

7. Short answer: How do you treat frostnip?

8. On a minus 5°F day with 35-mph winds, exposed skin can get frostbitten in…

A) 30 minutes

B) 10 minutes

C) 5 minutes

 9. The best way to treat frostbite is by soaking it in 99°F to 102°F water (if you dip in your elbow, the water should feel warm, not hot) until the area thaws (15 to 30 minutes). Which of the following additional actions DOES NOT help with healing?

A) Gently swirling the water to lift away dead cells

B) Taking ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve pain and decrease damage done during thawing

C) Applying aloe to the skin, which is anti-inflammatory and soothing

D) Placing the skin near a warm, radiant source like a fire, stove, or radiator

 9. The best way to treat frostbite is by soaking it in 99°F to 102°F water (if you dip in your elbow, the water should feel warm, not hot) until the area thaws (15 to 30 minutes). Which of the following additional actions DOES NOT help with healing?

A) Gently swirling the water to lift away dead cells

B) Taking ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve pain and decrease damage done during thawing

C) Applying aloe to the skin, which is anti-inflammatory and soothing

D) Placing the skin near a warm, radiant source like a fire, stove, or radiator

 10. You’re in the backcountry with frostbitten fingers. Should you rewarm them?

A) Yes, the sooner, the better.

B) Yes, but only if there is absolutely no chance of them refreezing.

C) No, wait until you get home and can see a doctor for expert care.

 11. True or false Tissue that was once frostbitten is more susceptible to future frostbite.

12. After Reinhold Messner’s harrowing descent off the Himalayas’ Nanga Parbat in 1970 (a first-traverse epic that claimed his brother Günther’s life), how many of his frostbitten toes were amputated, thus forever hampering his rock climbing?

A) None—he’s invincible!

B) 4

C) 6

D) All 10

 

13. Fill in the blank The medical term for frostbite’s black, dry tissue is ______ and the area always/maybe/never requires amputation.

16. You’re in the boonies (no rescue) with frostbitten feet. You have warm water for thawing and are sure you can prevent refreezing. Do you rewarm them?

A) Yes, asap

B) No, hike out (but don’t overexert); thaw in town.

 17. Which two WON’T help prevent frostbite?

A) Using mittens instead of gloves, and wearing a hat (since the head vents a lot of heat)

B) Wearing wicking socks to keep feet dry

C) Dabbing cold-protective salves on your face

D) Making sure boots aren’t too tight, which constricts blood flow

E) Sipping whiskey to “flush” skin with blood

F) Wiggling toes and swinging arms

 

Answer Key

1. B. Thawing cells release inflammatory substances that cause blood clots, reduce blood flow, and further harm the tissue.

2. B

3. True. Caveat: Touching freezing metal (or wind chill on alcohol- or gasoline-wet skin) can drop skin temp below ambient temp.

4. D. Your body needs calories, water, and energy to maintain its temperature.

5. False. Ice crystals form between cells, so rubbing the skin is like running a microscopic cheese grater over them.

6. I) B II) C III) A

7. Skin-to-skin contact (don’t rub) or warm water quickly returns it to normal.

8. B

9. D. It can burn frostbitten skin

10. B, then see a doc.

11. True

12. C

13. Mummification; maybe. It takes six-plus weeks to see which tissues are dead, hence the saying, “Frostbite in January, amputate in July.”

16. B. Thawed, swollen, tender feet can prevent hiking out; and overexertion may thaw feet while walking.

17. C, E

http://www.backpacker.com/frost-bit-iq/skills/15316

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