Ultralight Hiking:  

Ultralight Hiking:

See also:

Ultralight Hiking Advice

The Upper Yarra Walking Track

Hiking 2015

Hiking 2014.htm

Hiking 2013 & Earlier

Steve's Blog

World Travel Kit for Son

Finnsheep.com

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Della & I (combined age then 120) heading off from Freney Lagoon on the second day of our walk across Tasmania in 2011. We took seven days. Between us we were carrying @ 20 kilos & enough food (& booze!) for 10 days. These zpacks ‘Blast’ packs are 52 litres including pockets. Today we would be carrying several kilos LESS.

All about light weight, ultra light hiking, backpacking, bushwalking, hunting, tracks, trails, adventures, gear, reviews…

I have been hiking/hunting now for over sixty years, a little more slowly than I once did, walking in the Victorian Alps & elsewhere often in winter and in all weathers. I have camped out a lot, more than two years of my life in toto. I have seen the failure of just about every type of gear, and experienced most disasters which can befall you in the wilderness, and survived. So, if you dream of doing a bit of camping/hiking, maybe I can offer some useful advice?

This is a ‘work in progress’. I will be adding to it on a regular basis adding new photos, adventures, product/ideas, suggestions, etc. You should also look at HIKING ADVICE also a section of gear advice for my son written in 2011 WORLD TRAVEL KIT FOR SON. You can also see my older posts here: Hiking 2014.htm & Hiking 2013 & Earlier. Hope you find something interesting.

PS: UPPER YARRA TRACK: I have recently created this site The Upper Yarra Walking Track Australia’s oldest (& best), an approx. 10-14 day walk with numerous resupply points, plentiful water and camping spots now extending from Moe railway Station @ 150 kilometres up the Latrobe, Tyers & Thomson River valleys, via Yallourn North, Erica & Walhalla, across the Baw Baw Plateau, along the Upper Thomson River, past the Yarra Falls & Mt Horsefall, along the Little Ada, Ada and Yarra valleys via Warburton to Lilydale Railway Station. Now, complete with Track Instructions

ULTRALIGHT HIKING BLOG:

07/09/2017: Man punches a bear trap! Don’t try this at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4fznINyU-U

07/09/2017: Holy Cow! SSDs are the way to go. Take a look at these results: http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/30372-Docs-Computin-Tips-The-solid-state-drive.html#extended

06/09/2017: Della: Winging home to chilly Victoria this morning. Farewell Mount Bartle Frere: You were not my nemesis! With Steve Jones.

 

 

05/09/2017: The soul of the octopus: a truly fascinating read: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n17/amia-srinivasan/the-sucker-the-sucker

 

04/09/2017: Della always gets to print way before me, but here are some of the things I found interesting about the last couple of days wandering around what folks would normally consider the less picturesque places in far North Qld

 

The native kapok tree is quite a stunner.

What a beautiful little guy this agile wallaby was.

You do have to watch out for these guys - and the immense dust cloud they trail.

The light in this Mungana cave was delicious.

According to the locals you should never buy termite country because it is low in phosphorus - this patch must be particularly low!

Many grand spider's webs around Chillago

And this interesting paper wasp's nest.

So many wonderful pigeons up here. Della is in seventh heaven.

Love these dry riverbeds - they look like great spots to camp, particularly if you love birdlife.

These wonderful Qld cows seem to love them too.

A prosaic farm dam can be a thing of great beauty.

Don't you wish you loved a bath as much as this?

I really liked the Millstream Falls too, and its association with WW2 history.

 

04/09/2017: Della: So we have spent the last 3 days exploring from Atherton across to the old mining towns on the edge of the savannah lands: Innot Hot Springs, Herberton, Chillagoe and Mungana. The land changes so quickly from rainforest to savannah and the old mining towns were well worth a look! With Steve Jones.

 

So many dry creek beds on the way.

Dry creek bed on the road from Herberton. Cows, brumbies...lots of road hazards with unfenced stations.

Inside one of the limestone caves at Chillagoe-Mungana National Park.

Chillagoe Creek - quite a respite from the heat of the day.

Remnants of the old Chillagoe copper smelter.

Snapped this guy inside a very dry cave!

View from old Chillagoe copper smelter across the savannah.

Steve inside the Archways, Mungana National Park.

 

03/09/2017: A tale of 2 waterfalls: The first one, Milaa Milaa Falls, is the most photographed waterfall in Australia. I snapped it on my camera phone amidst a riot of tourist buses, Winnebagos, heavy-duty camera apparatus and shoulder- deep people.The second and third , Millstream Falls, only about a half-hour's drive away, is one of the least visited waterfalls. We had it totally to ourselves. The surrounding vegetation was not quite so tropical, the feature not so manicured, but a far more impressive display in my opinion! With Steve Jones

 

 

 

03/09/2017: You Can Do It: If we have been quiet it is because we are busy doing. The last two days we spent climbing Mt Bartle Frere, the tallest mountain in Queensland in the wet tropics of the far North. It is an extremely difficult ascent of 1.6 km vertically but well worth it. We are so happy we can still undertake such feats well into our sixties, things which are daunting to most people in their twenties. Probably less than 10,000 people a year summit this wonderful mountain. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I will expand this post when we get home from enjoying ourselves in these deep Northern forests. Here are some pics as a foretaste:

Up we go

A beautiful cloud forest

Our trusty deer hunter's tent in the clouds near the summit .

Morning view from our front door

One of the boulder fields we had to traverse

A view from near the summit

The helipad at the summit.

More to follow. Be patient.

01/09/2017: Della: Victory! Mount Bartle Frere done and dusted. In a motel in Innisfail tonight too tired to even contemplate a champagne....Tomorrow night may be a different story! We reached the top in cloud forest mist this morning after an amazingly challenging climb. The approach to the top involved negotiating a formidable boulder field that felt like a mountain climber's nightmare. Some of the leg ups were far wider than my short limbs could possibly reach so I was very grateful for Steve's assistance in hauling me over the yawning chasms! The view from the top was non-existent, due to the heavy mist, but Bartle Frere was all about the journey rather than the destination. The steep descent that took us all of today was cruel on our overstretched leg muscles so I may be hobbling for a day or two! With Steve Jones

Cloud forest this morning

Last night's camp: Tent in the mist!

Hanging out with some bracket fungi this morning.

The boulder field begins.

Half way up the boulder field, looking down the route. No pictures can quite capture the steepness of the climb!

View, such as it was, from the top.

31/08/2017: Della: Tonight we are camped just near the summit of Mount Bartle Frere. The going has been tough but we expect to make the summit early tomorrow. Mobile service is unexpectedly available. A little weary but not heart-sore! 😀With Steve Jones.

One of the stream crossings.

Delightful bracket fungi!

 

Lots of tree-root ladder work...in fact most of the track has been constantly vertical.

31/08/2017: Lake Placid: What a great spot for a horror movie! Walking up the river beside the lake I snapped this big fellow in the upper Barron river before its presence had hit the newspapers. S/he has to be over three metres long yet has grown to that size without devouring a single child at this popular swimming hole. More about the many walks in the Barron Gorge later:

30/08/2017: Della: A lovely day acclimatising to sunny Cairns! Kim Henry accompanied us on some small walks around Lake Placid, the Cattana wetlands and along the Stony Creek Weir Track. Unexpectedly we were able to see a good sized croc on the edge of Lake Placid after only a 5 minute ramble along the opposite bank. Steve's little Nikon Coolpix S7000 captured it very nicely!

 

Stony Creek Weir Track

Croc basking on the bank of Lake Placid today. Great pic, Steve Jones!

Kim Henry - Stony Creek Weir Track

Cattana wetlands

Cattana wetlands

 

29/08/2017: Cairns: Crystal Cascades. A short walk up Freshawater Creek to remove the flying kinks. A pretty nice looking swimming hole; will pack swimsuit next time, as weather here is a pretty warm 27 degrees max. Preparing to tackle the big hike up Mount Bartle Frere over the next couple of days. With Steve Jones.

 

 

 

28/08/2017: I am in the mood for poetry today. This is one of my favourites too:

Waiting for the Barbarians C.P Cavafy
(Translated by Richmond Lattimore)

Why are we all assembled and waiting in the market place?
It is the barbarians; they will be here today.
Why is there nothing being done in the senate house?
Why are the senators in session but are not passing laws?
Because the barbarians are coming today.
Why should the senators make laws any more?
The barbarians will make the laws when they get here.
Why has our emperor got up so early
and sits there at the biggest gate of the city
high on his throne, in state, and with his crown on?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive them
and their general. And he has even made ready
a parchment to present them, and thereon
he has written many names and many titles.
Why have our two consuls and our praetors
Come out today in their red embroidered togas?
Why have they put on their bracelets with all those amethysts
and rings shining with the glitter of emeralds?
Why will they carry their precious staves today
which are decorated with figures of gold and silver?
Because the barbarians are coming today
And things like that impress the barbarians.
Why do our good orators not put in any appearance
and make public speeches, and do what they generally do?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and they get bored with eloquent public speeches.
Why is everybody beginning to be so uneasy?
Why so disordered? (See how grave all the faces have
become!) Why do the streets and the squares empty so quickly,
and they are all anxiously going home to their houses?
Because it is night, and the barbarians have not got here,
and some people have come in from the frontier
and say that there aren’t any more barbarians.
What are we going to do now without the barbarians?
In a way, those people were a solution.

28/08/2017: Oh Come With Old Khayyam

Oh, come with old Khayyám, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies...

Khayyam too was a tentmaker from Nishapur Iran in the C12th. I doubt he made a tent like the one above however, but I am proud to follow in his footsteps still. I have sewn all the Xenon Sil panels together and it weighs 377 grams. I doubt it will weigh any more than that when complete, as though I have still to sew the two edges together to make a circle, add two reinforcing patches to the top and add a lot of tie-outs, I also have to cut off the catenary curves along the bottom. Then, when erected it will make an igloo shaped tipi around 9' wide, and with standing room in the centre for folks of our stature anyway. This is the nearly completed version of my 'Honey I Shrank' tent  http://www.theultralighthiker.com/honey-i-shrank-the-tent/ which cries out for a name really. Della has rejected 'Siligloo'. Perhaps you can come up with a better?

My Pocket Poncho tent http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-pocket-poncho-tent/ will make an adequate floor for it (at 185 grams). To that I will have to add about a dozen shepherd's crook titanium stakes and a couple of guys with line locks, say 75 grams together, making the vast quantity of 635 grams in toto. There is nothing quite like it anywhere. I simply do not know what today's tentmakers are doing, any more than Khayyam would have done.

Perhaps (sadly) you do not know Khayyam or this magnificent poem at all? My favourite really. The 'Bible of Scepticism' folks used to call it, but there is nothing at all wrong with scepticism (the converse is the case).

He goes on:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it...

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help—for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I....

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

You like that taste, I hope? Here is the complete first 1859 edition of Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubaiyat, (in my opinion the best - footnotes at bottom):

The Rubayyat of Omar Khayyam Translated into English in 1859 by Edward FitzGerald

[page 1]

RUBÁIYÁT OF OMAR KHAYYÁM OF NAISHÁPÚR.

———————

I.
AWAKE! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:{1}
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultán's Turret in a Noose of Light.

II.
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky{2}
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
"Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

III.
And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted—"Open then the Door!
"You know how little while we have to stay,
"And, once departed, may return no more."

[page 2]

IV.
Now the New Year{3} reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough
Puts out,{4} and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

V.
Irám indeed is gone with all its Rose,{5}
And Jamshýd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
But still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields,
And still a Garden by the Water blows.

VI.
And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
High piping Péhlevi,{6} with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
"Red Wine!"—the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That yellow Cheek{7} of her's to'incarnadine.

VII.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly—and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

VIII.
And look—a thousand Blossoms with the Day
Woke—and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:
And this first Summer Month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshýd and Kaikobád away.

[page 3]

IX.
But come with old Khayyám, and leave the Lot
Of Kaikobád and Kaikhosrú forgot:
Let Rustum lay about him as he will,{8}
Or Hátim Tai cry Supper—heed them not.

X.
With me along some Strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultán scarce is known,
And pity Sultán Mahmúd on his Throne.

XI.
Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

XII.
"How sweet is mortal Sovranty!"—think some:
Others—"How blest the Paradise to come!"
Ah, take the Cash in hand and wave the Rest;
Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!{9}

XIII.
Look to the Rose that blows about us—"Lo,
"Laughing," she says, "into the World I blow:
"At once the silken Tassel of my Purse
"Tear, and its Treasure{10} on the Garden throw."

[page 4]

XIV.
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes—or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two—is gone.

XV.
And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

XVI.
Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.

XVII.
They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshýd gloried and drank deep:{11}
And Bahrám, that great Hunter—the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, and he lies fast asleep.

XVIII.
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Cæsar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

[page 5]

XIX.
And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean—
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

XX.
Ah! my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
TO-DAY of past Regrets and future Fears—
To-morrow?—Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.{12}

XXI.
Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.

XXII.
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend, ourselves to make a Couch—for whom?

XXIII.
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust Descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer and—sans End!

[page 6]

XXIV.
Alike for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
And those that after a TO-MORROW stare,
A Muezzín from the Tower of Darkness cries
"Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There."

XXV.
Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.

XXVI.
Oh, come with old Khayyám, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

XXVII.
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.

XXVIII.
With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd—
"I came like Water, and like Wind I go."

[page 7]

XXIX.
Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

XXX.
What, without asking, hither hurried whence?
And, without asking, whither hurried hence!
Another and another Cup to drown
The Memory of this Impertinence!

XXXI.
Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,{13}
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.

XXXII.
There was a Door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil past which I could not see:
Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE
There seemed—and then no more of THEE and ME.{15}

XXXIII.
Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
Asking, "What Lamp had Destiny to guide
"Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?"
And—"A blind understanding!" Heav'n replied.

[page 8]

XXXIV.
Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur'd—"While you live,
"Drink!—for once dead you never shall return."

XXXV.
I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer'd, once did live,
And merry-make; and the cold Lip I kiss'd
How many Kisses might it take—and give.

XXXVI.
For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
I watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur'd—"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"

XXXVII.
Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn TO-MORROW and dead YESTERDAY,
Why fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet!

XXXVIII.
One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
One moment, of the Well of Life to taste—
The Stars are setting, and the Caravan
Starts for the dawn of Nothing{16}—Oh, make haste!

[page 9]

XXXIX.
How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

XL.
You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

XLI.
For "IS" and "IS-NOT" though with Rule and Line,
And, "UP-AND-DOWN" without, I could define,{14}
I yet in all I only cared to know,
Was never deep in anything but—Wine.

XLII.
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape,
Bearing a vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas—the Grape!

XLIII.
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects{17} confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

[page 10]

XLIV.
The mighty Mahmúd, the victorious Lord,
That all the misbelieving and black Horde{18}
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
Scatters and slays with his enchanted Sword.

XLV.
But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And, in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

XLVI.
For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.{19}

XLVII.
And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in—Yes—
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shalt be—Nothing—Thou shalt not be less.

XLVIII.
While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
With old Khayyám the Ruby Vintage drink:
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to thee—take that, and do not shrink.

[page 11]

XLVIX.
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

L.
The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;
And He that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all—HE knows—HE knows!{20}

LI.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

LII.
And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help—for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

LIII.
With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man's knead,
And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

[page 12]

LIV.
I tell Thee this—When, starting from the Goal,
Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
Of Heav'n Parwín and Mushtara they flung,{21}
In my predestin'd Plot of Dust and Soul

LV.
The Vine had struck a Fibre; which about
If clings my Being—let the Súfi flout;
Of my Base Metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

LVI.
And this I know: whether the one True Light,
Kindle to Love, or Wrathconsume me quite,
One Glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

LVII.
Oh Thou who didst with Pitfall and with Gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestination round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?

LVIII.
Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give—and take!
* * * * * * * * *

[page 13]

KÚZA-NÁMA.

LIX.
Listen again. One Evening at the Close
Of Ramazán, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.

LX.
And strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried—
"Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?"

LXI.
Then said another—"Surely not in vain
"My substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
"That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
"Should stamp me back to common Earth again."

LXII.
Another said—"Why, ne'er a peevish Boy
"Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
"Shall He that made the Vessel in pure Love
"And Fansy, in an after Rage destroy!"

[page 14]

LXIII.
None answer'd this; but after Silence spake
A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
"They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
"What? did the Hand then of the Potter shake?"

LXIV.
Said one—"Folks of a surly Tapster tell,
"And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell;
"They talk of some strict Testing of us—Pish!
"He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."

LXV.
Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
"My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
"But, fill me with the old familiar Juice,
"Methinks I might recover by-and-bye!"

LXVI.
So, while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
One spied the little Crescent all were seeking:
And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
"Hark to the Porter's Shoulder-knot a-creaking!"

* * * * * * * * *

[page 15]

LXVII.
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the life has died,
And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Gardenside.

LXVIII.
That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air,
As not a True Believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

LXIX.
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong:
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

LXX.
Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore—but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence a-pieces tore.

LXXI.
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour—well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell.

[page 16]

LXXII.
Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

LXXIII.
Ah, Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits—and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

LXXIV.
Ah, Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,
The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
How oft hereafter rising shall she look
Through this same Garden after me—in vain!

LXXV.
And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on The Grass,
And in Thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
Where I made one—turn down an empty Glass!

TAMÁM SHUD.

[page 17]

NOTES
———

{1} Flinging a Stone into the Cup was the Signal for "To
Horse!" in the Desert.
{2} The "False Dawn;" Subhi Kházib, a transient Light
on the Horizon about an hour before the Subhi sâdhik, or
True Dawn; a well known Phenomenon in the East. The
Persians call the Morning Gray, or Dusk, "Wolf-and-Sheep-
While." "Almost at odds with, which is which."
{3} New Year. Beginning with the Vernal Equinox, it
must be remembered; and (howsoever the old Solar Year is
practically superseded by the clumsy Lunar Year that dates
from the Mohammedan Hijra) still commemorated by a
Festival that is said to have been appointed by the very
Jamshyd whom Omar so often talks of, and whose yearly
Calendar he helped to rectify.
"The sudden approach and rapid advance of the Spring,"
(says a late Traveller in Persia) "are very striking. Before
the Snow is well off the Ground, the Trees burst into Blos-
som, and the Flowers start from the Soil. At Now Rooz
(their New Year's Day) the Snow was lying in patches on
the Hills and in the shaded Vallies, while the Fruit-trees in
the Garden were budding beautifully, and green Plants and
Flowers springing upon the Plains on every side—
'And on old Hyem's Chin and icy Crown
'An odorous Chaplet of sweet Summer buds
'Is, as in mockery, set — ' —
[page 18]
Among the Plants newly appear'd I recognized some old
Acquaintances I had not seen for many a Year: among these,
two varieties of the Thistle; a coarse species of the Daisy,
like the Horse-gowan; red and white Clover; the Dock; the
blue Corn-flower; and that vulgar Herb the Dandelion rear-
ing its yellow crest on the Banks of the Watercourses." The
Nightingale was not yet heard, for the Rose was not
yet blown: but an almost identical Blackbird and Wood-
pecker helped to make up something of a North-country
Spring.
{4} Exodus iv. 6; where Moses draws forth his Hand—not,
according to the Persians, "leprous as Snow,"—but white as
our May-Blossom in Spring perhaps! According to them
also the Healing Power of Jesus resided in his Breath.
{5} Irám, planted by King Schedad, and now sunk some-
where in the Sands of Arabia. Jamshyd's Seven-ring'd Cup
was typical of the Seven Heavens, 7 Planets, 7 Seas, &c.
and was a Divining Cup.
{6} Péhlevi, the old Heroic Sanskrit of Persia. Háfiz also
speaks of the Nightingale's Pehlevi, which did not change
with the People's.
{7} I am not sure if this refers to the Red Rose looking
sickly, or the Yellow Rose that ought to be Red; Red,
White, and Yellow Roses all common in Persia.
{8} Rustum, the "Hercules" of Persia, whose exploits are
among the most celebrated in the Shah-náma. Hátim Tai,
a well-known Type of Oriental Generosity.
{9} A Drum—beaten outside a Palace.
{10} That is, the Rose's Golden Centre.
[page 19]
{11} Persepolis: call'd also Takht'i Jamshyd—THE THRONE
OF JAMSHYD, "King-Splendid," of the mythical Peeshdádian
Dynasty, and supposed (with Shah-náma Authority) to
have been founded and built by him, though others refer it
to the Work of the Genie King, Ján Ibn Jann, who also
built the Pyramids before the time of Adam. It is also
called Chehl-minar— Forty-column; which is Persian, pro-
bably, for Column-countless; the Hall they adorned or
supported with their Lotus Base and taurine Capital
indicating double that Number, though now counted down
to less than half by Earthquake and other Inroad. By
whomsoever built, unquestionably the Monument of a long
extinguished Dynasty and Mythology; its Halls, Chambers
and Galleries, inscribed with Arrow-head Characters, and
sculptured with colossal, wing'd, half human Figures like
those of Nimroud; Processions of Priests and Warriors
—(doubtful if any where a Woman)—and Kings sitting on
Thrones or in Chariots, Staff or Lotus-flower in hand, and the
Ferooher—Symbol of Existence—with his wing'd Globe,
common also to Assyria and Ægypt—over their heads. All
this, together with Aqueduct and Cistern, and other Appur-
tenance of a Royal Palace, upon a Terrace-platform, ascended
by a double Flight of Stairs that may be gallop'd up, and
cut out of and into the Rock-side of the Koh'i Ráhmet,
Mountain of Mercy, where the old Fire-worshiping Sove-
reigns are buried, and overlooking the Plain of Merdasht.
Persians, like some other People, it seems, love to
write their own Names, with sometimes a Verse or two, on
their Country's Monuments. Mr. Binning (from whose
sensible Travels the foregoing Account is mainly condens't)
[page 20]
found several such in Persepolis; in one Place a fine Line
of Háfiz: in another "an original, no doubt," he says, "by
no great Poet," however "right in his Sentiment." The
Words somehow looked to us, and the "halting metre"
sounded, familiar; and on looking back at last among the
500 Rubáiyát of the Calcutta Omar MS.—there it is: old
Omar quoted by one of his Countrymen, and here turned
into hasty Rhyme, at any rate—

"This Palace that its Top to Heaven threw,
And Kings their Forehead on its Threshold drew—
I saw a Ring-dove sitting there alone.
And 'Coo, Coo, Coo,' she cried, and ' Coo, Coo, Coo.' "

So as it seems the Persian speaks the English Ring-dove's
Péhlevi, which is also articulate Persian for "Where?"
BAHRÁM GÚR— Bahrám of the Wild Ass, from his Fame
in hunting it— a Sassanian Sovereign, had also his Seven
Castles (like the King of Bohemia!) each of a different Colour;
each with a Royal Mistress within side; each of whom
recounts to Bahrám a Romance, according to one of the
most famous Poems of Persia, written by Amír Khusraw:
these Sevens also figuring (according to Eastern Mysticism)
the Seven Heavens, and perhaps the Book itself that
Eighth, into which the mystical Seven transcend, and
within which they revolve. The Ruins of Three of these
Towers are yet shown by the Peasantry; as also the Swamp
in which Bahrám sunk, like the Master of Ravenswood,
while pursuing his Gúr.
{12} A Thousand Years to each Planet.
{13} Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven.
{14} A Laugh at his Mathematics perhaps.
[page 21]
{15} ME AND THEE; that is, some Dividual Existence or
Personality apart from the Whole.
{16} The Caravan travelling by Night (after their New
Year's Day of the Vernal Equinox) by command of Mo-
hammed, I believe.
{17} The 72 Sects into which Islamism so soon split.
{18} This alludes to Mahmúd's Conquest of India and its
swarthy Idolaters.
{19} Fanúsi khiyál, a Magic-lanthorn still used in India;
the cylindrical Interior being painted with various Figures,
and so lightly poised and ventilated as to revolve round the
Candle lighted within.
{20} A very mysterious Line in the original;
U dánad u dánad u dánad u —
breaking off something like our Wood-pigeon's Note, which
she is said to take up just where she left off.
{21} Parwín and Mushtara—The Pleiads and Jupiter.
{22} At the Close of the Fasting Month, Ramazán (which
makes the Musulman unhealthy and unamiable), the first
Glimpse of the New Moon (who rules their Division of the
Year) is looked for with the utmost Anxiety, and hailed
with all Acclamation. Then it is that the Porter's Knot
may be heard toward the Cellar, perhaps. Old Omar has
elsewhere a pretty Quatrain about this same Moon—

"Be of Good Cheer—the sullen Month will die,
"And a young Moon requite us by and bye:
"Look how the Old one meagre, bent, and wan
"With Age and Fast, is fainting from the Sky!"

FINIS.

OMAR KHAYYÁM was born at Naishápúr in Khorassán
in the latter half of our Eleventh, and died within the First
Quarter of our Twelfth, Century. The slender Story of his
Life is curiously twined about that of two others very consi-
derable Figures in their Time and Country: one of them,
Hasan al Sabbáh, whose very Name has lengthen'd down to
us a terrible Synonym for Murder: and the other (who
also tells the Story of all Three) Nizám al Mulk, Vizyr to
Alp the Lion and Malik Shah, Son and Grandson of Tog-
hrul Beg the Tartar, who had wrested Persia from the fee-
ble Successor of Mahmúd the Great, and founded that Sel-
jukian Dynasty which finally roused Europe into the Cru-
sades. This Nizám al Mulk, in his Wasýat—or Testament
—which he wrote and left as a Memorial for future States-
men—relates the following, as quoted in the Calcutta Review,
No. 59, from Mirkhond's History of the Assassins.
[page iv]
" 'One of the greatest of the wise men of Khorassan was
'the Imám Mowaffak of Naishápur, a man highly honoured
'and reverenced,—may God rejoice his soul; his illustrious
'years exceeded eighty-five, and it was the universal belief
'that every boy who read the Koran or studied the tradi-
'tions in his presence, would assuredly attain to honour
'and happiness. For this cause did my father send me from
'Tús to Naishápur with Abd-u-samad, the doctor of law,
'that I might employ myself in study and learning under
'the guidance of that illustrious teacher. Towards me he
'ever turned an eye of favour and kindness, and as his pupil
'I felt for him extreme affection and devotion, so that I
'passed four years in his service. When I first came there,
'I found two other pupils of mine own age newly arrived,
'Hakim Omar Khayyám, and the ill- fated Ben Sabbáh.
'Both were endowed with sharpness of wit and the highest
'natural powers; and we three formed a close friendship
'together. When the Imám rose from his lectures, they
'used to join me, and we repeated to each other the lessons
'we had heard. Now Omar was a native of Naishápur,
'while Hasan Ben Sabbah's father was one Ali, a man of
'austere life and practise, but heretical in his creed and
'doctrine. One day Hasan said to me and to Khayyám, 'It
'is a universal belief that the pupils of the Imám Mowaffak
'will attain to fortune. Now, even if we all do not attain
'thereto, without doubt one of us will; what then shall be
'our mutual pledge and bond?' We answered 'Be it
'what you please.' 'Well,' he said, 'let us make a vow,
'that to whomsoever this fortune falls, he shall share it
'equally with the rest, and reserve no pre-eminence for him-
[page v]
'self.' 'Be it so,' we both replied, and on those terms we
'mutually pledged our words. Years rolled on, and I went
'from Khorassan to Transoxiana, and wandered to Ghazni
'and Cabul; and when I returned, I was invested with
'office, and rose to be administrator of affairs during the
'Sultanate of Sultan Alp Arslan.' "
"He goes on to state, that years passed by, and both his
old school- friends found him out, and came and claimed a
share in his good fortune, according to the school-day vow.
The Vizier was generous and kept his word. Hasan de-
manded a place in the government, which the Sultan granted
at the Vizier's request; but discontented with a gradual
rise, he plunged into the maze of intrigue of an oriental
court, and, failing in a base attempt to supplant his bene-
factor, he was disgraced and fell. After many mishaps and
wanderings, Hasan became the head of the Persian sect of
the Ismailians,—a party of fanatics who had long murmured
in obscurity, but rose to an evil eminence under the guidance
of his strong and evil will. In A.B. 1090, he seized the
castle of Alamút, in the province of Rúdbar, which lies in
the mountainous tract, south of the Caspian Sea; and it was
from this mountain home he obtained that evil celebrity
among the Crusaders as the OLD MAN OF THE MOUN-
TAINS, and spread terror through the Mohammedan world;
and it is yet disputed where the word Assassin, which
they have left in the language of modern Europe as their
dark memorial, is derived from the hashish, or opiate of
hemp-leaves (the Indian bhang,) with which they maddened
themselves to the sullen pitch of oriental desperation, or from
the name of the founder of the dynasty, whom we have seen
[page vi]
in his quiet collegiate days, at Naishápur. One of the count-
less victims of the Assassin's dagger was Nizám-ul-Mulk
himself, the old school-boy friend."
"Omar Khayyám also came to the Vizier to claim his
share; but not to ask for title or office. 'The greatest boon
'you can confer on me,' he said, 'is to let me live in a
'corner under the shadow of your fortune, to spread wide
'the advantages of Science, and pray for your long life and
'prosperity.' The Vizier tells us, that, when he found
Omar was really sincere in his refusal, he pressed him no
further, but granted him a yearly pension of 1,200 mithkals
of gold, from the treasury of Naishápur."
"At Naishápur thus lived and died Omar Khayyám,
'busied,' adds the Vizier, 'in winning knowledge of every
'kind, and especially in Astronomy, wherein he attained to a
'very high pre-eminence. Under the Sultanate of Malik
'Shah, he came to Merv, and obtained great praise for his
'proficiency in science, and the Sultan showered favours
'upon him.' "
"When the Malik Shah determined to reform the calendar,
Omar was one of the eight learned men employed to do it;
the result was the Jaláli era, (so called from Jalal-ul-din,
one of the king's names,)—'a computation of time,' says
Gibbon, 'which surpasses the Julian, and approaches the
accuracy of the Gregorian style.' He is also the author
of some astronomical tables, entitled Ziji-Malikshahi," and
the French have lately republished and translated an Arabic
Treatise of his on Algebra.
These severer Studies, and his Verses, which, though hap-
pily fewer than any Persian Poet's, and, though perhaps
[page vii]
fugitively composed, the Result of no fugitive Emotion or
Thought, are probably the Work and Event of his Life,
leaving little else to record. Perhaps he liked a little Farm-
ing too, so often as he speaks of the "Edge of the Tilth"
on which he loved to rest with his Diwán of Verse, his Loaf
—and his wine.
"His Takhallus or poetical name (Khayyám) signifies a
Tent-maker, and he is said to have at one time exercised
that trade, perhaps before Nizám-ul-Mulk's generosity raised
him to independence. Many Persian poets similarly derive
their names from their occupations; thus we have Attár, "a
druggist," Assar, "an oil presser," &c. (Though all these,
like our Smiths, Archers, Millers, Fletchers, &c. may simply
retain the Sirname of an hereditary calling.) "Omar him-
self alludes to his name in the following whimsical lines:—

'Khayyám, who stitched the tents of science,
has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned;
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!'

