Just Jeff's Hiking Page

"Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose
we came from the woods originally."

- John Muir

Little Sur Part 2, Los Padres National Forest
31 Jul - 1 Aug 06

The kids just got back from Atlanta so I took the younger one on a quick overnighter. Little Sur Camp is his favorite so far so we went back for this trip. A quick 1.5 mile hike down the Jeep trail towards Pico Blanco Boy Scout Camp, then leave the Jeep trail for another 1 mile of switchbacks down to the Little Sur River.

When we parked at Bottcher's Gap I expected serious heat like last August, but it was cool and windy...we actually put on our raingear to cut the wind. It was about 55F on the Jeep trail, but got warmer as we descended to the river. It was 60F when we got to the campsite right at dark and stayed around there all night...probably didn't get below 55F but it felt colder than that for some reason. VERY few bugs this time, too - last August was pretty horrible up near the parking lot. Pretty sunny on the way back up - our hats really helped. I had the OR Nimbus Sombero I'm testing and he used the desert boonie cap I had in the desert. Don't ask me how it fits him, but it does.

He also carried the new Deuter Fox 30 and really liked it. He’s a bit too small for the waistbelt, but he still carried his pack the whole time. I put the CamelBak bladder in there so he’d have his own water...of course he loved that.

I set up the HH with a CCF pad and homemade quilt for him, and I used the Crazy Creek Crib LEX Lightweight with Downmat 7 and SD Wicked Fastbag, setting up the hammocks on the same trees we used last time. After 30 min or so, I sagged down to the ground even though the hammock was attached around chest high. I figured it was the straps stretching since this is the first time I've used their full length, and the trees might have been bending a bit b/c they're only about 4-5" diameter. So I retightened. About 1am, my butt was on the ground again. I wasn't swinging and I could barely feel the ground through the pad so I was just going to sleep on it, but he woke up with a nightmare at ~2am and wanted to sleep with me...and when I got up I realized that the tree we were both attached to was almost broken. ACK!

So I set up the Crazy Creek as a bivy real quick and put his pad in there. I needed to test it as a bivy anyway, so it wasn't a complete loss...but I could definitely feel the difference as soon as I laid on the ground. I was impressed at how easily the CC set up as a bivy - I just wrapped one end around a small tree and the other end around a rock, and it was ready to use since I didn't need a tarp. It was a bit cramped with the two of us in there, but it still worked really well. We both slept until morning.

I think the tree almost broke b/c the hammocks we were using put more force on the tree than last time. We had a Speer-type with no ridgeline (lots of sag) and the HH last time - this time it was the HH and CC, which hangs very tightly and nearly horizontal. That put a lot more horizontal force on the tree than last trip. It bent quite a bit from one point about 12" above the ground, but it stayed straight when I pushed it back into place after removing the hammocks. And I never heard any cracking or anything so hopefully it's elastic enough to withstand the damage. I think it'll be ok.

In the HH, he had a hard time staying on the pad, so I need to make him an insulated hammock. I’m concerned about him being able to set it up by himself if he gets lost, though...throwing the pad on the ground isn’t a problem. He knows to stay on the trail if we get separated, though, so I'll probably make him one soon.

A couple showed up as we were setting up camp, but they slept farther down the river so we couldn't even hear them...could see their headlamps, though. She took the picture of us together on Tuesday morning.

Food - Freezer Bag Cooking is great! We had clam chowder from Sarbar's book...I was surprised how much he ate! Then just oatmeal for breakfast, but it's awesome to not have any dishes to clean.

And I found a sleeping bag full of trash out in the woods...rotting food in cans and bottles and stuff. What a stench. I packed out some smaller stuff we found there, but that was too much to carry even if I wanted to. I need to call the Bottcher’s Gap attendant...at least he can drive to within 1 mile of the site on the Jeep trail.

It was a great trip! Can't wait to get my other son out there!

Monday Evening, 31 July 2006

First good panoramic view along the Jeep trail

He likes the new pack

Nice wide Jeep trail

Me on the Jeep trail

HH on the left, Crazy Creek on the right

Eating clam chowder from the freezer bag

This is a minor annoyance with the Crazy Creek. The poles make it top heavy, so it flips over when it's set up but empty. Then when I put stuff inside it still starts to flip, but it stops when all the gear slides to one side...looking like this picture. I just keep it zipped so nothing falls out, and it's easy to hold it steady when I get in and out, so it's not really a big deal.

Even with this and the few nitpicks that I posted in my BGT Initial Report, I still like this hammock. Some tweaking would make it better, but I'm still having fun testing it.

Tuesday Morning, 1 Aug 2006

Crazy Creek as a bivy

It was a bit tight, but still comfy

Waking up

One last look at the river

Getting ready to hike out

Ready to go

Quite a bit less talkative on the way back up!

The Sombrero was great sun protection

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