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A Beautiful Spring Day in the PNW Woods

Discussion in 'Outings, Trips & Expeditions' started by NWPrimate, May 19, 2017.

  1. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Spring is definitely my favorite season in the woods, and with temperatures in the low sixties and a beautiful mix of sun and clouds yesterday, I decided to take the afternoon off and get out to enjoy it with the pup.

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    We took a short drive down the road and pulled over off the highway to make our way down to one of the many creeks in the area. Lupo loves being in the woods no matter what, but if there's a car ride involved, he gets even more enthusiastic.

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    Our path to the creek would take us up and down some hills and through some boggy areas. This section of the forest was especially beautiful with scattered sunlight making its way down to the forest floor and illuminating patches of the new spring growth.

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    There were so many plants sprouting and blooming that I ended up taking way too many flora pictures to post, but I'll share some of the better ones, like these pretty little Robert Geraniums.

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    As we headed downhill, the forest changed quickly from conifers and ferns to willows and berry bushes, and I could tell that we were headed into a swampy area.

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    It got pretty mucky pretty quickly, and soon we were in among the skunk cabbage.

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    I was doing my best not to sink into the mud using logs like @CivilizationDropout highlighted in one of his recent reports, but a lot of my logs were more like sticks and they were sinking and breaking all over the place.

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    The mud in these areas is pretty stinky, so I was doing my best to keep Lupo from going in too deep, but his love of water is hard to overcome. Despite me hollering at him, he dove into this particularly scummy looking pool and seemed to revel in the nastiness.

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    It's hard to be mad at that face.

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    Continued below...
     
  2. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Just about anywhere you find mud, you'll also find devil's club. I show this stuff in a lot of my reports because it's one of the few plants in the area that you don't want to get too close to and can grow in big clusters that definitely factor in to route selection.

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    The vine maples seem to have really taken off over the last week and looked amazing with light shining through their new leaves, making rippled patterns of sunlight as it diffused through to the forest floor.

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    Looking at the foliage and terrain ahead, I could tell that we were almost out of the swamp.

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    Back up into the hills.

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    This time of year, the whole area is flooded in the unmistakable, sweet smell of these sticky cottonwood buds. Like any smell, you stop noticing it when it's constant, but any time the wind blows, it grows in intensity and you can't help but notice it again.

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    These pacific bleeding hearts are everywhere this time of year. They must thrive in the same soil conditions as nettles, as they are almost always growing side by side and they can be a good reminder to watch what you brush up against when you see them.

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    Here's a strikin' lichen for @Lichen

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    The iconic salmonberry blossoms that herald the start of spring in the PNW are wilting, but if you look closely, you can see a little berry forming already.

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    These little flowers are interesting because they will have pink, blue, and sometimes even white blossoms all on the same plant. I tried looking them up when I got home but couldn't find them in my books. Anybody know what these are?

    [​IMG]

    Continued below...
     
  3. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    When we finally made our way down into the creek bed, it was like a little slice of heaven.

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    Lupo had to stay out of the creeks for most of the winter so now that things have warmed up, he takes full advantage by splashing through as much as he can, and probably spent more time in the water than on dry land.

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    I've been working with a new cordage technique that I learned from @Pict so I decided to spend some time relaxing and twisting up some 4-ply out of jute twine for a bow drill while Lupo frolicked in the creek.

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    After some cordage and an extended game of fetch with the pup, I went searching for some dry cedar.

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    Winter trips always feel rushed as the sun sets around 4pm, but now that it is staying light later, that pressure to hurry is long gone. I made a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy the process of building the set, focusing on making everything as smooth and precise as possible, and it was really enjoyable just being in the moment. I probably spent twice as long working on this bow drill set as usual, and it was very relaxing to take my time with it.

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    The attention to detail paid off and was evident while I was drilling. This set ran like a Swiss watch.

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    With the sun shining for most of the day, the mosses that were in the sunshine were relatively dry, so I used a nice wad of it for my tinder bundle. I added a small bit of cedar bark to the center to give the ember something to chew on as the moss finished drying out.