"We have only one more anecdote to give of his Life, and
that relates to the close; it is told in the anonymous preface
which is sometimes prefixed to his poems; it has been printed
in the Persian in the appendix to Hyde's Veterum Persarum
Religio, p. 499; and D'Herbelot alludes to it in his Biblio-
théque, under Khiam:— *

* Though he attributes the story to a Khiam, "Philosophe Musulman
qui a vecu en Odeur de Sainteté dans la Fin du premier et le Commence-
ment du second Siècle," no part of which, except the "Philosophe," can
apply to our Khayyám, who, however, may claim the story as his, on the
[footnote continues on p. viii, bottom:]
Score of Rubáiyát, 77 and 78 of the present Version. The Rashness
of the Words, according to D'Herbelot, consisted in being so op-
posed to those in the Koran: "No Man knows where he shall
die."
[page viii]
'It is written in the chronicles of the ancients that this
'King of the Wise, Omar Khayyám, died at Naishápur in
'the year of the Hegira, 517 (A.D. 1123); in science he was
'unrivaled,—the very paragon of his age. Khwájah Nizámi
'of Samarcand, who was one of his pupils, relates the follow-
'ing story: 'I often used to hold conversations with my
'teacher, Omar Khayyám, in a garden; and one day he said
'to me, 'my tomb shall be in a spot, where the north wind
'may scatter roses over it.' I wondered at the words he
'spake, but I knew that his were no idle words. Years after,
'when I chanced to revisit Naishápur, I went to his final
'resting-place, and lo! it was just outside a garden, and trees
'laden with fruit stretched their boughs over the garden
'wall, and dropped their flowers upon his tomb, so that the
'stone was hidden under them.' "
Thus far—without fear of Trespass—from the Calcutta
Review.
Though the Sultan "shower'd Favours upon him," Omar's
Epicurean Audacity of Thought and Speech caused him to
be regarded askance in his own Time and Country. He is
said to have been especially hated and dreaded by the Súfis,
whose Practise he ridiculed, and whose Faith amounts to
little more than his own when stript of the Mysticism aud
formal Compliment to Islamism which Omar would not
hide under. Their Poets, including Hafiz, who are (with
[page ix]
the exception of Firdúsi) the most considerable in Persia,
borrowed largely, indeed, of Omar's material, but turning
it to a mystical Use more convenient to Themselves
and the People they address'd; a People quite as quick
of Doubt as of Belief; quite as keen of Bodily Senses as
of the Intellectual; and delighting in a cloudy Element com-
pounded of all, in which they could float luxuriously between
Heaven and Earth, and this World and the Next, on the wings
of a poetical expression, that could be recited indifferently
whether at the Mosque or the Tavern. Omar was too honest
of Heart as well of Head for this. Having failed
(however mistakenly) of finding any Providence but Destiny,
and any World but This, he set about making the most of it;
preferring rather to soothe the Soul through the Senses into
Acquiescence with Things as they were, than to perplex it
with vain mortification after what they might be. It has
been seen that his Worldly Desires, however, were not exor-
bitant; and he very likely takes a humorous pleasure in
exaggerating them above that Intellect in whose exercise he
must have found great pleasure, though not in a Theological
direction. However this may be, his Worldly Pleasures are
what they profess to be without any Pretence at divine Alle-
gory: his Wine is the veritable Juice of the Grape: his
Tavern, where it was to be had: his Sáki, the Flesh and
Blood that poured it out for him: all which, and where the
Roses were in Bloom, was all he profess'd to want of this
World or to expect of Paradise.
The Mathematic Faculty, too, which regulated his Fansy,
and condensed his Verse to a Quality and Quantity un-
known in Persian, perhaps in Oriental, Poetry, help'd
[page x]
by its very virtue perhaps to render him less popular with
his countrymen. If the Greeks were Children in Gossip,
what does Persian Literature imply by a Second Childishness
of Garrulity? And certainly if no ungeometric Greek was
to enter Plato's School of Philosophy, no so unchastised a
Persian should enter on the Race of Persian Verse, with its
"fatal Facility" of running on long after Thought is winded!
But Omar was not only the single Mathematician of his
Country's Poets; he was also of that older Time and stouter
Temper, before the native Soul of Persia was quite broke by
a foreign Creed as well as foreign Conquest. Like his great
Predecessor Firdúsi, who was as little of a Mystic; who
scorned to use even a Word of the very language in which the
New Faith came clothed; and who was suspected, not of
Omar's Irreligion indeed, but of secretly clinging to the
ancient Fire-Religion of Zerdusht, of which so many of the
Kings he sang were worshippers.
For whatever Reason, however, Omar, as before said, has
never been popular in his own Country, and therefore has
been but scantily transmitted abroad. The MSS. of his
Poems, mutilated beyond the average Casualties of Oriental
Transcription, are so rare in the East as scarce to have
reacht Westward at all, in spite of all that Arms and Science
have brought us. There is none at the India House, none
at the Bibliothêque Imperiále of Paris. We know but of one
in England: No. 140 of the Ouseley MSS. at the Bodleian,
written at Shiraz, A.D. 1460. This contains but 158 Ra-
báiyát. One in the Asiatic Society's Library at Calcutta,
(of which we have a Copy) contains (and yet incomplete)
516, though swelled to that by all kinds of Repetition and
[page xi]
Corruption. So Von Hammer speaks of his Copy as contain-
ing about 200, while Dr. Sprenger catalogues the Lucknow
MS. at double that Number. The Scribes, too, of the Oxford
and Calcutta MSS. seem to do their Work under a sort of
Protest; each beginning with a Tetrastich (whether genuine
or not) taken out of its alphabetic order; the Oxford with
one of Apology; the Calcutta with one of Execration too
stupid for Omar's, even had Omar been stupid enough to
execrate himself. *
The Reviewer, to whom I owe the foregoing Particulars of
Omar's Life, and some of his Verse into Prose, concludes
by comparing him with Lucretius, both in natural Temper and
Genius, and as acted upon by the Circumstances in which he
lived. Both indeed were men of subtle Intellect and high Imagi-
nation, instructed in Learning beyond their day, and of Hearts
passionate for Truth and Justice; who justly revolted from
their Country's false Religion, and false, or foolish, Devotion
to it; but who yet fell short of replacing what they subverted
by any such better Hope as others, with no better Faith
had dawned, had yet made a Law to themselves. Lucretius,
indeed, with such material as Epicurus furnished, consoled
himself with the construction of a Machine that needed no
Constructor, and acting by a Law that implied no Lawgiver;
and so composing himself into a Stoical rather than Epicu-
rean severity of Attitude, sat down to contemplate the me-
chanical Drama of the Universe of which he was part Actor;

* "Since this Paper was written" (adds the Reviewer in a note), "we
have met with a Copy of a very rare Edition, printed at Calcutta in 1836.
This contains 438 Tetrastichs, with an Appendix containing 54 others
not found in some MSS."
[page xii]
himself and all about him, (as in his own sublime Description
of the Roman Theater,) coloured with the lurid reflex of the
Curtain that was suspended between them and the outer
Sun. Omar, more desperate, or more careless, of any such
laborious System as resulted in nothing more than hopeless
Necessity, flung his own Genius and Learning with a bitter
jest into the general Ruin which their insufficient glimpses
only served to reveal; and, yielding his Senses to the actual
Rose and Vine, only diverted his thoughts by balancing ideal
possibilities of Fate, Freewill, Existence and Annihilation;
with an oscillation that so generally inclined to the negative
and lower side, as to make such Stanzas as the following ex-
ceptions to his general Philosophy—

Oh, if my Soul can fling his Dust aside,
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
It's not a Shame, it's not a Shame for Him
So long in this Clay Suburb to abide!

Or is that but a Tent, where rests anon
A Sultán to his Kingdom passing on,
And which the swarthy Chamberlain shall strike
Then when the Sultán rises to be gone?

With regard to the present Translation. The original
Rubáiyát (as, missing an Arabic Guttural, these Tetrastichs
are more musically called), are independent Stanzas, con-
sisting each of four Lines of equal, though varied, Prosody.
sometimes all rhyming, but oftener (as here attampted)
the third line suspending the Cadence by which the last
atones with the former Two. Something as in the Greek
Alcaic, where the third line seems to lift and suspend the
[page xiii]
Wave that falls over in the last. As usual with such kind of
Oriental Verse, the Rubáiyát follow one another according
to Alphabetic Rhyme—a strange Farrago of Grave and Gay.
Those here selected are strung into something of an Eclogue,
with perhaps a less than equal proportion of the "Drink and
make-merry," which (genuine or not) recurs over-frequently
in the Original. For Lucretian as Omar's Genius might be,
he cross'd that darker Mood with much of Oliver de Basselin
Humour. Any way, the Result is sad enough: saddest per-
haps when most ostentatiously merry: any way, fitter to
move Sorrow than Anger toward the old Tentmaker, who,
after vainly endeavoring to unshackle his Steps from Des-
tiny, and to catch some authentic Glimpse of TO-MORROW,
fell back upon TO-DAY (which has outlasted so many To-
morrows!) as the only Ground he had got to stand upon, how-
ever momentarily slipping from under his Feet.

27/08/2017: Back in 1941 Ford could REALLY cut it: The B-24 ‘Liberator’ heavy bomber – built in 55 minutes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKlt6rNciTo#t=131 Interesting fact: more than half of US bomber casualties/deaths were other than in combat eg crashes etc. Maybe Ford didn’t build them so well after all! I refuse to enter into any discussion of whether they are superior to Holdens!

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If you only want a small number, they are also available from Jacksrbetter for US2 each in large size: http://www.jacksrbetter.com/shop/graham-flexair-pillow/

I used to use these pillows all the time when they came in a dual chamber version like the one in the centre, but when I could only purchase the single chamber ones I found them not so comfy so I opted for a heavier pillow such as the exped here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/exped-ultralight-pillow/ but I may well go back to these little guys which (in the cut-down form bottom) will save me an whole ounce 30 grams. A saving not to be sneezed at

25/08/2017: Transparent Tarp Instructions: David Gardner over at Backpackinglight has these excellent instructions for building a see through tent from polycryo window insulation film which is freely and cheaply available for winterising your home. It is such a great idea. I hope he does not mind my sharing it here. The complete instructions are available here: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/how-to-make-a-polycryo-a-frame-tarp/  It may not be the lightest or the most durable tent in existence, but it is one of the most interesting, and excellent for voyeurs. It is also a genius idea. Some of these techniques are excellent and imaginative – and would also work with cuben fibre which would enable you to make a ‘no-sew’ tent/tarp out of that material which might weigh under 100 grams!

Here is all you need:

I’ve been making and selling “polycro” (cross-linked polyolefin heat-shrink plastic) tarps/tents for a few years now and have learned a lot in the process about what works well and how to construct them, so I thought I would share what I have learned.

Materials & Tools:
Duck Double-Thick Patio Door Insulation Kit
Uline double-sided tape
Scotch “Tough” Transparent Duct Tape (their glow-in-the-dark duct tape works well too)
150 lb. 1 mm Spectra cord from http://www.ultralightdesigns.com
Ten 7/8″ nylon washers (1″ works well too)
1/8″ shock cord
Blue masking tape
X-acto or utility knife
Sharpie pen
Measuring tape
Scissors
1/8″ steel rod or tent stake
Propane or butane torch or stove

I use Duck’s double-thick patio door insulation kits because as far as I know Duck is the only manufacturer which makes it in 1.5 mil thickness instead of .75 mil.

I use Uline double-sided tape to “hem” the edges because it has far better adhesion and durability than the double-sided tape that comes with the kits.

I use Scotch “Tough” transparent duct tape because it has excellent adhesion and weather resistance. Colored tapes, especially dark colored tape, get hot in the sun and “creep.” In the past I used ripstop nylon sail repair tape, which is lighter and stronger than duct tape, but it doesn’t adhere well enough over the long run.

I use Ultralight Design’s 150 lb. Spectra-core cord because it is bright yellow, knots well, and is plenty strong enough. I attached a fishing scale to the end of the ridge line cord of a tarp I had set up, pulled harder than I usually do to pitch the tarp, and it measured 25 lbs. of tension.

Step 1 is to clear a large, hard floor area to work on and vacuum it thoroughly. The polycro is static-y out of the box and attracts the smallest motes of dust and pet hair. Then unpack the Duck kit, unfold the polycryo, and spread it carefully on the floor. Use blue masking tape to tape down the corners. You will want to put the tape about 1.5″ from the edge and parallel to the direction of the long edge, to hold the polycryo firmly while you “hem” the edge with double-sided tape.

Next apply the double-sided tape as close to the edge as you can get it. The Uline tape comes with one side covered, so you can press down firmly to make it adhere fully while laying it down. I start about an inch past the edge of the tarp so that the edge will stay put as you pull while laying down the tape. When I’m done applying the tape to the edge I trim off the extra inch.

The next photo shows the polycryo spread out and taped down to the floor, with about half of one long edge taped.

Next peel the cover off the first couple of inches of tape and fold the edge over so the tape is sandwiched between. I like to work from right to left while making the hem.

Start pulling the cover strip off with your left hand while following closely with your right hand. You should peel the cover strip straight off so that you get a running fold. Plant your right pinkie, ring finger and middle finger firmly on the folded portion to hold it in place while following the fold with your index finger and pushing down firmly to adhere the tape. When your fingers are spread as wide as they will go, move your right hand closer to the peeling/folding point, as shown in the next three photos:

When you’re finished with one long edge do the other. When both long edges are done, move the blue masking tape holding down the corners so they are parallel to the end. Proceed to apply tape and hem the ends of the tarp.

When all four edges are hemmed you’re ready to start putting on the tie-outs. Use a tape measure and Sharpie pen to mark the middle of the ends, and to mark the long sides in 1/3 intervals (about 40″). Take 8 of the 7/8″ nylon washers and use the scissors to cut one side of each to make a flat edge that will go into the fold of the tape for the tie-outs, to spread out the forces. Smooth the cut edge with a file or sand paper. The remaining two washers will be used at the ridge line tie-outs and don’t need to be trimmed.

I like to do the corner tie-outs first, then the ones on the long edges. Cut about 10″ of duct tape for each corner and side tie-out. Lift the polycryo and insert the tape sticky side up under the tarp, then press down firmly on the polycryo and rub and smooth it to get good adhesion and eliminate bubbles. Place a washer on the tape right by the corner or edge, with the flat side of the washer away from the tarp, then fold the tape back over on top of the polycryo:

 

The technique is the same for all the corner and side tie-outs. Once all the corner and side tie-outs are done you’re ready to do the ridge line tie-outs.

The ridge line tie-outs are built up from several layers of overlapping and crossing duct tape because they are more highly stressed than the corners and sides. Start by cutting two 14″ pieces of duct tape. Lift the center of the tarp and insert the tape sticky side up about half its length under the tarp, press firmly on the tarp and adhere it to the tape and remove any bubbles.

Now it gets a little tricky. You’ll need to take one of the two round washers and tie one end of the Spectra cord around the washer, then place the washer on the tape at the edge of the tarp while placing the cord straight down the center of the tape under the tarp:

Finally, fold the tape back over the washer and on top of the tape underneath. Press and rub to adhere the tape and eliminate bubbles. Now place blue masking tape on the tie out so it will be held firmly while you construct the ridge line tie-out at the other end.

At the other end of the cord you’ll need to trim it and tie on the last round washer at just the right length. The right length is a hair shorter than the length of the tarp, so that when tension is applied to the ridge line tie-outs they will pull the tarp taut. Cut another 14″ piece of tape, lift the tarp, and insert the tape sticky side up about half its length under the tarp. Press and smooth. Then place the washer on the tape at the edge of the tarp while pulling gently on the cord. After the washer is in place fold the tape back over the washer on top of the tape underneath.

Once the two ridge line tie-outs are fabricated, you are done with the underside of the tarp. Turn the whole thing over so the ridge line cord is now underneath. Cut two 10″ pieces of duct tape and place them cross-wise centered over the ridge line tie outs you have just made. Press and smooth.

Next cut four 8″ pieces of tape, two for each end. Lift the ridge line tie out, place two tape pieces sticky side up under the tarp on either side of the tie out:

Finally, fold the two pieces of tape back over the tarp on top of the tape below.

With the tie-outs all done you are now ready to melt holes through the tape in the center of the washers. Heat the 1/8″ steel rod/tent stake with a torch or stove, and carefully push it through the center of the washers in the tie-outs:

In the pictures the tie outs are sitting on the floor because I had my camera in the other hand. In practice, lift the tie outs up and hold while pushing the hot steel rod through.

Finally, cut eight 10″ pieces of shock cord and knot them in little circles through the corner and side tie outs. The shock cord loops give a nice tight pitch, but also act as a shock absorbers in windy conditions.

Final weight: 11.2 ounces.

You’ll need to tie another 10 feet or so of the Spectra cord to the ridge line tie outs so you can pitch the tarp. Also, since I often camp in the high Sierra on flat rocks or shallow sand where tent stakes are useless, I also attach about 3 feet of Spectra cord at each corner and side tie out with a little knotted loop at the end, so I can make big adjustable loops to put around rock anchors that I have collected.

The finished product (an earlier version with different tape) pitched:

It is truly amazing to be able to fall asleep while looking up through your shelter at the starry sky. It’s also nice to know whether that critter sniffing around your shelter in the middle of the night is a bear or just something small like a skunk.

Total cost: About $30-$40, depending on where you get your materials.

Total time to construct (including taking pictures): Two hours

23/08/2017: Advanced Elements Ultralight Paddle

Check this out on Massdrop this morning for US$29.99 each (08/2018). You would be foolish not to buy a couple. I bought two. It will go very well with the Klymit packraft you should have bought from them some time back for US$99 (I bought two as well): http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-packraft/

 Here's me and Spot trying it out on the farm dam: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-best-laid-schemes/

4-Piece Breakdown Paddle

Designed for maximum portability, the Advanced Elements Ultralight Pack Paddle weighs 23.6 ounces, measures 88.2 inches when assembled, and breaks down to a travel-ready 23.6 inches. The durable aluminum shaft features a four-part construction with drip rings on either end that prevent the water on your paddle blades from reaching your hands or lap. For an even more compact setup that’ll cut 3.6 ounces off your pack weight, use only one middle shaft section between the two blades. A great pairing for the Advanced Elements PackLite or Klymit Lite Water Dinghy, this is among the most affordable solutions for light packrafting.

Specs
  • Advanced Elements
  • Material, shaft: Aluminum
  • Assembled length, full setup: 88.2 in (224 cm)
  • Packed length, full setup: 23.6 in (60 cm)
  • Weight, full setup: 23.6 oz (669 g)
  • Assembled length, minimalist setup: 66.5 in (169 cm)
  • Packed length, minimalist setup: 23.6 in (60 cm)
  • Weight, minimalist setup: 20 oz (567 g)

Because sometimes an ultralight paddle and an ultralight packraft (such as Klymit's) are just what you need -eg for river/lake crossings on long hikes. You can put the two things together for just over 1.5kg! A great paddle for the kids. If nothing else these would make a great backup paddle for remote trips. They could just save your bacon should you find your primary paddle floating downstream or worse.

http://www.advancedelements.com/accessories/paddles/?b=12935

23/08/2017: Hope you enjoy this easy cheap delicious meal: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-simple-backpacking-dahl/. I also have a Facebook page with has a lot of info about hiking and hiking gear as well as canoeing, hunting, gardening…which might be of interest. If you 'like' it, Facebook will let you know whenever I do a fresh post. Cheers: https://www.facebook.com/theultralighthiker/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

22/08/2017: A Simple Backpacking Dahl: This simple dahl uses only dry ingredients you can buy very cheaply from any supermarket and store in a snaplock bag. It will make a litre of tasty nutritious dahl which will probably be more than you can eat. You should try this at home tonight before you head out to the backcountry. Simply delicious!

Ingredients:

1 cup red lentils 2730kj

3 ½ cups water

20 grams Hormel dried bacon pieces 300kj

1 table milk powder 250 kj

½ packet Tasty Tomato CupaSoup 230 kj

1/2 pack Continental French Onion Simmer soup (Salt Reduced) 270 kj

3 or 4 teas curry powder (to taste)

Optional: Add 1 table Surprise Peas to taste say 6 teas 100 kj

Total 3880 kj = 1000 calories.

Instructions:

Soak lentils 10 + minutes - the longer you soak the less you have toi simmer.

Add ingredients

Bring to boil, then simmer 15-20 minutes.

This makes up to approx 1 litre of quite thick soup. It was delicious, much preferable to any bought hiking meal you have ever eaten. The quantity would definitely have been enough for Della and me both for a main meal.

22/08/2017: One of the greatest poems of the C20th: Dylan Thomas: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

 

 The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees

Is my destroyer.

And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose

My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

 

The force that drives the water through the rocks

Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams

Turns mine to wax.

And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins

How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

 

The hand that whirls the water in the pool

Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind

Hauls my shroud sail.

And I am dumb to tell the hanging man

How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

 

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;

Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood

Shall calm her sores.

And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind

How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

 

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb

How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

21/08/2017: DIY Dry Back Hiking Pack: Yes, you can have a dry back when hiking (and for pennies!) I saw this genius idea posted by AnticitizenPrime on the Reddit forum MYOG back in July. I have to admit I scrolled right past it then , but I had a little more time to kill in the shop this afternoon so I paid a bit more attention. I thank him/her very much for the idea. It will work.

You can use one of those cheap lumbar support devices (for car seats etc) you see everywhere (I bought mine for A$4 from Cheap as Chips Morwell) as a back cushioning device for your back pack which keeps the pack comfortably off your back on a mesh panel, thus keeping it dry. It weighed about 155 grams out of the bag (left) and about 110 after I cut a few bits off it (right). You could delete the two pieces of webbing which create the tension and thus the curve and replace them with eg 1mm Dyneema twine, which you could then tension to your exact specifications with two clam cleats http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-perfect-guy-line-for-a-hiking-tenttarp/.  This would save approx 8 grams, making the device weigh about 100 grams. I use a Sitlight or an Airbeam pad at the moment for the same purpose, so this device will add perhaps 30 grams to my current pack weight, not much of a price for a dry back.

I would simply tie the frame of the cushion to my backpack. I may have to sew four-six loops of gross grain ribbon to it to effect this. No doubt you could tie it vertically with four more clam cleats (the smallest only weigh approx 1 gram each) so that you could adjust its position up/down till it's just right. I know the mesh on the back panel will eventually wear out, but you can replace the whole thing easily in just a couple of minutes.

In the photo below I have simply slipped it in behind my new Montane pack (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-stout-hikers-pack-2/), but I will be adding a more permanent setup:

I think this is the single best idea I have seen in years!

See Also:http://www.theultralighthiker.com/60-diy-ultralight-hiker-ideas/

 19/08/2017: Raincoat Shelter: How to make your raincoat into a shelter. I realise this is important as people die
because they keep on wearing their raincoat instead of sheltering under it.

For example, there was this European guy who died on the Dusky a few years ago when I was there. It rained and rained as it does. The river came up, flooding the track. He couldn't go forward or back and had no shelter other than his raincoat.

He also clearly had no idea how to refind the track if he once left it, so he was stuck down on the flats with the river coming up when he could easily have walked up a ridge a bit to a drier spot. Pleasant enough spot to camp too! But he died. Loss of body heat. Water strips heat 25 times quicker than air. You must have a roof. See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-importance-of-a-roof/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-in-the-rain/

Not far away hanging under a tarp in my hammock (total weight of both and including the weight of my raincoat, say 450 grams) probably less than his raincoat, I was having a good enough time high and dry watching and listening to the rain and admiring the wet bush, cooking meals and having hot cuppas, reading a book, listening to some music, talking to my wife on my sat phone, etc unaware of his plight!

If he had been with me, he could have sheltered under my tarp and been quite comfortable, instead of dead! Still we might have had a political disagreement and I would have donged him on the head with a rock. Who knows?

I have been thinking about ways sheltering under your raincoat even if/when you don't have a length of string. I know if you don't, you don't deserve to live - but still. I think there is a way, probably several. You can look forward to a number of silly photos of an old man huddling under a bright yellow raincoat, perhaps!

Well, as it turned out it was a green raincoat, and my camera wasn't working well. I had to lean forward to take the photo so it is not clear just how much shelter is provided (enough!). However, you get the idea. A piece of string can often save your life. As Sam Gamgee says, don't leave home without one: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/rope-dont-leave-home-without-it/

I have often come across cold, wet people. Some I have even saved their lives by bundling them into my dry clothes - which they mostly went away in, and never returned! Such folks may not deserve to live!

I can remember a time in my youth when I was a surf life saver. You were always pulling people out of the waves who were in trouble, some needing resuscitation. More often than not you got no thanks from them – which shows how much they valued their lives I guess. One chap, who also needed resuscitating even king hit me after he had recovered, then stalked off. Lord knows why!

Anyway, the easiest way to shelter under your raincoat is definitely if there is a tree. I guess if there are no trees it is less likely to be raining, but you may have to do something else in that eventuality. Try to build a sort of wall I guess. If you can get your back to the lee side of a tree that is at least as wide as your shoulders half your problems are already solved.

The next thing is that most every raincoat has a draw cord at the waist and the neck. If you don’t have that piece of string you may have to break this out to tie one end of the coat to the tree. Or you may be able to tie the arms around the rtree if it is small enough. Then you will probably have to hold the other two ends of the coat out over your knees. I have measured my raincoat and I can assure you that your own will be big enough to keep you completely dry when erected over your head as a shelter. Try tying yours to the back of one of the kitchen chairs as I did to reassure yourself just how to do this if even you need to.

I know you are probably going to be sitting cross-legged under that raincoat all night while the rain spills off it. You might want to place a piece of bark or similar on your head (and behind your back) to insulate yourself from the cold water on the other face of the raincoat. When you first take the raincoat off it is going to be just a bit colder (because it is no longer stopping wind chill), but after a while as you shiver yourself dry, you will be warmer without the rainwater stripping your body heat. Even if it falls below zero you will survive, just as this unprepared guy did: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/thrilling-tales-37-days-of-peril/ If you stay in your raincoat you will probably die of hypothermia just like the European guy on the Dusky Track I talked about earlier.

Of course you won't have a bit of blue poly tarp as I have in the photo to keep your bum warm. Find as much bark and other debris as you can, say 18" (or 40 cm) high, as you can. The further your bum is off the ground the closer to the tree you are going to be and the warmer and drier you will be. Enjoy!

You can have an even comfier night in the wild if you can build a debris shelter of some sort. I have done this a number of times. You do not need any tools or materials other than what you find in the bush, but you need at least a couple of hours to build a decent shelter, so it needs preparation. I will have a future post about this. Whatever type of debris shelter you build, you will need at least 40cm of debris both over you and under you if you are going to be half decently warm!

The reason for posting about using your raincoat as a shelter is that folks always think they have enough time to do something else – get to the hut, find help, divine intervention…So, they wander on and on until it is too late to do anything else than shelter under their raincoat, or sit there wearing it in the rain and maybe die. Some folks haven’t even got sense enough to seek shelter, eg in/under a log or in a hollow tree when they realise they are going to be in trouble. I have spent at least one night in each – lots of critters, but dry, and I am still here! Not having enough bush skills to go off trail is a serious impediment. People ought really to understand how to find their way with their senses they were born with before they venture into the wilds. Some tips below:

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-to-light-a-fire-in-the-wet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/rope-dont-leave-home-without-it/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/finding-your-way/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-lie-of-the-land/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-importance-of-a-roof/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/carry-a-knife/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/if-you-could-only-carry-two-things-in-the-bush-what-would-they-be/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-poncho-tent/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-pocket-poncho-tent/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/naismiths-rule/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/weather-lore/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/walking-the-line/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/follow-your-nose/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-long-till-sundown/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/man-is-the-measure-of-all-things-pythagoras-some-handy-estimation-tricks/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-to-avoid-being-wet-cold-while-camping/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fire-on-the-snow/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/river-crossings/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/an-open-shelter/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/raincoat-shelter/

19/08/2017: How to avoid site blocking: https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/bypass-vpn-blocks-with-ease/ & https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/12/how-to-bypass-isp-blocking-of-the-pirate-bay-and-other-torrent-sites-for-free/

17/08/2017: On the Tip of the Tongue: A magical 20C winter's day yesterday, so time to try out Della's new heart and my new pack http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-stout-hikers-pack-2/ with a walk in Wilson's Prom NP, Gippsland, Victoria. I will let her begin: 'Return to fitness #2: Beautiful winter day and further heart progress - Steve and I did a 10 km walk at Wilson's Prom, Darby River to Tongue Point, including a side trip to the delightful Fairy Cove. Daily workouts of an hour's fitness class plus an hour of walking have boosted my heart stamina. More progress planned: Perhaps a trip to Cairns next month to climb Mount Bartle Frere... onwards and upwards!'

NB: The walk from Darby River is easy with just gentle inclines. Including the .5km each way side trip to Fairy Cove it is approx 5km each way and takes about 1 1/2 hours each way plus lots of stops for snaps and snacks! It is a much steeper track dwon from darby saddle and not so scenic!

PS: Pack update on a 10km walk yesterday (14/07/2017) with a load (5-7kg). It was brilliant. See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-stout-hikers-pack-2/ Did not need the chest strap at all. The shoulder straps had zero inclination to slide off my shoulders. Also with the waist belt done up quite loosely, the load still just wanted to rest in the small of my back. There was no weight at all on my shoulders. I could slip my fingers in the behind the shoulder straps any time. There was no load pressure there at all. I did get a wet back (expected) – it was a warm day (approx 20C. I will be trying a Sitlight pad attached like this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/sleeping-pad-pack-frame/ . I will also try taking a wad cutter to the Sitlight pad and filling it with holes (eg on every dent) so that water vapor has somewhere to go. I will report back about this innovation later. With the addition of some sewn on pockets, I think this is going to be a great pack!

View of Darby River flats

It is a well-formed track. Mostly sand and gravel with walkways over any wet sectiions

Plenty of hog deer sign

Shellback Island

View North Waratah Bay

Many interesting menhirs along the way

View south Fairy Cove, Tongue Point, Norman Island

Fairy Cove, Tongue Point

Waratah Bay, Shellback Island

View North along the coast to Shallow Inlet

Tongue Point, Norman Island

Steps down to Fairy Cove

Fairy Cove, Shellback Island. Note steel hoops, remains of a steamer funnel

View north past Darby River towards Shallow Inlet.

A funnel mermaid

Fairy Cove

Island in Fairy Cove 

 

Fairy Cove monolith

Seagulls Fairy Cove

Tongue Point

Painted rocks Tongue Point

Tongue Point

Monolith Tongue Point

Steve Tongue Point

Tongue Point

Wildflowers along the way

 

And wildlife: swamp wallaby

Spur winged plover

 14/08/2017: Big Agnes AXL Air Pad. Big Agnes were showcasing a new pad at the Outdoor Retailer show recently. The one on show was a full-length pad (20x72x3 inches thick – 50 x 180 x 7.5cm) weighing only 9 ounces (270 grams). It will be available in uninsulated (US$140) and insulated with Primaloft Silver (10 ounces- 300 grams, US$180) versions. The fabric is 20 denier with random ripstop, and the pad has a large inflation valve that seals as you blow.

 

There is no information about it on the Big Agnes site as yet, but it will no doubt be available soon. If it is available in their usual size choices, then one should be able to get it in 5’6‘ length (me) at approx 270 grams, and 5’ length (Della) at approx 250 grams and 4’ length at approx 200 grams, a real game changer. This will shave 160 grams off our combined pack weight with Thermarest’s excellent Neoair Womens http://www.theultralighthiker.com/womens-are-great-in-bed/ (2 at 340 grams each). (given the savings I have been making lately with tents, our packs will soon be carrying themselves! In any case you would be able to cut it down yourself to these dimensions: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/modifyingshortening-hiking-mats/.

 

I have always been a big supporter of Big Agnes’ excellent products, so I can’t wait really to get my hands (back) on one: http://www.bigagnes.com/Gear/Sleeping-Pads

 

 

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/sleeping-pad-reinvented-big-agnes-q-core-slx/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/cyclone-chair/

14/08/2017: The Windhover: No danger to pigeons or lambs from this beautiful little guy spotted yesterday in the paddock. A knave’s bird, Gerald Manley Hopkins 1844-89

 

 

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-   

  dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding       

  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding           

High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing  

In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,           5

  As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding       

  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding 

Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!           

 

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here 

  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion         10

Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!          

