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Ultralight backpacking skills - a three day test - in the open


On Lake Michigan, at the end of the Stonington Peninsula, there's a stretch of empty beach. Part of the Hiawatha Inhabitant Forest, it's framed on both side by clandestine property, with no easy access. To walk on the beach, however, is legal. Past the last cabin, the civic land starts, and goes for six or seven miles. This is where I would test my ultralight backpacking skills and gear.

I hiked a few miles the first day and explored the woods, where I ate wild blueberries for an hour. Then I set up camp after a small ridge on the beach. I serene dry grass along the edge of the forest, which made a nice mattress. I inclined my backpacking tarp equally high, so the breeze would keep out the mosquitos. When camp was set, I went for a swim.

This area has many crayfish, which look and taste just like little lobsters. After swimming I jammed a dozen under the rocks in shallow water, and accepted them back to camp in a whipped-cream container I found. You never know what will wash up on a beach.

I boiled them with some cattail hearts and sundown primrose roots, in my cheap three ounce pan. It made a good meal with the mad I brought. (You confiscate the meat from the tail of the crayfish, after cooking. )

It was summer, so I hadn't brought a sleeping bag. At seventeen ounces, my bag wouldn't have added much to my packweight of eight pounds. I just required to try using a nylon sleeping bag liner I had freshly sewn (5 ounces). I wore my clothes to bed, plus a hat I made from the cover of an old thermal shirt (1 ounce). I slept well, and ate granola bars for breakfast.

Water was all around, so I only had a 16-ounce forced pop jug (1 ounce) and a few iodine medicine for purification. I took a good drink beforehand I packed up.

I found fresh bear tracks on the beach. The bear had walked inside 60 yards of where I slept. I had a freon horn (2 ounces) that I'd bought after comprehension that associates have used it's high-decible cry to scare off bears. I pulled it out. I followed the tracks for an hour, but only for the reason that I was going in that direction.

I had two old cabins to explore, a new patch of berries I knew about, and a beach full effects to check out. The strangest item that evenly washes up is light bulbs. I take them home to use them. After years of discovery these, a sailor as a final point told me that they throw them off the ships to shoot at them in the water. I was decision the ones they missed.

The next day I headed back. The rain I estimated never came, so I didn't get to test my junk bag rainsuit (2 ounces), but I had used a analogous one with hit before. Overall, I was happy with my ultralight backpacking "test. " Of course, you can get by with fragile clothing and gear when you're climbing an open beach. Oh, and I never did see the bear.

Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of frivolous backpacking. His assistance and stories can be found at http://www. TheUltralightBackpackingSite. com


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