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Hiking/Climbing the Badlands in the Spring (pics)





ocalhoun
I just finished making modifications to my new hiking gear:

So I decided to field-test it in the harshest conditions around.
It worked quite well- it's roomier, more versatile, lighter, more comfortable, and more durable than the last backpack-setup I had.
While I was out there, I thoughtfully took some photos for you.

First, I climbed down that small hill at the top left, and followed a valley upwards. Sorry, I forgot to take photos of that section.

After getting about 3/4 of the way up the ridge, I remembered to take some pictures.



Finally, I made it to the top of the ridge I was climbing. I then decided to walk to that high grassy area on the left to get a view of where to go next.


I found these growing along the way, at the top of the high cliff:


From that high grassy area, I try to find a good way back down; it doesn't look easy.


That ridge to the left looks like an inviting way down though:


The way is steep and covered in loose, dried mud. I have to dig each foot in to find the firm(er) ground underneath, and even that threatens to give way easily:


I make it to the bottom safely, though I had to slide part of the way, and now I have to follow a narrow little canyon down the valley. It provides lots of challenges for someone to walk though, especially in spring, when the mud at the bottom is the consistency of wet concrete.



But that moisture, combined with the suddenly warm weather makes the area uncharacteristically garden-like. In the valley I start to see a lot of wildflowers. This photo was taken from inside the little canyon; these flowers are at eye level to me:

(The other canyon wall is just as high, and there's barely room for me in between them.)

More of those same flowers, this little cluster is hanging down on the canyon wall:


Eventually, the canyon widens and shallows and disappears, leaving a rock-covered valley.


In this valley I'm now following, there's plenty of signs that spring has come, even here:







After a while, I find a game trail that leads back towards where I left my truck, so I follow it.

If you look closely at the above photo, you can see deer/bighorn sheep tracks. (Enlarged below)


I impressed even myself with navigational prowess by walking right up to my truck, even though I couldn't see it until I got very close to it, and from there I went home.

Hope you enjoyed the photos.
Afaceinthematrix
I really like your pack set up. It's very well organized and concise. You could easily fit a tent (or equivalent - I use a hammock when trekking in forests) for multi-day/week/month trips) on the top of your pack. You employ good use of carabiners to strap your canteens onto your pack.

But since you have an external frame, I would suggest making more use of the outside to strap additional resources (especially bulky items and items that you need quick access to). Although That's only important if you're going on really long trips and need as much space as possible.

Did you also home make your pack from other packs? I can see your camo/military pack on top of blue section of a pack. That doesn't look standard to me and so I am guessing that you made that yourself. I personally use a pretty standard all black external frame pack (I despise internal frame packs - luckily I borrowed my dad's old internal frame pack for a week long trip one time so that I could discover that I hated them before buying them). External frames pack much better in my opinion and I like holding onto the frame when hiking.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I really like your pack set up. It's very well organized and concise. You could easily fit a tent (or equivalent - I use a hammock when trekking in forests) for multi-day/week/month trips) on the top of your pack.

That's what I mean about it being more versatile- I can strap just about anything to it. (using extra straps, rope, and string stored inside!)
(I don't carry the bulk of a tent or hammock though- all my trips these days are day-trips, so If I needed a shelter for some reason, I would build one out of emergency blankets and found/scavenged objects, using the tools in the pack.)
Quote:
You employ good use of carabiners to strap your canteens onto your pack.

I use them everywhere! If you look, the walking stick is also held on with one.
(Several more are used to organize stuff inside, and my climbing/utility rope has them on each end.)
(I have a rule when building it that nothing can be held in by gravity alone- I should be able to turn it upside down or any other direction and shake it, and nothing should fall out.)
Many of the straps and strings are simply tied right now, I might replace the ties with carabiners sometime to make for faster changes.
Quote:

But since you have an external frame, I would suggest making more use of the outside to strap additional resources (especially bulky items and items that you need quick access to). Although That's only important if you're going on really long trips and need as much space as possible.

I do have a couple of add-on packs that I sometimes strap on to it;
One is a 'extended stay' bag, which adds on extra consumable items to make my 30-day survival pack into a 90+ day pack.
The other is a cold-weather bag, which has extra blankets, towels, gloves, jackets, face mask & goggles, et cetera.
Quote:

Did you also home make your pack from other packs? I can see your camo/military pack on top of blue section of a pack. That doesn't look standard to me and so I am guessing that you made that yourself.

The orange part is a big aluminum frame with a thin bag with lots of pockets on top, quite old, actually. There's two big internal pockets that are covered by a big flap. Got it at a garage sale for $2. ^.^
The camo bag is attached only to the flap that closes over the orange bag, so I can lift the whole camo bag up like a lid to the big compartments of the orange one. It's retired military-issue and I use it for storing any items I might use often. It's a standard backpack with the straps removed (and stored inside, so if I set up a camp, I could remove it and use it as a small day-pack.) Especially nice is that it's covered in molle-type fasteners, so I can easily attach other military items (like that first aid kit), and I can strap things to it by tying the straps to those fasteners. It cost $10 at a yard sale.
The blue/green bag at the bottom is a fanny-pack wrapped around the frame of the orange pack instead of my waist. It holds my water bottles, food, and a few items I might need quick access to. (compass, snake bite kit, a couple small tools, a small sharp knife) It -- along with another bag I use for my bike) cost $2 at a garage sale.
So, with a little patience and ingenuity, I made an excellent backpack for $14.
Quote:
I personally use a pretty standard all black external frame pack (I despise internal frame packs - luckily I borrowed my dad's old internal frame pack for a week long trip one time so that I could discover that I hated them before buying them). External frames pack much better in my opinion and I like holding onto the frame when hiking.

External is definitely better than internal. I particularly like the way it allows for more ventilation on my back- no sweaty back.
My old pack was a cheap no-frame 'hunting' backpack. I had been thinking about replacing it with an internal frame one, but I couldn't find one I liked, because the external mount-points were always flimsy, and the bulk of it was usually a single, huge compartment, which makes for bad organization. When I found this orange external-frame one at a garage sale, I couldn't pass it up!


...hm, I think I'll make a whole new topic just about the bag, and what's in it. It took a lot of time and effort to get it this good, and it's still a work in progress.
gtsmatrix
Those are some nice pictures. Very Happy
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