 

  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion     

Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,    

  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

 

14/08/2017: ‘To see ourselves as others see us’ (Burns, ‘To a Louse’) There is an amazing trick you can do (with mirrors, of course) which allows one to do just that, or even more…It is this: ‘A simple experiment can show how. Try looking at yourself in a double-reflecting mirror – two mirrors facing each other such that the second reflects the image in the first. Then raise your right arm. The first reflection is a normal mirror image, but the second is inversed, which we are not used to seeing. “So when you raise your right hand, it raises its right hand. It’s a doppelgänger, miming your behaviour, Keep looking and something odd can happen to your sense of self. “You start experiencing that you are out there. What’s more, if you watch your arm moving in the second mirror, you may see a slight delay...it’s slowed down as if your hand is moving through treacle. Exactly why this happens is something he and his team are working on, but we know that neurons in your brain telling your hand to move fire milliseconds before you consciously decide to move it. To avoid the sensation of being a puppet, your brain smoothes things out so that everything feels simultaneous. Ramachandran suspects that when you see this doppelgänger in the mirror, your brain doesn’t compute it as you – so the correction isn’t applied. In essence, you are seeing the unconscious machinery of the brain laid bare.’ https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23531360-600-the-fragility-of-you-and-what-it-says-about-consciousness/?utm_campaign=RSS%7CNSNS

13/08/2017: Thrilling Tales: 37 Days of Peril : You can survive: Truly alone in the wilderness: Lost in Yellowstone for 37 days pretty much without equipment, food, clothing or shelter. ‘After wandering away from the rest of the expedition on September 9, 1870, Everts managed to lose the pack horse which was carrying most of his supplies. He ate a songbird and minnows raw, and a local thistle plant to stay alive; the plant (Cirsium foliosum or elk thistle) was later renamed "Evert's Thistle" after him. Everts' party searched for him for a while, and his friends in Helena offered a reward of $600 to find him. "Yellowstone Jack" Baronett and George A. Pritchett found Everts, suffering from frostbite, burn wounds from thermal vents and his campfire, and other wounds suffered during his ordeal, so malnourished he weighed only 50 pounds (23 kg). One stayed with him to nurse him back to health while the other walked 75 miles (121 km) for help; in spite of their assistance, Everts denied the men the payment of the reward, claiming he could have made it out of the mountains on his own.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truman_C._Everts

Available here: https://archive.org/stream/thirtysevendayso30924gut/pg30924.txt Free downloads: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30924.mobile

10/08/2017: The Pocket Poncho Tent: I have completed my poncho tent in 1 oz/yd2 silnylon. It weighs a mere 185 grams - as you can see, and fits in my pocket - as the name suggests and the pictures show! This may be the smallest tent in the world unless I make it out of .32oz/yd2 cuben fibre, in which case it will weigh about 75 grams and probably fit in my fob pocket! It requires 9 pegs (54 grams) and two guys to set it up in front of a warm fire. I will be making the zip-in front door soon which will allow it to be shut down for storm mode (approx 50 grams), and I will be making my Bathtub Groundsheet Lounger Chair for it which will weigh under 100 grams http://www.theultralighthiker.com/bathtub-groundsheet-chair/. This complete shelter/groundsheet/chair will then weigh approx 380 grams (but will also double as your raincoat) making it probably the lightest tent in existence. I still have a bit of work to do around the hood, hood reinforcing and some pockets to hold the pegs, a mylar poncho and maybe a couple of space blankets.

This will clearly keep me dry in the heaviest of rain:

ultralight poncho tarp tent

The mylar poncho will weigh about 25 grams but you will want one so that you can go to the toilet or put some wood on the fire when it is raining. The prototype is here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/more-fun-with-sticky-tape-ultralight-mylar-vest/

I will be having the tent and chair made in Asia somewhere in the not too distant future. I will also try to manufacture the Mini Decagon Tent: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/honey-i-shrank-the-tent/ and the Dyneema Moccasins: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/19-gram-dyneema-camp-shoes/ for a start; maybe more later. For example, The Deer Hunter's Tent http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-deer-hunters-tent/ which this poncho was to be a floor for (as well as for the Mini Decagon). This is going to be a complicated (and expensive) exercise for me as I have never done anything like this before, but I am sure lots of folk are going to want to own these interesting pieces of gear, so I will give it  a try.

Fits in a pocket as I said:

ultralight pocket poncho tarp tent

Or the front one:

ultralight pocket poncho tarp tent

185 grams as you can see:

ultralight pocket poncho tarp tent

Fits in the palm of your hand - hard to believe it is a tent, isn't it?

ultralight pocket poncho tarp tent

But here it is, much to Spot's delight! Plenty of room for someone 6'6" plus, and a dog!

ultralight pocket poncho tarp tent

And with room to sit up in front of a toasty winter fire. And lots of room for gear.

ultralight pocket poncho tarp tent

The prototype was here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-poncho-tent/ & here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/poncho-tent-update/ and this was the original which we made for my first visit to Fiordland (moose hunting) in 2000: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hole-less-ponchoshelter/

09/08/2017: Dual Action Survival Fish Hooks: Fishing in a hiking or survival situation is more about getting something to eat than fishing ethics or legality so you may want to make quite sure you do secure that piscine repast. These dual action fish hooks lock onto the fish with a pincer action once it has taken the bait.

 

dual action fish hooks

https://www.amazon.com/Survival-Janders-Inc-Utilizing-mechanism/dp/B01GT3Z3GM

http://www.shomer-tec.com/product/survival-fish-hooks-1660.cfm

The Speedhooks can catch a fish for you even when you are resting or asleep - so you can wake up to regale yourself with a wondrous fish breakfast, or an excellent fish soup.

See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/bcb-fishing-kit/

speedhooks

Both would be good to use with this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-ultralight-fish-chowder/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-crayfish-bisque/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-coconut-fish-curry/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-ball-of-string-and-a-feed-of-cray/

08/08/2017: Humping Your Bluey: This post comes from Richard Graves, Australian Bushcraft: ‘The swag is the proverbial means of carrying a load and it is one of the best methods in existence. It has the advantage of being extremely well balanced, two-thirds of the weight being carried behind the body and about one-third in front. The result of this balance is that the carrier walks completely upright: Clothes, tent, bedding and the gear not wanted for the day's walk are carried in the swag at the back, while the food and cooking utensils and the day's needs are in the 'dilly' bag in front. Because of this the swag is not opened during the day but the dilly bag attached to the front is immediately accessible.

 

 

The only materials necessary to make a swag are a strap, two binding straps and the dilly bag. The swag strap, preferably of soft leather or light webbing, should be about 1 metre long and about 5 cm or more wide. The two binding strips The rolled swag, containing bedding and other gear, is carried on the back while the dilly bag, containing the day's needs, is carried on the front.

 

The swag is Australia's oldest method of carrying things on foot as far as bush workers were concerned. Although it now has been displaced by many imported and fancy packs it remains one ofthe most practical means of 'backpacking' bedding and food over long tramps on relatively flat country. The construction and packing method is shown. The strap can be of any material such as plaited cord or rope. Traditionally the dilly bag was an old sugar or flour sack, but a nylon weatherproof bag that allows some breathing (because it is also used to contain the day's rations) can be of any convenient shape and size.

Half the knack of carrying a swag consists in knowing how to swing it. Lay the roll, with the dilly bag extended, in front of you. Put the arm farthest away from the dilly bag through the swag strap. Heave the roll towards your back and swing the body towards the swag, so that the dilly bag flies up and out. Duck the opposite shoulder and catch the dilly bag on it. The strap will then lie over one shoulder and the dilly bag over the other with the swag roll carried at an angle across the back.

 

An alternative method of carrying the swag is to use two straps, one about 1 metre long and the other about 2 metres. Both straps should be about 3 cm wide and made of strong material, although it should be soft. The roll is made for the swag and the long strap tied securely about 15 cm from one end of the roll. Fifteen cm from the other end of the roll the other strap is fastened, with the dilly bag held in position by this binding. The swag is lifted to the left shoulder with the dilly bag in front and the roll at the back, the neck of the dilly bag hanging over the left shoulder. The long strap is passed on top of the right shoulder and then under the armpit and around the back. Then it is tied to a loop at the bottom corner of the dilly bag. This type of swag prevents the dilly bag from swaying.

To pack and roll the swag itself, lay your groundsheet or swag cover (traditionally a blanket) on the ground and then fold your other blankets to a width of about 80 cm. Lay spare clothes lengthways on top with your other gear. Fold in the sides of the groundsheet and roll the whole from the blanket end to the free side so that it is tight. If a tent is being carried, this 'inner swag' is then rolled in it. The two binding cords are passed through the swag strap to stop slipping. The dilly bag is then attached to one of the binding straps at its junction with the swag strap.’

Recommended reading: Diary of a Welsh Swagman, Joseph Jenkins: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Jenkins

A couple of poems about swagmen will not go awry:

The Swagman

C.J. Dennis

Oh, he was old and he was spare;
His bushy whiskers and his hair
Were all fussed up and very grey
He said he'd come a long, long way
And had a long, long way to go.
Each boot was broken at the toe,
And he'd a swag upon his back.
His billy-can, as black as black,
Was just the thing for making tea
At picnics, so it seemed to me.'Twas hard to earn a bite of bread,
He told me.  Then he shook his head,
And all the little corks that hung
Around his hat-brim danced and swung
And bobbed about his face; and when
I laughed he made them dance again.
He said they were for keeping flies -
"The pesky varmints" - from his eyes.
He called me "Codger". . . "Now you see
The best days of your life," said he.
"But days will come to bend your back,
And, when they come, keep off the track.
Keep off, young codger, if you can.
He seemed a funny sort of man.He told me that he wanted work,
But jobs were scarce this side of Bourke,
And he supposed he'd have to go
Another fifty mile or so.
"Nigh all my life the track I've walked,"
He said.  I liked the way he talked.
And oh, the places he had seen!
I don't know where he had not been -
On every road, in every town,
All through the country, up and down.
"Young codger, shun the track," he said.
And put his hand upon my head.
I noticed, then, that his old eyes
Were very blue and very wise.
"Ay, once I was a little lad,"
He said, and seemed to grow quite sad.

I sometimes think: When I'm a man,
I'll get a good black billy-can
And hang some corks around my hat,
And lead a jolly life like that.

 Waltzing Matilda

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
He sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
He sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Up rode the troopers, one, two, three,
With the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.



Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
With the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, you scoundrel with me.



Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
You'll never catch me alive, said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.



Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.
Oh, you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.

07/08/2017: Ultralight Shoes: I have been trying out a pair of Topo brand trail shoes. The ones I wanted were the Terraventure but the shop did not have them in my size so I bought a pair of Athletic Mountain MT2s for A$130. The Terraventures would have been 290 grams. These guys are 230 grams which sounds like an insane weight for something you are going to venture into the backcountry in, I know.

I have been going around the lambs in them of a morning. We have a really steep hill behind the house (over 30 degrees - too steep for any vehicle or tractor). At  this time of the year the frost, wet grass and clay soils are very slippery, so I often slide or fall over. I have to say that these shoes are hanging on to the surface better than anything else I have ever worn. Some days I do ten kilometres on this hillside!

They are also very comfortable. I have been wearing them all week on our evening walks. They handle rough gravel tracks fine. I think they exercise the foot a bit more than heavier shoes. You feel as if your foot is flexing and gripping in them more. They are also a lot easier to walk in though, being so light. It feels like being barefoot, only with more grip actually. This may contribute to my feeling of confidence in my grip and balance when wearing them.

Apparently the main difference between them and the Terraventures is that the sole has about 2mm more tread and a little more cushion in the insole. That is about it. They also have a waterproof model theTtopo Hydroventure which is much the same as the ones I have except for the waterproof layer. They weigh around 275 grams. I generally don't favour waterproof shoes. You are going to get your feet wet anyway. The waterproof layer is just going to make them dry out more slowly.

I really like the laces. They are oval in shape and seem to hold a knot better than just about any laces I have ever used. You may remember I discovered some other laces when I was looking for a vendor in Australia for these shoes: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/shoelace-reinvented/

I also really like the no-sew construction and the wide foot box. I have a very wide foot - the result of never wearing shoes until I left school pretty much. I used to take an 8E through G when I could get them, so I am pretty hard to fit shoes  to. They are also very kind and soft on the toes. I notice this particularly with all the hillsiding and downhilling I am doing with the lambs.

As it turns out I was able to try them on and buy them from my favourite Melbourne 'ultralight' shop: https://backpackinglight.com.au/ As usual the owner, Tim Campbell gave me a very good deal on them.

I may yet buy a pair of the Terraventures. I have discovered that Will Rietveld thinks very highly of them for both on and off trail use, and he seems to be a pretty genuine guy. He has a useful review here: http://ultralightinsights.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/gear-review-topo-terraventure-trail-shoe.html  He has a very interesting website there actually, so you will probably be staying quite some time.

He recently wore a pair on the trail for 48 days (which I doubt was a lot less than a couple of thousand kilometres!) I have 'borrowed his photo of what they looked like at the end of that trip. Thanks Will. He says: 'the uppers look like new and the outsoles are only lightly worn. The only evidence of use is some scuffing on the edges of the outsole.'

Most other much heavier shoes would probably be starting to come apart after such punishment. Why not try a pair next time your need a new pair of shoes. I will keep you posted on how well these 230 gram shoes last me. I am petty happy with them so far.

PS: They do come in different colours than in the photos.

05/08/2017: A Fair Chase: I see it is two years since I first posted this. As a result of my experiences of the last two weeks (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-silence-of-the-deer/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/avon-river-walking-track/), I feel that it needs a revisit:

IMG_1199 comp

Moose Country, Fiordland NZ: Looking down over the Jane Burn into the Lower Seaforth Valley, the Dusky Sound in the distance. Only about ten moose have ever been taken from this area, probably none in your lifetime, but I have seen one there - perhaps the only living hunter to have done so!. It is at least three days’ hard walk and a two hour boat trip to the nearest road. This is hunting! (See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hunting-in-fiordland/)

Seems to me too many hunters long since crossed the boundary between hunting and vermin eradication/culling. In many cases the latter is what is called for (eg with foxes at lambing time) but with game animals we move to such behaviour with the risk that they will thereby lose their status as game animals, resulting in the Government legislating for their extermination. Then poisoning might prove to be more efficient than shooting. Think on that!

More importantly still, from an ethical perspective, we lose all respect for them as an animal worthy of our endeavours. The hunter’s prey should have these rights: to be able effectively to employ its senses, intelligence and ability to flee from danger. If we degrade them to the extent that they no longer have these rights then we are not hunting them; we are culling. Sometimes culling may have to be done – but there is no honour in it. It is an (unpleasant) job! Unfortunately much of what many hunters do is simply that.

Long-range shooting with a telescopic sight deprives the animal of any opportunity to see, hear, smell or flee the hunter. It is culling. It is no different from spotlighting, which has the same effect as well as paralysing the prey. Similarly employing trail cameras (a wildlife biologist’s research tool surely?) to locate, monitor and predict an animal, then to await it camouflaged or perched in a tree above it is not hunting. No deer has camouflaged natural predators which it could expect to strike it from a distance from high above. A deer is not camouflaged, yet it is a master of blending into its surrounding and using cover and topography, and moving silently. So should the hunter try to be.

The possession and display of a vast array of clearly ‘unfair’ gadgets and pieces of equipment which inform the passer-by only that you intend to control and dominate your prey, only advises those who don’t like hunting already that they should act to prevent your hunting. It would be far better for the sport if all hunters wore a tweed jacket and tie (as they used to do in the past), as this would at least indicate you were not rednecks and yobbos! At least ditch the awful camo. It sends the wrong message. A wool check shirt is far better, and more comfortable.

There are any number of technological means I can imagine of killing animals, but neither would they be hunting. Employing drones, for example. Traps and deadfalls. Poisoned baits and waterholes. Helicopter shooting. Shooting from vehicles or horseback. Why not go ‘whole hog’ as ‘hunters’ and employ helicopter gunships, machine guns, bombs and napalm? People need to wake up to themselves and what they are doing. To be able to hunt is a privilege too easily lost for us to tolerate the macho antics of such a ‘hunting brigade’ with all their showy appurtenances.

Having been evicted from a number of hunting groups for expressing the opinion that hunters need to behave more ethically here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/sambar-deer-stalking-103/, I may put this idea on Kickstarter: I call it the Trophy Acquisition System. It is designed for the time poor but well-heeled, overweight sportsman. The idea is that a trail cam will be connected to a small PC which has a Target Identification System. You will be able to programme it: eg Sambar Stag. When the target comes in view the camera will begin filming, then a .30 calibre rifle will cleanly shoot it through the heart. More photos of the trophy will follow of it in its chosen death pose. Then the system will communicate with the remote hunter, sending him SMS messages, co-ordinates, snapshots, etc.

The system can even be programmed to Photoshop the hunter into the scene, eg with the dead deer. If the absent hunter does not wish to retrieve the trophy, he can purchase the optional Carcass Disposal System which will tow it away into the bushes somewhere, at which point the Trophy Acquisition System will re-set itself to await the next trophy.

For the price of a stamped return-addressed envelope I will be offering a ‘hack’ for the system which allows the target ‘trophy’ to be re-set to an image of the person who purchased and deployed the system.

See also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/sambar-deer-stalking-103/

and http://www.theultralighthiker.com/thrilling-tales-sir-samuel-baker/

04/08/2017: Wonnangatta-Moroka Trip Cut Short: Orinally posted 2/08/2011: 'Back early from three days' hunting/hiking in Wonnangatta-Moroka NP due to sore toes (Have to do more research into boots) and accidentally taking the three-quarter length Neoair mat which was a bit harsh on my bad back. However saw lots of deer, some of whom visited me during the night.' (This is all I wrote back then)

Sore feet can spoil a trip ( http://www.theultralighthiker.com/foot-care/). I had clearly not trimmed my toenails well beforehand, but unless you can get the correct size boot (for me a half size = 8 1/2) and especially if you are doing a lot of hill-siding or down-hilling this is likely to happen. Preparation is all.

I am now better able to use a 3/4 length mat, having had a back operation in 2013 though I usually use the Neoair Women's (340 grams - http://www.theultralighthiker.com/womens-are-great-in-bed/) which did not exist then. They had also not then trimmed the extra 30 grams from their 3/4 length model back then so it weighed 260 grams instead of the current 230. You can put something under your feet to lift them a little. I would now use my Airbeam Pad (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/air-beam-pad/), or a Graham Medical pillow (watch for future post) with my http://www.theultralighthiker.com/bathtub-groundsheet-chair/.

My camera choice has improved since then. I had only a 4 megapixel camera with 3X zoom back then - and was still not in the habit of taking many photos - having grown up with film cameras which were so expensive, and made one positively stingy. I have found some snaps I took however, and have added them to this update. My current camera has 20x zoom ( http://www.theultralighthiker.com/new-camera/) and there are even better (though not lighter) ones available. Sony now have a pocket camera which weighs 245 grams and has a 30X zoom https://www.dpreview.com/products/sony/compacts/sony_dschx80. Another great choice is the Canon SX730 with 40x zoom though it weighs 300 grams: https://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_sx730hs Coupled with eg this http://www.theultralighthiker.com/4-gram-string-reverse-tripod/,

These were about as good a photo as you could get with my old camera. I told you I saw 'lots of deer'!

Top: A doe and fawn crossing the river at dusk. Below a very nice stag thrashing just to the right of the centre. He is just to the left of the 'vee' of the twig from the tree on the right.

They do not compare well to the photo of the doe I took last Saturday ( http://www.theultralighthiker.com/avon-river-walking-track/):

Or this one: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ethical-hunter/

Back then I see I was still using my ancient 7'x7' (210x210cm) 2oz/yd2 home-made polyester-nylon tarp as a shelter. I have made some improvements since then, but it did keep me warm and dry, and was the inspiration for many better models. I used to have to drop this one down when I wanted to go to sleep, and sleep diagonally - but it did use to work. In the new 1 oz/yd2 Membrane Silpoly  it would have weighed about 160 grams including tie-outs. An 8' x 8' (240x240cm) tarp would work a bit better. It would weigh about 210 grams. I am thinking of making a larger version of my poncho tarp ( http://www.theultralighthiker.com/poncho-tent-update/) in these dimensions. To be announced. It would then also be great as a hammock tarp.

Here is my old 7x7 tarp.

And here is my 8'x8' cuben tarp (weight <150 grams):

Mind you there were some good stags about:

You will note that you can walk up and shoot a quite satisfactory stag wearing a blue tee shirt!

Of course in future I will be using this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/poncho-tent-update/ In silnylon it will be a tent which fits in a breast pocket and which weighs under 180 grams! I will be calling it The Pocket Poncho Tent. I may be selling them. I am investigating manufacturing in Asia. As they say, 'Watch this space!'

I have long since worn out my original 53 litre cuben fibre zpacks Zero/Blast pack you can see in the photo. I replaced it with a 4.8 oz/yd2 Dyneema model. The latter is still under 400 grams instead of 230 grams, but is much much more durable. I hope I do wear it out actually! I am still using the same Big Agnes Cyclone Chair (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/cyclone-chair/ - since 2006!) My blue $1 5 and 10 store cup has been going for over 20 years now. I am yet to find a lighter one

I only wish I was still as young now as I was in 2011 - but I am still going, which is the main thing!

03/08/2017: Fizan Compact Trekking Poles: These are not the lightest trekking poles, but they are amongst the shortest when folded which can be important when you want to fit them inside luggage or inside your pack. At US$59.99 (July 2017) they are one of the cheapest.Add shipping to Australia quoted at US$4.60!

Founded in 1947 by Domenico Fincati, Fizan pioneered the use of aluminum in ski poles when the rest of world was still using steel or bamboo. Since then, the company has become a leader in the market, widely known in Europe for its alpine and Nordic walking poles, and among the ultralight community for its Compact series of trekking poles. Seventy years after its inception, Fizan remains family owned and operated, and all poles are still made in its factory in Veneto, Italy, using environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices.

Features

  • 7001 aluminum construction
  • Proprietary Flexy internal locking system
  • Ergonomic EVA foam grip with rounded plastic top
  • 1.35” (3.4 cm) wide nylon straps
  • Replaceable carbide tips
  • Metal-reinforced rubber tip covers
  • 3 sets of removable baskets: 35, 50, and 95 mm
  • Made in Italy

Specs

Massdrop x Fizan Compact 3

  • Sections: 3
  • Adjustable length: 22.8–52 in (58–132 cm)
  • Pole section diameters: 17, 16, and 14 mm
  • Weight per pole: 5.6 oz (158 g)

Massdrop x Fizan Compact 4

  • Sections: 4
  • Adjustable length: 19.3–49.2 in (49–125 cm)
  • Pole section diameters: 17, 16, 14, and 12 mm
  • Weight per pole: 6 oz (169 g)

Straps, Tips & Baskets

  • Weight per strap: 0.4 oz (10 g)
  • Weight per hiking tip: 0.4 oz (12 g)
  • Weight per 35mm basket: 0.07 oz (2 g)
  • Weight per 50mm basket: 0.1 oz (4 g)
  • Weight per 95mm basket: 0.5 oz (14 g)

Included

  • Pair of poles
  • Pair of straps
  • Pair of hiking tip covers
  • 3 sets of hiking baskets

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-fizan-compact?mode=guest_open

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-poles-2/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-poles/

01/08/2017: Massdrop Shipping

Some time ago the shipping calculator disappeared from the main page of this wonderful site, so I have not been game to make a purchase because I did not know how much I would be charged for shipping. Eventually I contacted them and received this useful reply: 'At this time the site is only able to show the Shipping cost through the Payment/Shipping information page on a drop. Having said this, you do not have to agree to buy in order to see the shipping cost. Once you hit the green "Join Drop" button on a drop, you will be directed to the Payment/Shipping information page. From here, need only input your shipping information and the site will automatically update to show the shipping cost before you confirm payment or even input payment information.' I have checked and this works, as you will see from my post about the excellent Fizan Trekking Poles this morning: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fizan-compact-trekking-poles/ These poles will fit entirely inside your pack available there for river crossings, use as tent poles or for heavy carry-outs etc.

I have recommended purchases from these folks again and again. I suggest you bookmark them too. It will be a little more advantageous if you happen to live in the US, but there is often a bargain to be had if you live elsewhere in the world. In any case they will keep you up to date with what's new and available.

Some of my other Massdrop recommendations:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/massdrop/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fizan-compact-trekking-poles/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-packraft/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/500-gram-tents/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-umbrella-redesigned/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-vorso-mark-ii-spinning-top/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/new-ultralight-survival-shelter/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-insulated-static-v-lite-sleeping-pad/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/miniature-weapons-the-toothpick-crossbow/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/black-diamond-storm-waterproof-headlamp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/vargo-titanium-knives/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/super-aaa-torch-145-lumens/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/miniature-pens/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-inertia-o-zone-ultralight/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-rolls-royce-of-back-country-trowels/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-ultralight-pillow/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/smallest-rechargeable-flashlight/

31/07/2017: A Hiking Food Compendium: Folks are always asking me, 'What do you eat on the trail?' I have posted about this again and again, but I just thought I would bring all my posts about this together as one compendium. When you get tired of eating all these you could just quit life or hiking I guess.

A couple of these are to enjoy at home, but most are dry ingredients which make the meal as light as possible )calories per gram is all!) and use supermarket bought rather than specialty hiking meals as they are both cheaper and tastier in my opinion.

Enjoy:

A Hiking Food Compendium:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dellas-coconut-rice-hiking-food/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/lunch-on-the-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-nepali-dahl-soup/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-2/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/tasty-hiking-meals/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/porridge/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-ultralight-fish-chowder/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/mckenzies-quick-cook-minestrone-soup/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-cup-a-soup/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-customs-gestapo/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/food-dehydration/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hormel-real-bacon-pieces/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wintulichs-beer-sticks-on-the-trail-animal-protein-is-a-must/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/he-hiked-with-a-falafel-in-his-hand/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/more-hiking-food-dorsogna-mild-twiggy-sticks/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-yoghurt/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-french-onion-soup-plus/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/super-simple-trail-meal/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-meals-continental-hearty-italian-minestrone/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-mckenzie-quick-cook-soups-180-grams-per-packet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-protein/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hardtack/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/first-bag-your-omelet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/out-of-the-frying-pan/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-crayfish-bisque/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-coconut-fish-curry/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-ultralight-fish-chowder/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-pasta-e-fagioli/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/cauliflower-rice/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/backcountry-meat/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/calories-per-gram/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/mckenzies-country-chicken-soup-with-lemon-black-pepper-tuna/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-continental-spring-vegetable-simmer-soup/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/soylent/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-recipes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/more-hiking-food-low-gi/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/carmens-great-hiking-food/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/miso-soup/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-peasant-bread/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-bulgar-wheat/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-food-soup/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-mulligatawny/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-lamb-stew/

30/07/2017: Avon River Walking Track: Good News: Della: 'My steady return to fitness: After 5 weeks of cardiac rehab and a couple of weeks of mainstream fitness training (on top of our usual daily walks), today I tackled my first real bushwalk in 5 months. We checked out part of the Avon River Walking Track in the balmy, albeit blustery weather. Not a long walk, only about a three hour round trip; a bit of a goat track with some gentle uphill climbs, so a mild test for the angina. Once my heart warmed up it was pretty plain sailing, I am pleased to report. The scenery was lovely and we will return to do the whole walk on another occasion. Lots more exercising in front of me before I get back to my previous fitness, but I am now convinced that it is achievable. Feeling heartened!'

The sun was just in the right place to cast lots of golden reflection off the river. I took dozens of snaps especially from high up, but you know how you are supposed to never take photos into the sun but you do anyway because sometimes they turn pout spectacularly? Well, pretty much all but this one were duds!

And this one of Della with the beautiful silver mirror of the river snaking behind her. In the distance you can see Mt Ben Cruachan.

And here am I taking the photograph above.

There are some interesting rock formations.

Beautiful beetling pink cliffs.

And then around a corner this doe came swimming and wading in the river.  

She nearly came right up to us!

But I suspect she detected this rascal!

There is oodles of camping at Huggets Crossing on the Avon. From there you can walk all the way along to Wombat Crossing which takes 5-6 hours.

Here are the times. You can camp at Dermody's or Wombat Crossing and walk back (or vice versa). There are also lots of places along the way where you can camp. You have to be careful of the Avon river bottoms. The Avon is one of the worst rivers in Australia for flash floods, so watch the forecasts. It can be pelting down further up above Golden Point etc in the Avon Wilderness.

The trip was spoiled somewhat by encountering not one but two teams of knuckleheaded hound hunters (the reason the deer was walkingand swimming up the middle of the stream after all)! It is illegal to hunt in the vicinity of roads and walking tracks, because of the danger to the public, to use illegal radio channels and radio tracking during the hunt yet these idiots were (offences which would lose them their licences if apprehended - Huggets is regularly patrolled). Then, they proceeded to camp at Huggets just to disgust other campers with their vast numbers of dogs some of them illegal, public display of deer carcasses and so on.

Anyone could see that each team was operating many more than the allowable legal numbers of hounds, and that the bloodhound crosses were just that, not pure bloodhounds! At the end of the hunt they were still waiting for more hounds than they are legally allowed to let out in the first place - why the deer we saw looked so harried, and had been savaged on the right flank some time during the day, as you can see from its photo. People witnessing such crimes needs to file a report (with photos) to the Game Management Unit, DEPI, Victoria. We need to get these fools out of the bush. See also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-silence-of-the-deer/

28/07/2017: Yarra Ranges 1866: A friend recently sent me a copy of this splendid 1866 map of the County of Buln Buln, to the East of Melbourne. What a historic treasure it is! you can clearly see the route of what would later be 'The Upper Yarra Track' on it. This is what makes this fabulous walking track 'Australia's oldest' - 'and best' as I say on the website: http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

If you haven't yet walked this wonderful track, think about doing so soon. Being winter at present you will want to follow the 'Winter Route' I have outlined in the track Instructions: http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

as the route across the Baw Baw Plateau will be too dangerous because of snow and cold - though very experienced people with snowshoes and skis have done it.

PS: Thanks to Thomas Osburg for the map. It is available here: http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/media/2059/slv-county-of-evelyn-map.jpg I had to copy it with Paint. From the website, or with Paint you can zoom in and see the detail. Perhaps there is a another way of getting better copy.

28/07/2017: Ultimate camo: Just washed my camo hunting gear... now waiting for it to dry.

Image may contain: people sitting

26/07/2017: The Silence of the Deer: Sambar deer do not have a voice. When they are wantonly murdered en masse with no regard to ethics or the law, the survivors cannot speak out. We have to be their voice.

Understand this, I am not some namby-pamby greenie do-gooder. I have hunted deer in the Gippsland mountains for nigh on forty years, and many other creatures before that for another twenty plus years besides. I suppose the last twenty years whilst others took another path I have become naïve.

Because I have been busy farming and when I get away choose to hunt and travel the bush by myself, and during the week, and go almost always to places which have no vehicle access - because I deeply love the wildest places - I had not experienced the rogue element that has taken over too much of the hunting community.

These people have developed and practised techniques and methods which will see hunting banned outright if they are not stopped in their tracks post haste. We will all be the losers for that. We cannot choose to ignore them because we don’t want to get involved, or because we fear what they will do to us in revenge for urging that what they do should be outlawed and punished. I have no doubt what such vile people would do to me if they caught me (or my vehicle) alone in the bush after they realise I have spoken out against them and am their enemy. But, 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing' as Edmund Bourke said. I refuse to be cowed.

Hunters should understand that the great bulk of people do not share their desire to practise this sport. Indeed many find it at best distasteful, if not mean, evil and disgusting. They are the majority. We cannot afford to have them proven right by such louts and villains as are roaming the bush unchecked at present.

I rarely ever go up the bush on a weekend but I did again on Saturday as I wanted to have a look around before the sheep lambed. They have now started, so that will be that for me for a while. Plenty of jobs around the farm to do anyway, particularly tree planting. I returned to a location quite near this place: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-spot-of-solitude/ and wandered a little further along the river than I had ever been before.

As we set out Spot and I watched this swamp wallaby trying to get across this fording point for a while. He had three sterling goes at it but the snow and rain the night before had put the river up about 4" (100mm) and he kept on getting swept away. Eventually he decided that the grass was just as green on his side of the river and gave up.

Spot surveyed the crossing with some trepidation after that, but nonetheless we managed to get across without mishap, him riding as always on my back.

There had been a cold wind off the snow earlier, but as it warmed up the wind dropped and it turned into quite a nice day. The kookaburras were in full cry alerting all and sundry that we were afoot in their territory. Likewise there were a lot of currawongs about with their joyful cries. The wood swallows and bee eaters have recovered somewhat from the awful fires of a few years back, and are everywhere, cutting delightful arcs across the sky. A lone azure kingfisher drew lines on the pallid waters of the river. 'Wally' wombat has also bred up again and is out and about, even in broad daylight. I do so love the sights and sounds of the bush.

We came to a huge patch of solanums of some sort (a relative of tomatoes and potatoes). Frequently the leaves of such plants are poisonous to stock or at least bitter, so nothing much was eating them. Dogs just love to practise their balancing. There was an excellent dry wallow right in the midst of this patch - a fine and private place. It contained no cast antlers - as they often do. It was also a haven for wombats.

Something had been eating the fruit however. Frequently members of this family have palatable fruit, but I did not know about this particular one, so did not try it.

You can easily see what is beautiful but inedible, can't you?

Lunch and time for a cuddle. You can see that what is edible has been well munched down.

A poor attempt at a selfie, Spot getting in on the act! This is the clothing I think hunters should be wearing. An Icebreaker wool cap. This is a Tomar merino wool shirt from Kathmandu, currently on sale for A$89.98: http://www.kathmandu.com.au/mens/clothing/tops.html?product_filters_2017=6671 It is excellent.

What a beautiful valley it is.

