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Sods in the Dolly TR and pics/video
Viewing posts 1 to 8 of 8 messages posted.
trip report with pics and video
“My Photos and Video are here:
Iím a new fan of Tylenol and frozen corn. I took a bad fall today and smacked my SI region so badly that the doc says to spend 2 days off of my butt and call him on Wednesday. Driving home from the X-Country ski area was to date the most painful experience of my life. Mostly annoying because I could not shift my weight and make it go away. The frozen corn is for icing my lower back and the Tylenol eases the swelling too. X-Country skiing, wtf? You may ask how my backpacking trip ended with a ski mishap. Thereís always a story.
Friday we met up in groups along the way to Laneville, taking our time and correcting navigational errors by some members I will not mention (Rob). Laneville road was very dry and easy to navigate in order to reach the trailhead. We made it to the Laneville cabins about 2 AM. But not before the Mercersburg Academy and 3 or 4 other groups.
Next AM we discovered that there were 28 people (Our 8 and 20 in the Mercersburg class) camped out along the Red Creek Trail with another 8 people scattered about at other locations. So snowshoes were definitely not necessary at that point. I spoke to the instructor and he told me that they were going to Fisher Spring to set up camp and practice some skills as part of a prep program for Mt. Washington. I was jealous.
And it was cold (winter, duh). I donít know how cold, just that I was prepared and packed heavy enough to like a shorter backpack. I was carrying extra clothing to experiment with layers while moving and to have an extra jacket if anyone needed one at night. Other items for this trip included my Big Agnes Pomer Hoit zero down bag with my BA Horse Thief 35 degree down as an overbag (for negative 25 degree combo). I also had a negative 25 degree Two Track BA pad that has a couple of pin hole leeks in it, but I backed it up with a closed cell Army foam pad (Iím OK with a floppy pad in the AM as it still insulates incredibly well for the weight). For this trip I also enjoyed lugging a Fiskars pro-splitter axe and my 21 inch Sven saw. I carried 2 pair of fleece gloves with one waterproof shell, the always present $5 waterproof Columbia one-piece will never die or be destroyed defect gloves (they were mislabeled as having a removable liner) and a pair of g-something down mittens that I got at a clearance sale and have not made it far enough into the arctic to wear, but am happy to share.
Around 10:30 Saturday AM we moved out of the vicinity of Little Stonecoal and followed the Red Creek Trail north with the intention of camping along the Left Fork off of Blackbird Knob Trail. We crossed Red Creek without permanent loss of life or limb (knee deep and moving clear). One guy in our group had some amazing leg cramps and walked like Frankenstein later in the day, so we stopped at the forks of Red Creek. There had been no major problems along the trail as there had been some heavy traffic in front of us up to Fisher Spring, along with one or two hikers in front of us who headed up the Breathed Mt Trail. I love winter trips and the sound of crunching snow underfoot. At camp we set about the usual chores and worked together to build a fire. The wood from the stream bed was wet and we had a smoky fire, so other than the dodge-the-smoke dance the evening was nice and uneventful. We all pigged out, which is typical on these trips. It did get cold Saturday night (that ďWinterĒ thingy again)but Sharks thermometer only went to zero so we donít know how low it was. We all survived in good form, at least no one admitted to being cold.
Sunday AM some folks decided to head back to the car. Someone asked what we would do on Monday if we tried to cross Red Creek at Big Stonecoal and the ice was too thick to break but too thin to walk on. I didnít have an answer at that point, but wasnít so sure I wanted to experiment with members of the trip. At first I thought 2 groups would be OK, but the more I thought and the more that the second day ice crossing was mentioned I made my decision easily. I wasnít worried about the ice and did not want to hear about it, but the concerns of others once voiced could not be discounted because we needed to function as a unit to assure our safe return. I was not about to split into two groups and set myself up to hear about how others might disagree with my choice. I think in that way I might be creating my own misery. I donít have a problem with telling people to go pound sand, but I listen to some more than others even if I disagree. Any thought about liability was really an afterthought. I fully expect people who come on a trip with me to be able to take care of themselves without relying on me. I see them as being there to share in the experience and for the most part that is how it went.
The second crossing of Red Creek was a little slower because I got in and broke the ice (literally) to create a path. The ice was surprisingly thick and I was fortunate to have paid attention to the shallow and deeper spots when we crossed the day before so I knew where to stomp. The axe was there if I needed it, but I didnít need it. I would have chopped through with the axe on one trip and then made a second for my pack, but that was not necessary. Drying my feet with a pack towel and getting my socks and down booties on quickly saved my feet from any discomfort whatsoever. I was quite satisfied.