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    Continued below...
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  4. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Lupo and I poked around the creek for a while waiting for a bed of coals to form so I could get started on lunch. I don't think I've ever peeled a potato in the woods before and always use a vegetable peeler at home. The Garberg did a good job standing in.

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    This was the first run for this pan after seasoning it so I didn't skimp on the coconut oil.

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    Cooking up some potatoes and onions in coconut oil and butter.

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    Once they were nice and soft, I added some summer sausage, let that simmer for a while, and then threw in some cheese at the end to avoid burning it to the bottom of the pan. This was an excellent meal.

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    Lupo waiting patiently for me to say "OK" before he enjoys his portion.

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    Lupo had been going pretty hard all day and was uncharacteristically happy to sit still and keep me company through another cup of tea as we relaxed by fire and soaked in the beautiful surroundings.

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    As we were packing up, I could see weather moving in off the mountains.

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    Despite being abnormally calm for tea time, he was back to his old antics on the hike back.

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    This was a great day in the woods already but my wife put the icing on the cake. When I got back to the car, I found this sweet little note on my dashboard. She had seen the car on the side of the road and stopped to leave it on her way to pick up our son from his after school activities. :)

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking!
     
  5. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Supporter Supporter

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    Really enjoy your threads. No matter the situation, weather, or what activities you're up to they just always come off as calm, relaxing and very upbeat.

    Good stuff and a great way to spend my lunch break.
     
  6. mainewoods

    mainewoods Maine Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    A Awesome Outing @NWPrimate Great Photos ! Thanks sharing being lay up it help me enjoy the day out doors. Awesome area! Oh what type of pan is that?
     
  7. IzaWildman

    IzaWildman Old Dog Supporter

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    Lupo sure is getting big and I enjoy seeing him playing in the woods and water. I envy your clear water out there. Great pics, thanks for sharing.
     
  8. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    AHH~! That note from Mrs.NWP is so sweet. Looks like an awesome day. We saw Lupo's doppelganger playing at the beachyesterday, and I actually took a look around before I remembered that it would be a super long hike for you get here. ;)
     
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  9. dads2vette

    dads2vette Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Awesome, just plain and simple "awesome".
     
  10. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks @HeadyBrew . Life is good out here. :)

    Thanks @mainewoods . I hope you can get out again soon too. The pan is a Bromwell brand carbon steel pan that I got as a two pack off of eBay. I've used the little one quite a few times already, and figured I'd break in the bigger one this time. You can still get the set of two for $20.00 if you're interested.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/TWO-PANS-7-...EOUT-Skillets-saute-Cold-Handle/282476306018?

    Thanks @IzaWildman ! He's going to be two years old in a few months, but still seems to be filling out.

    She's always doing sweet little things like this for me; I'm a very lucky guy. That's great that you thought of Lupo when you saw his twin. :)

    Thanks @dads2vette !
     
  11. Haggis

    Haggis Supporter Supporter

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    As always, good stuff!

    I used to find "love you" notes from Herself in my packs and lunch boxes,,, back when I still had broad shoulders, curly hair, and a steady job,,, Thank you for sharing that personal bit,,,
     
  12. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Words escape me at the moment...

    Ok, I got it...

    :dblthumb:
     
  13. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Looks like a great time!
     
  14. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17-MYOG #71- Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That looks awesome brother!

    Got to work on your technique though, I'll post a swamp walk tutorial soon ;)

    Looks like a good time, good to see you get out!
     
  15. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks @Haggis . You could try putting some notes around for her, and I'll bet you find some new ones showing up in your gear before long. :)

    Thanks buddy!

    Yes sir! Thanks for checking it out.

    I'm looking forward to that @CivilizationDropout .
     
  16. DarrylM

    DarrylM Guide

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    The sharp spine of your knife woulda made quick work of the peeling chore. Just like stripping bark off of a stick.
     
  17. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    another awesome post! it seems like you've got a great wife especially when she says "see you at 8 or whenever you get home" she's definitely a keeper ;) always envious that you live in an area like that to be able to have great outings like that. like you said life is good!

    now if i just had a job that allowed me to take an afternoon off and spend it in the woods like that...... :)

    like you said how can you be mad a face like that, when my lab gave me a face like that especially after rolling in dead fish, it was a constant battle of being mad from the smell and not made b/c of his face....
     
