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Topics - exophysical

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Trip Reports / Newyears weekend trip.
« on: January 03, 2015, 07:12:38 pm »
 I was determined to do a trip this weekend, although I tried to find a partner there were no takers so me and Duke ended up going by ourselves.

 Our destination was a hike in lake that had brook trout, the summer trail in is closed in the winter so winter option is to hike down a pipeline. This year the oil company didn't plow the road into the pipeline so that added a few kilometers and quite a bit of climbing. It took me about 4 kms and 600 feet ascent to get up this.

This is looking the other way from the top photo and its what I would normally call the "trailhead" from here its about 2.5 km of deep snow and hard trail breaking.

There are a few steepish climbs, coupled with the deep snow and the logs that are left on the pipeline to prevent erosion I had to be careful not to work up a sweat.

Not the most fashionable of adventurers but we made it to our destination, because of the extra miles I didn't have much time to fish so I gave it about an hour and then set up camp.

 This was my first time using a tarp, home sweet home.

 You know the tempature is dropping when even Duke wants a soft bed and a warm fire.

 The tempature got down to -28, I've slept in this weather before but for some reason I was having trouble getting warm. Finally I warmed up, right about the point I needed to use the bathroom, and so it went. The next day after some oatmeal me and duke headed back, our trail had drifted in but had set up nicely and the trip back was a fair bit easyer.

Its all downhill from here.

And heres our ugly mugs back at the truck, which barely started. Total milage was 12 kms, although none of the climbs was particularly steep according to the GPS our total ascent was 900 feet so we had a bit of a workout.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Packs for winter camping?
« on: December 26, 2014, 01:23:51 pm »
 Some of the terrain that I like to hike in looks too rugged and steep to pull a sled through so I was thinking about picking up a pack for doing overnight trips. I have an old pack frame that I use for hunting that might work but it seems like it would restrict upper body movement and make skiing difficult, just wondering what I should be looking for in terms of size and design.

Snowshoeing Discussion / Babiche vs Monoline?
« on: December 20, 2014, 02:43:50 pm »
 I'm thinking of picking up a pair of traditional Bearpaw snowshoes. I've never tried Monoline shoes and am curious how they compare to babiche in regards to noise and durability? I love traditional snowshoes but I'm a big guy and I use my shoes hard and often, all off trail with lots of deadfall, and even modern snowshoes tend to have a fairly short lifespan with me. Just wondering which way to go.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Work clothes for trekking.
« on: December 10, 2014, 09:45:50 pm »
 Having spent most of my life working in the oil and gas or lumber industry I've acquired a lifetime supply of coveralls. I order mine big so I can pack layers under them rather than get my coat dirty and using various layers I've worked in weather from 35 C to -35, for the most part in relative comfort. Last winter I started using coveralls for trekking and found them to work well. Below the waste I wear anywhere from 1-3 layers of poly, its important to get this right because making a change is a pain. On my torso I usually wear a couple layers of poly and/or wool and keep a great big sweater in my pack that I can wear overtop of the coveralls if I need to, unzipping the coveralls to my waste helps vent if I'm getting warm. This setup helps minimise the "cold belly" I often get when my undershirt comes untucked from pants while trekking. So if your like me and you have a whole shed full of coveralls they make a great outer layer for snowshoeing or skiing

Snowshoeing Discussion / Best snowshoes for kids?
« on: December 07, 2014, 09:40:12 pm »
 I bought a little pair of Powder Ridge snowshoes last year for my daughter. The problem I'm having with them is that because they are so short the pivot (bindings riveted to decking) doesn't really pivot and the heel comes up with the rest of the shoe. My kids find this awkward and as a result don't like to use them (cant say I blame them) so I'm looking at other options this year. I'd like to stay with the modern shoes for starting them out as I think they are a little easyer for an inexperienced treker to use, but if I cant find anything that pivots better I might consider traditional shoes.

Any suggestions?

General Winter Camping Discussion / Ski or Snowshoe, how to decide?
« on: December 03, 2014, 09:08:20 pm »
 I've been snowshoeing for a few seasons now and am just getting into Nordic skiing this season. I'm just wondering, when heading out into the wilderness, what factors help one decide which method of travel is most practical and/ or efficient? Obviously if I'm going to be bushwhacking in the thick stuff or taking on a lot of vertical terrain that is beyond my skill level with skis I'll be on snowshoes, but beyond that are there any other considerations?

Back Country Skiing Discussion / Wooden "multifiber" ski prep?
« on: November 11, 2014, 10:21:17 am »
  Our local dump has a "Take it or leave it" shed where items of use can be left for others to take. I found a pair of Karhu "sport" model skis in this shed and decided to take them but I have some questions on how to properly prep them. They appear to be a wooden ski, I can see the wood grain on the sides but on the ski "Multi fiber base" is written and there is a very thin layer of some reddish material on the bottom. Can anyone give me some advice on this?

