Friday, October 02, 2015

Soggy Backpacking

This last weekend I had another opportunity to go with by friend Brent on a short overnight excursion. This time we went to Lena Lake. I've avoided going to Lena Lake for some time. It's sort of a rite of passage for the area. "What do you mean you've never been to Lena Lake?!" is the most common response when I say I haven't been there. But after all, if everyone has been there, then it most likely means that there will always be lots of people there. And that's why I've never been. Don't like people.

Last weekend was no exception. It was pretty rainy, so we figured there would be less people up there. I'm not sure if we were right or not because there were still more people there than I like. It was a fun hike anyway. Since we went up Friday we had a pretty easy time finding a spot. Saturday/Sunday people would have had more trouble.

This trip was pretty memorable, mainly due to the amount of rain we got. It's been a long time since I backpacked in that kind of rain. It wasn't even that bad, though, because we got camp all set before the rain came on.

I was glad for that because I'm still using my Hennessey tarp for shelter. Brent uses his Hennessey hammock. It's been a couple years now that I use my tarp for backpacking instead of my tent, but I've never had to weather any real weather, if you will. So I learned a lot from this experience and I wanted to share some thoughts.

One nice thing was I didn't have to pump any water. I was able to collect more than what I needed off my tarp. The down side to this was I had a little space on the tarp where the water pooled a little. I need to work on setting the tarp in this free-standing configuration. I have a hard time getting the tension right.

The cloud cover also served to keep the temperature very comfortable. I was quite toasty in my down bag. Speaking of the bag, I was a little concerned about taking the down bag since I knew were risking rain. The rain was falling straight down due to the calm air, so I stayed dry.

As I said, the night was pretty comfy despite the rain. I got in bed about 8:15 since the alternative was sitting in the rain. I didn't fall asleep for an hour or so which left me wishing I had brought a notebook.

At about 1:30 am I woke up to find that the rain had quit and the clouds were moving around. From where I was laying I had a perfect view of a nearly full moon through an opening in the trees. One of the things I like about tarp camping is I get to enjoy sights like that without getting out of my toasty sleeping bag.

Camp kitchen. All the comforts of home on a wet log. In the morning the world was wet, but it wasn't falling anymore. It was a pleasant morning.

Here's a little shot into my pack. I find that I can use the space in my pack a little better if I just stuff my sleeping bag right into my pack. The therm-a-rest is rolled up and stuffed down the side, also without stuff sack. On top of that I put my few clothes, first aid kit, utility bag, jet boil. My pack is a Osprey Stratos 36. At 36 liter, it works great for a single overnight, short trips.

Here are some great shots from around the lake.

This was a cool rock on the far side of the lake. Check out the people standing on it.

This is Lena Creek on the way back down.


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