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Messages - exophysical

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 I sometimes feel anxiety or concern leading up to a major trip, winter or not. However once I get going I generally lose this, just like driving or working its the little things that get you home safe. So long as you can identify the hazards, and don't take any reckless shortcuts that could compromise your safety or comfort things should work out.

Worst hypothermia I've gotten was last winter on a day trip, about a kilometer in I bridged a snowshoe and broke it. Not understanding how serious things were about to get I mishandled it horribly. It was one of those days where you wonder if the snowshoes are even doing anything so I ditched both shoes. I found out pretty quickly how much the shoes were doing, the snow was packed enough that I couldn't wade through it as it was up to my chest in places. Crawling kept me on top for the most parts but my hands would break through quite often, resulting in a nose dive into the snow and much floundering around to get back up. I eventually had to take my coat off and use it for floatation to keep my hands and torso ontop of the snow. After about a kilometer (several hours) of this I made it back to my truck, it took me nearly 9 hours to warm up and then I was running a fever for about a day or so after. In hindsite I should have tried to fix the snowshoes, or at least if I had kept the good one I could have used it instead of my coat to prevent my hands from breaking through. Ever since I have had a real love of millsurp shoes since they seem to be the only shoe I cant break, they don't have the best traction or floatation but they can be depended upon.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: Ski or Snowshoe, how to decide?
« on: January 17, 2015, 11:52:10 am »
You need a wider pair of skies so they will float whatever snowcondition it is. Then you are useing wide  forest skies you will have better float than modern snowshoes and in good conditions you will travel three times the speed on snowshoes in really bad conditions still travel the same speed as on snowshoes. Still i like snowshoes on short daytrips and work.

 A lot of my preference might be due to the way I like to travel. I'll use trails to get me into where I'm going but beyond that I like following game trails and bushwhacking. Usually I'll find a ridge and go in on the top, then circle back at a lower elevation, thick timber, steep ravines, and deep snow all day. Following a trail all day just to make miles and say I did it isn't something I can do a lot of without getting bored.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: Ski or Snowshoe, how to decide?
« on: January 16, 2015, 01:35:48 pm »
 Thanks for the replys, I've been playing with the ski's lots and have generally come to the conclusion that I'm not using them for any serious trekking anytime soon, that opinion might change as I use them more though. They are fun to play with and do day trips, but what I'm finding right now is that in the right conditions they are great, in the wrong conditions they suck, and in between these two extremes I might make better time but I find the trip less enjoyable. For an afternoon ski, when the goal is to ski I like them, for an overnight or better trip where the goal is to enjoy myself they have the ability to detract from my enjoyment of the trip so I don't bother with them.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: Moose Watching
« on: January 13, 2015, 01:14:36 pm »
Thanks for the responses.
I was considering heading up the western uplands trail, probably from the southern end, for easy access. In the winter, due to worse driving and fewer crowds, I usually start at hwy 60. I would consider going in through Rain Lake if the access roads were in good shape. I was assuming they wouldn't be.

"High ground with lost of underbrush" This probably explains my lack of success in finding moose in the winter since I usually stay in lower areas and frequently only go to higher ground when searching out more open space to travel through.
I know there are moose along the highway, but I was looking for some "backcountry" time so hanging out along the road wasn't what I was planning on doing.

 Lots of people think that moose are a creature of the low lands and swamps which does have some truth, but in late October after the rut they seem to abandon the low areas and head higher. Even in the summer when they will typically be lower and around water, an area with a ridge nearby will usually have a higher concentration of sign around it than one that is not near high ground. Like pretty much any big game animal they seem to like having an elevation change nearby, probably because it allows them to use thermal activity throughout the day to smell predators when they are bedded down.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: Moose Watching
« on: January 13, 2015, 02:14:39 am »
  Being an avid hunter I am always checking the sign when I am out, which is usually at least a couple times a week. My advice for finding moose in the winter is to look for high ground with lots of undergrowth. The type of undergrowth varies, IMO because as the season progresses they move down the preferred list of food, as what they favor is eaten up. One of their favorites locally is called "wild hazelnut" its a weird looking kind of shrub, its small like a willow but is more gnarled and branched. When you find a thicket of this stuff on a hill it will look like somebody set a lawn mower at about 3' and went over it, because the moose eat pretty much anything sticking up higher than that. You may not find moose in this stuff but if you climb enough hills you should find some beds and fresh tracks to follow, moose typically move around as little as possible in the winter and are a fairly easy animal to track, so if you've got good conditions, fresh tracks, and a little luck on your side you stand a pretty good chance of getting a look at the moose. 

