Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bread and Honey by the sea

 Walking over to Down Home Foods I happened to glance down Oak Street and noticed the surf is up.  White surf against a stormy Spring sky.  I'm told we have had 42 inches of rain this season.  We are finally back to normal!

 Down Home has heated local honey in bulk and boy o boy do I like it.  I use it on my morning oatmeal.

And then I stopped by Fort Bragg Bakery for my weekly loaf of bread made with Spelt.  Here's the loaf being run through the slicer right before my very eyes!.  I don't know if it was me or the machine doing the shaking!!
There's nothing like fresh bread.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bout time! Slideshow of Spring Break 2010

I finally got my slideshow captioned.
It's always a toss up between too many words and not enough.
Anyway, here it is.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cow shit and clay but flowers. Lots of flowers!

My Spring Break Hike in the Cache Creek/Bear Creek drainage area was excellent except for the cow shit!   BLM, Bureau of Land Management, "manages" this area with what they call "Intensive Grazing" to keep invasive weeds under control.  These hills are mostly clay.  The cows like to follow trails and what with this wet spring...., some of the trails were a real challenge.

You!!  Yes, you!!

But the areas where the cows were fenced out were a real pleasure.

Of course all the ponds and streams had "cow influence" but it didn't seem to bother the frogs and once I filtered the water through my Katadyn water filter, it didn't bother me either.

Birds of a feather!

In the course of seven days I saw:

(click to inbiggen)

And, of course, the 30% rain showed up Monday but only during the night and just a light drizzle the next day.

Indian Paintbrush seem to be the first flowers to return to burned areas.

Lupine and California Poppies were very happy.  In fact in a lot of areas I couldn't take a step without stepping on flowers.  I will show them all in the slide-show I am putting together.

End of the hike waiting to be picked up.  My experiment with transportation was a success.  It cost me $2.35 to ride the Mendocino Coast Transit bus from Fort Bragg to Ukiah and I caught a ride with my friend Doug who commutes to Sacramento twice a week from Ukiah.  Doug dropped me off at the trailhead April 15th at 9:00 AM and picked me up, as promised, at 3:00 PM April 22nd.  Perfect!

According to my GPS my total walking distance, during the seven days, was 46.3 miles and my total "accent" was 10,103 feet.  The silicon/mineral spirit treatment I did to the silnylon floor of my tent was a success and I no longer had to be so careful about setting up the tent on perfectly flat areas.  My Ray-Way Quilt kept me comfortable and it is a lot easier to get up and out when time for the middle of the night wee is necessary.  Using the wood stove was a mistake.  The smoke really turned the bottom of my cooking containers into a tar covered mess.  I ended up using the alcohol stove and like it a lot more than using wood.  I had two one liter water bottles and a two and a half liter Platapus bag and ended up needing all of that capacity while hiking some of the ridges between water sources.  During the summer and late fall I doubt there would be any catchment ponds or streams at all.  It would be too hot anyway.

The highest elevation during my hike was 2,250 and the lowest, at the Cache Creek/Bear Creek Confluence near Rumsy canyon was, surprisingly, 640 feet.  I took 543 photos so the slide show will show a lot more detail, when I get it done.

Thanks to for the .gpx file downloads of the trails in this area.  They worked great!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's a go!

I have decided to go on my Spring Break Backpacking Trip to the Cache Creek/Bear Creek area even though it looks like the weather will deteriorate towards the end of my trip.  30% chance?  Looks like the glass is more than half full to me!!

This should cover eight days!!  Total weight 28 pounds.
Check back towards the end of April.  I should have a slideshow available.
Y'all take care and enjoy your spring.

By the way, Roz launches April 17th on the third leg of solo rowing across the Pacific Ocean!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sixty-nine and counting!

Sixty-nine and feeling fine!  Walking and swimming has been a wonderful birthday present to myself.
This coming Wednesday I leave on my eight day solo backpacking trip to the Cache/Creek Bear Creek area.