We made it back to the cars around 1 PM Sunday (3.5 hour hike). Since we still had a 3 day weekend I was intending to camp at Canaan Valley in order to ski at Canaan and/or Whitegrass. We headed to Sirianniís for more on that topic. But once we got into the warm van I was less enthused with setting up camp and opted to invite my partners to Pittsburgh. So the three of us (my girlfriend, PhilS and I) headed to the Burgh after I showed them the obligatory Blackwater Falls easy vista and headed to Thomas for the mandatory Purple Fiddle coffee stop. The next morning I came up with the bright idea of X-Country skiing at Laurel RidgeÖÖ.
1. Iíd carry a bigger saw and leave the Primaloft jacket behind. I had a down jacket and would like a longer blade to handle bigger lumber (then split it). In an area like we were in there is little good timber that is already down. We salvaged a lot punked birch out of the stream bed, but it would have been nice to fell a leaner that was dead and staying dry while (sort of) upright. My 21 inch Sven is great but you knuckle the tree before cutting through it and the effort does not provide an appreciable return. The Primaloft jacket was to experiment with layers while moving in extremely cold temperatures. It had to have been well below zero on Sunday with the wind chill, but it was still not cold enough to wear that thing while carrying my pack. I only wore a base, Patagonia mid layer and a Polartec 100 vest. I did wear a helmet liner and Polartec 100 fleece hat so I could alternate layers on my head (shaved head). I was just fine adjusting my vest zipper and it was too cold to sweat below zero. I just keep moving. Cold cold cold means dry dry dry.
2. The crossing of Red Creek was fun. It was not so great for one of our group that slipped within a few feet of the shoreline. That is also why we carry extra clothes and pack sleeping bags in waterproof sacs. So he changed clothes and we moved on. I also had a great deal of extra fuel (40 OZ) in case we needed to strip someone and warm them with liquids due to prolonged exposure to the freezing water. But we did not need it. Sorry, no backpacker soft porn. The second crossing with ice over the creek on Sunday was a big discussion topic. But we did it anyway. Part of the reason of taking everyone out was the question about how to cross with thick ice over the stream. I encountered ice 1 to 2 inches thick on Sunday and was able to bash through with my feet (no axe needed). I personally would not mind trying to stay and cross on the third day, but the implied and/or specified liability for those in my company was not something that I could afford to experiment with. So Iíll go back with the Usual Suspects some time and weíll give it a go. We may have to bash through thicker ice. Someone suggested tying a rope off to the pack and drag it over the ice if it is really that thick. I had fun smashing the ice. Crossing at Fisher Spring at the wide area was knee deep. It was wide and slow Ė which is an area that I would not enjoy falling into, but would opt for it at that location rather than a swifter and deeper section.
3. My boat shoes were great. I couldnít stomp on ice with a passion like that in Crocs for fear of them sliding off. I still own the basic Crocs. I did have to carry the shoes in my vest the next day to keep them thawed after the initial fire warming. Everything wet froze immediately.
4. I did not wear insulated boots. I wore the same socks that I wear anytime of the year. But I did have to keep moving to keep my feet warm. I may try insulated boots some day. Iím open to the idea. We were only out for 1.5 days so the jury is still out on that one.
5. I got to use my new Dragonfly stove. I love it. My girlfriend bought it for me. And I donít think she complained once on the trip. She carried the extra extra fuel. So this subparagraph is dedicated to Limeygal.
6. I could get my pack weight down to about 50 lbs (even with a larger saw) after eliminating some clothing and only using the fast-fly setup for the BA Madhouse. The chocolate chip cookie dough stays. This weekend amounted to carrying 40 lbs of gear with 20 pounds of food and water. So I had a good workout even if it was short.
And Iíd do it again.”
“Great pics. Looks like you had a nice trip.”
“Yes. It was short and I wanted to get up to the Lion's head, but winter here just seems to be getting started. I'll have a chance to go back.”
“Great pics. You need a pair of Richb's waders! They were a help on the Thunder Swamp Trail.”
“Thanks for the link and report. I absolutely love the video feature on webshots.
Brrrr... you musta had some cold legs after that crossing!”
“I stomped my feet when I got to shore and when I was breaking the ice, so it kept my feet from getting cold. My ack towel, socks and booties were close at hand. It was invigorating to say the least.”
“awesome report and pics!!
what waterfall is that?”
“The small one was at the forks of Red Creek. There were 2 significantly larger ones before we reached the forks but I did not climb around everything to get a good shot. Sometimes I jsut stand there and take it all in. One of our group headed upstream from our crossing trying to find analternate route above Fisher Spring and found a great one too.
The large one with the deck to the left is Blackwater Falls in Davis, WV. That was the last shot in the album.”
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