 I would like to point out that after a hard winter moose are sometimes on their last legs by the time spring comes around, while I do follow animal tracks in the winter I exercise restraint and try to avoid excessively pushing around moose or other wildlife at a time when they need to be conserving their energy.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: Different Style Winter Trekking
« on: January 09, 2015, 12:29:09 pm »
 Nice! When I read the title I was expecting skidoos or kite boards or something, I was pleasantly surprized.

Trip Reports / Re: Newyears weekend trip.
« on: January 04, 2015, 03:51:44 pm »
Thanks Exophysical!  That was some hauling!   My experience with hydro cuts is that they can be brutal.  When they design those things they pick a more or less straight line, and span hill to hill.  Cliffs and steep hills are no barrier for the design, unlike railways or roads.  What looks like a nice cleared swath on a map can often be killer rugged on the ground!

 Very true Hoop, I find pretty much any logged area is way harder to get through than it looks, at least until you have about 4' of hard crusted snow on it. Quite often I intend to use a line or a cut to get through timber and end up bushwhacking in standing timber to get through the clear cuts, a toboggan more or less removes this option though.

 The trip took place north of Lesser Slave Lake AB in an area called The Martin Hills. I knew Duke would be OK in the cold or I wouldn't have brought him. At home he sleeps outside in a doghouse filled with straw, while visiting relatives though I've seen him forsake whatever sleeping arrangements are available and sleep in the snow even in absolutely fridged tempatures. I like the idea of a space blanket though, I'll bring one for him next time.

Trip Reports / Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« on: January 04, 2015, 03:30:46 pm »
 Great trip, and nice igloo! I've always meant to see northern Saskatchewan, maybe this summer I'll make it out there.

Trip Reports / Re: Newyears weekend trip.
« on: January 04, 2015, 11:25:11 am »
Same as Bioguide here... I always sweat, even today, -35c went for a run and came back home drenched...
Nice looking dog! Ho and my days of cold camping in that kind of weather is possibly over, except for maybe a few nights a year in the spring...

Thank you fo taking the time!

Yeah, I pretty much always sweat too, however in this case I REALY didn't want to change my base layer so I managed to not get too sweaty. I was only wearing my base layer under my coveralls so I was borderline cold for much of the day, if I felt myself heating up I slowed down or took a breather. When I got my camp set up and the wood cut I put on some more clothes.

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.

Trip Reports / Re: What A Cutie
« on: December 29, 2014, 10:44:44 pm »
 Looks like a great trip! I used to do some welding for a business man who owned a bison farm and I quickly learned they are not to be trusted, they act like cows most of the time but are way more unpredictable. I once watched him back his pickup right through a fence to avoid having it damaged by a bull that was acting pretty rowdy. I took a picture on the way to Yellowknife of a welder working on a bridge they were erecting across the Mackenzie River, he had his lid down and was burning rod while his helper kept a sharp eye on a couple of wild bison a mere 40 yards away which was pretty much how I did things for that farmer. I'll see if I can track down the picture.

Snowshoeing Discussion / Re: Best snowshoes for kids?
« on: December 26, 2014, 06:57:08 pm »
My daughter is 7, she as been on a pair of MSR  like these one
 for now 4 years, I think they are getting a bit small now, but they were great, the pivot is really good.

Thanks for the tip, I picked up a pair of these shoes for xmas, we went out for a walk today and my daughter loves them. The pivot was a little stiff when they first arrived but I gave all the pivot holes a quick ream with a drill bit and everything works nicely, I think some of the metallic/ powder coat finish on the crampon just needed to be taken out of the holes. Worth every penny and I strongly recommend them. The only thing I would change is that IMO the 3 strap binding is a bit overkill, a 2 strap configuration would be plenty and more simple to use on a kids snowshoe.

 The 22" Evo shoes look like a pretty good next step when she outgrows the Shift, with the removable tails I'd imagine a kid with a light build could use them well into adolescence.


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.

Trip Reports / Re: Trip report - Norway Jan/Feb 2014
« on: December 25, 2014, 05:26:00 pm »
I liked this trip even better than the last one you posted! I can help but notice that you spend quite a bit of time just walking around in boots with no snowshoes, while I've always found that even on a packed trail a small pair of modern snowshoes results in enhanced efficiency and is nearly always worth the extra weight. Its not something I always feel in 20 yards, or even 100, but after an hour or so I can almost always feel the difference. Obviously this could just be due to local snow conditions though.

Trip Reports / Re: Finnish Lapland trip, March/April 2014
« on: December 24, 2014, 12:10:16 pm »
 That looks like an epic trip. Favorite line "Looks like my hand in a scrabble game".

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