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  18. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's a great idea and seems obvious now that you mention it. There would probably be less waste that way. I don't remember what it was, but I remember watching something as a kid where Navy guys were peeling potatoes with knives and just flying through them. I was thinking of this while I was peeling it and wondering how they made it look so easy. The obvious answer is a lot of time on the boat spent peeling. :18:

    I'll definitely try the spine next time.

    Yeah, she's great. I always tell give her a general area and return time window to be safe, but she doesn't get worried if I'm a couple hours late. Sometimes she'll hear where I'm planning to go, or look outside at the weather and say "you're crazy", but that's about the extent of it.

    As for the dog face, just for laughs you can try to look at it as though it is intentional next time. It's pretty funny to attribute some extra intelligence to them and look at it like he's manipulating you. I think they can hear the difference in the tone of our voices between meaning business (like in a safety situation) and the half-hearted "no" that they get in situations like this. If I scold Lupo for something inappropriate like jumping up on someone he cowers. If I holler at him for getting in the mud or tearing into the wrong plants, he gives me that goofy look as though he knows that it will get him out of trouble.
     
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  19. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    i would completely agree with you there. my lab and other dogs could most definitely tell the difference in my tone of voice and if i was serious or not. sometimes i would just have to clear my throat at him and he knew what i meant.... they are very smart animals, i actually found out he learned and responded better to hand signals from me better than voice that is until he got old, grumpy and out of practice.
     
  20. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    So, did the river water help balance out the STANKY swamp guts?? :)
    Great report, fun trip, and lovely photos (not to mention the sweet wife).
    :40:
     
  21. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Looks like a great day and a tasty meal! I enjoy your flora pictures and discussion a lot.
     
  22. Harpoon

    Harpoon Scout

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    Great day afield NWP, nothing beats the rain forest in bloom. Spun a coal and then torched the set, very cool!
     
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  23. tomme boy

    tomme boy Scout

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    Labs are the best dogs! The one I have is the same way around water. Sort of. If out for a hike or in the boat you can't keep him out of it. But if he is let out to do his business or getting out of the car, he will not get his feet wet or muddy. He will jump over water or walk around it and mud.
     
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  24. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Hardwoodsman #7 Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    Another wonderful report! I love the meal and the note. Good stuff there.
     
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  25. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It sure did. We took a slightly different route home and avoided the worst of the swamp, so I think he probably got home cleaner than when he left.

    Thanks @CoolBreeze135 . @CO Tree Hugger 's recent plant focused report was fresh in my mind, so she should probably get some credit for inspiration.

    Good eye @Harpoon !

    That's great! :18: Dogs have the weirdest quirks.

    Thanks @Pastor Chris !
     
  26. Denman

    Denman Scout

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    Wow what a cool,Adventure.
     
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  27. Hoof

    Hoof Former Genius Supporter

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    Enjoyed it. Thanks
     
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  28. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass III

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    super pics of your adventure and quite a great one at that. Is that the 7" cold handle pan? I just got one last week. wish they had a little larger one for fixed camps.
     
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  29. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog Hardwoodsman #8 Supporter Bushclass III

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    Nice work on the natural cordage! Always nice to see your adventures, beautiful country :)
     
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  30. BigDaddyHoss

    BigDaddyHoss Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass II

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    good stuff buddy, looks like we finally get a few nice days in a row
     
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  31. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks @Denman

    I appreciate you saying so @Hoof

    Yeah, that was the 7 inch. It seems like a pretty good size when cooking for one, but I agree that a larger one would be nice. Let me know if you find one.

    Thanks @GreenFrog ... just to clarify, I started with jute twine rather than gathering fibers from nature. I guess it's still technically natural cordage though. I tried @Pict 's technique last week with nettles, but it was too early in the season and the fibers weren't very strong but I wanted to get some more practice in.

    Thanks Hoss! Are you going to be able to get out and enjoy it at all this weekend?
     
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  32. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Awesome stuff! Glad you and Lupo got out
     
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  33. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    Good grief that looks like Heaven on earth! Such an awesome time out, man! Thanks for sharing! And props to the wife!!
     
