Lessons forgotten and remembered

*Originally published on October 12, 2010.*

Checked out Curtain Falls in Oroville, CA.  Probably one of the more difficult short hikes I’ve been on.  I thought Bear Creek and Traverse Falls were difficult.  The killer was the swimming, bouldering throughout the day and a 1600 ft. climb at the end.  I learned several lessons through scouting and was only happy I remembered most of them.

I didn’t think it was going to be more difficult than the Bear Creek/Traverse Falls experience.  I initially thought six hours was plenty to hike the 4.2 miles – including the climb back up.  I should have known better and opted to leave earlier.  My fault.  Nonetheless, we made good time going down hill.  It was navigating the rapids to the best of our ability without drowning, cracking our heads, missing teeth, or breaking bones.  Bouldering is no small feat.

Things I learned about the stuff I brought:

– Bring one less 10mm magazine…
– A silk base layer appeared to work well.  The water flung off without a problem and kept me relatively warm/cool throughout the trip. Not as sturdy as a merino wool base layer. I noticed holes in the shirt. Duh.
TAD Gear’s Amphibious cloth Force 10 pants continue to work wonderfully. Little abrasion has developed on the seat, or the knees. I did a lot of sliding, as I did on other trips. They’re lightweight, didn’t hold me down from water weight and dried pretty fast.
– I used the penny stove for the second time in the field. I forgot a penny. That’s what I get for not doing an inventory check. I used a candle tin instead. It worked, but totally killed the efficiency. I almost lost the alcohol storage bottle, too. Luckily, I found it in the water swimming back to the trailhead.
– I have a pair of Hi-Tec V-Lite Mt. Nevis WPi hiking boots.  Paired with silk liners and Vermont Darn Tough socks, my feet were quite happy – even when wet.  it took awhile to get the boots broken in, but it appears that they worked out well.  I perceived better traction on slippery rocks – even the questionable ones. Of course, they were no match for the rock slide close the waterfall.
– I swam in my clothes for a few reasons. With the base layer I was wearing and considering the weather, drying off was not going to be a problem. I was also concerned about getting scrapped up from the sliding/bouldering. There was also the hassle of donning and undressing clothes when I had a spot where I had to swim again. Keeping clothes off would have left more skin available to abrasion, ticks and mosquitoes.
– The waterproof sack inside my day pack was probably the coolest thing. It was like a personal flotation device.
– Ziplock bags work, if they’re shut. I lost a cell phone this way as it was the ONLY item to get wet.
– I cramp up in my quadriceps consistently. Hydration, salts, etc. I’ll have to pay attention.
– Though I can see the logic in unfastening the waist belt and collar when wading through water, I feel less balanced and more prone to fall without it.
– Kifaru’s Xray backpack worked wonderfully. I may have grommets installed.

Originally published on October 12, 2010.

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4 Comments on “Lessons forgotten and remembered”

  1. October 12, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Just curious, how much does the backpack itself weigh?? I know some people who cut off the extra straps from their backpack and reduce the weight by a half pound, depending on the pack..

    I also cut my toothbrush in half, not really for the weight (a few oz lost) but because it wouldn’t fit inside the bear canister when i went to Yosemite.

    I’m surprised you like the Hi-tec boots. I’ve always had bad luck with it.

    for water filtration, I use Aqua Mira — it’s a good light-weight solution.

    and please tell me you didn’t bring a dslr. i made that mistake once. never again.

    • October 12, 2010 at 11:26 am #

      The pack itself is 4 lbs. I don’t plan on cutting any straps, but I am aware of that strategy. My tooth brush is also cut =)

      Hi-tec boots have worked well for me so far. Even a pair of cheap Walmart boots worked well at one point.

      I’m currently using a Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter. Are you referring to the drops? I’m a little more paranoid about water.

      I did bring a DSLR! Always have, probably will continue to do so. =P

      • October 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

        I always use water that’s running (and that’s how I plan my trips) so I’m not too worried about having problems. Living in nor cal, you’d have a easier time with water.

        You backpack looks a lot heavier than it looks, so that’s pretty good. Mine’s a bit over 3lbs.

      • October 12, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

        It was my impression that the running water is not necessarily the best since the turbulance of the water brings the crypto back up.

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