Author Topic: Your greatest wild camping memories :)  (Read 2767 times)

gunwharfman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #45 on: 13:26:30, 30/09/20 »
good photo, its now my desktop home page photo. I only walked through a burnt area once, that was enough!

Birdman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #46 on: 14:31:35, 30/09/20 »
Was this a large burnt out forest? The smell, I can imagine!


Yes, I frequently passed through vast areas that had been burned. In this case it was a fire from a year earlier, so the smell wasn't too bad. But you pass not far from many areas that are currently burning and that can be smokey at times (and smell ever present). Fortunately, often the smoke settles in the valleys and you are most of the time walking on the ridges above that. It can actually look very pretty sometimes!


One of the (low lying) resupply towns that I visited (Etna) was very smokey so I thought the hiking was going to be terrible. But back on the trail it was wonderful and I had no issues at all with smoke! (though you could smell it of course)



Walking the PCT in Northern California, with smoke from fires in Oregon on the horizon



The PCT in Northern California is so incredibly pretty! Even with the smoke!

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Birdman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #47 on: 11:13:34, 08/10/20 »

Another one of my most memorable camps was on the Kaibab plateau in northern Arizona, when walking the Arizona National Scenic Trail. I felt slightly euphoric, because I was now only days away from the end of what was at the time my longest and wildest walk ever and it was such a beautiful evening!


I had just crossed the Grand Canyon and found this beautiful camp spot with views of the Grand Canyon east rim far in the distance. After the magnificent but very crowded Grand Canyon it was great to find solitude again. Great to linger around my tent before sunset enjoying the view, and after sunset the starry sky was amazing! This is one of the darkest places in the USA, far from any habitation, with dry clear air and about 2800m elevation. The milky way was awesome and I had never seen the zodiacal light this clear, long into the night.



Camping on the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona
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Birdman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #48 on: 11:39:19, 08/10/20 »
Another one in Arizona, on the same walk about 45 days earlier: camping in the magnificent Sonora Desert! I pitched my tent at this wonderful spot, surrounded by cacti.


The "bushes" that you see are actually cholla-cacti. They have spines with hooks and if you touch them, they get stuck in your skin and part of the cactus breaks off and dangles from your body. And yes, this happened quite often. They are very difficult to remove. This is how the cactus spreads itself.


After I had pitched my tent, I found out that a Gila Woodpecker had made a nest in the big saguaro cactus. It is actually much further away from my tent than it looks on this picture and the bird didn't seem to be bothered.




Camping in the Sonora Desert, Arizona


It was a night with bright moonlit sky, which made it a magical desert camp! The next day I woke up with a chorus of birdsong. It is amazing how much birdlife there is in the Sonora Desert!



When waking up like this, you are really looking forward to your next (hot!) hiking day!



My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

gunwharfman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #49 on: 21:36:28, 08/10/20 »
You certainly have done some impressive walks Birdman. Can I be cheeky and ask how old you are?

richardh1905

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #50 on: 22:06:10, 08/10/20 »
More stunning pitches - keep them coming!
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Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #51 on: 22:31:47, 08/10/20 »
Amazing trails and amazing photos. I am not sure my wife would be keen on me being away for 45 days on a hike, but then again....🤔

Dodgylegs

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #52 on: 00:07:27, 09/10/20 »
Amazing memories you have there! O0
Did you meet any other wildlife.... like bears?

Birdman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #53 on: 11:57:25, 09/10/20 »
You certainly have done some impressive walks Birdman. Can I be cheeky and ask how old you are?



I'm 52 now. A bit younger than most here, heheh!



Amazing trails and amazing photos. I am not sure my wife would be keen on me being away for 45 days on a hike, but then again....🤔


The longest walk I have done was 152 days! But I don't have a wife, so...



Amazing memories you have there!
Did you meet any other wildlife.... like bears?


Sure! Black bears in CA, OR and WA. For example, I had one climbing a tree next to my tent and another one foraging for blueberries near my tent. In Arizona I heard coyotes almost every night, though I've spotted only one. Also a skunk tried to enter my tent. Of course deer and elk are common too. Moose, reindeer and arctic foxes in Sweden. In Australia many kangaroos and wallabies jumped around my tent at night, to the point that I was sometimes scared that they would jump on it by accident. Emus were common too. And always lots of smaller stuff like all kinds of rodents , reptiles, etc. The biggest animal I had near my tent was a wild elephant in Thailand. It was pretty scary to hear it pulling down trees just 100-200 metres from my tent in the middle of the night. But that was not a truly wild camp but at the edge of a campsite in a national park, just at the limit the rangers deemed safe.