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  34. dub

    dub Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Another great trip. Thanks for sharing. +1 on the note from the wife. That was a cool thing for her to do.
     
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  35. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    Great stuff man.. Another awesome post.. I love the PNW and never get tired of seeing pics of it.. Nice looking pup too.. :)
     
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  36. saxonaxe

    saxonaxe Scout

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    Lovely photographs of Spring in the woods. Lupo is the double of a black Labrador I once owned long ago. I still miss him but his ashes lie in a sunny place beneath the wildflowers up on the High Downland where I often walk, so we're still in touch.
    Speaking of dogs and their ability with different sounds, if I rattled the keys to the car I used to drive to work, he showed only mild interest but if I picked up the keys to the gun cabinet, the slightest 'clink' and he would be on his feet in a flash and ready to go. Same number and similar types of keys on each ring but he knew the difference, without fail. :)
     
  37. pab1

    pab1 Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    Great trip, report and display of skills! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  38. tramp_trade

    tramp_trade Wet Woodsman

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    Great report as usual. Those cottonwood buds are scourge of the woods for my two dogs. They get stuck in their hair like crazy. They're the reason I always carry a Gerber Dime with the small scissors. :1:
     
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  39. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Looks like a great day in the woods! I love reading your trip reports and it brings back memories of my own adventures. Thanks for sharing!

    Your outings alway seen to be in densely vegetated and isolated areas. This got me wondering...

    • Are you on a trail when you hike to these locations or are you making your way through the woods?
    • If no trail, are you marking your way in, using a compas or GPS, or do you just know the area really well?
    • Are there predatorial animals in your area that you have to worry about? Do you carry some king of protection?
    • Do you have cell reception in case you get hurt?

    Hopefully that's not too many questions and you don't mind sharing ! :)

    When I lived in Virgina, on some weekends, I would hike to remote isolated locations to spend the night by myself where there was no cell reception. On one occasion, while hiking back down the mountain fairly fast and looking down, I hit my head on a downed tree that was just at the right height across the trail and knocked myself out. When I came too I was laying on my back on top of my pack, with blood dripping down the side of my face. I may have just been out for a minute or so but I remember it took me some time to get reoriented. Long story short I needed to get stitches and I'm feeling the scar on my scalp as I type this. :34:

    On another occasion I was stalked by a black bear who followed me for approximately 1/4 mile and would just not leave me alone. I was forced to take a drastic measure to finally scare him off. That changed my perspective about hiking alone to remote locations.
     
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  40. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks buddy!

    There's nothing like spring in the PNW...it's heaven to me.

    Thanks @dub ... she doesn't know that I posted it here yet, but I think I'll tell her how well received it was.

    Thanks @Mtnfolk Mike . That's nice to hear, sometimes it seems like my reports are bit repetitive but it's fun putting them together and I'm glad you enjoy them.
     
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  41. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'm so sorry to hear that you lost him. They really are great at picking up on cues. Lupo doesn't flinch when he hears car keys, but if he hears buckles clicking on a backpack or my kit bag, he starts losing his mind.

    Thanks @pab1 ... I'm a big fan of your reports too.

    Yeah, I forgot to mention that part. They're not bad yet, but I will be picking them out of my dogs' hair all summer.
     
  42. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You're very welcome @City Bushcrafter !

    No problem at all; I appreciate you asking such thoughtful questions.... @rsnurkle style . :18:

    I'll do the same thing I do when she gives me one of her famous questions lists...write you way too long of a response. ;)

    I'm lucky to live in the woods so most of the day trips that I post are within a few miles from home. Sometimes, I'm just walking out the front door and into the woods, other times I'll drive a ways to get to some new spots.

    Sometimes I'll start out on a trail, but almost never stick to them both to avoid running into people and because half the fun for me is finding new areas to explore. I tend to check out areas in expanding circles, slowly moving outward from a known point over multiple trips until I know it well.

    If I don't feel confident that I know my way in or out of an area, I will take a compass bearing and note the return bearing but most of the time I'm setting myself up so that it would be hard to get lost.

    This usually means exploring areas with backstops and handrails, where I know I could follow a creek to a known location, or exploring an area that is sandwiched between a river and a road.