I have made dehydrated Stir Fry and also dehydrated Stroganoff.  Hopefully they will be a tasty change and/or  addition to my usual lentil soup, black bean soup and cornmeal mush dinners.

I recently ran across Jim Wood's website that had a great suggestion, I hope, for treating that slick silnylon floor my Gosamer Gear "The One" tent has.  I have been ending up at the low side or in the corner during a night's sleep because that tent floor is so slick.  Jim's suggestion is to buy some 100% silicon caulk and some odorless mineral spirits.  Mix at a 1 to three ratio and paint the inside and outside of the tent floor with it.  I just finished the job and the tent is hanging in my garage drying.  That slick floor was the only downside to that tent and hopefully the problem is now taken care of.  The coating will also help maintain the water-proof ability of the silnylon "bathtub" floor.  We'll see.

Here's my tent one year ago, March 20th, when I took it out for it's first test drive.  Spring camping can be  iffy!  Here is a slideshow of that trip.  Hopefully this mid April adventure will lean more towards sun and warmth!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hare Creek Hike

The blue line from the trailhead south and east is our morning walk.  We walked the Hare Creek logging road for one mile and then turned around and retraced our steps; just under six miles round trip.  I recorded our walk with my GPS and uploaded the "tracks" to Google Earth.  The results are above.  Pretty neat!

And away we go.

I'm told this is Turkey fungus.  Each piece does look like a Turkey tail fanned out.

We had a cloudless blue sky.  Very welcomed after what seems like a week of rain.

Lots of run-off in the Class Three streams.

Could be Art.

I noticed this "Olive Tree?" near our starting point.

A "silly shot" at the trailhead.

Nice hike.  Good folks.  Come join us Wednesday mornings at 8:30.
e-mail if you are interested.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Plan!

Spring has "rizen" and I can't wait!  I am in the process of planning my first backpacking trip of this season and Oh Boy, it is going to have some new ideas and approaches to try out.  Since it is rather early in the year I need to "stay low".  I'm not a snow person.  I was recently looking through the website and discovered they had gps tracks of various trails they have hiked in the Cache Creek/Bear Creek drainage.  They are down-load-able and I installed them in my hand-held GPS!  Then I uploaded them from my GPS to Google Earth and there they are in the above photo.  Cool!

In Google Earth I could then zoom in, rotate around, fly over and basically check out where I am going without leaving my seat in front of my computer.  This is an image of the trailhead and, in blue, two trails taking off from there.
Now let me tell you about how I am going to get to the trailhead!
I have put together a plan whereby I get on the local transit bus in Fort Bragg (one and a half blocks from my house) and ride to Ukiah.  2 hours.  Spend the day and night at my friends in Ukiah and then catch a ride with my friend when he heads for Sacramento the following morning.  He will drop me off at the trailhead and a week later, when he returns from Sacramento...., he will pick me up!  That's "The Plan"!!

While I am wandering around the Bear Creek / Cache Creek drainage if I get really inspired and have the time there is the Blue Ridge Trail that I might be able to check out.  Many possibilities.

Another addition to camping is this new dehydrator.  I am experimenting with various food combination's to dry for backpacking.

Here are four shelves of stir-fry vegetables and rice.  I pre-cooked it and am now dehydrating it.

Another change will be..., no "Bubble Butt" this time.  I am leaving my Seva 123 home along with it's MSR fuel bottle and will use my tin can wood burning stove instead to heat and rehydrate; make tea, oatmeal, etc.  Also, I am leaving the bear canister home, a total of four pounds removed from my backpack!!
But I am taking my watercolor set, moleskin sketch pad and colored pencils.  As my wife says, "One pound for Art."!!
I will also be trying out the new "Ray-Way" quilt I made from their kit.  It weighs 2 lbs. 10 oz.

So.  A new transportation concept for getting to the trailhead, new gear to try, new food to test.
Oh Boy!  I leave in one week.  Should be gone eight days!  Perfect!