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Thread: Greetings

  1. #1
    Thoreauvian endurance's Avatar
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    Default Greetings

    Hey there, new to the forum; long term fan of the subject.

    By way of background, I started with the Forest Service in 1987 as a volunteer on the wilderness trail crew. Through a very conveluted route, I gained experience as an EMT-B, sheriff's deputy, motorized trail crew foreman, and avid mountain biker to become who I am today... a desk jockey working in civil rights, but still getting out there 2-3 nights a week and every weekend. I put in 11 seasons with the Fourring Circus before moving on, but I loved every minute of it. If it weren't for the aging process and low pay I'd still be swinging a pick or pulaski on the trails today. Unfortunately, one has to come to terms with their mortality when they approach their 40s, so now at the age of 42 I enjoy the income to buy the toys I couldn't afford when I was 27 and working my *** off for $10 an hour.

    My primary interests are trail running, hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing. I was really into mtb racing until the end of 2007 when I just got burned out and returned to my wandering roots. Now I thrive on the variety; from the peace of running trails alone, to the epic adventures of 35 mile xc rides-life is good.

    I guess the story that's most relevant to share is my North Cascades National Park fiasco. It was the summer of 1996. I was a free-wheelin' wandering bloke with not a care in the world. I set off early that summer to do some hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail and by late June I was pretty damn cocky in what I thought I could do. I got a permit for backpacking over Cascade Pass to a campground (can't recall the name) then onward toward Boston Glacier. I didn't even listen to the ranger, no less ask a few relevant questions. I ignored the significance of the fact that the road was closed well below the trailhead due to snow and didn't bother to check the weather. I figured the pass was 5,200' and I lived at 8,500' at the time, so this should be a cakewalk.

    I wasn't five miles in when I had to stop and put on my instep crampons. The next two miles were arduous and slow, in pouring rain, and with the shank in my La Sportiva Makalu's failing so the top of my foot was becoming zone of blisters and broken down skin. By the time I made camp I was losing light. Given that it was only six days after solstice is a testiment to just how long and arduous the hike in was. I was wasted. I ran out of water about two hours before camp and the creek I'd planned on filtering from was under about six feet of snow. While ordinarily this wouldn't have been a problem, I brought my smallest fuel bottle to save weight since I was only planning on cooking two meals over the three day trip. What I really didn't expect was that when I went to start my little XG-K it would do anything but fire right up like it always did. No, instead it spit and spurted, first with a yellow low intensity flame, then with an anemic greenish flame. The jet was clogged, but by now my hands and feet were frozen. I was shaking so bad I knew that I risked losing the jet forever in the snow if I dared try to clean it.

    Over 20 minutes later I managed to melt a quart of water from the snow. Another 20 minutes and it still wasn't boiling, nor was it doing much more than gently steaming in the cold and saturated air. I had no choice but to mix this luke-warm water with my freeze dried chicken stew. Another 10 minutes later and I had a full quart of water melted again and I was out of fuel, but had to suffer with crunchy chicken. I ate what I could and stuck the rest of it in my bear canister before retiring into my tent.

    While normally I'd bring a four season tent, this was June 27th, I was camping at 4,500' (although only a few miles south of the Canadian border), so I sent my four season tent home to make more room in my Blazer. As a result, while I melted snow, my tent drooped to the point that the fly was in contact with the tent and the tent was in contact with my 25 degree down Western Mountaineering bag. It started off damp and only got worse throughout the night. By midnight I was shivering like a dog $#!ttin' razorblades and dug out my trash bag from the bottom of my pack. There's no doubt that the 25 cent bag saved my life that night. I woke up, cold and miserable, with clumps of down clinging to the outside of my trashbag, but I made it thought 'til dawn.

    I haven't had another night like that, but that's not by accident. I now listen to rangers. I explain my experience, ask about the weather, and let them have the final say if it's within my ability. I also won't go for so much as a quickie bike ride without the essentials. They've saved my a$$ before, they've prevented disaster since, and I will never let down my guard again. Sometimes the difference between a great adventure story to tell your friends and a tragic news story is a $.25 piece of polyethelene film.
    Last edited by endurance; 01-12-2009 at 12:29 AM.


  2. #2
    Junior Member SurvivorMan002's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum. Incredible story! keep um coming.

  3. #3
    Cold Heartless Breed tsitenha's Avatar
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    Seh:koh; welcome and thanks for the intro, well said
    Bear Clan

    I was born with nothing,
    with hard work and deligence I still have most of it
    this week a lot less...must be a hole in my pocket

  4. #4
    Senior Member laughing beetle's Avatar
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    welcome to the forum!
    Turtle Clan / Coffee Addicts Anonymous

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    Loner Gray Wolf's Avatar
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    Welcome, make yourself at home. I'm looking forward to your posts and input.
    "A person is not finished when they are defeated.
    A person is finished when they quit."

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    Senior Member Riverrat's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.
    Soular powered by the son.

    Nell, MLT (ASCP)

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome. Thanks for the introduction.
    Can't Means Won't

    My Youtube Channel

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    (FMR) Wilderness Guide pgvoutdoors's Avatar
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    Welcome Aboard!
    "Just Get Out!"
    WildernessSkillsTrailhead.com

  10. #10
    Senior Member chiye tanka's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard.
    The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth. What befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of the Earth.
    Chief Seattle

    Bear Clan

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    Senior Member Runs With Beer's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

  12. #12

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    Howdy, looking forward to reading more from you. welcome
    I Wonder Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink what ever comes out?"

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    Super-duper Moderator Sarge47's Avatar
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    Cool HI!

    welcome here! Great intro, thanks!
    SARGE
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
    Albert Einstein

    Proud father of a US Marine....SEMPER FI!

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Aurelius95's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that story. Glad you made it out! Welcome to the forum. By the way, does your screen name have anything to do with Ernest Shackleton's ship, the Endurance? Now that's a survival story!
    Not all who wander are lost - Tolkien

  15. #15
    Senior Member tacticalguy's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome to the forum
    Prepared enough.

  16. #16
    Thoreauvian endurance's Avatar
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    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. So far I'm really enjoying my poke around. Seems like you have a really strong core of knowledgable and experienced folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurelius95 View Post
    Thanks for posting that story. Glad you made it out! Welcome to the forum. By the way, does your screen name have anything to do with Ernest Shackleton's ship, the Endurance? Now that's a survival story!
    Actually, no it doesn't come from that Endurance, but yes it's a great story, I agree.

    It's actually more about the various definitions of endurance that I hope I reflect and I certainly admire.

    en⋅dur⋅ance:
    1. the fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships, etc.
    2. the ability or strength to continue or last, esp. despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina: He has amazing physical endurance.
    3. lasting quality; duration: His friendships have little endurance.
    4. something endured, as a hardship; trial.


    While my primary job is a desk jockey, I'm also a mountain biking coach and I still put up 2,500-4,500 miles a year, too. I live for the long, sustained, grueling climbs that make others turn around or stop to rest. Somehow I get a perverse joy out of suffering... Maybe that's why I've been married and divorced twice...

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