Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day One the Trek Begins! March 6th, 2012

Derek on the left & Harold at the start of the third attempt!

Ok so we know that everyone has been waiting for a long time to hear about our trek, especially John! So you all know the reason for the lack of communication is my phone had a little water accident! I mean leaking water bottle in the pocket and a phone in the pocket do not mix well! So Here is day one March 6th 2012.
Early start for day one as I (Harold) did a final gear check and loaded everything into my van. As I headed out, to meet Derek, it began snowing. Meeting in West Salem we decided to transfer all the gear into Derek’s Ford Ranger because it has 4-wheel drive. Erik who works for me volunteered to go along so Derek’s pickup could be brought back to Salem. Heading out highway 22 toward Detroit Lake it was snowing like crazy and it looked like a bumper car arena with vehicles in the median almost everywhere we looked. We stopped at the Detroit Lake store to fuel up, little did we know that just few miles up the road chains would be needed and a short distance more we would be working to get the pickup turned around so Erik could head back to Salem. We were just a short distance from the Breitenbush Hot Springs turnoff when Derek and I waved goodbye to Erik. And so our adventure begins! The snow has stopped and the sun is beginning to shine as we started to make the climb on highway 46. We made 5.4 miles today with a 714ft elevation change. I was suffering from knee pain that started about 4 hrs in, I took some pain killer, which helped but I am still aching. Derek having worked all night has hit his wall so to speak, but we are in good spirits and the end of the day was gor­geous! All in all we made great time.
Camp set up is always an experience especially the first night. It takes time getting used to the distance required between trees and the height with which to put the ropes. The Clark Jun­gle Hammock is one of the best invest­ments I made. When it comes to ease of setup and comfort nothing is better. It has compartments on the bottom with insulation and room for gear. When you fluff up the com­partments with air you have a great insulation layer. Use a -40 degree bag from Mountain Engineering and you can go down to more than -60 below zero, of course in the mild tempera­tures tonight the bag remains partially zipped. I also use a VBL (Vapor Barrier Liner) which keeps moisture from degrading the down insulation in the sleeping bag and a silk liner to keep from feeling sweaty.
Dinner of mac & cheese was cooked on a MSR reactor stove. (As dinner was cooking I sent the OK signal from the spot unit.) With the reactor stove you have to be care­ful because it burns very hot. It works best if you put some water into the bot­tom before placing any snow in. It can evaporate the water from the snow al­most as fast as it melts! The temp this evening is about 28 degrees at 7 pm and the winds are calm. It should be an­other warm day tomorrow, as there is no wind and no apparent clouds on the horizon.

Topo Information Day One