Right on top of that stone ridge (above left) I came across this chair, which Spot just had to sit in. I guess it had been a good place to wait for a deer crossing down to the river in the fading afternoon light some time back, or maybe someone just wanted to sit and watch the golden river gliding slowly by. A quite reasonable pastime.

Then, unexpectedly, on the next flat downstream I came upon this horror. A true shambles. A charnel house of deer which had clearly taken place within the last week. I hesitate to say how many there were just like this - more than twenty though! Look at this beautiful little doe, last year's drop, savaged by dogs, shot and left to rot. Why would you do this?

And here is another just twenty yards away with her throat torn out. Again you can see where the dogs have savaged her flanks. This wasn't the work of any beagle I have ever seen or owned. Any normal scent trailing hound for that matter. What sort of evil mongrels such folks are using is beyond me. As is 'Why?'

A few yards further on this fine young stag, again savaged by the dogs, antlers hewn off at least. Still, a total waste by my reckoning. 

Another few steps and there was another, and another and another. Not an ounce of venison had been taken. 

And there were wallabies just like the one we watched earlier also torn to pieces by the dogs.

 

Such barbaric behaviour is not hunting. It is just wanton rapaciousness. What other base things are such sub-human creatures as perpetrated this outrage capable of? In order to simultaneously kill a half dozen large deer in a circle probably fifty yards in radius, how many dogs had been let out on this hunt? Certainly not the five beagles allowed by law!

These guys are doing everything they can wrong. Everything they can to ensure our sport is banned. You could not blame members of the public who stumbled upon such horror (canoeists for example - this is a lovely river to canoe), or heaven help them if they had become mixed up in it, if they then demanded that hound hunting, yea deer hunting entirely be banned forthwith. And they would be right!

If we cannot stamp out this sort of behavior, we deserve to lose our sport. There are people who are reading this who know who the people are who do such things. Some of you witnessed it, or were in the bush thereabouts on the day it happened which I was not (else the police would have all their number plates I can assure you!) and have a pretty good idea who was involved.

Week after week such vile idiots as this come home with a swag of antlers and an awesome tally of dead deer to boast about, having spent the weekend practising the vilest animal cruelty. Young yahoos edging each other on to acts of greater barbarism. People who would do this are capable of anything - or nothing! One thing I have heard about is folk who cruelly wound a deer, eg gut shooting it and breaking its legs so that they can drive the poor agonised creature back to their car rather than carrying the meat out! I have heard a vile thug boasting at his skill at this unbelievable abhorrent practice. God alone knows what further despicable acts of animal cruelty they are capable of.

And, they are slaughtering deer with vast packs of slavering dogs in our National Parks too. They have absolutely no respect for law or morality. They have no human values. Tiny and I were hunted by a pack of just such feral dogs which had been left behind by such a crew as this a few years ago. I could not believe they were baying on our trail. Dingoes certainly never bark on trail, or hunt in packs. I have now put two and two together after seeing this slaughterhouse. A client of mine, near Omeo years ago lost 800 sheep in a single night to such packs of wild dogs. A pack of feral dogs left behind by such hunters will tear some hiker or camper to pieces one day. If they can rip the throat out of a full-grown deer what chance do you think an unarmed person would have? I certainly never camp in the forest since that experience without a weapon handy.

(PS: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hunting-the-wonnangatta-moroka/ Tiny is my older Jack Russell - she is still going at 17 1/2, but she is too deaf and poorly sighted to be taken into the wilderness now. I would lose her, but she would still dearly love to come. She gets a five km walk in the forest behind us every afternoon though, and gets to smell lots of interesting things there, and can come home afterwards and sleep in her basket next to a warm fire. It is not a bad evening to her long life during which she spent a great deal of time in the bush ‘hunting’ and never laid a tooth on anything).

Here she is in retirement in front of her fire:

I will outline what has apparently become the normal modus operandi of too many hound hunters today. I have no idea what percentage but it may well be the majority. Most if not all practise some of the illegal or unethical things I will go on to explain. I was myself a hound hunter for over thirty years. My father, his father and his father too all hunted with hounds in the Australian bush. 175 years of hound hunting. But we never did anything like this. First of all we had a small number of hounds, often only one or two - what need large numbers anyway? One good dog with a superb nose and a good voice is enough actually - ah, but getting such a dog is hard! . For many years I had Harpoon, Belle, Poono, Mike and Marsh. They were foxhound-bloodhound crosses. What a dog Harpoon was. Better than most packs of dogs. Many people will have encountered them or me in the bush in years past. A young reader recently wrote to me that he could still just about hear my call on the wind, 'Harpoon, Come!' They are just a part of the earth of my orchard and of my memories today, after the dreadful foxhound ban - which alas, did no good!

I spent more time hunting for the hounds than I did hunting for deer. My friend the late Arthur Meyers used to call us 'the last of the hound hunters', and maybe that was about right. We hunted always on foot, without the benefit of a vehicle (as the law mandates). For much of that time we never owned a 4WD. We had feet. Two of them each usually, though a mate of mine, Jock had only one and used to get about in the bush pretty well besides. Still does actually.

Aside: We were going to walk into the Wonnangatta together this winter for a week or ten days, two silly septuagenarians, a spot of fishing and hunting and yarning by the fire, but he eventually could not make it, and I have not yet either. Still, eventually the sheep will finish lambing and I can get away again, so maybe yet...I do so adore the Wonnangatta valley in winter. On the horizon you are ringed with majestic snow-capped peaks. The frost crunches under foot in the morning as you go to do the dishes, the river fringed with ice crystals. Still the trout come to the lure and taste specially sweet straight from the coals. I see many deer coming down to drink of an evening and admire them quietly. They have little to fear from me in such a place. The air is clear and cold. Birdsong hangs bright and far on such frigid air. A Tyvek shelter and a cheery fire at day's end bring such a wondrous sense of peace and serenity.

We talked on the radio only at the end of the hunt or to locate each other as the law also mandates. The dogs never attacked wildlife. We carried out every morsel of the deer we harvested (not many). Some of these louts today are individually killing as many deer in a day as our team of 3-5 took in a whole year. These young blokes are the worst sort of tally hunters. They expect to shoot twenty or thirty deer apiece each year. Some would like to do so each week. What is the point? We never left a dog in the bush - if we had, it would have starved to death. We treated the deer and other bush users with respect.

So what is different about the 'modern' hound hunter? First the huge number of dogs. Each member of the 'team' might have the legal five dogs and three pups in training in the dog box on the back of their ubiquitous 4WD utes . A typical 'team' is well in excess of the mandated maximum of ten. So there are likely to be as many as 100 dogs present on a given day! Each has a vehicle and the vehicle is used extensively in the hunt to get in front of the deer, being moved again and again during the hunt. Often there are multiple hunts going on actually, because of the vast numbers of dogs. They hunt on roads, not in the bush. Each member has a radio operating on an illegal channel affixed to their breast. This alone invites a fine of $20,000 - but these clowns think they are invulnerable. Right next to it is a GPS tracker which they use constantly to follow the hunt and get a wickedly unfair advantage over the deer. Many of their dogs do not voice.

I have witnessed packs of 30-40 hounds just let out higgly-piggly in a valley (not after walking them in on a leash as we used to do on fresh sign until they began to bay, not releasing them until they did) and these whole vast packs were making far less noise than my old foxhound, Harpoon would have been making all by himself. This is because largely such folks are not using scent trailing hounds, though they might mostly have a superficial resemblance to them. It matters not to them whether their dogs have a 'good voice' because they are simply tracking the hunt in real time with their GPS units. When such electronic devices (including CB radios) became legal it was understood that they would not be used in the actual hunt. Nor is it ethical to do so. Having a team of up to 10 hunters with guns and five dogs is advantage enough! But of course they almost never restrict themselves like that. With such a vast amount of pressure on them, the deer are soon forced to 'bail' and if a hunter does not arrive swiftly to dispatch them, the dogs will harry them until they fall, or pull them down and kill them.

In over thirty years of hound hunting I walked in on hundreds of bail-ups. Mostly I arrived too late, if at all. The dogs had become bored that the deer was no longer moving, and had wandered away. Sometimes (not often) if I was lucky I arrived when the dogs were still 'holding' the deer. Sometimes I shot it, and sometimes I did not. Does with young were usually spared, for example. I never witnessed a dog harrying a deer. My scent trailing hounds would just stand around howling at it from a safe distance. I never had a dog injured by a deer as they never came close enough. I never found hair floating on the river water which would have indicated harrying activity. Owning such dogs as attack wildlife was illegal and unethical and properly remains so. If you had owned a dog which showed any sign of such aggression you would have put it down straightaway no matter how attached you were to it. You should always be able to shoot your own dog. Straight away. You just cannot trust a dog which attacks things. We all have loved ones. Imagine what might happen if a pack of such dogs came across a couple of women and children innocently playing (perhaps near their canoes) in the forest! It really is only a matter of time before such large, dangerous, poorly controlled packs kill domestic stock, companion animals or human beings.

There are other elements of the deer hunting scene I also disagree with, and have mentioned before. For example I abhor the practice of glassing the opposite slope and shooting deer long range with telescopic sights. Such conduct is appropriate only for cullers, not hunters. The quarry should have something like 'fair chase'. It should at least be able to use its senses to escape the hunter. I would prefer to see every hunter required to use only iron sights. They would have to have a lot more skill for one thing, and learn to get much closer to their quarry as bow hunters do. Again, I would rather that only cullers and perhaps bow hunters were allowed to use camo. This would give the deer a better chance and make it safer for everyone. I am not in favour of being an ambush predator, especially if the ambush has been informed by trail cameras which are properly a scientific tool. Deer are creatures of habit, and such means are really quite unfair. I think hunters should just have to 'walk them up.  This is really the only fair way of taking them ie bush stalking.

Deer are sentient creatures. It is our privilege to be able to humanely harvest them to prevent their breeding out of control and becoming a menace. They deserve our respect and understanding. I think the worst aspect (for me) about the nightmare display I witnessed on Saturday was that when I first spied the first little doe, her mother and younger sister were standing over her, their noses still touching her. I thought at first she was asleep. I was initially quite enchanted, and far too slow to get my camera out. I guess they saw Spot move and they left (as you can imagine) in an almighty hurry. They were grieving - as well they might be. I am grieving too. I really do not know whether I will ever shoot another deer after seeing this.

It will not keep me out of the bush that I love though, but I will be heading for more remote areas - and I guess I will need my gun to defend myself against those awful feral dogs these 'hound hunters' have left behind and allowed to breed up. Thankfully the Government conducts annual baiting (including aerial baiting) in many areas to try and reduce their numbers. This is very annoying when you want to take your Jack Russell for a walk in the bush. You need to check very carefully beforehand that there are no viable baits in the area you are heading for. Fortunately Spot is such a fussy eater he will touch practically nothing, but I would sorely hate to lose him and his companionship in the wilderness: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/not-quite-alone-in-the-wilderness/

Yes! Of course I reported this matter to the Game Management Unit DPI Traralgon as I would encourage all to do who know of similar awful deeds by evil clowns who claim to be hunters. We need to get these vile cretins out of the bush before their actions drive us all from our chosen recreation. Unsurprisingly the officer I spoke to had numerous similar dreadful incidents on his desk. I think the most chilling thing he said to me was, 'You would not believe the cruelty'...Game Management may be understaffed and work slowly, but they are coming for you. And good riddance!

Post Script: I remember folks used to claim they could 'sex' a deer by its footprints. Here are two sets of deer feet. One is a stag, the other a doe. They look just the same to me. I agree that older, heavier animals may have worn their toes down at the front, but those rounded toes definitely do not indicate a stag - whereas a rub line certainly does!

26/07/2017: Miniature Weapons – The Toothpick Crossbow: Miniature weapons are great fun for young and old. You might start your collection with this delightful ‘toothpick crossbow’ which is bound to annoy your friends and fellow workers: https://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/toothpick-crossbow/ Also avaailable Massdrop now (July 2017 https://www.massdrop.com/buy/bowman-toothpick-crossbow?utm_source=Iterable&iterableCampaignId=144137&iterableTemplateId=208034&utm_campaign=cco_fresh_finds_2&mode=guest_open&referer=EJ89BQ&utm_medium=email).

http://static.dudeiwantthat.com//img/entertainment/sporting-goods/toothpick-crossbow-27759.jpg

You might also like this: Micro BB Crossbow: http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/gear/gadgets/micro-bb-crossbow.asp

http://static.dudeiwantthat.com/img/gear/gadgets/resize(640%2c533)/micro-bb-crossbow-20049.jpg

Or this: Marshmallow Crossbow: http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/gear/gadgets/marshmallow-crossbow.asp

http://static.dudeiwantthat.com/img/gear/gadgets/marshmallow-crossbow-22852.jpg

Or this: Micro Blaster Q-Tip X-Bow: http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/gear/gadgets/micro-blaster-q-tip-x-bow.asp

 

http://static.dudeiwantthat.com/img/gear/gadgets/hog-wild-q-tip-x-bow-23512.jpg

Then of course there are the many rubber band guns such as this: http://www.rubberbandguns.com/pistols/western-pistols/colt-derringer-pistol

Colt Derringer Pistol

 

25/07/2017: EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker: This great little device is available here http://www.eyeque.com/home from US$29.99 (July 2017)

You can use this device to ascertain your correct eyeglass prescription. Repeated self-tests will make you more and more accurate. Users report it gives as good or better result than their optometrist. It is very handy for on-line ordering eg from http://www.zennioptical.com/ where you can buy a pair of flexible titanium progressive glasses for $US50 or less.

I have been buying my glasses from Zenni for years. The only time I have had a bad result is when the prescription was wrong. This device should allow me to check my optometrist’s prescription before I order. I will still be having a regular eye check up to make sure I am not developing any other eye problems – such as glaucoma, which blinds you before you are aware of it unless you have a regular visual field test and use it to keep track of your visual field index. Be warned. My wife lost more than half her eyesight before her glaucoma was diagnosed.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=fDGBQ1lN_aA[/embed]

I have ordered one of these devices and will download the App to go with it.

PS: You can do the same thing with your hearing aids to save even more money.

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/zenni-the-hearing-company/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-glasses-case/

Here is a good way to prevent you losing your hearing aids in the bush. It has saved me thousands: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/securing-hearing-aids/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=fDGBQ1lN_aA

 

24/07/2017: Pocket Slingshot: The Pocket Shot might be a good choice if you want to add a bunny, pigeon or duck to your hiking menu and you have found perfecting your skill with a conventional sling too hard (See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-to-make-a-sling/)

'With up to 350 feet per second, equals 350 km/h, double to triple the airspeed of conventional slingshots

With 12 Joule by using the original Pocket-Shot Ammo of hardened carbon steel six times the penetration power than with a conventional slingshot. Also much stronger than almost all Airsoft, Paintball or Air-Rifles

High Precision and high rate of fire. Allows quick aiming and shooting

Minimum weight of just 55 grams and extremely compact at 6cm  x 2 cm'

I might not be 'legal' in your particular locale, so you should check I guess.

It can also fire arrows and/or be used to take fish. I would say it might also be useful for driving away dingoes which might be following you and thinking about you as a snack.

From around $A40 (July 2017)

http://www.thepocketshot.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html

http://www.thepocketshot.com/store/p66/The_Pocket_HAMMER_%28Full_Kit%29.html

https://www.outdoorswarehouse.com.au/pocket-shot-quick-load-slingshot/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEYmpE4b7Ik

17/07/2017: A Hands Free Umbrella: What a good idea that would be, especially if you need to use both hands for trekking poles on rough or steep terrain. When the weather is really humid, you really need a roof to keep you dry (and warm). A raincoat in such circumstances will just see you soaked and frozen.

 

See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-importance-of-a-roof/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/?s=rain)

 

In such circumstances my ultralight poncho tent may save your life: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-poncho-tent/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/poncho-tent-update/

 

There are several possibilities. For example Antigravity Gear has a model featuring clips which attach your trekking umbrella to your back pack. https://www.antigravitygear.com/shop/rain-gear/swing-handsfree-backpack-umbrella/

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/c4/e6/b2/c4e6b2c2a52c3cb77428c0d901348465.jpg

 

There are several other possibilities, such as:

https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1GBWnQpXXXXXfaXXXq6xXFXXXK/5pcs-lot-Elastic-Headband-Metal-Frame-font-b-Hands-b-font-font-b-Free-b-font.jpg

 

https://gadgetflowcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Nubrella-Hands-Free-Umbrella-4.jpg

 

http://cdn1.gadgetify.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hands-free-umbrella.jpg

A search for ‘hands free umbrellas’ will provide you with lots of fun and amusement!

 

One I particularly like is the Ufocap: http://ufocap.tradekorea.com/product/detail/P280367/UFOCAP---Innovative-Umbrella.html?minisiteprodgroupno=32229 These little guys cost about $10 on eBay and weigh about 170 grams. Even if they look a bit silly they should do the job. The ones with transparent panels (at least at the front) would help you see where you were going.

 

16/07/2017: Naismith's Rule

'Is a rule of thumb that helps in the planning of a walking or hiking expedition by calculating how long it will take to walk the route, including the extra time taken when walking uphill. It was devised by William W. Naismith, a Scottish mountaineer, in 1892.  A modern version of this rule can be formulated i.e. as follows: Allow 1 hour for every 3 mi (5 km) forward, plus 1 hour for every 2000 ft (600 m) of ascent.' Clearly the 'rule' is about young, fit people walking on clear flat terrain. If you are older or 'bush-bashing' you will have to apply some corrections.

'It does not account for delays, such as extended breaks for rest or sightseeing, or for navigational obstacles...Over the years several adjustments have been formulated in an attempt to make the rule more accurate. The simplest correction is to add 25 or 50% to the time predicted using Naismith's rule.'  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naismith%27s_rule

I think the rule is a reasonable guide for 'track walkers'. Those of us who prefer more remote places will no doubt have worked out other ways of estimating. Doubling the time in much of the Victorian bush is reasonable. In off-track walks in Fiordland, forget it. There it will take you longer than you can believe to traverse a couple of kilometres!

The most important consideration is life is not a race. I have often encountered folks hurrying to their destination (ultimately death) who take no time to observe the wonders along the way. One of the advantages of being old is that it imposes a restraint such that you do have time 'to smell the roses'.

15/07/2017: 60 DIY Ultralight Hiker Ideas: I have been posting my DIY things for quite some time now. Thought you might like to see a collection of my ‘creations’.   http://www.theultralighthiker.com/60-diy-ultralight-hiker-ideas/

 

https://i2.wp.com/www.theultralighthiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DSCN4696-comp.jpg?zoom=2&resize=365%2C365

09/07/2017: Bathtub Groundsheet Chair: As you can see I have completed the first prototype of this project which I have long threatened. I learned a lot in the process, so that there will be substantial changes between where it is at now and the completed project. Still, you can see that it works. I created four ‘sleeves’ along the sides of the chair, back and seat) which you can slip lengths of dead sticks in for stiffening. I used some slats I had lying around from a broken door. You can see the end of one sticking up on the top right of the third photo.

There are three horizontal pieces of fabric which hold the infated pad in the two positions, one at each end and one (nearly) in the centre. I sewed the centre one at each end but I think I will unpick one line of stitching (as it might not be necessary, then when I want to configure the chair as a bed I can slip the mattress underneath it which will pull the sides up more to create a bathtub effect. If I make the two webbing straps a little longer they can also be clicked together criss-crossed to accentuate this effect. I think I will need a piece of elastic around about where my knees are in the second photo to firm up the ‘bathtub’ effect there.

I am thinking 3.5 oz Dyneema for the sleeves and triangular tie-outs the webbing is attached to.  A lighter Robic material might work well here. The bottoms of the back sleeves may need some reinforcing as that seems to be where the most stress occurs. I am thinking 1.3 oz silnylon for the floor. I know that this will wear through over time, but should last for many nights until then. You can also re-waterproof the silicon side as explained here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/waterproofing-tent-floors-and-ground-sheets/ I am thinking that the completed chair will weigh perhaps less then 90 grams! As you can see the prototype weighs 138 (but that is with 1.85 oz/yd2 Tyvek and 3/4″ buckles and webbing instead of 1/2″).

bathtub groundsheet chair

Ready for bed:

bathtub groundsheet

Detailed view:

ultralight hiking chair groundsheet

Prototype size and weight:

You can see how unpicking the middle horizontal (which made no difference to the performance of the chair) pulls the sides up in groundsheet mode. Clipping the webbing diagonally will also help. 

It’s quite comfy too if you configure it as a lounger like this. The Klymit Ultralight Pillow (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-ultralight-pillow/) can be used as a seat to boost height if required:

PS: Only the back sticks seem to be necessary, though the bottom sticks may add some minimal comfort. I will experiment with this. If so, I can reduce the weight by omitting the bottom sleeves.

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/inflatable-bathtub-groundsheet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-chairgrounsheet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/tarp-bathtub-groundsheet/

08/07/2017: Leatherman Juice B2: Leatherman just keep coming up with entrancing products to separate us from our hard-earned. Here's a nice example, the Leatherman Juice B2:

'Sometimes, all you need is a knife. The Juice B2 has one serrated and one straight-edge knife made from high quality steel and backed by our 25 year warranty.

leatherman juice b2

  • Closed Length 3.2 in | 8.2 cm
  • Weight 1.3 oz | 36.8 g
  • Blade Length 2.2 in | 5.6 cm'

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/leatherman-micra-multitool/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/leatherman_squirt/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/my-top-five-knives/

08/07/2017: Never buy clothes again! These folks are making garments they reckon you can’t wear out (from Kevlar). For example their 100 Year Hoodie: They’ve taken aramid fibres with a strength to weight ratio five times stronger than steel and spun them into a super soft knit to make the most indestructible hoodie you’ve ever worn.

100 Year Hoodie: Raw edition

They also sell undergarments: https://www.vollebak.com/product/100-year-hoodie-raw/

Pair them with these dyneema jeans and you will never need to buy clothes again: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/791166183/backcountry-denim-cotm-most-durable-jeans-ever-mad

07/07/2017: Poncho Tent Update: Today my waterproof zippers arrived so I sewed them on (and they work a treat!) I also made up the small extra piece which can be used to close the tent up completely. This piece will weigh just less than 30 grams in silnylon on the completed tent bringing its total weight to approx 180 grams or about 240 grams with titanium stakes, guys etc. You have to admit that this is pretty good for a tent which is also a raincoat! With the extra piece sewn in and zipped up the tent would make emergency accommodation for two (lying down) or probably four sitting up, so it could certainly save lives in unexpected bad weather.

Spot helping me measure and cut out the extra door piece:

And here it is with the almost invisible #3 waterproof zips sewn on:

And zipped in:

Della sitting in the tent - to give you some idea of how roomy it is:

The tent is plenty big enough for her to sit up with legs stretched out.

I admit I could have pitched it a bit tauter. I may put large ribber bands on each of the tie-outs to facilitate this. My sole concern with a tent actually is that it goes up easily, stays up and keeps you dry. prettiness is not part of my lexicon:

 

You can stake the door flap out like this to create even more space:

And it works as a raincoat:

It is 8' long at the widest point, so a large person can sleep in it without touching any of the sides - and you can have a fire out the front to warm it. Dogs love it!

Now to move on to the silnylon version - and complete my <100 gram bathtub-groundsheet-chair to use with it.

See Also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-poncho-tent/

04/07/2017: Black Diamond Storm Waterproof Headlamp: A year ago I though this was the greatest head torch ever: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/let-there-be-light-great-new-head-torch/

black diamond storm

Now, Black Diamond has a new model which blows it out of the water literally – being waterproof! their new model boasts an incredible 350 lumens though it uses an extra AAA battery (4 rather than 3). It still has superb run time and functionality though. This should be a good head torch for a bit of nighttime bunny busting (with a range on High of 80 metres). It lasts on High for 22 hours, and on Low for 160 – a full week, and weighs 110 grams including batteries! It is available on Massdrop at the moment for US$35.95 and I have found it on eBay this morning for US$39.95 (free shipping) which is about the same. Isn’t it ‘Xmas in July’ just now?

'Specs
  • Black Diamond
  • Lumens: 350
  • LED types: 1 QuadPower, 2 DoublePower, 3 SinglePower
  • Settings: Full strength in proximity and distance modes; dimming; strobe; red, green, and blue night vision; lock mode
  • Rated IPX67: Tested to operate up to 3.3 ft (1 m) underwater for 30 mins
  • Maximum distance, high: 262.5 ft (80 m)
  • Maximum distance, low: 36 ft (11 m)
  • Maximum burn time, high: 22 hrs
  • Maximum burn time, low: 160 hrs
  • Batteries: 4 AAA (included)
  • PowerTap technology
  • Brightness Memory
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Weight with batteries: 3.9 oz (110 g)’

03/07/2017: Hardtack: A recipe for folks who want to experience just how hard life was in the past.  I think you should try it. I used to eat it with relish when I was a kid, but back then kids were always hungry and would eat just about anything. You only have to notice how much taller youths are today than the average height of folks over 60 to see that this was true! The virtue that it certainly has is that it lasts in storage for years as the photo below amply illustrates.

If you want to eat flour based food (which is quite economic weight and space wise), maybe ‘Johnny Cakes’ (or fried scones) a traditional Australian favourite is more ‘for you’. I used to make these all the time when I was hiking, but I have come up with so many other recipes over the years that I usually don’t bother any more, mostly as they were a bit fiddly. You need to carry some fat for the frying for one thing. Once this had leaked all over my pack once or twice it put me off. Using dripping or tallow (as explained in yesterday’s post) would obviate this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/out-of-the-frying-pan/ I developed a recipe wihich was a bit more interesting than the traditional water, flour, salt one. The addition of eg some milk powder, some desiccated cocnut, a little sugar, some slivered almonds – even a few sultanas – makes the cakes into something quite pleasant and entertaining to enjoy. Here are a couple of recipes you might try from: http://thesurvivalmom.com/hardtack/ & http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Hardtack

hardtack

02/07/2017: First Bag Your Omelet: Long ago I noticed that powdered eggs are once again available in Australia: Coles Supermarkket, Cake aisle: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hormel-real-bacon-pieces/) and that they would go well with the Hormel’s Bacon Pieces (Dehydrated).

Farm Pride Powdered Whole Eggs omelet recipe

It’s a bit like noticing that dehydrated French Onion Soup ought to be a great resource and meal base but then never getting around to inventing a meal which uses it. Well I did with the onion soup, see for example: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-crayfish-bisque/

Now it is the powdered eggs’ turn. Of course I have already tried them out as reconstituted scrambled eggs and they make a fine breakfast, particularly if you fry some Chinese sausage with them (it doesn’t require refrigeration until after the packet is opened, so you have to eat itall. Oh Dear! It comes in approx 155 gram packets, so it’s not too much) The sausage also gives you the oil to cook the eggs in. A little bit of powdered milk in with the powdered eggs makes them fluffier and tastier, just like with fresh ingredients at home!

You can bring along some tallow to fry your omelet in (as described here http://www.theultralighthiker.com/out-of-the-frying-pan/) or you can bring along the omelet ingredients mixed together in a ziplock bag, add enough water to reconstitute them then simmer the bag in your cookpot - which means you don’t need oil, and you don’t have to wash up either!

I would definitely want some onion and garlic powder in my omelet, and some bacon pieces. If you have brought some dried tomatoes, they would go well too. There are a number of other interesting dried herbs you might add, eg thyme, basil, oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. I also enjoy curried eggs. I’m sure you have your own favourite omelet recipes. Oh, I always have some cheese along (for lunches). A little bit of shaved cheese always goes nicely on an omelet. As I have some salami (also for lunch) ditto!

Some other recipes from folks who find it easier to find dehydrated vegies than we do in Australia!

http://honeyvillefarms.blogspot.com/2012/04/omelet-in-bag-recipe.html#.WVh_oVFLfcs

http://www.carolinafoodstorage.com/2012/02/powdered-egg-omelet.html

https://atablespoonofoil.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/dried-herb-omelet/

Or you can cook your at home then dehydrate it, eg: http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/homesteading-gardening/146087-dehydrated-omelette.html

30/06/2017: Multiple Use: There is no doubt that one of the best ways to achieve ultralight hiking weight savings is if gear you carry serves several purposes. Thus for example, the Poncho tent I am working on (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-poncho-tent/ and likewise the bathtub floor groundsheet/chair I am also working on below (coming soon).

However, I finished these 12 gram (ea) shoes way back in April. They worked wonderfully well for my Fiordland Moose Hunting expedition on this year's Dusky Track walk (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/from-dawn-to-dusky/ & ff), and I had already posted a photo of what they weighed with and without the shoe inserts, yet somehow it had not occurred to me that I need not carry inserts specially for them when I could use the inserts from my shoes which I had definitely tested to make sure they absorbed no water after last year's shoe disaster on the South Coast track walk with Della: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/westies-hut/.

Clearly though, all I need to do is dry my shoes' inserts put them inside my hut booties and I have saved an ounce! Twice as much as I could save by switching to the lighter containers I wrote about in my last post: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/small-is-beautiful/ Still, every gram makes a difference.

PS: You will notice that in the second photo the draw string tightens only around the heel. The reason for this is to allow maximum air flow out the top of the shoe so that it doesn't get clammy. I chose waterproof material so that I could walk through wet grass (as you need to do in camp, eg to put wood on the fire). It is really nice to have dry feet at the end of a day's walking, but you don't need to carry a brick around to make it so.

Weight of the shoe bare:

With blue foam inserts. (Not very serviceable):

With proprietary urethane inserts:

The shoe in the photo has been used for over a week on the trail so that you can see how tough the material is. You could make them last longer by painting some liquid latex on the sole (for wear) every so often, but this would increase the weight too.

See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/19-gram-dyneema-camp-shoes/

PS: I know I haven't finished posting the patterns, instructions, etc. Please be patient. I am busy. I still have kilometres of fencing to build (another awful section through a dreadful slip completed yesterday) - and it is cold and wet, and I am old!

29/06/2017: I have trouble finding my glasses yet Mars Rover Opportunity has found a bit of man-made space junk on the surface of that vast empty desert, larger than the land surface of the Earth. We should have set this little guy to looking for MH370!

 

Image of a strange, metallic looking object from the Mars Opportunity rover. Picture: NASA

27/06/2017: A Spot of Solitude: My back and knee are still giving me trouble but the Meniers which has plagued me for the last fortnight seems to have taken a holiday, so I wanted to get away for a couple of days to see whether I was still up to some gentler country. I may need another back operation and I don't look forward to that. The knee I hurt looking for moose back in April in the Henry Burn near Supper Cove, Dusky Sound Fiordland NZ (See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/from-dawn-to-dusky/ & ff. The tyranny of aging really.

This is a new spot for me, so I did not know what to expect, for example would there be few deer as it had been badly burned out a few years ago? It might have been too thick or would it be impossibly crowded being relatively easy to access, and only gentle walking? Usually I would need my pack raft to get across this river to where I intended to camp and hunt but it has been so dry this winter I could simply walk across with Spot the Jack Russell riding on my pack, of course! I guess most people don't do much canoe hunting (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/you-take-the-high-road-and-ill-take-the-low/) and don't pay attention to the BOM's River Heights http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDV60154.html as there was no-one at all about, even though it was a lovely sunny weekend in the High Country. Suits me!

I was surprised at once by how chewed out the bush was along the river. All the available grass and forbs were chewed right down to the ground, and they had been gnawing at this nasty prickly wattle.

And the many stags are smashing them to bits! Good riddance!

This tiny gully had been thoroughly scoured. There are too many deer here actually. It is wonderful though how the large herbivores create the clearings, isn't it? Did you realise that tens of millions of years ago grass made an alliance with the herbivores and declared war on the forests? The result is the pattern of great plains and receding forests we see on the planet today. Once the word for world was 'forest'. Now it is 'earth'. Grasslands store several times as much carbon (in their soil) per acre as forests do in total. They do this to prevent the trees from having it. They feed the herbivores and the herbivores keep the forest at bay and nourish the grasslands with their dung and dead bodies. A tiny part of that great battle is what we see in this small valley.

I only had a little time to look around as I needed to make camp and gather some firewood. This trip had been a 'spur of the moment' decision. I had not decided to go until well after breakfast or started out much before lunch - and I needed to be back tomorrow night! Still, little trips are sweet! I very hastily erected my tent, as it was getting dark. No great wind was expected so I did not peg it out properly. It  would still keep what little rain was expected off me. A large tree had fallen and shattered so I had more than a ute load of firewood ready in no time - and I needed it. The night was cold! Spot chased a stag away through the wattles as I was gathering wood. I could hear his antlers clattering against the saplings.