My motivation for walking/ camping is really to experience nature in all its forms, so I seek out spots where there is plenty of it so I usually have many wildlife encounters with all kinds of animals of all sizes. 
« Last Edit: 12:01:31, 09/10/20 by Birdman »
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Birdman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #54 on: 12:32:35, 13/10/20 »

Another camp spot that I will never forget! Not only because it was an awesome spot, but also what happened the next morning.


I was going to cross the Muir Pass (3644m) where I expected to walk on snow for miles. This is old, compacted snow from the previous winter which is easy to pass early in the morning after a frosty night, after the top layer is frozen. But after a few hours of sunshine, the top layer melts and then when you try to walk on it you frequently sink in, sometimes waist-deep. That is so tiring! So I camped close to the snow line, so that I could walk on the snow when it was still solid.


I camp at this beautiful spot (3383m) close to the Muir Pass! Just before the snow starts


After I set off the next morning, I discovered that another guy camped just a few hundred meters further. We had never noticed each others presence. The guy proposed to cross the pass together for safety, so that is what we did. As hoped, the snow is still solid with the frozen top layer. At places it is slippery, but using our microspikes it is an easy walk.



Crossing this massive snowfield just after the summit of the pass. Frozen surface, easy with micro spikes


After we have passed all the snow, we removed our microspikes. Then, disaster struck! The guy slipped on a flat but ice-covered surface and fell on his arm. He screamed in pain and at first I thought his arm was broken. Later it turned out that it wasnít broken, but he could hardly use his arm anymore.


We were in the middle of nowhere, and the next road where he could possibly be evacuated (with a private chartered car) was still 3 days walking Ė including crossing passes and through snow. I was afraid that if he sank into the snow (you often sink in waist-deep) he would not be able to get out with just one arm, so I decided to stay with him in the coming days.


That may sound like a sacrifice on my part, but I myself didnít walk that fast anymore due to having broken a hiking pole on a previous pass and we got along very well. To avoid soft snow, we also camped at incredibly beautiful places. So I have very nice memories of these days.



My tent at Sallie Keyes Lake, one of our most beautiful camp spots. Twice we see an osprey picking a fish out of the water here!. You can see my bear-proof food canister next to the rock



A day later, the guy's arm looked horrible. His entire arm was blue-black and his hand was swollen to a gigantic size. Fortunately, hiking went without problems. After five days he was able to take a bus to a hospital for a check, but by that time he was already slowly improving. He did eventually finish in Canada.
« Last Edit: 12:37:52, 13/10/20 by Birdman »
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richardh1905

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #55 on: 12:55:04, 13/10/20 »
Great story and beautiful pictures, Birdman. A reminder that accidents can and do happen out in the wilds.
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Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #56 on: 12:58:59, 13/10/20 »
Great story and beautiful pictures, Birdman. A reminder that accidents can and do happen out in the wilds.
I agree Richard. I have found that accidents often happen after the most difficult and hazardous parts of a walk have been completed. At least that is my personal experience.

Birdman

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #57 on: 13:04:40, 13/10/20 »
Great story and beautiful pictures, Birdman. A reminder that accidents can and do happen out in the wilds.

Yes, this is the incident that made me decide to buy a PLB before the next wild hike!

I agree Richard. I have found that accidents often happen after the most difficult and hazardous parts of a walk have been completed. At least that is my personal experience.

True! That's when you drop your guard.
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ninthace

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #58 on: 13:28:46, 13/10/20 »
I agree Richard. I have found that accidents often happen after the most difficult and hazardous parts of a walk have been completed. At least that is my personal experience.
And the latter part of a walk is often downhill.  Heels do not grip as well as toes in my experience and if you do stumble, the ground is further away!
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watershed

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Re: Your greatest wild camping memories :)
« Reply #59 on: 14:21:32, 13/10/20 »
Birdman, just discovered this thread, excellent stuff, keep it coming  O0