    When I'm in unfamiliar areas, I'll spend a lot of time noting landmarks and turning around to note things that I should see on my way back. I've gotten turned around a few times, but it happens less often now that I pay more attention.

    We have a joke about the "family curse" being that none of us have a good sense of direction, so I try to make up for that by always keeping the return route in mind.

    There are bears and cougars that could be potentially dangerous, but I don't worry to much about them. I'm more on guard when there are children around, but I also know that the chances of having a problem are pretty slim. The cats are scarier than the bears to me, but I've still never seen one of them in the woods. Every bear I've ever encountered took off in the opposite direction as fast as it could.

    I do carry a pistol with me in case I had a problem, but I wouldn't be too worried to go out without it if there was some reason to leave it home. I'd feel more vulnerable going unarmed in the city than I would in the woods, but I'm a healthy guy in his thirties, so I'm not particularly likely to be singled out for attack in either environment.

    There's no cell phone reception in my area, but I do carry a SPOT messenger and occasionally a two way radio. More importantly, I also make sure that someone knows the general area that I will be in, and will sometimes leave a strip of yellow marking tape where I leave the trail.

    I try to keep the mindset that if something happens to me, I would be on my own for at least 24 hours and pack and prepare accordingly. If I can get a signal out on the SPOT and get a rescue team sooner, all the better.

    I've had some close calls in the woods too, and think that those experiences are really valuable. It's easy to get complacent and make mistakes when you get used to being in the woods alone . Getting reminders like the ones you mentioned do help a lot with perspective and help keep risk management at the top of the priorities list.

    Bad things can and do happen, and the chances of having an incident become more likely the more time you spend in the woods; but taking reasonable precautions and making good choices can reduce the likelihood and severity of a lot of the pitfalls that come with going solo.

    Sometimes I'm not as careful as I should be, so I appreciate you bringing up these points both for my benefit and the benefit of anyone that takes the time to read this drawn out reply. ;)
     
  43. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    lol I have not come accross any of @rsnurkle question lists but I'm glad you are willing to entertain our questions. Thank you for your detailed answers!

    Most of my reading is technical manuals and my work itemized tasks so I tend to bulletize quite a bit. I need to change that.

    It looks like you are well prepared going out there, way more than I ever was. And yes you are right we as humans become complacent the more familiar and comfortable we become with anything we do. Sometimes that is not a good thing and it could get us in trouble.

    I may suffer from your same family curse. :eek: Maybe we are long distance relatives and don't know it! ;)
    I've had a couple of embarrassing moments! I once got disoriented 30 yards from the trail during a "pit stop" in heavy woods and got lost for a good 1/2 hour until I ran into a creek that I knew was perpendicular to the trail. Another time, I was dead tired hiking on a rainy day, did a 180 on a switchback, and hiked 8 miles before I realized I was going the wrong way. That one still hurts! Lol

    I think it is really awesome that your backyard is on the edge of the wilderness! Thanks for sharing it with us on this forum!
     
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  44. tramp_trade

    tramp_trade Wet Woodsman

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    X - whoops, wrong thread, sorry Buddy!
     
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  45. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    It's nice when they grow up and start becoming loyal companions .
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  46. plantedtao

    plantedtao Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    What a great day out! Awesome photos. Love all those shades of green when the sun lights comes through.

    I need to get out but all this warm weather has been keeping me at home doing gardening and yard work... Almost lost the kid the grass was so high.
     
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  47. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter

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    I'll have to get out the BIG Lichen book tonight to identify that. I've never seen it in the southwest.
     
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  48. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've done that once or twice. :) :34:

    Puppies are a lot of fun and more laughs than a barrel of monkeys, but I'm with you...nothing beats a good dog that's settled down a bit. :)

    Thanks @plantedtao ! The whole forest seems to be glowing this time of year. I hope you can get out with your daughter soon and enjoy it.

    Let me know what you find. I tried flipping through the book you sent me and nothing really matched perfectly.
     
  49. CaptainAhab

    CaptainAhab Scout Bushclass I

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    Great trip. The flower is ironically the "true forget-me-not".
     
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  50. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks for sharing your trip. I really enjoy your TRs.
     
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