Trip Reports / Canoe moose hunt 2014.
« on: October 13, 2014, 09:40:57 pm »
I ended last year's hunt with the realisation that I needed to start looking for a partner again. Although the solo canoe hunts had been very rewarding sometimes the work load was great enough that I wasn't even enjoying the trip. Another benefit to having a partner is that when a hunt is not going well both parties are usually to proud to admit they've had enough, where as one hunter on their own will be prone to packing it in a few days early if he starts to lose hope. I couldn't find anyone locally that wanted to do a canoe hunt so I had to use an online forum. Here's Mike, he was a new hunter looking for a partner and despite living 6 hours drive away, and shooting and butchering a cow moose a few weeks before the trip he still made it to my surprize. I've had way more guys back out of these hunts than have ever made it, and Mike had every good reason in the book to not come.

Since it took me 4 years to draw this tag I was determined that if we didn't get one this year it wouldn't be for lack of trying, the first section of river went through some mixed swamps and ridges that we hunted aggressively, hiking back into places way farther than I usually am willing to pack a moose out of.

The woods were tinder dry and any still hunting had to be done in the morning when there was some dew on the ground, we found some excellent sign and even saw a moose, but in the thick timber we couldn't get a clear shot. The weather was uncommonly warm and game activity was only happening at first and last light We spent the evenings trying to call moose out to the river bank.

We decided to hunt one more spot and then head downriver into a large burn, I knew there were moose in the burn but it was too thick to hunt. Once we got down there our options were limited to calling from a few existing trails, the last spot we would hunt before the burn was an Island and the minute we saw it we knew it was going to be good. It had good habitat on both sides of the river and shallow bars of each side, tracks on the island indicated that it was heavily used as a crossing point by moose. It was also a popular camping spot for jet boaters but at the moment it seemed to be quiet.

After making camp on the island and a failed attempt at hiking up a drainage where we succeeded only in making massive amounts of noise we hatched a plan, Mike and myself would walk around the island each on an opposing side, every 15 minuets I would do a cow calling sequence and he would answer with some bull grunts. It took about a hour to walk around the island, I saw a cow moose come out and feed on a point downriver of us. I though I could hear some grunts and watched her a long time to see if a bull would join her but nothing happened, after two laps we stopped to make some supper. It was while we were eating supper that we started to hear a bull grunting. We could tell he was super aggressive as he grunted constantly, I though that he might not make it to us before nightfall so we didn't call back at him, hoping he might remain in the area over night and we could call him in in the morning.
 Partway through dinner we heard a tremendous crash! The bull was crossing the river and headed right at us, still aggressive as I've ever seen, he was a small bull and after waiting so long to draw the tag I had a few misgivings about shooting him rather than trying for a bigger one, unfortunately he was coming right into camp and we didn't have much choice. I put down my plate of macaroni, grabbed my rifle and chambered a round, I told Mike that if the moose turned back I wouldn't shoot but if he got onto the bank, a mere 15 yards away I would shoot him. I moved to the side and as the moose stepped onto the bank in the fading light I gave him two shots in the lungs. Immediately he turned around and staggered back into the river, I knew he was dead on his feet but I didn't want him going any further into the river. I gave him the last two shots in my rifle, at this point just trying to break bones and stop him. There he stood for a few long minuets and then toppled over, he kicked and then stopped... and here starts an adventure I don't EVER want to repeat.

When the moose fell he started drifting downriver, I ran over to the canoe and untied the bowline then emptied my pockets. I watched the moose for a few seconds and screwed up my courage, I had a run in with a mostly dead moose that "came back to life" in 06, this time I was going to be getting closer, without my rifle, in the water... my chances would not be good if the same thing happened. I waded out into the river up to my chest, his head was under water but his nose was sticking up, was he holding it out of the water or was that just how he was floating? I reached for the antlers and as I grabbed them I felt the smallest of twitches and took a few steps back, trying to stay cool. Finally I just did it, grabbed the antlers and looped the rope around them, then started dragging the moose back to shore. Back at shore Mike held his hand up to give me a high five and I just grunted and shook my head, this was the sloppiest kill I think I've ever made, everything felt so crazy and out of control I had conflicting feelings about the whole thing at that point. Somehow in all the excitement I already had a quarter mostly taken off by the time Mike reminded me that we hadn't taken any pictures, here's a picture of the moose in the canoe the next day, sorry.