Spot enjoys the fire, and my sleeping bag. Always hard to get him off/out of it and into his own at bedtime.

A fire is such a lovely thing!

It's certainly warm enough inside though in that lovely warm yellow glow. I hope you like my new Deerhunter's Shirt. Kathmandu had a sale on these wonderful 'Tomar' wool shirts last week for $89. They still do: http://www.kathmandu.com.au/mens/clothing/tomar-men-s-merino-long-sleeve-shirt.html A great colour. So much better, and more practical than all that silly camo! Wool is just great!

Spledid to just stretch your feet out towards the fire and watch the greatest show in town:

Isn't it grand?

[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DSCN4685.mp4"][/video]

I also finished the fourteenth volume of Poul Anderson's 'Flandry' ebooks on my phone while listening to some soothing music. What a cracker of a read they all are. So long as you love Sci-Fi as I do, anyway. Anderson is a genius!

In the morning Spot's bowl was quite iced up. It is the container of one of those Sirena Tuna meals, probably the Mexican Beans which are my favourite. It makes for a good ultralight cereal bowl, if you are looking for one! You will have to fight the dog for this one!

I just love watching the mist rising from the river in the dawn when I am doing the dishes:

Like this. Just so magical!

[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DSCN4705.mp4"][/video]

Looking back at my peaceful camp among the wattles. What an idyllic scene! In other countries you would have to pay thousands to find such peace and tranquility. So far in Australia we are still blessed. In Victoria at least.

But, time to take a look around...It is easy and instructive to follow a game trail like this:

It will lead you past preaching trees such as this and deer bedding areas, sometimes a wallow. As you can see, as soon as you get away from the river, the fire regrowth is pretty thick - and already starting to die from overmuch competition. You will not be able to see a deer far off in this sort of country. A telescopic site, (a culler's tool really) would be no use here. This is the sort of country where the lever action comes into its own. You can carry it unloaded (as you should any gun) but you can quickly throw it to your shoulder as you load for a quick snap shot at a fleeing deer. You must always be aware of what is behind the deer though. There must be solid earth or else you must not fire. A .30 calibre round can easily kill someone a couple of kms away!

This deer path up this small valley is pretty easy to follow. 'They went thataway' says Spot. Well, actually they came from thataway. I am hoping they circled around back to where they came from, and will be looking the other way! Sometimes this is a better strategy than following them. There is a cold wind blowing from that way, and the sun is shining from this way, so they will be bedded in a warm spot out of the wind over there.

You can see it gets quite thick. Plenty of private bedding areas, but you will not see a deer faraway. Very chewed out - both a good and bad sign.

Here are a couple of nice fresh rubs. The path between them marks the edge of this stag's territory. He will prowl this regularly scent marking and thrashing like this to warn others off his hinds. I will follow his line and see where it leads. He is along it somewhere.

And it leads into very thick stuff indeed with just the occasional small clearing and bedding spot. This old doe had just lain down here and never got back up. She might have starved, died from old age - or worse still carried a bullet all the way from the road perhaps. On this occasion a herd of other deer (doubtless her relatives) had been sleeping contentedly beside her remains. I have seen this before. I canoed down the Macalister after the devastating fires there a few years ago when the river was still full of dead eels as thick as your legs and as long as you are, and the banks still strewn with the carcasses of innumerable wallabies etc which had starved.The place reeked and the river water was nearly one-half mud by volume. I filled an empty drink bottle which stood on our window ledge for many years to illustrate this. It's no wonder all the fish died.

There is a spot in the bush there (on the true left bank) where there is an ancient quince tree, a reminder folks lived there once long ago - during the gold rushes perhaps. Such wonderfully productive trees can live for 800 years and produce over a tonne of fruit each year. How much better than gum trees is that? Right under the tree was the mummified body of a hind, and camping right next to her were her twins who yelped an raced off as I approached. She had died trying to keep them alive and they had stayed with her body for weeks. I noticed that a few minutes after they thought the coast was clear they crept back to be by her side. And 'they' say that animals don't have souls or (human) feelings! I hoped they would survive to carry on her legacy.

The deer had even been chewing at this inedible stuff, doing a good job of clearing it perhaps, but getting little nutrition. A group of deer was bedded here. One honked at me and several others exploded off in all directions. It was just too thick to see any of them.

This drier ridge downhill provides a little further viewing than the thick stuff. This particular trail is incredibly well traveled. It has a raised edge nearly six inches high! A deer highway!

I wanted to get a good photo of Spot, the rubs and the pronounced deer trail. I was concentrating on that, whilst Spot was looking at something else. I guess you could see about thirty metres through this stuff.

What he could see was a young stag's legs. After a while I saw them too. By this time unfortunately my back was starting to kill me again (not to mention my knee) so I was not wanting to carry out a mess of dead deer anyway. I thought I would just sling my gun and see if I could get a photo of the bit of the deer you could see for illustrative purposes. If you are looking for a whole deer, you will likely not see one in such thick bush. An ankle, an ear, a nose, a bright eye, a tail going up (How the eye is attracted to movement!). That is what you see.

Unfortunately, as I moved the gun, he saw that movement, and giving me a very loud 'Hello' or 'Goodbye' he was off. I could have knocked him over with a snap shot chancing that the bullet would not be deflected by such whippy undergrowth, but that is certainly the way to produce a wounded deer such as the skeleton I had found before. He would be there (and bigger) another day. Mostly, for me, deer hunting is an excuse to be wandering around in our wonderful bush. I certainly don't need the meat - I have a flock of sheep, and I prefer lamb anyway.

I walked back down to the river. I was probably less than 200 yards from it. The deer in this place are not retreating very far at night from their favourite feeding grounds, but they are having to travel more and more each night for a feed. Along the river the going is flatter and it is generally much clearer. Most places you would get a shot up to 100 yards. Ideal country for hammock hunting really: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hammock-hunting-till-dark/ You could wander along the river flats until just before dark, noting spots where there are two suitable trees (or a flat enough spot for your tent) and plenty of firewood (and access to the river for water for your billy). Or, if you were hunting it regularly, you could mark a route along the river back to your pre-chosen camping spots with these sweet little thumbtack reflectors which would allow you to find your way easily with your head torch in the total darkness: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hunting-thumbtack-reflectors/

I have all these fences to build at home, so I headed home. Unfortunately, on my way, I saw the butchered carcass of a deer not ten foot off  the main road, a road which hundreds of tourist vehicles traveled each day. Obviously shot in the lights! So completely unnecessary. The country is crawling with deer. But how many photos have you seen of guys with whole deer carcasses on the back of their trucks in hunting magazines? How far do you think they could have carried a whole sambar? Of course I was disgusted, and of course I moved it  further back into the bush. But you see this sort of thing too often. You have to think what folks who aren't hunters will think. 'Expletive deleted Hunters!' is what. And right after that that 'hunting' should be banned! Despite the fact that then there would be a plague of deer, and tens of thousands of them would starve, and the bush be wholly devastated by their presence. We have to eliminate the rogue element.

As hunters we need to be much more careful about the ethics of what we do, or we will lose our sport. People do not need to see hunters wearing lots of camo, carrying great big guns. You can wear much more suitable wool clothing as I do, which will attract no attention. You can carry a take down gun which is in your pack when you leave and arrive at your car so that people will not be the least alarmed. Any bits of deer you bring back can be discreetly inside your pack. And you can give the deer a chance by not using telescopic sights or shooting deer which cannot see you. Your quarry ought to be able to use the senses nature provided it with to avoid being killed. You have all the unfair advantage you need by being able to use a gun instead of a spear or knife. You need to use just your own senses and knowledge (plus hard work) to harvest the deer you take. You should not be relying on any electronic aids such as deer finders, radios or trail cameras. Just your eyes and ears, especially your nose - and your strong legs and back - which I wish mine were at the moment! Still I have had nearly seventy quite good years, and I imagine the neurologist will be able to tweak my back a bit so I can have a few more years wandering around the bush. I must ring him this morning.

27/06/2017: Small is Beautiful: Tiny Containers: The search for small receptacles to stow various necessities is ongoing. My friend Meg loaned me these lovely aluminium ‘tins’ to evaluate. She uses them for some of her tiny art works such as her fabulous ear-rings & etc. The smallest one here is perhaps a 10 ml model (and weighs less than 2 grams). There is a 5 ml model which no doubt weighs even less, probably not much more than 1 gram. Either of these would be very good for small quantities of cream such as heel balm, hand cream, sunblock, etc – or for fish hooks, swivels, sinkers, etc. You can find them for sale on eBay if you do a search such as ‘5 ml cosmetic containers’ priced from probably about 50 cents each.

I usually carry about four similar small Coghlans plastic containers which weigh 6 grams each, so I have a saving of 8 grams (or half an ounce) in switching to these ones. Every little bit helps.

The three pictured Sizes are: 1. 3.7 wide x 1.6 = 17 ml, 2. 5 x 1.8 = 35ml, 3. 7.1 x3.65 = 150 ml. They weigh 2, 5 and 13 grams respectively. Various sizes are available apart from those shown above: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 50, 100, 150, 250 etc. There may even be one big enough to use as a cook pot!

Of course they look better with Meg’s hand-made ear-rings in them:

I have tried using drinking straws as containers (as here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/single-use-antibiotic-packs/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-further-use-for-drinking-straws/ - an even better use!) but have not found them very satisfactory, especially if you need to reseal them. They probably do suit for one-offs such as single doses of iodine.

‘Micro dropper bottles’ such as eye drops come in are handy for all sorts of things – a small quantity of ‘wilderness wash’ type soap for example. You will find plenty available for sale from about 3 ml up to say 20 ml if you search. They weigh from about 3 grams.

One of these vials is ideal for your sewing needle. You can wind some thread around them. They weigh about 2 grams. I am still searching for lighter - meanwhile my needle lives in my fishing hand line bottle.

https://www.survivalresources.com/3-mini-plastic-vials.html?category_id=133 They have many other useful containers – as well as other neat stuff!

If you wear glasses (as I do), you could slip a needle into your eyeglass repair kit: https://www.survivalresources.com/eyeglass-repair-kit.html?category_id=139

PS: These are the best needles: https://www.survivalresources.com/eyeglass-repair-kit.html?category_id=139 And this is the most useful thread http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dyneema-braid/ (just last weekend I affected a repair on my daypack somewhere in the Gippsland forest with some).  If you wind some onto a small plastic (medicine) bottle you will have a handy ultralight (fly) fishing kit: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/ Of course you always need a blade too. It doesn’t get much better than this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-ultra-sharp-knives-3-grams/

See Meg: For fancy ear-rings and other beaut stuff:  https://www.facebook.com/madebyemegbye/ & https://www.instagram.com/p/BVd48naHWex/

26/06/2017: Fire from a Can of Coke and a Chocolate Bar: This is just about my favourite fire starting tip: It is surprising the out of the way places you can find a humble aluminium can and beleive it or not, you can polish the bottom brightly enough that it will focus the sun’s rays hot enough to ignite combustible material. Full instructions here (and many other interesting things): http://www.wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/cokeandchocolatebar/

22/06/2017: Adventures in Stoving: I really liked the title of this guy's website, apart from the interesting information it contains. Two selections: the world's smallest, lightest gas stove, and how to refill hiking gas canisters:

World’s Lightest Gas Stove – 25 grams: You can find this little guy available in a variety of places under different pseudonyms. I don't know whether they are all the same. it has had mixed reviews. Folks who haven't stressed it out too much seem satisfied it will do the job.

https://www.amazon.com/Ubens-Ultralight-Camping-Outdoor-Cooking/dp/B00NNMF70U

https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/the-brs-3000t-worlds-lightest-stove.html

Refilling gas canisters: https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/the-g-works-r1-gas-saver-refilling.html

The gadget which will do this is probably illegal in Australia (what isn't?), but would probably work, and save you money. Howevr, LPG is highly explosive, and gas canister stoves have other drawbacks, so maybe proceed with caution:

For most trips the weight of teh emty gas canister, (and not knowing how much fuel it has left) precludes using them at all. Esbit is the most weight efficient system (and I have pointed out a way to simmer with it here: ). My personal choice is meths (aka alcohol stoves). If you are only boiling then Minibull's 'Elite' stove is impossible to beat. Mine weighs <7 grams (https://www.minibulldesign.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=195&idcategory=2 ). Otherwise you can try the 'Supercat stove ( ). The advantage of meths is that you can calculate (before you leave exactly how much fuel you will need to cook all the things you are taking and only take that amount of fuel (I usually carry it in a small platypus bottle).

Minibull Elite Stove

 Supercat Stove

Also worth considering is a wood fuelled stove. I have both the Bushbuddy and the Suluk (as you will see here http://www.theultralighthiker.com/bushbuddy-stove/ and here http://www.theultralighthiker.com/suluk-stove/. I also have a Caldera Cone: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/cookset-woes/

You could try making my Egg-Ring Stove http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-egg-ring-ultralight-wood-burner-stove/as it only weighs 7 grams and makes a stable emergency stove in case you ever run out of fuel (or your jet blocks up if you are using a canister stove).

Bushbuddy Stove:

Caldera Cone:

Suluk Stove:

Egg Ring Stove:

22/06/2017: DIY Glasses. You don’t even need an eye test! http://optifocus.ecommroad.com/

 

21/06/2017: World's tallest tree: who would have believed that this 154 metre mountain ash felled at Healesville in 1872 was 40 metres taller than the largest Californian redwood ever recorded: http://baddevelopers.nfshost.com/Docs/talltrees.htm

20/06/2017: Weather Lore: An infallible weather forecast, if a change of weather is coming up:

'Wind then rain. No pain.

Rain then wind, stay in!'

 

In plain words this says that when rain comes first without wind then expect a long period of bad weather with high winds and heavy rain. But when wind comes first and is followed immediately by rain, then fine weather will follow at short notice.

Many people are trapped by bad weather in the bush every year, and if they but knew of this simple weather sign they could be prepared, and get out to a position of safety before really bad weather sets in.

Another infallible weather signal is the appearance of cumulus nimbus cloud, a foreteller of thunderstorms. While a greenish light in the sky preceding a thunderstorm is an almost certain sign of heavy hail. Halos (or circles) around the sun or moon also almost invariably mean rain is on its way.

Red sky at night, shepherd's delight.

Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning.

A red sky - in the morning or evening, is a result of high pressure air in the atmosphere trapping particles of dust or soot. Air molecules scatter the shorter blue wavelengths of sunlight, but particles of dust, soot and other aerosols scatter the longer red wavelength of sunlight in a process called Rayleigh scattering. At sunrise and sunset, the sun is lower in the sky causing the sunlight to travel through more of the atmosphere so scattering more light.This effect is further enhanced when there are at least some high level clouds to reflect this light back to the ground.

When weather systems predominantly move from west to east. A red sky at night indicates that the high pressure air (and better weather) is westwards. In the morning the light is eastwards, and so a red sky then indicates the high pressure (and better weather) has already passed, and an area of low pressure is following behind.

Clouds And Their Reading

Cirrus: This is the "mare's tail" sky of the landsman, shows as long threads or wisps of cloud. This is the highest of all cloud formations, and is a sign of a "high" barometric pressure, which means fine weather.

Cirro Stratus, and Cirro Cumulus: In these clouds the former is long wispy, cloud, and in the latter rounded small cloud the typical "mackerel" sky. Both are indicators of a high barometric pressure, and fine weather.

Cumulus and Cumulus Nimbus: Cumulus is the high white piled-up masses of cloud seen in summer. When streaked with horizontal bands it is Cumulus Nimbus, or thunder cloud, a sign of coming storms, which may be of short duration, or may indicate a change in the weather generally.

Nimbus: This is the grey ragged cloud which uniformly covers the sky. It is the true rain cloud, and an indication of low barometric pressure and rainy weather.

Storm Scud: This is formless masses of very low cloud driven fast before the wind. It is a sign of very low barometric pressure, and continuing bad weather.

A light-weight radio (such as this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/backcountry-radio/) might be a good way to keep up with the weather forecast as well as providing other entertainment. I have not been able to find a better than this one at 91 grams.

Tip: When heading up the bush it is particularly important to check the wind forecast. You need to know which way the prevailing wind is going to be coming from (You can't just rely on the observation that it 'always' comes from the West - no matter that this is true most of the time). A sudden change to0 the east will mean your tent is pitched the wrong way around. This is particularly important if the wind change is going to occur in the middle of the night in which case you need to pitch it so that it suits both wind directions - if possible. (it usually is!)

19/06/2017: Working on my next ultralight project. This time it is a bathtub goundsheet which doubles as a chair. In Tyvek this will weigh around 120 grams. I am hopeful I can duplicate it in a lighter material at around 80 grams. Add this to my poncho tent at 160 grams and you have a wonderful camping combo!

 

19/06/2017: Anderson’s Inlet: What a beautiful shallow bird-filled inlet where the splendid Tarwin River meets the Southern Ocean (Sth Gippsland Victoria). Having already walked from San Remo or Rye (Phillip Island) along the coast.you can now walk from Inverloch along the shoreline, cross Screw Creek (on a bridge) then continue on, sometimes on the shoreline, sometimes on the levee bank (depending on the tide). You may get your feet wet a couple of times as you cross small creeks (Pound Creek, Cheery Tree, etc – fresh preferably filtered water for your solitary camp) but you can walk out eventually at the bridge at Tarwin Lower. NB: The trip is better at low(ish) tide. Then you can walk through the wonderful mangroves!

Maher's Landing:

You will see more birds than you thought was possible anywhere in Victoria – and you will likely see a hog deer too, though you may not hunt it!. Lots of koalas amid the sugar gums close to shore. (These are so named because the gum is sweet and edible). Cross the bridge across the Tarwin, a quick walk along the river bank past the shops, supermarket, hotel etc and you are then on a path that becomes a cycle track after the jetty which you follow to Lees Rd, Venus Bay. Walk along Lees Rd a couple of kms to Fishermans Rd where there is a boat ramp and you can once again walk along the shore of the inlet, eventually walking right around Point Smythe and continuing on along the beach back to Venus Bay No1 Beach where you can come inland again for supplies at the local shops if you want – or you can continue on along the coast all the way to Darby River on Wilsons Promontory, days away. Just the beginning of the wonderful http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-great-gippsland-circuit/

Straw Necked Ibis hunt the shallows

There are more bait worms and bivalves in these mud flats than you can imagine!

The inlet is also a great fishing spot. Key species are Australian salmon and garfish.

Tarwin Lower Jetty:

Fishermans Rd Boat ramp Venus Bay:

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/george-bass-coastal-walk/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/george-bass-coastal-walk-2/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-walk-on-the-wild-side/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/venus-bay-no-4-beach-gippsland-victoria/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/to-the-lighthouse/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/blond-bay-roseneath-reserve-hollands-landing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/there-is-simply-nothing-like-an-old-port-walking-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/sale-common/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/blond-bay-lake-tyers/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/beautiful-east-gippsland/

18/06/2017: Lighter, Brighter, Better: Three great new Maratac flashlights:

Anodized Aluminium Tactical Personal Flood TPF AAA Light by Maratac 160 lumens - US$40.95 (June 2017).

A 14-15 gram head torch which produces 160 lumens will be hard to beat!

'The Maratac™ AAA Stainless Steel flashlight was so popular, we had it made in a right angle varient. The same great light in a right angle form factor, featuring a 105 degree beam of projected light for increased field of use and a glow in the dark reflector. Checkout this AAA powerhouse now with many new upgrades:

The reflector glows after the light turns off so it's easy to find in the night.

Specifications:

  • Length: 2.65"
  • Diameter: .57"
  • Weight 14 Grams / .35 Ounces without battery ( Incredibly lightweight ) 
  • Stainless Steel Pocket Clip ( Easy to clip onto a hat, MOLLE gear or shirt pocket )
  • Glow In the Dark Built In reflector ( Easy to find in the dark )
  • LED Type: Cree G2 Emitter ( High Output ) with a life span up to 50,000 hours.
  • Flashlight body is made of Aircraft Grade Aluminum 
  • Stainless Steel ring around the dome lens for added durability
  • The dome lens has been treated with an AR (Anti-Reflective) coating.
  • Proprietary circuit design features reverse polarity protection and runs off of one AAA battery that provides 3 levels of brightness ( Low /Medium / High).

Using a single Duracell AAA battery we got the following results:

  • Low Mode, 5 lumen output for up to 60 Hours ( Diffused Light )
  • Medium Mode, 48 lumen output for up to 4 Hours
  • High Mode, 160 lumen output for up to 75 Minutes'

https://countycomm.com/collections/aaa-flashlights/products/anodized-aluminium-tactical-personal-flood-tpf-aaa-light-by-maratac

Inspection : AAAx2 Extreme - Tactical Light by Maratac 385 lumens - US$ 42.50 June 2917)

'The Maratac Inspection AAAx2 Extreme LED flashlight is made to be both tactical and practical. The light is straightforward to use and has friendly ergonomics. The Maratac AAAx2 Extreme features an advance Cree XP-G2(R5) LED for greater brightness and efficiency.

  •  Medium 45 Lumens / Low 5 lumens / High 385 lumens  mode brightness control (Simple 3 mode switching)
  • Operation:
    • Press and click the back thumb switch to turn on the light into Medium mode. Lightly press again for Low mode and once more for High. Press and click anytime to turn the light off.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • 22.8 grams or .8 oz (without battery)
  • 5.0" O.A.L. x .58" inch width
  • Type 3 Military Grade Anodizing ( Matte Finish )
  • Utilizes 2 Standard AA Batteries ( 1.2-1.7 Volts each )
  • Standard Modes ( Pressing Tail Cap Through Modes )

·          

    • Medium ( 6 Hours )
    • Low ( 90 hours )
    • High ( 1.65 hours )'

https://countycomm.com/collections/aaa-flashlights/products/aaax2-extreme-glow-tactical-light-by-maratac-rev

Anodized Aluminum AAA Flashlight by Maratac™ Rev 4 now 145 lumens - US$41.50

'Worlds first production LED AL flashlight...the smallest, brightest, AAA flashlight? We think so!

Check out this AAA powerhouse.

After thousands of Request ( Medium / Low / High )

Specifications:

  • Premier Series
  • Glow in the dark Diffuser ( New for Rev 4 )
  • Glow in the Dark front o-ring around reflector ( New for Rev 4 )
  • Each light is hand finished.
  • Length: 2.6" ( Smaller than Rev 1 )
  • Diameter: .5"
  • Weight with battery is 37.3 grams ( 28.1 grams without battery )
  • LED Type: Cree XP-G2 S4 with a life span up to 50,000 hours. ( Newest & Brightest Emitter REV 4 )
  • with a life span up to 50,000 hours. ( Newest & Brightest Emitter )
  • The New Orange Peel Reflector is aluminum alloy.
  • Flashlight body is machined of Aircraft Grade Aluminum
  • The lens has been treated with an AR (anti-reflective) coating.
  • Its proprietary circuit design features reverse polarity protection and runs off of one AAA battery that provides
  • Now with 3 levels of brightness ( Medium / Low / High ).
  • Comes with clip & o-rings
  • Clip installed from factory to preserve finish
  • New Stronger Clip 

Using a single Duracell AAA battery we got the following results:

  • Medium mode, 40 lumens output for up to 7 hours
  • Low mode, 1.5 lumens output for up to 55 hours
  • High mode, 145 lumens output for up to 70 minutes
  • ( Rev 1 model was 80 Lumens and 48 minutes) ( Rev 2 model was 115 Lumens and 60 minutes)'

https://countycomm.com/collections/view-all-light-products/products/aluminium-anodized-aaa-flashlight-by-maratac-rev-3

Of course each of them can easily be made into a head torch with two o rings, a bit of cord and a micro cord lock:

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/11-gram-rechargeable-head-torch/

15/06/2017: NZ Moose: Ken & Marg Tustin have been hunting these beasts in Fiordland's forests since the 1970s. The creatures are enormously elusive. Of course there are lots of browse, prints, droppings but so far they have managed to come up with a single cast antler, two positive DNA samples and a couple of (unfortunately) poor quality photos of them. Not much return for a lifetime of hard work, but an enormous, 'Well Done Ken & Marg!' for such a Herculean effort. They must have spent literally years of their lives living in these remote sodden forests!

For example, when I talked to them in Te Anau in April 2017, Ken had just come back from a six week stint in Herrick Creek, Wet Jacket Arm, Dusky Sound. Like me, Ken is nearly 70! No-one who has never ventured into these wet, cold, dense, dangerous forests (as I have - though much more briefly) has any idea of the effort involved. They could be literally swarming with moose yet it would be unlikely you would ever find one.

Here is a link to an interesting article about them, and the Tustin's quest: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/shadow-theatre/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ShadowTheatre (You can read it for free once at least, but you cannot copy and paste any of it).

I suspect the moose are quite widespread throughout Fiordland National Park. I too have found moose sign in very widely separate areas, but they are present at very low rates per square kilometre (almost certainly well less than one) mainly due to the absence of really suitable feed. Nonetheless, it is a huge (largely unexplored, and unexplorable) area, so that there could still even be more than a thousand of them (unlikely), yet no-one would ever see them!

Books by Ken Tustin: 'A Wild Moose Chas'e & 'A Nearly Complete History of the Moose in New Zealand'. Films: 'A Wild Moose Chase and 'New Zealand's Fiordland Moose': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yyGCqWhbjI All highly recommended.

Other books about Fiordland Moose: Ken Tinsley 'Call of the Moose'. Max Curtis 'Around the River's Bend' - this last tells the story of the last successful moose hunt in NZ in the early 1950s. If you are going to become a NZ moose hunter, I suggest you devour all the above material!

This is Jim Mackintosh beside a female moose he shot at Herrick Creek in 1951. Other moose were shot and photographed in the area in 1952, the last certain sightings. Only about a dozen moose have ever been taken in NZ, three of them by the 'legendary' Eddie Herrick who spent nearly ten years of his life in toto hunting them!

PS:  The type of river flat forest Jim has shot this moose in is quite rare in Fiordland. There is some (for example) across Supper Cove from the hut, at the mouth of the Seaforth River and then along the river to the Henry Burn and here and there all the way up to the Kintail, but it was mostly all well eaten out by moose a long time ago. All the same you can see old broken branches about 8-9' up where they have been, and they may still use such patches for shelter in dreadful weather. I have stalked through some of it many times. Sometimes you even find a recent print. Considering that it rains on average over 25mm (1") per day in Fiordland, a print does not last long!

Mostly you would be looking for them in much worse terrain than this, up the steep valleys and along the incredibly precipitous forested sides. PS: Even in this sort of country you would have to be very watchful for the dangers of morasses! PPS: 'Normally' when moose hunting you are looking for their 'signature' branch breaking at that 8-9' height, but you should also make yourself aware of their 'browse line' at that height - where they have eaten practically every leaf they can eat of their favourite food plants. This is far more ubiquitous, but perhaps less obvious.

PPS: AS I say in the first link below, I believe I had a close encounter with a moose back in April 2017 in the upper Hauroko Burn, yet there was very little available moose browse in the Hauroko, (but plentiful old moose sign), whereas coming down the slope from Lake Roe to Loch Marie for example there were lots of 'moose plants', but much less moose sign. Moose are where you find them!

See also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/follow-your-nose/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fiordland-moose/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/moose-hunting/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/eddie-herrick-moose-hunting-at-dusky-sound/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fiordland-moose-2/

15/06/2017: Shoelace Reinvented: I went to this site looking for a new pair of shoes. The Men's Topo Terradventure has been recommended to me as a wide-fit ultralight shoe with superior grip and wear characteristics weighing 294 grams. I am keen to try out a pair, but I need to see whether they fit first. However I was struck by the offer on the site of a new, superior lacing system. Also note they sell Aloksak waterproof bags: https://www.injinjiperformanceshop.com.au/collections/topo-athletic-footwear

'The Terraventure pushes the limits of lightweight performance and rugged durability. This platform features an aggressive lug design providing better traction and mid-foot stability. A flexible ESS forefoot rock plate protects the foot from stone-bruising while the ghillie lacing system insures a secure midfoot fit.

 

 

The Terraventure runs half a size small, so we recommend sizing up half a size from your current running shoe fit. ~15mm of room around the outside of the toebox is a perfect fit, allowing your foot to splay naturally. A full size chart is available below.

 

 Technology/Specifications

  • // 6 mm rubber outsole
  • // 14 mm (heel) // 11 mm (ball) midsole
  • // 5 mm footbed
  • // Total stack height 25 mm x 22 mm (3 mm drop)
  • // Weight: 294g. (size 9)

Slacklaces are flat elastic shoelaces that you truly have to try to believe. You will feel the difference with your very first step. Slacklaces are perfectly designed to eliminate any tight spots, banding, and pressure points that can improve circulation, comfort and performance . They are flat, wide, very light and have the perfect combination of stretch and stability. SLACKLACES are so simple to use and are great for triathletes, kids, elderly and even more useful for individuals with disabilities. SLACKLACES are designed with the ability to change with the constantly changing contours of your feet and they look as good as they feel! Slacklaces come in a variety of bright colors, and lengths to fit every shoe and every style! https://www.injinjiperformanceshop.com.au/collections/yankz/products/yankz-slacklace

Surelace System: A Better Fit that You Never Have to Tie Again Yankz! Sure Lace System is the most comfortable and innovative lacing system available.
The unique design is ideal for walking, running, hiking, gym class, biking and other athletic activities.

Expandable cords provide an unsurpassed level of fit and comfort. No more tying, retying, double knots or frazzled dirty laces. Slip on your shoe with Yankz!

Many important factors make the Yankz! Sure Lace distinct:

14/06/2017: Drop Bear: Found this poor little fellow dead in the paddock this morning. Looks to be a victim of the dread Chlamydia (They also call it, 'Wet Bum') which is so prevalent amongst them, though s/he had also been fighting and had a number of nasty scratches - unsurprising when you see the size of their claws. I had noticed it roaming from blue gum  to blue gum just the other day but had taken no notice as they are quite prevalent here, though not in epidemic proportions yet as they are in so many places, poor things. It is horrific to see them starving to death en masse, as they are/were eg at Cape Otway last time we were there in 2013.

Rear claw - quite a thumb:

Front claw - imagine being slashed by that. Those claws are over an inch (2.5cm) long!:

If you catch one that is in distress (eg after being hit by a car) it is quite difficult to handle them (you need a thick blanket or coat which you have no further use for!) as they will attach themselves firmly to your arm, those claws penetrating quite clear through your biceps etc, so that very soon you will be sorry you had picked it up. I saw a man in this state one day at Tarwin Lower one Sunday when we were out fox hunting along the Inverloch Rd - you could do that sort of thing then. We used even to hunt foxes out of the graves in the local cemetery (My hunting mate, the late Dick Davies was chairman of the Cemetery Trust). Some graves were quite prolific. I wondered whether richer people attracted a better class of fox! The local Leongatha vet had to euthenise the bear to get it off the poor chap it was attached to! Of course being such dreadful venal types as fox hunters (as we were) we thought the whole incident quite funny - except for the koala!

I do prefer seeing them alive, like this one, though he has pretty much eaten out his tree too, as you can see. Apparently once you start to see them, they are already too numerous for the good of the forest, like the little guy above. It was nearly thirty years before anyone first saw one after the First Fleet!

Curiously the foxes had not touched him. They must not taste anywhere near as good as sheep. A dead sheep would be scattered all over the paddock by the next day! This guy had been there about three days. He was a bit too far gone for me to try! I am not 'Bear' Grylls! No doubt so named because he usually eats them!

Interestingly enough, we used to skin all the foxes we shot, (we usually had a few dozen after a day's hunt - the proceeds paid for everyone's family's Xmas presents) and throw their skun corpses into the blackberry patches. Nothing ever ate a fox. I am certainly never going to start if even crows eschew them. They are vilely malodourous - as are koalas actually!

Apparently long ago there was a marsupial lion very much larger than these little guys. Thylacoleo Carnifex (http://www.megafauna.com.au/view/megafauna/thylacoleo-carnifex & http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/scratch-marks-in-a-wa-cave-show-the-drop-bear-thylacoleo-carnifex-could-climb-particularly-well/news-story/5f6af36d077aa792e55239c41a814ecd). Some cryptozoolgical types (or not so logical types) avow that these critters were arboreal (indeed that they still exist!) and that there is some danger of them dropping from trees and devouring you. I have spent a lot of time under trees and it has not happened to me yet. Neither is irt stopping me from heading 'up the bush' this week - though some much needed fencing is, Alas!