The next day was never ending, we paddled 9 hours to get to the take out, packed all the gear and moose up a steep bank to the truck, then drove 3 hours to collect the other truck and go to my house. Even though I did the shooting I gave Mike the rack which seemed to make him pretty happy, heck he earned it. I figured he might have had enough of canoe hunting, this was a pretty hard trip, but the next day he was already talking about doing another one next year. Looks like I've got a new partner!

General Winter Camping Discussion / Help me get started.
« on: September 14, 2014, 10:14:55 pm »
 Alright guys, I've been lurking here for a while, doing lots of day trips, and this year I'm going to take the plunge and start winter camping. I've got a pretty good collection of canoeing and hiking gear and I'd like some opinions on the smartest way to invest my money and make the jump to winter camping. Here's what I more or less have now that might be applicable.

Back Packing stove
Sleeping bag rated for -16
Timberline 4 man tent and a wide assortment of tarps
A variety of hiking and canoe packs
Lots of warm clothes
A few pairs of snowshoes and some x country skis.

I'm more or less thinking I need to get something to use as an over bag for my existing sleeping bag, make myself a toboggan, and just use a tarp and ground sheets. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Back Country Skiing Discussion / Garmont Excursions?
« on: March 09, 2014, 01:52:46 pm »
Hello, I've been doing some skiing on the military surplus Karhus and I've decided that I'm going to need some boots with more support for next year. I'm just using some Snowfield type x country boots right now but next year I'm planning to tackle some more challenging hills, I'm thinking of getting some Garmont Excursions and using them when skiing steeper terrain. I'm curious if anyone has these boots and how they like them, obviously they will be more downhill oriented than the boots I'm currently using, but will they work for covering ground in rolling terrain or should I be looking for a leather boot?

 My "local" (3 hour drive) options for back country 3 pin boots are pretty much limited to the Rossignol bc 6 through 12 boots. It seems like a lot of people have these boots but practicaly nobody actually likes them. I gotta ask, do these boots really suck that bad? So after a few days of searching the web and dredging up reviews about the only boots in my price range that don't seem to be plagued by rampant QC problems are the Nordica Alaska, to be fair there isn't a lot of info on these things but what little I can find is all quite positive. Just wondering if anyone has any first hand info on these and can tell me how they fit, I've got a fairly wide foot and would like to get a good idea how these fit before I order them. If not I'm open to other suggestions.

Back Country Skiing Discussion / What kind of ski am I looking for?
« on: February 17, 2014, 12:52:03 pm »
 I haven't done any Nordic skiing since I was about 14, but lurking on this sight for a few weeks has convinced me that I need to get back into it. I plan to get some skis for next winter and I'm wondering what kind of a ski I should be looking for. Almost all my skiing would be either off trail in soft snow, or following skidoo tracks when I can. We have a lot of big hills around my home in northern Alberta, and even a few old decommissioned ski slopes that I'd like to try skiing eventually. I'm looking for a ski that I can use for back country touring on the lakes and rivers, as well as play around in the steeper stuff a little bit. At this point I'm leaning towards the Rossignoll BC 68 or 70, would this type of ski be a good choice or should I be looking at a wider ski?

Winter Trekking Ice Fishing / What do you guys use for gear while trecking?
« on: February 14, 2014, 11:06:38 am »
 When you guys are back country fishing what do you use for gear? Do you pack in rods and reels/ tip ups, or do you go with some kind of a handline? I like hand lines because they are more compact but they suck when trying to give line to big fish and I hate having tangled line all over the place when I pull up a fish. So what do you guys use? I recently stumbled across this video, it seems like this guy has handline fishing down to a science and has figured out to beat the frustrations I typically encounter.

Snowshoeing Discussion / Need advice on traditional snowshoes.
« on: February 13, 2014, 03:19:26 pm »
 I've decided that I am going to get a pair of traditional snowshoes and am trying to decide between a large pair of Huron style snowshoes modified Bear Paws.

 I'm 220 lbs and most of my snowshoeing is off trail in soft snow. Much the time I am using a creek or other makeshift trail but I do quite a bit of bushwhacking through dense forest as well. I usually do a couple 5-10 k day hikes a week as well as use my snowshoes for ice fishing and hunting, although not quite mountain conditions I do some steep climbs pretty regularly. Would sacrificing some floatation for the superior manoverability of a modified Bear Paw be a good idea for me or not?

 Right now I'm using a pair of Faber "Winter Hiker" 12x42 shoes (pretty much a traditional Huron style wood frame with plastic decking). I like these shoes but the plastic decking makes a lot of noise in some types of snow, they are hard to climb in, and a little more flotation probably wouldn't hurt. I realise that no one snowshoe is going to solve all of these problems but I'd like some input as to what shoe might make the best compromise for me.

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