13/06/2017: A Walk on the Wild Side: You can set off from Rye or San Remo (Phillip Island, Gippsland Victoria - public transport available) and walk all the way along the beach to Screw Creek, Inverloch. This comprises the beginning of the magical http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-great-gippsland-circuit/ which will be a hiking holiday that takes a couple of months to complete exploring many of Victoria's scenic wonders.The section we were looking at yesterday afternoon after closing the shop (https://www.facebook.com/yinnargeneralstore/?ref=br_rs) was at Harmers Haven near Wonthaggi. Take a left hand turn near the end of the main street into Cameron Street and follow it past Harmer's Haven to a car-park and the beginning of this enchanting beach exploration walk Just a few steps along the path you come to this beautiful bridge across the lagoon:

Of course I was lucky enough to be accompanied by this beautiful lady (as I have been for 47 wonderful years) and her astonishing dog:

Here is that outstanding dog, Spot again. How he loves the beach!

A blue crane was busy fishing in the lagoon:

A pair of delightful sandpipers let us get very close to them:

As did this red-billed shearwater:

Even on a holiday weekend the deserted beach stretched on and on towards Cape Paterson (shop/s, hotel, etc) and Inverloch (even more amenities)

Looking back into the sunset towards Kilcunda:

Della managed to take an even better photograph:

And again:

So many enchanting skerries:

And other beauties bathed in the golden light of dusk:

And here is another beauty - as my mother used to say, 'A frog's pretty in a cat's eye'!

Twilight combs the skerries:

 

The last blush of day to the east:

After Screw Creek you need to get across or around Andersons Inlet (I am working on that - I hunted foxes ) whence you can walk all the way along Venus Bay Beach to Cape Liptrap. It is possible to climb around the lighthouse and descend again on the other side whence you can walk along to Bear Gully (a truly magical camping spot), Walkerville South, Walkerville, Sandy Point, Yanakie, Wilsons Prom...and so on and on - to Eden, Mt Kosciusko, then back along the Alps to Lilydale!

12/06/2017: Follow Your Nose: I have failed to follow my own advice on this one more than once to my regret as you can read in my account of my recent Dusky walk below. Trust your nose, Somewhere upwind possibly just in sight is something important you need to pay attention to. For example, you may wonder how ancient mariners unerringly managed to find remote islands when a failure to do so might have meant all would perish. At sea there is little scent. The great variety of scents comes instead from land animals and flowering plants whose varied odours drift on the wind detectable many kilometres downwind. Our mariners, knowing from their pennants the direction of the wind, and using their nose could tack back and forth heading infallibly for the source of the endless wonder that assailed their noses.

Of course at sea there are other clues to indicate the direction of the land. The wind and tides drive floating objects outwards in a pre-determined direction which you can follow back. Leaves, grass, flowers, spiders etc are a giveaway. The story of Noah and his dove is a charming metaphor (and of course it is unlikely a dove would bring back a twig unless it was nesting - but pigeons and doves do, so who knows?), but clearly the presence of a floating twig (or one in a bird's maw) certainly does indicate the proximity of land. Again, clouds build up against islands. The Maori did not call NZ 'The Land of the Long White Cloud' for no reason. Islands also disturb the movement of waves and currents. This disturbance can be detected by the observant mariner.

Similarly, in the desert there are few scents - again because of the scarcity of life. Where there is life in profusion is near water sources in such arid wildernesses. The scents from all the life around such oases wafts on the wind and can be detected 10, 20 kilometres away. It is how desert dwellers found them in the first place.

If you are out hunting and you smell an unusual odour (eg your quarry) don't ignore it. Investigate. And get to know the peculiar scents of the animals you hunt. Knowing the musky stench of a stag in rut is a valuable piece of information. Your nose can lead you to many other food sources. The scent of honey is unmistakable. A wild bees' hive is a treasure if you know how to safely rob it. If you do not the scent of the honey (or nectar) in bottle brushes can lead you to a sweet treat particularly in the morning. Ripe fruit, such as lily-pilies wafts out a delectable fragrance that should earn you a feast in some cool valley.

On our afternoon walks around Yinnar and Jeeralang, I am forever saying to Della, 'Smell that fox, wallaby, deer, pig', etc. It has taken her a while to learn to pay attention to her nose. She grew up in the city, and hasn't been a hunter all her life like me, but she is now noticing those most pungent odours at least. Pig and fox scent are very strong. We have seen four sambar deer on our afternoon walks just in the last week. The pig sign is becoming very prevalent. Another season of breeding and I fear they will be invading the local backyards and stealing babies from their prams!

Note: I have a confession (of stupidity) to make. Somewhere during this section between the two upper walk wires on the Hauroko Burn Fiordland NZ (You can imagine it is in the photo above) I encountered quite  a strong 'animal' smell not unlike a goat. I thought to myself at the time, 'Well, it's not a deer'. Then I thought, 'Could it be a plant'. You know how Dogwood in Australasia is so named because it smells somewhat like wet dog. I thought to myself  'I wonder whether the Leather Wood which you encounter just before the tops in NZ (and which is redolent with the musty odour of countless deer) is so called because it smells of leather?' There is a sweet cloying honey-like smell you sometimes encounter in these Fiordland forests I have never been able to identify, nor has anyone else I have spoken to been able to pick it for me. (it is not the flower of the ubiquitous tiny epiphytic orchid). I scanned the forest about. Saw nothing. Thought to myself, 'I do not want to arrive at Lake Roe in the dark' (The hut is hard enough to find), and carried on. Since then, I have bothered to check what a moose smells like. You guessed it. Just like what I was smelling on the Hauroko that day. There was a moose not 200 metres upwind from me, and I walked on. Despite having a tarp and hammock and weeks of food, so that I could have spent days hunting it! And I would have doubtless 'put it up' withing ten minutes! Despite the fact that one of the important reasons I go there is to see a moose. Despite the fact that I had photographed fresh moose barking just back there a little (See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/from-dawn-to-dusky/). Despite the fact there is a $100,000 reward for a photo of a NZ moose, I walked on! : Lesson: Trust your nose!

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fiordland-moose/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/moose-hunting/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/eddie-herrick-moose-hunting-at-dusky-sound/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fiordland-moose-2/

11/06/2017: Interesting DIY 3D Printing Project:

 

https://i.redd.it/zgnriuut23ny.gif

https://i.redd.it/zgnriuut23ny.gif

https://laughingsquid.com/3d-printed-open-closed-sign/

10/06/2017: Walking in a Straight Line: You have one leg slightly shorter than the other. Therefore if you are blindfolded you will walk in a circle. Clearly you need some other clue to stop yourself from doing this in the wild. There are a number of ‘tricks’ to learn. I have already mentioned how to use your observations of the ‘lie of the land’ to find your way: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-lie-of-the-land/.

I have mentioned before many times how you should train the tools you were born with (which you can count on having with you, hopefully in a working condition) whereas artificial aids (such as GPS, PLB and etc) can all too easily fail. Using the outstanding features of the landscape as a guide to your location is an obvious and necessary skill to develop.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked by a person with a GPS in their hand where they are (were), to which my reply has always been (simply looking around), ‘Isn’t it obvious?’

As I have mentioned before it is especially important every time you stop for a breather (at least every fifteen minutes let’s say) to spend that time looking behind you so as to memorise the prominent features of the landscape in your return direction.

Of course there are times when the prominent features of the landscape are not visible (or there simply aren’t many). This can happen in flatter terrain (even on plateaus, in heavily wooded areas, in fog or cloud, etc. Then you need to keep s a sequence of smaller features in mind in order to keep to a chosen route (eg I want to continue in a generally North-Easterly direction until I hit the ‘Divide’).

The most common method used to keep to a straight course is to note a particular tree in the correct direction of travel, and head towards this (Below, top left).

 

When it is reached a new tree is selected, and so on (above top right).

Although this will lead to a straight line between the trees sighted, it can also lead to a wrong course as shown in figure A

Having arrived at the first tree it is possible for the traveler to sight the next tree incorrectly and so gradually proceed to lose your correct direction.

You can avoid this error as shown in figure B. Moving from point 1 you sight tree 2 and head for it. However before reaching it you line up tree 3. Similarly you sight up tree 4 when you is part way between points 2 and 3, and in this way your line is always correct.

This method is good for open forest country, but does not work on featureless plains. There are two systems that have been common eg among the Aborigines for centuries.

In the first method, one person would always go ahead of the others, heading in the direction of travel indicated. No matter how featureless the country might appear to be, there would always be some small feature, perhaps just a particular clump of grass, beyond the leading person, and as soon as he appeared to be veering off course it would become obvious to those following and they would then signal him back to the correct line.

Many ‘primitive’ people (such as those from the eponymous ‘Canary’ Islands for example) had a ‘whistling language’ for use in such long distance communication. The Canary Islanders could communicate thus at a distance of several kilometers - at least from mountain top to mountain top! it is why the small birds of the same name are so called, not because of their song, but because they sounded like the islanders' whistling language. One useful feature of such a system of communication is that it does not scare the ‘game’ which is why it was used by so-called ‘primitive’ people who had to rely on the success of their hunt to live.

It is interesting is it not, that ever since the invention of farming (approx 9,000 years ago) the average human brain has been shrinking. The less intelligent can be feather-bedded by the food surplus, whereas in a hunting culture they would simply have failed to reproduce. As they would have starved to death!

The second method could be used by a lone traveler, and consisted of lighting two small fires which would give off a quantity of smoke for some time. The first would be lit at the camp site and you would set out in the required direction. After a short time, and before there was any chance of having altered direction, you would select a clearing and light another fire.

You could now proceed with confidence, knowing that as long as you kept the two smokes in line then you were going in a straight line. If you had a long way to travel you might light more fires as you went on, so that as the original smoke died down you would be able to continue with the directions maintained by the newer ones. Lots of early Australian explorers observed such lines of fires - then began to implement the strategy themselves.

You should also read:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/finding-your-way/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fire-on-the-snow/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-to-light-a-fire-in-the-wet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/carry-a-knife/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/river-crossings/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/an-open-shelter/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/man-is-the-measure-of-all-things-pythagoras-some-handy-estimation-tricks/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-long-till-sundown/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-to-avoid-being-wet-cold-while-camping/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/new-ultralight-survival-shelter/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/survival-still/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/collecting-water/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dehydrated-water/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-twelve-woodlores-ray-mears/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/if-you-could-only-carry-two-things-in-the-bush-what-would-they-be/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/inflatable-insulated-clothing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-importance-of-a-roof/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/pitching-the-poncho-warning-this-may-save-your-life/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fun-with-sticky-tape-mylar-poncho/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/worlds-lightest-tarp-clip/

09/06/2017: Ultralight Poncho Tent: This is going to be a 160 gram poncho which is also an excellent single person tent. It doesn't get much better than that. This is my second prototype of this wonderful piece of equipment. I have altered the dimensions slightly and changed the taper so it is long enough to lie out in without touching the sides. It is (usually) open at the front so you can enjoy a warming fire. There is plenty enough overhang so you are going to stay dry in a heavy downpour. Its dimensions are approximately 5' x 8'.

All the sides are catenary cut so it pitches tight and easily, and stands up to any weather. I have added a hood which centres the single pole (which can be a bush stick) and which acts as verandah and vent. There will be a small reinforcing patch inside it which will double as a pocket to take the two guys when not in use. There will be a couple of breast pockets to take the tent stake bag (11 stakes will make it well-nigh impregnable) and a couple of emergency mylar space blankets and a mini bic lighter in case you have no other preparation for your night outdoors.

My prototype is made of Tyvek as usual. I will be replacing the zips with waterproof ones as soon as they arrive. I will be adding another (optional) triangle of silnylon material which will zip in to completely close the front in the event of extreme wet weather - adding about 50 grams to the weight. I will be creating a groundsheet with a bathtub floor which can be modified with an inflatable mat and four short sticks to make a comfy chair from which you can watch your campfire. At a pinch you could shelter two people so there is ample room for one plus all gear and a dog (as you can see)!

The final model may be a couple more weeks in the making, likewise the chair. When I have completed these two projects I will be offering to sell patterns. There will also be an alternative model which has an extra approx 3' x 8' added which will add 75 grams. Though it can still be worn as a poncho it will be big enough for a shelter for two. Its dimensions are approximately 8' x 8'. It can also double as a hammock tarp.

This poncho will also form the floor of either/both of my final models of my Deer Hunter's tent and my 'Honey I Shrank' Tent or for the double model of this tent. If a couple carry one of these each they will have two raincoats plus a tent and a groundsheet for a total weight of 472 grams. Also coming soon!

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-deer-hunters-tent/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-last-of-the-mountain-men/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/honey-i-shrank-the-tent/

298 grams in Tyvek, smaller than a shoe or box of tissues. The silnylon model will be about the size of a small bottle of coke.

It may be an ungainly looking poncho but it will keep you and your pack completely dry. Spot thinks it will keep him dry too if he stays close.

This was my first attempt at pitching it before i added the hood. I hastily put it up in the dark the night before. It rained and blew all night but it was taut and sound the following morning.

Side view.

You can see all the ridges stay taut.

Plenty of room to stretch out.

And room for a dog or two!

I will be making this out of 1 oz/yd2 silnylon with a 4,000mm head. It will weigh 160 grams plus 77 grams for the tent stakes, so a total tent and raincoat combo of 237 grams. If I made it out of .35oz/yd2 cuben fibre and used 1 gram pegs for every second one, it would sneak in at 100 grams total weight! To my mind it would be too fragile then, but might interest some people. I will opt for the more durable model which (with the addition of a bit of Tenacious tape in case of emergencies should last me many years.

See also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hole-less-ponchoshelter/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/pitching-the-poncho-warning-this-may-save-your-life/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-chairgrounsheet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/gear-repairs-tape/

05/06/2017: Tier Gear Catenary Cut Hex Tarp: Thanks to Aussie Outfitter and hammock maker Tier Gear http://www.tiergear.com.au/ for allowing me to repost DIY instructions for this excellent tarp. You can purchase all the items you need to build it and the 'Netless Hammock' http://www.theultralighthiker.com/diy-netless-hammock/ from them at a very good price with excellent service and speedy delivery.  These instructions detail one way to make a light weight hex shaped tarp with catenary cut sides. It incorporates a ridge line which is sewn using polyester binding tape. The binding tape ridge line is strong, should not need seam sealing, and adds very little extra weight. If you cannot sew you can buy the tarp ready-made from them for a very reasonable A$160 (2017): http://www.tiergear.com.au/11/products/torrent-hammock-tarps


Length of ridgeline is 335cm
Weight is 324grams
Fabric used: Xenon Sil fabric - 7 metres needed
Hardware used: Split rings (4), and Silkworms (4).
Ridgeline binding: 25mm Polyester binding tape - approx 4 metres needed
Tie outs: 13mm grosgrain ribbon and Silkworms.
Thread used: Serafil 60 continuous filament polyester thread but most good quality outdoor threads will do the job.
Needle: Size 12

Step 1:
Lay out your fabric on a large flat surface, measure and cut two pieces 3460mm long.

Step 2:
On bottom long edge measure in 900mm at either end, and mark. Draw a line from these marks to the top corner. Repeat at both ends of each piece of fabric.

Step 3:
Now we are going to mark out the catenary cuts. On the lines you have just drawn, measure and mark the mid-point. Also do this on the bottom edge.

Step 4:
Using a set square measure from the mid-point up 100mm and draw a line. Repeat on all sides and bottom edge.

Step 5:
Now using a length of 6mm dowel (or some other equivalent), and some heavy weights to keep it in place position the dowel so that it intersects the two corners and the mid catenary cut mark, and draw a line along the dowel. Repeat on all sides

Step 6:
Cut out the catenary cuts.

Step 7:
Sew a rolled hem along 3 sides of each piece of fabric but not the ridgeline. Pin where needed. Double stitched is preferable so a sew another line of stitching on the outer edge of the hem. Due to the cat cuts you will find the material will want to twist in places but work carefully and manipulate it as best you can. It won't be perfect.

The width of my rolled hem is about 12-13mm which is needed due to my tie out configuration. If you choose to go with a different tie out configuration you may use a narrower hem width.

Step 8:
Now take both pieces and pin the ridgeline together, making sure that the ends line up, and the sewn rolled hem is oriented to the inside.

Step 9:
Sew one line of stitching about 6mm from the edge along the length of the ridgeline. This is used just to hold the fabric prior to binding the ridgeline.

Step 10:
Using the polyester binding tape bind the ridgeline either by hand folding or utilising a binding attachment suited to your machine. Make sure you leave about 100mm at either end, though I recommend cutting it longer than needed now and you can trim to size later. You can also double stitch the ridgeline if you choose - which is what I did.

Step 11:
Fold the ends of the binding tape over, and stitch back onto itself on the ridgeline, leaving a loop of about 25-30mm at each end. I use a basic straight stitch bar tack with a z pattern which I have found to be more than strong enough. I measure and mark 10mm lines for the bar tacks, and sew a few times back and forth with a shorter stitch length than used on the tarp hem.

Also make sure you melt the ends of the binding tape to prevent it from fraying later on.

I use 2 split rings but you can use whichever hardware you like, or none at all.

Step 12:
For the tie outs I chose a minimal lightweight design which incorporates no extra reinforcing as the stitching is kept within the hemmed edge of the tarp material only.
Firstly I folded back a small section of the corner and stitched it down with a basting stitch - just to hold it in place.

Step 13:
I then used 13mm grosgrain which was cut to a length of 120mm, and sewn to each corner using the same bar tack z stitch pattern as used on the ridgeline with 10mm spacing. These were sewn on the inside of the tarp, and a loop left in the middle which your hardware is attached to or you can tie your guylines straight to this loop. Repeat on all 4 corners.

In this instance I used Silkworm hardware which are extremely lightweight but again you can use what ever you choose or nothing at all.

Step 14:
Once both sides of the tie out are sewn, its important to lay down a reinforcing stitch along edge of the corner. Flip the material over, with the grosgrain situated on the bottom and make sure you capture the grosgrain on the under side. A few stitches back and forth should do it. Repeat on all 4 corners and you are done.

Step 15:
Go hang it and admire your handy work.

04/06/2017: Continuous Loop: Another Great Hammock Idea: This is just a much better way of attaching your hammock to your suspension system. it really protects the material of the hammock so it will last much, much longer: http://www.tiergear.com.au/11/products/continuous-loop As you can see it goes through the seam you sewed in the end of your hammock, then loops back through itself so imposing much less stress on the hammock material.

The hook you see in the photo is a 3.4 gram 'whoopie hook' another genius idea for simplified hammock set-up. Also available from Tier Gear: http://www.tiergear.com.au/11/products/whoopie-hooks

The continuous loop should be used in conjunction with the 'whoopie slings: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/whoopie-slings-what-a-great-idea/

See also: Titanium Dutch Hook for attaching your tarp ridgeline: http://www.tiergear.com.au/11/products/titanium-dutch-hook

03/06/2017: Whoopie Slings - Great Hammock Idea! Hummingbird Hammocks have one of the lightest suspension systems around (2.3 oz - 66 grams per hammock). The genius idea about them is the whoopie sling tension adjustment system. Here's a little video I took showing how they work. Setting up your hammock just perfectly is literally a breeze and the work of a minute: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/whoopie-slings-what-a-great-idea/

It is a little hard to see how they work, but basically the end of the rope is passed up through the hollow centre of itself, forming a loop at one end) so that it can slide fairly freely through when there is no tension but as the tension increases the outside of the rope (tube) holds on harder and harder to the length that is passing through it. It is an ingenious idea (probably familiar to riggers), and would also work well for tent guys. In the pictured example there is a handy knot at one end to hold on to whilst pulling the end through and so tightening up the 'hang' of the hammock. These would work with any kind of hammock, and can be bought separately from them (see below)

Tier gear also a make an adjustable centre line (using the whoopie sling principle) which helps your hammock to hang flat. They certainly do that, and only add 6 grams to the weight of your set up Well worth it as it also gives you somewhere to hang a few things. You can make a small silnylon bag (like a miniature saddle bag) to hang from the centre line so that you can easily reach things like your glasses or head torch in the middle of the night.

I usually add a gear hook at each end of my hammock(s) so I can attach things out of the weather at the ends of my hammock.This only adds a couple of grams too.

Available here:

https://hummingbirdhammocks.com/tree-straps/

http://www.tiergear.com.au/11/products/adjustable-hammock-ridgeline

see Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-hummingbird-in-the-hand/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/australian-outfitter/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/make-your-own-tarp-or-hammock/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/diy-netless-hammock/

02/06/2017: The Lie of the Land:

If you want to move around in the bush with confidence without getting lost (and without artificial aids (except for noting the general northerly direction from the sun (or its shadow - eg on your thumbnail: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/finding-your-way/) You should always take note of the 'fall' of the country. The fall is the slope of the country; if you follows this slope, however slight, you will come to a watercourse in time, even if it is only a small dry gully. This in turn will lead down, getting larger as it is joined by other gullies and creeks until it reaches the river, and the fall of the land will continue until the sea is reached.

So as you move about you always have this fall as a reference point in the back of you mind. You might say you are on the 'southern fall of Rocky Creek' or the 'west fall of Little Sandy'. Starting from a known point you will move about quite freely,confident that all the little gullies and creeks that you may cross lead back to the river system that you are using as a reference.

Whichever way you move, whether up or down, or in any direction, you are always conscious of being in a sort of bowl, and at the very bottom of the bowl is the river.

If you move on to higher ground, when you reach the highest point you will look for a change in the fall of the land. The next slope will lead to a different creek, and this may join the earlier river that you are using as a point of reference, or it may run into a totally different river system. If you can deduce this information then you can move around this basin with the same confidence that you used to traverse the first.

Suppose you are travelling from A to C below

While you are moving around A you should be conscious of the fact that all the fall of the land is towards creek A, and know that this will eventually join the main river.

As you move up to the highest point, you should realise that as this is the highest point it must be the divide between area A and area B. Usually this is called simply the 'divide'. You should then try and establish a mental picture of the new system which you have to cross. Is the fall in the same general direction? If so then it may well be a creek system that will in turn join back to the main river. If not then what is its general direction?

Having established the general direction of the fall, the you will be able to proceed with confidence. In this case you will have noted that the general direction of the main creek is the same as the previous one, and will therefore assume that they are both tributaries of the same river.

As you proceed you will also be taking into account the fact that the small gullies feeding into the main creek do so at an angle to that creek, and you will also use this to help you keep your directions. Because you have formed a mental picture of the creek system A and have related this to the new creek system B, you can now move across this new creek system with confidence, secure in the knowledge that as long as you continue to keep the fall of the land to your right side, then you will be travelling in the correct general direction.

In time you begins to climb, and once more reaches a new divide. Before moving on you establishe that in this case the new creek system is running at an angle to the previous one, and in order to keep to the correct course you must travel in the same direction as the small tributaries of this creek. In this way yoou will arrive at the general position of your objective.

Usually you only attempt to travel in such a straight line if the country is gently undulating. If you encounters steep gullies and deep creeks you would simply follow the divide itself, following the course indicated by the heavy dotted line. You would still locate yourself mentally by comparing the direction of the creek A with creek B, and in turn their relation to creek C, but will have the added advantage of being able to keep two creek systems in sight all the time, thus allowing greater precision in your pathfinding.

Notice how the early explorers used this system to move with confidence over unknown territory. Kennedy for instance made constant reference to the ‘Divide’ when he explored Cape York. He knew that if the rivers that he crossed were flowing to the East then he was not very far from the coast, but if they flowed to the West then the Divide must be on his right side. Similarly Mitchell crossed all the westward flowing rivers on huis ay to Victoria. It was only when the rivers began to flow away to the South or east that he knew that he had crossed the Divide. By observing the lie of the land (and his compass) he was then able to make hs way back again

NB: So that your return jouney will be easy and you will not ‘get bushed’ you should fall into the habit of taking a brief spell every few minutes and turn and face your rstarting point while you ‘catch your breath’ observing carefull what the country looks like from that direction and particularly how your route proceeded in comparison to the lie of the land. This way you will easily be able to make your way back. This is even the case if you do not return by the same route, but usually walk a circuit (as I normally do when hunting in order to cover the most country). If you have looked back and noted where your starting point was and how you got where you are you should have no difficulty returning to your starting point even by a different route. Usually following the ridges (or the divides) is the easiest route.

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/finding-your-way/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fire-on-the-snow/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-to-light-a-fire-in-the-wet/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/carry-a-knife/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/new-ultralight-survival-shelter/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/survival-still/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/collecting-water/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-twelve-woodlores-ray-mears/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/if-you-could-only-carry-two-things-in-the-bush-what-would-they-be/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/inflatable-insulated-clothing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-importance-of-a-roof/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/pitching-the-poncho-warning-this-may-save-your-life/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fun-with-sticky-tape-mylar-poncho/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/worlds-lightest-tarp-clip/

02/06/2017: Astonishing light show: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2017/05/light-barrier-kimchi-and-chips/

31/05/2017: Things that keep you from hiking, hunting…

I am really keen to return to my beloved Gippsland mountains for some hiking, fishing, hunting but I still have so many jobs to do around the farm. We have been 'fixing' two dams damaged by last year's floods (hopefully they will hold now); we have a new boundary fence with two neighbours to construct in a terribly difficult situation; we have had sheep to sell and transport; we have hundreds more trees to plant; sometimes we have a bit of baby-sitting to do, and we have done a 'Spot' of burning off (just like this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/repurposing-camping-gear/) as you can see. Life is such a serious business! Must stock that dam behind me with some fish at least!

30/05/2017: A Wild River Stag: I know lots of you have seen this photo before as I have used it as a signature image for some time. Unsurprisingly a number have asked, 'There must be a story behind that stag, Steve. Tell us about it'. Well, here goes...You can no doubt tell by how much I have aged that it was a number of years ago. I was working my way up an overgrown, neglected river in East Gippsland making a trail, opening up some country that had pretty much closed over with regrowth and blackberries. (No, I am not going to tell you which one - go find your own river!)

I live two hours from the city, yet I had had over four hours of comfortable driving in the old Land Rover Defender and then a couple more of rough 4WD scrambling to arrive at the end of the track where a relatively popular vehicle hunter's camp was to be found. There would be no point in hunting anywhere within half a day's walk of it if I wanted to see undisturbed deer. There was no-one there - one of the advantages of being a shift worker, farmer or retired is that you can hunt during the week when pretty much no-one else is about. It takes the deer a couple of days to settle down after they have been quite stirred up by the weekend warriors - even longer now that so many are wearing the dreadful camo clothing which is so impractical, unnecessary, even dangerous unless it is blaze orange, which looks just as silly though.

Other folk had pretty much pushed and broken a path up along the river through the predominantly black wattle regrowth to the intersection with a small river flowing in on the true right bank where most had turned off. I was enlarging this with my machete in case I wanted to bring my wife with me on a future expedition as she is partially sighted, so needing a pretty clear path to follow. I had this small river to cross on the first day and a number of side gullies. The little river looked promising, and was clearly where most people go to hunt, as their paths led that way - but I was heading up the main one.

This is what the side river looked like a little further up after you had cleared the thicker stuff. Worth some exploration on another occasion perhaps, except that was where most folk were going. The lie of the land tells me there are some good flats up there somewhere, mostly where those big side gullies you can see come in. It is much more gentle country than where I was going. I have always preferred the harder country because of the lack of company you can enjoy there. 'No company is better than bad company,' I always say. And there are so many good books still to read - which are so light now that the e-book has been invented! I now read them on my phone.

Those bluffs you can see mean you would have to cross and recross the river or climb deer paths over them. Of course, this is a very easy river to cross. (See:  http://www.theultralighthiker.com/river-crossings/) Still, a lesson is in order: Can you see where you should cross this river? No, you don't try boulder hopping eg top centre. Forget about having dry feet if you are hiking, fishing  or deer hunting. You can make a pair of ultralight camp shoes so you will have dry feet of a night (such as these: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/19-gram-dyneema-camp-shoes/); that is all you need. Or a pair of Crocs if you aren't handy.

Boulder hopping or log walking will just get you a nasty fall sometime far from help, perhaps a broken leg or fractured skull, or even death if you get swept away under a log jam. You should cross where the current is least (not necessarily where it is shallowest - do not worry about getting your thermometer wet; it will still work!), and where the bottom is not rock, but sand and gravel so you don't slip - so step between the two large boulders centre left and work your way across above the two small rocks centre. That is where the water is slowest and you can see soft bottom between the rocks. You should try to cross facing upriver or downriver to minimise being knocked off your feet by the current. I find upriver best.

A stout stick (or hiking poles) will provide you with a third or fourth leg to help with balance. Many people say you should hold the pole upstream, but I favour downstream. Always undo your chest and hip belt, no matter how small the crossing. It is a good habit which will one day save your life. If you are swept away with your pack cinched up, you are in dire trouble. If the current is clearly such that you will likely be swept off your feet, either don't cross at all or find a very long straight section where you can paddle across using your inflated sleeping mat as a kick board with your pack tied on top. You may have to walk quite a ways up or down a river to find such a spot. I have sometimes spent most of a day about finding just such a suitable crossing point in swollen rivers. And I have camped out for the better part of a week, waiting. So, don't you be impatient with your life! You may not get another! Certainly you would be lucky to get another half so good as the one we have!

After the crossing there were a number of flats and bluffy ridges to cross, an interesting anabranch with numerous wallows, one containing a large stag which fled noisily and precipitously, his klaxon on full volume. It was a fine warm day in late autumn and I was walking into the westering sun so that the sun winked endless reflections off the rippling water. I do love the echoic roar of fast white water. There were numerous rapids but nothing above Grade 2 and there was plenty of water for a future packrafting trip, which I have subsequently made. Delightful. I wish I had had my Klymit pack raft with me on this occasion: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-packraft/ (but...'If wishes were fishes...')

The autumn break had long since arrived, so there was feed aplenty in the bush, such that any game was like to be in good condition. The wombats and wallabies were fat enough you had nearly to kick them out of the way. The air was alive with the beat of bronze-wing pigeon's wings, wood swallows' curving flight, currawongs calling. Wrens and sitellas crept along every branch rattling the bark. The tree fern gullies rang with lyrebird song... Below, a honeyeater taking the sun:

And above, a wood swallow, such a lambent grey:

As you push along a river, you scatter the riverfolk before you. Time and again a blue crane croaks and rises awkwardly to claw his way pterodactyl-like upstream. Black and wood ducks scatter or loudly clap away around a bend. Every so often there is the soft dipping graceful flight of a blue jay, my favourite. And then I hear the whistle and click and I see the painted beauty of a bee-eater scything through the sky. Water dragons flop into the river; every so often a water rat glides off a wet bank otter-like. You can sometimes see the painted shards on the shingle where they have feasted on molluscs or small crustaceans.

This first trip here I only got about as far the first day as you could get in a half day if you were vehicle camping (way back there) and the track was already clear. I camped the night on the ground under my old home made 7' by 7' two ounce weight nylon tarp (below), as I was tired and there just weren't any suitable trees in the only suitable spot close to water. This is sometimes the case with hammock camping, so you should be flexible enough that you can camp on the ground. See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hammock-hunting-till-dark/. This tarp cost me $7 a metre to make many years ago, so it cost less than $30 intoto , and I have had about a thousand dollars use out of it!

A tarp of these dimensions is pretty much the minimum for shelter for one person. For two you need something slightly bigger, such as my 8' x 8' 'winged' 200 gram cuben tarp I have mentioned many times. You can sleep sideways in it under the overhang and stay quite dry unless the weather circles the compass, in which case you will have to swing it round too - but that just about never happens. You worry too much!. You can have a nice cheery fire out the front, like this. You can instead use it as a hammock tarp and it will still keep you quite dry. In silnylon it would weigh about 220 grams. In cuben even less. I am going to make up my poncho in this 7'x7' configuration soon, as it will be even handier if it is your raincoat too: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hole-less-ponchoshelter/. The waterproof zios now available are quite magical.

I cooked my meal on the Bushbuddy stove (shown): http://www.theultralighthiker.com/bushbuddy-stove/, some Chinese sausage with mash and Surprise peas. A fair meal, but I have better. (Try a search above for 'Food')

The cuben tarp with one 'wing' closed. You can see it again here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hammock-camping-double-bunking/

I can tell you are thinking I haven't got enough gear for a few night's camping in the bush when temperatures may fall to freezing. That (230 gram cuben fibre) pack looks just too small to contain a change of (warm) clothes, a raincoat, sleeping bag, food, etc. However, I can see that I even had enough space for a small quantity of Bacardi 151 rum in case the nights got just too cold! You take too much! By the time I was sitting down to tea in the tarp (as you see me) the temperature was already falling down to 5C or less, but I am still in my shirtsleeves. This is what having a warm open shelter with a fire out the front is all about! You really need one of those Big Agnes Cyclone chairs I have got (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/cyclone-chair/) and the Thermarest Neoair mat if you haven't already got one to be really comfy. I see from the photo that this was before they came up with the women's model (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/womens-are-great-in-bed/), or perhaps I took the one with the rectangular corners as it is more suitable for hammock camping. I have not bothered with a ground sheet as the ground was nice and dry after that warm sunny day. I had an emergency space blanket I could use ( 50 grams - as above) if it rained. If you want an idea of what I carry for a fair expedition, have a look at the list here: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-gorilla-in-the-hand/

I had stopped at this spot where a tree-choked blackberry gully entered the river because the way ahead was closed by bluffs on each side of the river and a hugely dense blackberry thicket. There were good numbers of deer up  the side gully and a dozen or so came down just after dusk to serenade me as I cooked my supper. You could see their eyes winking like fireflies in the light of my head torch just outside the circle of the firelight. They usually vent their disapproval like busy traffic for five minutes or so, then move on about their own cervine business.

It looked too thick to hunt up the side gully though. Perhaps it opens up further up. On the map it is many kilometres long, and carries a lot of water in a wet season judging by the debris where it joins the river. This is sometimes the case. I still haven't checked it out. There are many such stream bends to peer around whose surprises I may never see. The far horizon retreats just as quickly as your footsteps advance. And time waits for no man.

In the morning I put off work long enough to snag a trout for my breakfast on a hand line (See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/) Alfoil grilled trout with muesli might not be everyone's view of ambrosia, but I felt they were pretty good. These East Gippsland rivers are alive with trout. You should always bring a line. Bait is easy: trout will eat anything. When I went to wash the dishes I noticed signs of an old hand's camp I had missed the night before in much the same spot from years' ago. The remains of a rusted hurricane lamp hung from a nail driven into a tree branch, and there was an old  handle-less frypan scattered amid the tussocks. I bet they had heard a tale or two in times gone by.

The next day I had nearly 200 metres of blackberry regrowth to hack a tunnel through almost straightaway. In places it was 12' high and thick as your wrist, so it was hard going., and as a result I did not get very far the second day. Not even a deer had penetrated this thicket. It was a narrow gorgy section both sides of the river at this point so it was clear no-one had penetrated further for some years either. Of course I was using this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-worlds-greatest-machete/ You should get one(or two). Up to this point, the first day and a half's hacking had seemed pretty unpromising. Sure, there were deer about. I had several honk at me and a few others crash away into the bush. One had even ploughed across the swollen river, unseen because of the thick regrowth, but you have to be able to actually see them if you are going to take one home.

The bush is sprinkled with scenes of great beauty, yet it can be improved: here a bower bird has scoured the bush to find blue coloured objects (as they do). No other colour stands out quite so well in our forests. He has made a pretty spot for himself underneath the blackberry and dogwood fronds and amongst the wild marshmallow. You hope his efforts were rewarded with a doting mate!

I guess other people had expected that the thick stuff would go on forever and had given up on this particular valley which is why I had it pretty much to myself. I was beginning to think so too, I must confess but once clear of this horror patch of blackberries the river flats on both sides started to open up a bit. Sometimes you could see a hundred yards through the trees, plenty enough to encourage me further on. Also, the deer I was beginning to see were now much less spooky. Instead of honking and crashing off, I was at least getting to see them for a bit. After lunch (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/lunch-on-the-trail/) I watched a doe with twin poddies (very unusual) for a few minutes before she grazed off around the corner of a side gully.

If you are watching deer, or any other animal never look them in the eye. Indeed, when they look at you, lower your gaze, or even bend double as if grazing. If you continue to ignore them in this way, they will usually ignore you too so long as you don't move quickly. Just watch one of Attenborough's documentaries how slowly a tiger for example stalks his prey even though he is always in broad daylight. You can stalk right up to a black wallaby, for example like this without spooking them. I have often demonstrated this to disbelievers, usually concluding the demonstration by snatching the startled hopper up by his tail, something which I do not recommend with a full size kangaroo - or a sambar deer! I have tried - both!

I love to watch the does gliding with their young,  and the young gamboling like little lambs, running in circles, climbing and jumping from anthills, while the does move.ever.so.slowly - almost like wind-up deer, always with a front hoof poised quivering in the air, ready for a warning stomp telling the small flock: 'Fly. Danger! And, in the wink of an eye they all disappear into the hushed silence of the bush.

Kookaburras delight in warning you that deer are moving just ahead: 'Up this side gully. Quickly!' Their raucous cries echo off the ridges. Of course they have their dawn and evening chorus. That's not what I mean. How often have they alerted me to a big doe or stag just out of sight, but which I can then stalk. When I am chain-sawing firewood at home they will swoop between my face and the saw, their wings almost beating against my nose to snatch a grub or a wood roach my sawing has just revealed. Maybe they have feasted oft enough on venison, they are encouraging us onwards, 'Feed me' they call. Anyway, their daytime chorus ought not be ignored. I have followed their advice successfully many times.

As dusk swiftly approached the clearings on the other side of the river at this point were becoming a little more interesting, whereas I was walking along a narrow strip beside the river on mine, with just a thin string of spindly bushes along the river bank. I admit I was concentrating on the other side (though I had no intention of shooting something on the far side) as it seemed there was no cover to hide a deer on mine - only a bit of tussock and the low bushes. Yet suddenly this lovely stag stood right up from among the tussock, appearing as if from nowhere under the overhanging branches of a large bedraggled gum. There he stood glowing with robust health in his glory, framed by the westering sun and the succulent native willow. There was no skillful stalk or triumph of trick shooting in this encounter. It was just a second's effort to throw my lever action up and send a bullet into his chest.

Somehow, no matter how many times you do this, you always expect that the loud report will drop them like a stone - and perhaps half the time this is so, but this guy just steamed off through the river like a locomotive. The water was shoulder high, yet he must have made a bow-wave three feet high as he clove the torrent. I drove another round into his chest as he crossed the river, but he showed no slackening. When he hit the other bank he turned 90 degrees and ran up it at a gallop, quickly disappearing from sight round a slight bend through the thick undergrowth. You always think, 'Damn. Another miss', but your confidence in your practiced skill tells you that both those rounds went soundly home, and this big guy has to be lying dead just around the corner very soon.

It doesn't pay to rush ahead to check though, as likely this will just spook him further if he has any puff left at all, making him just that much harder to find if he manages to run off further, maybe into an acre or two of thick man-ferns. If you give him a spell, he will stop to try and understand what all the noise was, but when he stops he will just lie down quietly and die. So, that's how I found him, just around the corner: he had crashed through that thick stuff behind him, and as soon as he was free and clear he paused an instant, crumpled and was gone. I always feel a terrible sense of loss when I kill anything. I will probably just stop someday when the pain of spoiled beauty becomes too great. But it was not this day!

And there he lies, still. In the photo the river doesn't look all that deep,or the current very great, but it is and it was. It was getting along at quite a fast walking pace here, so would have bowled me over like a straw man had I tried to cross, and swept me over rapids and what I would describe as 'an entertaining drop' if I was white water canoeing! And of course the water was icy. I had also seen nowhere I could have crossed safely either the previous day or this. And there was only a little over an hour of daylight left, as there usually is.

I headed upriver, hoping for a crossing, but I soon concluded I would have to camp and find a way across on the next day. I found a couple of suitable saplings to swing my hammock right next to a splendid sandy beach on the riverbank. Here it is in the morning light. Nothing better than this on the Riviera! You can probably figure I had a tranquil relaxed sleep wrapped in my hammock camped in such an idyllic place (and I did, except for troubled thoughts about having lost my trophy to the river - and time). As you can see, the weather was quite warm, and by now the stag had been lying out on the river shingle amid the native willows for 12 hours. I would need to find a safe way across the river very quickly if I was to recover anything.

If you have not tried hammock camping, you should. I was using a homemade hammock back then made of the same 2 oz stuff (coated ripstop nylon) as the tarp. It weighed around 350 grams including the dyneema suspension 'ropes'. I am currently trialing one of these: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-hummingbird-in-the-hand/ which weighs less than 150. They are truly splendid hammocks.

Here is a snap of me taking the sun in one on the shores of Dusky Sound Fiordland last month (April, 2017) while I watched some miniature (Hector's) dolphins playing and frolicking in the limpid waters of the fiord. If you have not yet been there, put it on your 'bucket list'. See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/from-dawn-to-dusky/ BTW: I have now realised that I just missed a moose in the Hauroko Burn on my second day out. A photo would have been rewarded by a $100,000 prize, but would have been worth far more in achievement and memory than any money. Whether I will live to have another such opportunity, who can tell? Never ignore your sense of smell! - see Dusky 2.

The moving light-play over the embers in the fire, the soft roar of the river, the mournful note of the mopoke and the moonlight creeping low over the frosty mountains are better than any entertainment on TV. What need is there of other company? You can safely give your heart to the mountains, knowing you will need no other friend. The awesome stillness of solitude is all the balm the troubled soul hearkens for. You can still fairly feel the warmth glowing out at you from the colas of my modest campfire. It was a colder night than my first and quickly fell to freezing, yet I was warm, sheltered in my hammock by the tarp, listening to some pleasant music and enjoying a quiet tipple of rum, some macadamias, beef jerky - and a hearty trail soup, such as this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-coconut-fish-curry/

I always sleep on my back in the hammock (insulated by my Neoair sleeping mat and a couple of small pieces of closed cell foam for my elbows. I have a small pillow which I put under my knees, not under my head; this is necessary: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/exped-ultralight-pillow/. It is more comfortable than any bed. There are no lumps or sticks to poke at you, and no creepy-crawlies running over your face as sometimes happens on the ground. A gentle, rhythmic sway quickly eases you to sleep, and you wake free of aches and pains which hard ground sometimes brings. There is also no danger your bed will get inundated if it rains in torrents, and you don't need a flat spot. There is also no danger of being struck by lightning!

I was moving in the dawn after a breakfast just of muesli chased down with a cup of black coffee next morning. Not long afterwards I tripped over this heavy hunting stand in the long tussocks. It had clearly lain there these twenty years or more. What an incredible thing to have lugged so far through the wild bush! The placid bend where I had camped had it seems many times before been the camp of others - as it will doubtless be in future when I too am dust. In Fiordland, moose hunting I had tripped over a barbed wire fence deep in the near impenetrable jungle. There are few places others have not trod before, yet it is the feeling of solitude, of being the first, of being quite alone in the wilderness which leads us back again and again to push on and explore the wild places by ourselves.

There were plenty of other deer about in the dawn, as indeed there had been in the gathering dusk the night before. I had watched a pair of does with their young frolicking and grazing not 200 yards from where I had shot the stag, and not half an hour afterwards! This is quite normal in undisturbed country. I passed a much better stag busy in a wallow right out in the open on the river margin next morning, again something you frequently see in undisturbed habitat, but not so much elsewhere. I had pretty much walked right by him (no more than twenty metres away) before he deigned to abandon his joyful smelly excesses, let forth a desultory bugle at me and rush off into the whippy undergrowth. Soon I discovered a truly beautiful flat, and clearly an old route once 'properly' blazed. Look at that feed! Note also the coprosma have been stripped of berries, yet it is fruit time! A promising sign. Deer do love mast.

Many wild fruits are edible (some even palatable). Both prickly (shown here) and sweet coprosma are quite pleasant. Also lillypilly, pittosporum and wild cherry. (I doubt deer get many wild cherry as they usually browse it as high as they can reach - if you are ever in Fiordland 'moose hunting' as I am fond of doing, you will notice the browse line is nearly 3' higher. Those guys really are monsters!). Contrary to popular belief plants which ooze white sap are not universally poisonous (though the sap may be) . Figs are a case in point, though there are not many wild figs in Victoria, save in far East Gippsland. Similarly the belief that red fruits should not be eaten is completely wrong, as the majority of fruits are red (especially the edible ones!) The clear to yellowish sap especially of wattles is quite edible and nutritious. We used to often eat it as children. Pretty much all fish, crustaceans and molluscs found in Victoria are not only edible, but delicious. So too are pretty much any animal or insect you will find if you roll over a log or stone, though a little roasting improves their taste I find. The heart of tree ferns is pure carbohydrate and has kept many folks well filed for protracted periods in the bush. It is better baked. All the rushes and sedges, including cumbungi have edible tubers, also best baked. There is no need to go hungry if you happen to find yourself lost in the bush. Nor need you be wet or cold. I will do some posts about such matters soon. Meanwhile, it is always worth practicing such survival skills as you never know when you will need them, and it boosts your self-confidence - particularly if, like me you prefer to hunt alone.

These fruits are fine (providing you have correctly identified them), but if you are tempted to try an unfamiliar fruit, you should first split it and touch the damp flesh to your lip, then wait five minutes. If nothing untoward happens, then touch it to your tongue and wait again. Next chew it a couple of times, then spit it out. If nothing at all has happened it is almost certainly fine to eat, though some things can make you scour especially in large doses. Interestingly enough, we know a lot about the edibility of many Australian plants from the likes of Sir Joseph Banks who was always keen to try eating new things. Again, the colony nearly starved a number of times (particularly 1791), so lots of plants were tried perforce, sea purslane and pigface for example. Europeans rapidly discovered just about as many edible plants in a decade as the previous inhabitants had in a much longer time. The latter were masters though at extracting poisons from otherwise inedible things, like cycads. Don't even try.

As the morning wore on, the river continued deep and swift with nothing in the way of a single safe crossing. The flats on the other side were truly beautiful though. Like a manicured park sprinkled with ash and peppermint gums. They would make good hunting once I discovered the fords the deer used. Fords are one of the best spots to lie in wait for them actually (if you are an ambush predator, which I am not; I get bored waiting, ever eager for new sights and sounds, and not much worried whether I ever take another deer). You can use the westering sun as a kind of spotlight to get a clear shot at the deer as they tiptoe across. This way you can (legally) take them quite close to dark. You need to position yourself though so that your shot will impact a river bank upstream and not skate along the river perhaps endangering someone else kilometres away. And, ideally you need to have already established a campsite quite close by. At least there will be plenty of water for your billy. There is also plenty of fallen timber for your campfire opposite. You could camp there for a year without using it all up, by the looks. Notice the animal drinking spot, centre. That would be a great side gully beyond. I bet there are many adventures to be had there.

Look at this beautiful wallow I found. You can see how the stag has been using the trunks of the trees as his towel. They are well coated with malodourous mud. Here would be a good spot to search for a cast antler, or to wait for him to return as dusk or dawn. You should drag a branch through the bottom if you want to find one,as they are usually found rolled into it. If you find one it will give you a good indication of the size of the resident stag.

Finally I found just such a crossing: the water is slower and shallower here, but still waist deep. You can just make out a deer path on the opposite bank. The bracken flats opposite would make a sheltered 'nursery' area. It had taken nearly half a day to find a suitable crossing. I still needed a stout branch as a prop to prevent myself from being toppled over. I took another three hours to walk back to 'my' stag by which time I was long dry. Unfortunately he had now been lying there for a full twenty-four hours, all day in quite hot sun. His skin would 'slip' and I could not trust the meat would not have begun to spoil since he had not even been gutted. A sad waste really.

I deeply regretted my precipitate action in shooting him in the first place now. So often it is just much better to admire and wonder. I have done so many times since. Deer hunting is mostly an excuse for me to get out hiking and camping (sometimes into places you otherwise could not go, such as our 'National Parks' which are being saved for future generations, rather than ourselves).

And here he is, lying as he fell (with my gun tangled in his rack!) I know the river looks as if you might cross there, but I can assure you I would have been swept away - and there were some particularly nasty rapids downstream. You just can't take such a chance particularly when you are all alone in the wilderness. He was, as you can see, as fat as mud!

On another trip I found these (two) beautiful crossing points a further hour's walk up the river. If only they had been a bit closer to where the stag had fallen, I could have had his meat and cape in the cold water of the river overnight, and back to my car before mid-day the next day if I had hurried - or if I had had my pack raft with me. Life is replete with 'what-ifs'. You just can't let them trouble you. The dice falls as it falls. That is all. You should have 'no regrets', as Edith Piaf said so mellifluously. We are just passing quietly through life. We arrive with nothing, and leave with nothing. Hopefully, you accumulate a few special memories along the way, such as the photo below, taken by my lovely wife Della on my next trip.

And mine of her: There she is, taking her ease on the riverbank opposite me. While we were camping there, a platypus swam around and around this huge pool for half an hour i guess. Such an enchanting sight.

On an even later trip, the river came down in an awesome torrent, and did this whilst I was there. This was just around the corner from the photo above. I just had to wait it out. It pays to have a cache of food in a canoe drum (or similar) against such eventualities; anyway to have enough spare tucker. Tie it under a log well out of reach of any potential floodwaters, so the wombats and possums don't p[lay games with it! You can easily see you could be trapped by floodwaters for a week or more. Half the forest must have ended up at this spot. I know the roar and grinding of the river overnight and sounds like gunshots as vast logs snapped like kindling when this happened was ominous in the extreme

We have explored much further up the river since on a number of trips - and of course, now we can take the dogs. There are many splendors further up. We have gone five more days up. I know most folks find one day's walk away from their vehicle quite enough, mainly because they carry too much, but the further you go the more fascinating things you see. Always, the Victorian bush is a riot of wildflowers, even in winter when I most love to enjoy ot. That's why we have so many honeyeaters such that our State bird is one - I have even seen a little 'helmeted' guy here, though I never tell 'the powers that be' anything they don't need to know! On this occasion every gully was bedecked with snowy clematis, and there were any number of parti-coloured wild peas in bloom.

We have found a truly splendid flat on a magnificent sweeping bend. It must be close to 100 hectares (as square kilometre) where we love to camp. the fishing and swimming is even good in summer. It resembles one of those beauteous English parks, the deer have done such a fine job manicuring it. Further on there is a wonderful hidden valley which you would just about step across without even noticing, but a day's exploration up it will bring many delights: waterfalls, orchids, postcard-perfect clearings...Further on a second small river joins this one. It has a small plain a kilometre or so up which in the summer is a riot of everlasting daisies.

The best part is that when we want to head back to the car we can just blow up the packrafts and enjoy a delightful day or two (like Huck and Tom - or Ratty and Mole) just drifting and 'mucking about' on the river.

Of course this was not the end even of this trip. I was in no hurry to get back and had two days' walk in any case, so I took my ease for a couple or three of delightful days lying about in my hammock in the sun, fishing, nosing up a side gully or two... Just in general really enjoying our beautiful Australian bush - and my solitude!

Alas, this is pretty much all I managed to recover from the stag. This was also just about the only time I have left meat in the bush. I had forgotten to pack my 'embryo wire' or even a folding meat saw, so I had to take the antlers off one at a time (I could not even remove the skull cap whole). I only managed to do this by standing back a ways and putting a couple of shots into his skull so I could recover each antler with a shard of broken bone. Sometimes I am not so well organised either! Still, at least I have the antlers, arranged decoratively in a vase by Della as a reminder of a mountain adventure years ago. Hopefully, even at 68 there will yet be many more...

Unfortunately others have followed our trail, though most only travel one day upriver camping approximately where I crossed on this occasion, so that the deer thereabouts are much more skittish nowadays. Sometimes I venture a further five days upriver (as I said) where in winter there is never anyone about, and the deer are as common as rabbits!

27/05/2017: Hunting Thumbtack Reflectors: Thumbtack reflectors such as ‘Fire Tacks’ are a great way to mark any route you may need to travel after dark – eg after sitting up over a wallow or game trail for a sambar deer until the light fades and then wanting to get back safely and quickly to your camp. NB the Stealth ones visible only at night or in UV light. A search for ‘hunting relectors’ or ‘reflective thumbtacks’ will find you quite a range. They are usually only a few dollars for a pack of 25, so you can economically mark quite a long trail. Of course they have a million and one uses other than for hunting. See eg: https://www.firetacks.com/

At night they look like this. You shouldn't have any trouble following them!

26/05/2017: Happy Birthday Ultralight Hiker: My blog is two years old today. Many thanks to my daughter, Merrin for helping create and maintain it, and to my many readers and supporters for enjoying it. There are now 924 posts here, so plenty of things to enjoy! My post about canoeing the Seaforth River Fiordland is also two today, so I have moved it up the list so you could enjoy it again: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dusky-track-canoeing-the-seaforth/

I also could not resist reposting two of my most popular photos, this wilderness river stag:

and this snap of us on Cox's Bight from our 2011 trans Tasmania hike:

26/05/2017: Dusky Track: Canoeing the Seaforth: Some folks are just downright suicidal, and sometimes I am one of them! In 2009 I had conceived a plan to be the first person (I think) to canoe the mighty remote Seaforth River in Fiordland NZ. I had a brand-new Alpacka ‘Fjord Explorer’ packraft (https://alpackarafts.com/product/fjord-explorer/) courtesy of Kevin Rudd’s bushfire compensation scheme following the 2010 fires here which left us trapped at home for weeks with fires burning all around us.

That year I walked in from Lake Hauroko to Loch Marie (3 days) with my raft and gear in my trusty Gossamer gear G4 pack: http://gossamergear.com/g4-ultralight-backpack-all-bundle.html. On the fourth day I canoed across the lake, then walked down to just past the Bishop Burn and spent the rest of the day canoeing the Seaforth. I had carefully checked out the river from Google Earth which misses some big rapids -Trust Me! I had also walked around that lower section of the Seaforth quite a lot of times so I thought it was pretty safe. Well, I knew there were a couple of quite deadly rapids, but I was indecently confident I would hear them coming up and could safely portage them. (Every man has a plan which will not work!)

Most of the river is deep and wide and consists of pebble races or Grade 1-2 rapids at most. Unfortunately, there are 2-3 rapids which come up on you pretty quickly, which it would be death to attempt, and which are quite difficult to portage. The worst was in the general vicinity of the old Supper Cove Hut. Suddenly on a left-hand bend, there it was: with perpendicular river banks both sides, but no other option but to grasp a tree root on the right bank and hang on for dear life! I did manage to climb 5 metres up that vertical bank pulling myself up by the tree root, then haul up my pack and the raft (both of which I had tied to a line) after me. There was one other nasty rapid below this - which I had never seen even though I had walked that section near the mouth of the Henry Burn (Moose Creek) extensively.

Once I was in the flat water below I thought I was home safe. By then it was getting pretty cold and daylight was fading. I had realised that there were oodles of sharks in the Fiord but I thought to avoid them by paddling the shallows on the margins of Supper Cove. I had forgotten the 2-3 kilometres of tidal deep river above the Fiord, which teemed with them! They were mighty curious too, repeatedly cruising underneath the raft, gently lifting it as they rubbed underneath. It was a little unnerving!

Steve must not have been on their menu that day! I had this experience about twenty times before I made Supper Cove where you can be sure I hugged its margins like a drunken sailor! However, as you can see I made it – much to the astonishment of the (few) onlookers, including my daughter Irralee, who had been anxiously awaiting me there for three days! The Seaforth River is a beautiful and exhilarating trip. I somewhat regret I might not paddle it again though!

I have been back for other looks though, as recently as a month ago. See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/from-dawn-to-dusky/ & ff.

Thousands of beautiful tarns on the way across from Lake Roe - Seaforth in the background

Thousands of beautiful tarns on the way across from Lake Roe - Seaforth in the background

A very steep descent to Loch Marie

A very steep descent to Loch Marie

First view of the Seaforth coming across from Lake Roe

First view of the Seaforth coming across from Lake Roe

Putting in to cross Loch Marie

Putting in to cross Loch Marie

Some beautiful serene stretches of river along the way

Some beautiful serene stretches of river along the way

Some awesome views

Some awesome views

One of those vertical banks I had to climb

One of those vertical banks I had to climb

Quite a few log jams along the way

Quite a few log jams along the way

Some beautiful views along the river

Some beautiful views along the river

One of those 'killer' rapids i avoided

One of those 'killer' rapids i avoided

Sunset over Supper Cove Hut

Sunset over Supper Cove Hut

My daughter Irralee waiting for me on the Boat Shed beach at Supper Cove

My daughter Irralee waiting for me on the Boat Shed beach at Supper Cove

Supper Cove Hut loomed a welcome sight after such a river journey

Supper Cove Hut loomed a welcome sight after such a river journey

Packraft and Big Agnes mattress/floor inside Supper Cove Hut

Packraft and Big Agnes mattress/floor inside Supper Cove Hut

Great fishing for Blue Cod at Supper Cove

Great fishing for Blue Cod at Supper Cove

See also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dusky-track-canoeing-the-seaforth/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dusky-track-adventures-1/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/eddie-herrick-moose-hunting-at-dusky-sound/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-friend-i-met-on-the-dusky-track-fiordland-nz/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dusky-south-coast-tracks/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dreaming-of-the-dusky-track/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-dusky/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/moose-hunting/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fiordland-moose/

25/05/2017: How Long Till Sundown? Here is another neat trick. If you hold your hand out at arm's length, the width of your fingers approximates to 15 minutes. You can use this to judge how long it is till sundown (and remember you have approx half to  an hour of usable light after sundown). Using this you can judge whether you will likely make your destination, or whether you need to make camp sooner.

25/05/2017: I Love to Go A’Wandering: Hiking Songs: Songs to maintain your walking tempo, if your spirits begin to flag or when hiking with children.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/Travel/leadAssets/32/16/salzburg5_3216560a-large.jpg

Since time immemorial people have walked (and marched) to the accompaniment of songs, and oft with fife and drum, so I when I took my infant grandson for a walk around to the weir the other day (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/invisible-worlds-the-weir/) and we needed to jolly him along a bit, we quickly ran through our rather short repertoire of readily remembered tunes.

When we got home I naturally thought I would try the internet for some more suggestions but Google drew (relatively) a blank on this one, no matter how I searched. Yet I am sure that when Alexander crossed the Hellespont or Caesar the Rubicon, or Napoleon marched on Marengo or Washington on Valley Forge (& etc) it seems vanishingly unlikely that the troops did not swing along with a rousing chorus on their lips – maybe their last words: ‘Once more into the valley of death…’ & so on.

The secret of (winning) infantry is to move large numbers of men (often along a narrow course) quickly and unexpectedly. The ‘Little Drummer Boy’ had several tempos in his repertoire: the slow march (often reserved today for ceremonial occasions – but more normally a resting beat), normal time and double time for example. As hikers we can add a few more to this list: skipping and polka for example, which might look a bit silly with a column of troops in full accoutrements!

Here are just a few which come to mind. You might use the first letter of the last word to 'trigger' the memory of which song to sing next. The first one is particularly evocative: it was sung by our brave First AIF as they went into battle at Gallipoli, Frommelles & etc.

A Long Way to Tipperary,

Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends

Clip Clop My little Horse

Down by the Riverside

Five Hundred Miles

Found a Peanut

Frere Jacques

Grand Old Duke of York

Hey Let's Go

Hi Ho It’s Off to Work We Go

I Want to Go Home

If I Had A Hammer

If You're Happy And You Know It

Irene Goodnight

John Browns Body

Kum Ba Yah

Loch Lomond

Mares Eat oats and Does Eat Oats

My Grandfather's Clock

Old Man River

Pack up your Troubles

Popeye

The Ants Go Marching

The British Grenadiers,

The Happy Wanderer

There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor

When Johnny Comes marching Home Again

When the Saints Go Marching In

You are My Sunshine

See Also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/man-is-the-measure-of-all-things-pythagoras-some-handy-estimation-tricks/

24/05/2017: Man is the Measure of All Things (Protagoras) Some handy estimation tricks.

 

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2798/4070224502_15fe75a2c6_b.jpg

This astonishing Pre-Socratic was a brilliant mind. I guess everyone knows his 'Theorem" about right angle triangles. The saying above might not be quite so well known (or his enjoiner, 'Eschew beans'! I think I know why!), but we can use some of the proportions of the human body and the a property of an Isosceles Triangle (ie one with two equal sides) to do some pretty handy estimations.

You hold a stick at arm's length as shown in the drawing on the left so that the top of the branch exactly aligns with the top of the object whose height you want to measure. You can do one of two things: drop the stick over as in the drawing on the right, or pace the distance between you and the object. The height of the tree will be exactly the same as the distance from you to the object (Isosceles triangle, you see) Or the point on the ground where the stick on the right indicates.

You have formed a little isosceles triangle with your eye, your arm and the stick This triangle projects forward to the larger isosceles triangle formed by your feet, the distance to the base of the tree and the height of the tree itself, so the height of the tree is always exactly the distance from you to the tree..

Here is an interesting proportion. The distance between your eyes is almost exactly 1/9th of the length of your arm to the tip of your thumb (as shown below). By alternatively closing one eye and then the other, and estimating how far the object aimed at with your thumb 'jumps' sideways, then multiplying that estimated distance by 9 (it might be easier to multiply by ten which is close enough really) you can get a pretty good estimate of the distance to that remote object (ie it will be distant roughly ten times the distance your thumb jumps!) Neat eh?

This can be useful if you are taking a long shot (eg at a deer) with a rest, or eg if the object is your destination and you wish to know how far away it is, or if you need to cross a river and you want to know how wide it is so that you can judge how far upstream you need to start swimming or paddling (on your Thermarest Neoair mat) to safely get across. Always cross at the deepest, slowest straightest spot. You will already have measured the speed of the current by throwing s floating twig in and timing it.

If you dropped the stick to the side as in the right hand drawing in the first illustration, you can use the approximate number of tree lengths to estimate how far your thumb has jumped. If you assume that a similar tree near you which you measured by pacing is the same height as the one on the far bank, you will have a very clear idea of the distance to the remote object in tree lengths. From then on, it’s only a matter of simple multiplication.

The featured image is Da Vinci's famous 'Vitruvian Man' where Da Vinci sets out his ideas of the ideal human proportion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man

23/05/2017: Epirbs are not Taxi Hailers: Lots of people are misusing these tiny devices. I guess because they are (relatively) cheap, but really if you want to spend time in the wilds, spend some money to get a decent communication system eg either a satellite messenger or a satellite phone – or both.

 So many people are pressing the panic button because they have a sniffle or ran out of Oreos occasioning hugely expensive search and rescue operations for them that eventually governments are going to have to charge everyone for the thoughtlessness of the few. Mostly people just want a specific thing eg a helicopter pick-up from a specific point (which will be an extra for a search and rescue operation) but which is relatively inexpensive (say $1-2,000) and ought to come out of your own pocket. Often such a pick-up is non-urgent as well.

 Val from Hauroko Tours related to me an example from a few years back. He had dropped a group off at the Hauroko Hut to begin the Dusky Track (See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/from-dawn-to-dusky/). Later the very same day they hit their Epirb. Within an hour of starting out on the Dusky, they found the Hauroko Burn flooded. In my opinion they could have proceeded, but in any case it would likely have gone down by the next day (and they had a lovely dry hut to stay in whilst waiting it out).

 Any walk on the Dusky is likely to encounter flooding/ waiting etc. Such is wilderness experience. Also, Val would have been back in three days, so they only had to wait. Clearly they had food for 8-10 days if walking the Dusky. Instead they hit the Epirb occasioning an urgent and expensive search which in my opinion they should have been charged for! Such ‘Crying Wolf’ behaviour is likely to cause the authorities to become less interested in launching into such wasteful exercises. The public purse is not infinite.

PS: Over reliance on electronic knick-knacks is problematic at best. before folks venture into the wild, they ought first have properly equipped themselves with a functioning set of the equipment they were born with: brain, eyes, ears, hand feet, back etc. The first of these needs some training. I will be posting some ideas about this soon, but in the meantime you might review this http://finnsheep.com/HIKING.htm

20/05/2017: Ultralight Ultra-Sharp Knives: Ceramic knives are sharper than metal ones and their edge can last 10 times longer. They can also be lighter. I have been thinking that this ‘ceramic escape knife’ would fit well in an ultralight fishing kit such as this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/ This little guy weighs only 3 grams, has a blade 1.25” (3.175cm) and is 1.75” long  x .4” wide (4.445 cm x 1.016 cm) It may be illegal to import or sell this product in Australia. There is a metal version which weighs a colossal 8 grams: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dermasafe-ultralight-knives-and-saws/

 

 

Some options:

 

http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/outdoors/tools/ceramic-escape-knife.asp

http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/outdoors/tools/covert-non-dulling-razor-blade.asp

http://www.derma-safe.com/product/the-derma-safe-folding-utility-knife/

This guy has an enchanting range of ceramic knives: http://ceramicknife.org/

 

19/05/2017: Antarctic Flights from $1199: Well $1999 if you want a better view, but really not bad for the visual feast of a lifetime. I know it’s a lot of money to spend for a 12 hour flight where you end up right back in Melbourne where you began, but ‘you can’t take it with you’, and it is unlikely you will be trudging across the icy wastes in pursuit of Scott and Amundsen. Della has already put her hand up for a flight when I find that tiny pot of gold I buried in the backyard some time – perhaps sooner: http://www.antarcticaflights.com.au/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=70&v=TfprD5OVtPU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=9qS_ShexHd0

 

https://scontent.fmel2-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/12132519_10153351107787730_4235972578757294318_o.jpg?oh=8cf74a06036597b0062432a841c125ec&oe=59A2872D

 

18/05/2017: Wings and Water: My favourite airline operates out of Te Anau Fiordland, New Zealandhttp://www.wingsandwater.co.nz/ I have flown in to or back from Supper Cove a number of times, so I have a collection of snaps which will maybe whet your appetite to the visual delights in store. It is almost impossible to take really good photos through a plane’s windows (as I’m sure you know), but these will give you some idea of the magnificence of Fiordland from the air. Some of the beautiful views I have experienced from their plane over the years:

Their pilot, Kylie ready to take you on the flight of your life at the lake’s edge, Te Anau.

Here is their plane at beautiful Supper Cove, Dusky Sound. The DOC hut is just a few steps up the path behind the plane.

And here it is taking off at Supper Cove

View of the Fiord

How steep the edges of the fiords are - notice all the fuschia regrowth (light green): this is a favourite moose food.

View of supper Cove Hut from the air.

Me at Supper Cove.

Leaving Supper Cove - view down the fiord.

A little further down the fiord.

Loch Marie - hut in centre.

Wet Jacket Arm.

Lake Manapouri.

 

Tarns in one of the passes probably Pillans.

Just look at this patch of fuschia regrowth - how many moose could such feed support? And how hard would it be to ever see one?

Pass.

Probably Doubtful Sound.

These new slips will regrow with Fuschia. Moose can travel around these steep sides, but I doubt you or I can!

Look at this wonderful perched lake. So many beautiful secret spots in Fiordland where no man's foot has ever trod.

Fiord after fiord after fiord.

Those mountains are certainly steep.

Looking up the Seaforth River, Supper Cove.

Trampers Transport : Supper Cove - Dusky Track. Take the easy way to the Dusky Track at 9am daily. Fly from Te Anau to Supper Cove or return. They can also ferry stores to and from Supper Cove. Duration: 30 Minutes flight time approximately - $330.00 per person (2017).

They also do a range of wonderful ‘joy’ or scenic flights. There are numerous places they can take you into the Fiordland National Park. Fancy a bit of hunting or maybe you are joining a cruise somewhere in the fiords - let them take you there!

Here are just some of their destinations: Blanket Bay (Doubtful Sound), Bligh Sound, Breaksea Sound, Caswell Sound, Chalky Inlet, Charles Sound, Charles Sound – Helipad, Dagg Sound, Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound / Supper Cove, Dusky Sound / Cascade / Luncheon, Earshell Cove, George Sound, Glade House, Te Anau Downs to Glade House, Glasinoch River, Gorge Burn, Junction Burn Hut, Lake Alabaster, Lake Hakapoua, Lake Hankinson, Lake Hauroko, Lake McIvor, Lake McKerrow, Lake Manapouri, Lake Marchant, Lake Mavora, Lake Monowai, Lake Poteriteri, Lake Rakatu, Lake Wapiti, Lake Wilmot, Long Sound, Martins Bay, Milford Sound, Nancy Sound, Preservation Inlet, Stewart Island, Sutherland Sound,Te Anau Downs, West Arm, Wet Jacket Arm, Worsley Arm,,Queenstown.

17/05/2017: Water from thin air: A New Dehumidifier: This device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun. It is still a long way off being available, but it may someday make long desert journeys much more possible:Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun...

The prototype, under conditions of 20-30 percent humidity, was able to pull 2.8 liters (3 quarts) of water from the air over a 12-hour period, using one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of MOF. Rooftop tests at MIT confirmed that the device works in real-world conditions.'

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-device-air-powered-sun.html

  Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun

16/05/2017: Hiking Crayfish Bisque

First catch your crayfish...Once again here's a delicious soup to cook in the wild after you have been doing a spot of fishing. Naturally it uses only dried, concentrated and lightweight ingredients. I based it on a traditional bisque recipe we have eaten for years but with ultralight ingredients. My tastes run to peppery and my wife is a lover of tomato flavour, so at just these proportions the dish may be a little intense for you (or not enough), so you can play with the proportions a bit until you get it just right. I hope you enjoy it.

To 1 Litre of water add:

10 teaspoons of milk powder (add cold and stir in - it mixes better)

1 x 40 gram packet Continental French Onion Soup (NB low salt is good)

1-2 50 gram sachets of tomato puree (to taste)

1-2 small cubes or teaspoons of chicken stock

1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

1 Teaspoon (to taste) of sweet paprika.

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Bring to the boil. Simmer 3-4 minutes Stir oiccasionally. Add:

200 gram can of shrimp (if you don't have a cray) A 100 gram can of tuna will do in a pinch!

1 x 85 gram packet of Magi 2 minute noodles well broken up (into 1 cm lengths)

Simmer a further 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy.

For other hiking food ideas, try a search for 'food' in the search bar at the top right hand corner of the page.

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-ultralight-fish-chowder/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-crayfish-bisque/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-coconut-fish-curry/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-ball-of-string-and-a-feed-of-cray/

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16/05/2017: So, they just discovered 5 million square kilometers of extra forests no-one had noticed before: that’s more than half an Australia. Pretty hard to miss: http://joannenova.com.au/2017/05/scientists-discover-an-extra-5-million-square-kilometers-of-forest/

15/05/2017: A Ball of String and a Feed of Cray: Once you have your feed of trout (See Below) you will have some heads, tails, fins etc left over. Now you have your cray bait for the next course! All you need to catch them is a bit of string. I have wound 50lb line on my ultralight hand line http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/ (because it was what I had lying around) – it would cast a lot further still with lighter line. Certainly though, a few 3-4 metre lengths of this is all you need to catch a feed of crays. You might need to mark the location of your lines with some tiny pieces of fluoro tape as this Dyneema line will be very hard to see.

If I am vehicle camping, as in the photo, I usually use a length of fluoro ‘builder’s line’ because it is hard to miss in the bush. When I am in the camper, I also have a small folding trout landing net with an extendable handle. It is very good for scooping them out. If you are lightweight hiking you will have to make use of a forked stick to pin them down, and maybe get your feet wet as well as you wade in to pick them up just behind the claws (as shown) – but the feed of crays will be worth it. NB: You cannot kiss a cray – definitely don’t try this at home! When there are lots of them on the move (they are easy to see particularly if you have polarising lenses) you can often just walk along the side of a shallow stream and just pin them down with a forked stick. I have sometime caught half a dozen in this way in a few minutes!

 They can grow to quite a size, as you can see! I am going to pretend my eyes are closed as I am dreaming of the Lobster Bisque in the next post, but I was just not ready for Della to take the snap, and in the next one, the cray was blurred from too much wriggling.

All you need to do is tie something smelly (like the fish heads) to one end of the line. I often use chicken necks because they are cheap and easy to tie on a line. Here and there along the bank in the vicinity of overhangs or upstream from logs, drop a bait into the water then tie the other end of the line to a branch. Don’t leave enough slack so the cray can pull the bait underneath his log as you may not be able to pull him out with it. Go have a cup of tea or something more refreshing, then come back in say half an hour. In most mountain rivers in Victoria there will be a cray on the end of the line, indicated by its having grown taut.

Very, very slowly without jerking pull the cray towards you until you can observe him. You need to be patient. He is greedy and doesn’t want to let go of his prize, but he will if you are foolish. You need to get him to where you can quietly scoop him from behind (or give him a little slack and he will back into your net). Or, if you only have a forked stick, you need to slowly move it from behind him until you can deftly pin him to the bottom just behind the claws. Then you can step into the river whilst holding him immobile and pick him up with the other hand.Watch those claws. They could almost sever a finger!

There are not so many about in the winter as they are less active. The old saw was that as soon as the wattle was on the water, they would be ready to bite. You can keep them in a bag in a cool place for hours, or tether them to a sapling with a length of string. I brought a bag back from deer hunting once (so they are about even in winter!) put them in the fridge in a supermarket bag for at least a week. When I remembered them, I was surprised they were all alive and ready to bite me!

There is a gender, size and number limit you must conform to if you don’t want to incur a penalty – and you want them to remain always abundant. If you have a billy large enough  to boil them in, that is the best solution. If you are car camping you will be able to first anaethesise them by adding some salt to the water (The reverse is true of sea crays – fresh water will knock them out). It is heartless to drop them straight into boiling water and is also likely to get you scalded as they will leap!

They only need a very few minutes to cook. Watch the colour. They do not go quite so red as sea crays. If you do not have large billy because you are hiking, you will need to kill them first eg by driving a knife (carefully) through their brain. Then you can just cook the bits with the meat. 1-200 grams of fresh cooked meat will be enough to make the accompanying bisque recipe if you are hiking. This will make them ‘go’ a lot further. There are few things quite so delicious as fresh caught crays, so enjoy!

PS: However, yabbies, their smaller cousins are just as delicious - but you will need more of them, a couple of dozen would be good. Most streams also contain 'ghost shrimp' which are smaller again but a few dozen still make a fine feed. They are very sweet. The method for catching yabbies is the same as for crays. Shrimp will come to all sorts of attractants (eg soap or crushed leaves) and will swarm all over a landing net laid on the stream bottom. Shrimp also make excellent bait for fish - so you can begin again!

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-ultralight-fish-chowder/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hiking-crayfish-bisque/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-coconut-fish-curry/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-ball-of-string-and-a-feed-of-cray/

If you enjoyed this post and would like to make a small donation to the upkeep of this page, you can do so by clicking the PayPal button below. Even a small amount would be appreciated.


13/05/2017: Vargo Titanium Pocket Cleats: Vargo has this lighter traction device for snow and ice slippery clay, etc:  They weigh 2.3 oz 66 grams nearly 1/3rd the weight of the competition so they might find a place in yoiur pack if you are going somewhere slippery. Cost is US$59.95

Ultralight Traction Device

 

‘Improve speed and traction on winter runs or ultralight hiking with the Vargo Titanium Pocket Cleats™.  The titanium alloy spikes claw into snow and ice yet weigh nearly a third the weight of the competition without reducing strength or durability.  When not in use the legs fold down and nest to easily fit into packs or pockets. Nylon carrying case included. 

 

Available in three sizes:

 

Small: Women’s 6.0 – 9

Medium: Women’s 9.5 – 12; Men’s 8.0 – 10.5

Large: Men’s 11 – 13

 

Note: Pocket Cleats™ will not fit or work well with shoes that have extra-thick soles ("Fat Shoes") or shoes with a non-hourglass shape sole.

 

 Features

 

Titanium alloy contstruction

 

Compact folding legs

 

Reliable Duraflex™ fastners

 

High strength nylon webbing

 

Convenient nylon carry case

 

 Specifications

 

Weight (medium)     Size Open            Size Closed

 

2.3 ounces each       5.9"L x 1.8"W       4.3"L x 1.8"W   

 

(66 grams)                (150 x 45 mm)     (110 x 45 mm)’

 

https://www.vargooutdoors.com/titanium-pocket-cleats.html

 

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/boot-chains/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/4wd-boots/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/keen-shoes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/foot-care/

12/05/2017: East Tyers Walking Track: I spent six hours yesterday working on some of this excellent track which had been long neglected and overgrown. Apparently there were six other people there though I never saw them, which indicates you can have a lovely solitary experience on the track. It connects O'Shea's Mill to Caringal Scout camp and thus comprises an interesting addition to the Upper Yarra Track Winter route - see: http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm.

The first third of it is roughly cleared now - starting from Caringal, but it is marked all the way now with tape, so it needs about two similar days' work to complete the job apparently expected to be done by Spring, but it is now walkable, so the more people walk it (with one of these: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-worlds-greatest-machete/) over the winter, the less work there will be to do.

I will now investigate re-opening the West Tyers walking track which has been similarly neglected and which links Caringal with Western Tyers/Morgans's Mill and the similar loop from Palmers to Growlers along the Western Tyers - both of which I have walked years ago. They are extraordinary beautiful sections which deserve to be open to everyone - not just the intrepid!

The track begins auspiciously. The track follows an old logging tramway linking bush mills (such as O'Sheas) to Collins siding where the railway ine to Melbourne was. NB: You can also walk along the tramway from Caringal to Collins siding.

There are some lovely stretches if river, somewhere to try this out: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ultralight-fisherman/

Here's another.

And yet another.

There are some interesting bridges.

Some best avoided. You should never worry about getting your feet wet: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/why-you-should-get-your-feet-wet-when-hiking/

Some beautiful timber.

Mountain ash are magnificent - you can see why they were logging along here in the past.

An interesting geological formation.

It will be such a splendid track when the clearing is quite finished - and even better when it links both to Collins siding (Erica) and to Western Tyers (Morgans Mill) and beyond eg to Tanjil Bren and Newlands Rd so that a circuit of the Baw Baws can be had. Well, it already can. See below:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/up-into-the-singing-mountains/

12/05/2017: Dude I want that: Dude I want that... Indeed! This is not strictly ‘ultralight’, but I just thought you might nonetheless like this amazing gift site -at least the 'outdoors' section. If you have perhaps become jaded by the pedestrian offerings of your local outdoors store, check out some of these amazing products: http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/outdoors/  Here’re ten of my favourites:

Banana Lounger

Onegee Bungee

Onak Foldable Canoe

Swim Fingers

Folding Survival Bow

Pocket Bellows:

 

Trac-Grabber

Pocket Cleats:

Thermal Breaching Tool:

Gazebox retractable garage:

12/05/2017: Couple Marry on Everest: `It is a really catchy headline and image isn’t it - and a great idea? A friend of mine noticed a wee bit of Photoshopping but s/he was being pedantic. I suppose the next ‘logical’ step is for folks to marry on the summit of Everest where they could quickly combine the two important ceremonies (ie marriage and funeral) into one –if there was any celebrant foolish enough to accompany them! See: http://www.boredpanda.com/everest-camp-wedding-photos-charleton-churchill/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=BPFacebook

For info on how to do this in an ultralight manner see eg: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/i-saw-below-me-that-golden-valley/ 

11/05/2017: The Ultralight Fisherman: Today is using a 1 oz (30 gram - including a selection of flies and leaders) hand line made from a 100 ml plastic 'spice'  bottle which easily and accurately casts 30 - 40 metres - as you can see! A pill bottle of roughly the same size  though slightly heavier, would work just as well. I tried an empty Nurofen bottle, for example. Another half an ounce or so would add a couple of lures, hooks, split shot, etc suitable for bait fishing as well. (This particular bottle is 14 gram 100 ml about 43mm wide and 80mm long and has the advantage you can see through it).

I must stock the repaired farm dam with trout! It already has eels.

Amid the windfall quinces in the garden.

The scales do not lie.

The pink 1 mm Dyneema string is a wrist strap in case you drop your hand line. A dab of silicon around the hole I had to drill to thread it would make it completely waterproof as well. Everything you need fits right in the bottle, in a few mini snap lock bags. You could even take some artificial bait with you.

I went for a walk around to 'The Weir' (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/invisible-worlds-the-weir/) again this afternoon - no fish trying to climb it, alas. It is a very small log-choked stream for fly fishing, but in 2-3 casts I did have a small trout following my fly - unfortunately the stream was too small, so he saw me and headed South. I will be going up the bush sambar deer hunting soon where there are much bigger streams and bigger trout. I will be eating some!

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-ultralight-fish-chowder/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-coconut-fish-curry/

Soon to come: 'The Ultralight Deer Hunter'.

10/05/2017: Ultralight Coconut Fish Curry: We found this soup to be just about the most delicious we have ever eaten at home - and we eat a lot of soup, so just imagine how delicious it will be on the trail. Again it uses Continental French Onion Soup as a base and makes use only of dehydrated ingredients (or ingredients which will not leak, or which can be 'caught' on the trail).

1 Litre water

25 grams of Coconut Milk Powder (comes in 50 gram aluminium sachets. You could use the whole sachet)

50 gram sachet Tomato Paste.

40 gram packet of Continental French Onion Soup

2  Teaspoons (Clive Of India) curry powder

1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring to the boil

Add

100 gram sachet Safcol Yellowfin Tuna

16 teaspoons Surprise Peas

Simmer 5 minutes

Add (slowly, stirring as you go) approx 12 Teaspoons Continental Deb Mashed Potato.

Serve and eat. Try this at home. You will be delighted.

PS: My daughter, who is more a coconut than a curry person says, 'Halve the curry and double the coconut'. You might try that if you think your tastes are more that way. If you don't like fish (what?) you might also try the recipe with a can of this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/backcountry-meat/ The cans would also be perfect for making a 'Supercat Stove': http://www.theultralighthiker.com/supercat-hiking-stove/

See Also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-ultralight-fish-chowder/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-coconut-fish-curry/

09/05/2017: Invisible Worlds: The Weir: Just around the corner (about 2 km) from our house lies the Billy's Creek, the Morwell National Park, (the start of) a lovely walk (the Grand Stzelecki Track) and just a kilometre up the track and stream this lovely old weir (built in 1913) set amongst majestic blue gums in a lush narrow, steep valley. The weir used to be part of the Morwell Water Supply.

You can see it has a hole in it about 200mm/8" in diameter through which much of the stream flows. The hole has an enchanting history. It was created as an act of anarchy by local farmers who were incensed at how much of their own water supply had been stolen by the Government. A pity moe of us weren't as galvanised by government theft.

The hole is 2.1 metres/7'  above the pool at the bottom which is only 35mm/14" deep. On pretty much just one day of the year, trout try to swim up the outflow of that pipe, tunnel through that hole and so emerge in the stream above the weir to lay their eggs. Unbelievably some make it. We observed (and filmed) this on Mothers day 2006, May 14. Sometime in the next week, if you visit this weir every day you too will witness this natural miracle.

Below the picture I have attached a very poor quality video of the event, but you can still make out what the trout are doing. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the national park (which would not worry me) but there are some very busybodying locals (alas!) who will make a fuss if I take the dogs for a walk there every day, so I may not manage a better piece of film due to other work commitments - but you may!  http://www.theultralighthiker.com/invisible-worlds-the-weir/

It is a beautiful walk up amid the blue gums:

There are fine bridges to play on:

Milo spots a trout:

There is a lovely picnic spot at the weir with a sign implying no tents under this tree - but nothing about hammocks!

Milo is learning to be an ultralight hiker. He can really use that Gossamer gear pole.

It is quite hard work though and needs lots of concentration.

04/05/2017: 900th Post: Another milestone today: my 900th post here at the Ultralight Hiker. I am just back from walking the Dusky Track in Fiordland as my recent posts no doubt inform you. It is getting harder and longer as I age, but I am just glad to be able to be there and other wonderful places, and doing it. Plenty of time for the easier walks later on, I hope!

In my Hummingbird Hammock, (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-hummingbird-in-the-hand/) Supper Cove, Fiordland New Zealand 2017.

It's been a busy 5ive and one half months! What are some of the highlights of the last one hundred posts?

Well...Trekking in Nepal: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/thatendlessskyway/

And a much more modest walk on the Mirboo North Rail Trail: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-birthday-treat-mirboo-north-rail-trail/

Some ideas for pack rafting in Gippsland: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/gippsland-pack-rafting-routes/

and canoe hunting: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/you-take-the-high-road-and-ill-take-the-low/

A visit to the 'lost' Yarra Falls by 'a reader': http://www.theultralighthiker.com/yarra-falls-3/

A week canoeing the Wonnangatta/Mitchell: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-waterford-to-angusvale-day-one/

A new $10 tent: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/poly-tent-by-the-ultralight-hiker-on-the-cheap/

Some thoughts on hunting: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-ethical-hunter/

A trip to Mt Horsefall: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/escaping-the-heat/

Camper Mods: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/found-space/

A new ground sheet idea: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/inflatable-bathtub-groundsheet/

An excellent ultralight hiking soup: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/steves-nepali-dahl-soup/

At last a map for the Upper Yarra Track: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-map/

A canoe/motorbike trailer insert: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoe-motorbike-trailer/

A visit to Blond Bay, Gippsland: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/blond-bay-roseneath-reserve-hollands-landing/

and much more...

What have I planned ahead: well, I aim to complete a last prototype of my Deer Hunter's Tent http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-deer-hunters-tent/and make a cuben fibre version with a poncho floor http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hole-less-ponchoshelter/. I will be going into the Victorian High Country with a one-legged friend fishing and hunting for a week at least. I hope to complete the 'Four Rivers Circuit' I have mentioned several times before, to canoe the Wonnangatta from Hearnes Spur to Kingwell Bridge, to canoe/clear the Hawthorn Creek section of the Latrobe, walk some of Victoria's Wilderness Coast, complete a circuit in Wilsons Prom, take a trip to Western Vic and walk some of the hundreds of kilometres of coast walks there, get some more work done on my idea of a Gippsland hiking circuit, make a motorcycle carrier for the Discovery/Defender...I will be busy. And of course there are jobs around the farm that get in the way of such pleasures too! Today I am working on completing the pump house move so we can finish repairing the lower dam before winter. There is one shed to re-roof, one to demolish and rebuild. Many fences to build and many trees to plant...Life just gets in the way of making plans!

09/05/2017: Hunter, angler, gardener, cook. Interesting website. Some great recipes: http://honest-food.net/

08/05/2017: Steve's Ultralight Fish Chowder: Following my post about hand Line Fly Fishing I have had several requests for the Hiking Fish Chowder recipe so that I had to make it for lunch, and it was excellent. I doubt you have had a better hiking meal. Try it at home, then make sure you take the ingredients when you next head out to the hills (and streams) with your handy new hand line! http://www.theultralighthiker.com/hand-line-fly-fishing/

Take:

1 packet Continental French Onion Soup 460 kJ 112 calories 40 grams

1 Litre Water

4 (heaped) Teaspoons of milk powder -approx 350 kJ 80 calories 17 grams

16 Teaspoons Surprise Peas (4 Teaspoons per 250 ml) - 300 kJ 72 calories 80 grams

100 gram Sachet Safcol Yellowfin Tuna (or equivalent filleted fresh brook trout) - 616  kJ 150 calories

12 Teaspoons (Approx) Continental deb Mashed Potato - 150 kJ 35 calories 40 grams

Pepper or curry powder to taste (unnecessary)

Bring to the boil and simmer 5 minutes

Delicious! Total 1876 kJ 460 calories. 177 grams - not including the fish!

PS: The French Onion Soup makes a great base for many meals. I will be adding more! You can just make one cup of nit up on the trail and save the rest for later. Adding some peas makes for an interesting taste and makes it go a little further. The dehydrated mash thickening also makes it feel like you are eating more (and you are). (Weight and calories are approximate)

08/05/2017: Hand Line Fly Fishing: Fishing with a bubble or float is an old technique. I’m sure most of us have used this method with live baits to catch a variety of fish. It also works well with flies and other floating lures to catch trout.

My handline of choice is Streamlines Tideland which weighs 2.4 oz. I cut the rubber handle off mine (saving an ounce). It now weighs 1.5 oz (43 grams). You can easily cast over 20 metres accurately. It is as good as most spinning rods, better where there are overhanging branches, as you can cast underarm. It is ideal for getting a trout dinner out of small wooded alpine streams. I could trim its weight some more by cutting off the corner with the angle grinder and smoothing the finish. I might get it down to a functional 1 oz (or 30 grams), yet still have a superlative casting hand line.

Below are typical rigs taken from Martin Joergensen’s and Will Rietveld's articles below.

The technique is simplicity itself. Cast and slowly retrieve. The splash of the bubble hitting the water attracts the fish’s attention which is then directed at the fly tied to the invisible line. When it strikes you need only set the hook, reel it in, prepare it and eat it. More detailed tips in the articles below.

‘The Streamlines handline has landed trout in the Sierra Nevada mountains, bass in low land lakes, and up to six pound snook in Costa Rica. The Tidelands model is an inexpensive lifetime tool, ideal for backpackers, kayakers, or as a part of any complete survival kit. Casting handline has been used for decades in Costa Rica as the primary tool of ocean shore-line fishermen who must live on what they catch. Streamlines has evolved this tool, combining improved design with modern materials. It casts far and accurately, limited only by the skill of the fisherman. This go anywhere, fish anytime tool is patented and molded of plastic strengthened with 40% fiberglass reinforcing. It is overmolded with a rubber Santoprene handle.’ http://www.moontrail.com/accessrs/a-misc/handline.html US$ 17.90

You could even do it with my 4 gram fishing hand lines below:

2015-09-23 13.43.23 comp

Some great articles on the technique (and related matters):

 Fishing a bubble: Martin Joergensen: http://globalflyfisher.com/fish-better/fishing-a-bubble

 Spin Fishing Using The Fly And Bubble Method: Mike: http://fishingmyway.com/uncategorized/spin-fishing-using-the-fly-and-bubble-method

 A Simple, Minimalist, and Ultralight Approach to Catching, Cleaning, and Cooking a Backcountry Fish Dinner By Will Rietveld: http://ultralightinsights.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/a-simple-minimalist-and-ultralight.html

http://blog.gossamergear.com/how-light-is-your-fishing-tackle

 Ultralight Tic Tac Fishing Kit: Rik Christensen: http://blog.gossamergear.com/how-light-is-your-fishing-tackle

 For an ultralight hiker/fisherman I think Will Rietveld’s method of cooking trout takes some beating (particularly if you were using twigs in the Caldera Cone). However, I have also been experimenting with various dry ingredients to make up a tasty fish chowder. Continental French Onion Soup is probably already a standby with you (though it takes a five minute simmer). A packet contains about 8 teaspoons full which makes four cups, so you can make them individually. Added to the (filleted) fish, it makes a tasty broth. You can thicken it (as I have mentioned before) with some Continental Deb mashed potato. A little milk powder will add to the chowdery effect. I know you don’t have to add pepper or curry powder to everything (so my wife, Della says) but these can add some zest to the overall effect. Enjoy.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to make a small donation to the upkeep of this page, you can do so by clicking the PayPal button below. Even a small amount would be appreciated.


 Other Posts:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/lightweight-fishing-rods-reels/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/pen-fishing-rods/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/3d-fishing/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/four-gram-fishing-handlines/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fishing-with-floss/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/bcb-fishing-kit/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/bcb-fishing-kit-as-good-as-it-gets/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/lightweight-fishing-rods-reels/

07/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 8: Upper Spey to West Arm is somewhere between 4 and 6 hours, nearer six for me these days. There have been a number of contradictory signs over the years. As the last hour or so is on a hard gravel road, and much of the walk is along flattish river banks and this is your last day,  there is a temptation to hurry. Most likely all this will achieve will be to finally tear your feet to pieces (especially your toenails) and you will miss or have to wait for the bus/boat anyway, so chill out and enjoy the scenery along the beautiful Spey River valley.

The mountain which hangs over Upper Spey resembles one of the Easter island heads.

Upper Spey sunset.

The colours are beautiful.

Leaving Upper Spey in a dewy dawn. The orb spiders have been hard at work on the coprosma.

Detail of the orbs and fruit.

Lots of duckboards at the beginning. This used to be quite swampy patch in years past.

All day is just a gentle incline following the Spey River valley downhill.

With some hobbity bits.

The Spey is a pretty little river. You can walk along in it for kilometres instead of on the track when the level is low. Good trout fishing too!

Bryn just could not resist the temptation to revel in some Fiordland mud one last time!

Eventually I tire of walkwires. There are three this day. The very last one over the Dashwood Stream I chose to wade.

But as I have said before, Bryn just loves them! That stream is really steaming...

A light in the forest.

Still a few muddy patches.

Spey river scene.

Lunch by the Spey River.

Easy fishing.

The very last walkwire over the Dashwood Stream.

One last glimpse of the Spey River

And we are out on the Wilmot Pass Rd - the end of the Dusky Track! We have made it!

Wilmot Passs Rd at the end of the track - with Steve Hutcheson 2012.

Bryn 2008.

An enigmatic Kiwi sign on the Wilmot Pass Rd echoes our feeling exactly!

Just in time to catch the Doubtful Sound bus - you wish!

 

Wilmot Pass - just a couple of kilometres off-route towards Doubtful Sound. When they were constructing this road in the 1970s a bulldozer driver saw  a live moose cross right here.

View of Doubtful Sound from Wilmot Pass, not such a clear day, unfortunately.

The Mica Burn.

Likewise.

 

Here we are at West Arm. Methinks they have cold beer on that 'real journeys' boat.

Inside the Manapouri Power Station hundreds of metres underground at West Arm. Unfortunately you can no longer see this.

 

I was right: A well-earned beer on the boat across Lake Manapouri.

Heading back to 'civilisation'.

It is a beautiful lake.

Hitching back to Te Anau from Manapouri 2012.

Fiordland Birds: An Aside: If you thought it was quiet (and peaceful) walking the Dusky track and that you don not see anything but a handful of birds as you traversed it, that's because New Zealand has lost 99% of 99% of its birds. Most were eaten by stoats or possums. This is a stoat trap along the Spey River intended to catch some of these pests. in places where there are lots of such traps and they are regularly checked (such as the South Coast Track) the birds are very slowly making a comeback - but it will be touch and go. Do not interfere with a stoat trap as someone has done here.

You are lucky to get snaps of more than a handful of birds, such as these:

 

It is such an awful change from what I am used to in the Gippsland bush, Victoria where you are likely to see up to 500 bird species, and at any time walking =in the bush there are probably fifty birds visible and audible of probably upwards of a dozen species - almost more than you are likely to see in a lifetime in Fiordland. They have a plan t recover their bird life. I hope they succeed with it.

02/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #7: You have a big climb and descent today: over a kilometre up and then down again from the Kintail Hut to the Upper Spey Hut. You don't have to worry. Though it takes me longer now, I did this section in 2006 when I was a mere 58, the first time I walked over Centre Pass, in five hours. I'm afraid today it takes me nearer 7. Still good to be out there. If you are young and fit and get an early start it might be possible for you to walk all the way from here to West Arm and catch the last boat across Manapouri (about 5:15, but don't quote me). I know I just missed it in 2006, and I was really hanging out for a cold beer in the Moose bar Te Anau after nearly two weeks in the wet forests of Fiordland!

Resting in the Kintail Hut with Steve Hutcheson 2012.

Crossing the Seaforth: I usually walk across the river at this point, but Bryn actually prefers walk wires!

My turn.

Beautiful flat stalking to begin with: one of the denizens seems to have lost something.

The track follows the Kintail stream upwards towards Centre Pass.

The Kintail Stream is quite gorgey. There are many beautiful views of water crashing down.

Like this.

The walkwire across the Kintail Stream. I find this the most frightening of the trip. It is so long, such a long way down and car sized rocks below with water torrenting over them should you fall. Bryn just finds it fun! If the stream is low you can cross in the stream below.

High on the face overlooking Tripod Hill and the Gair Loch there is a huge 'new' slip. You can see plants are beginning to colonise it. look out for moose browse on fuchsia here in 20 years' time!

You would not want to be here when this slip formed. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are a moose - due to the edible regrowth) slips in Fiordland are very frequent. The 'Christchurch' earthquake of a few years back created thousands of them. They are as unavoidable as being struck by lightning but if you can you should avoid overhangs. that being said, I have never walked the Dusky without hearing a number of them!

The track becomes steeper. 

A bit of a scramble in places.

And steeper. Some places it is so steep you have to climb up a chain for support. Bryn Jones. But it is nowhere near so bad as the descent from lake Roe to Loch Marie. Soon you break out into leatherwoods and then into extensive snowgrass tops.

The mountains tower over you. There are many beautiful views back down along the Seaforth whence you came. if you are like me you will wonder whether you will ever see this view again . In 2006 oI thought I would never see it again, yet as it turns out it has become almost routine. Still i wonder whether I will ever gaze down upon Tripod Hill and the Seaforth ever again - or hear a lonely moose call. As I am quite old now, and ought to go places where Della can accompany me, this may be my last Dusky trip.

The awesome view back down the Seaforth somewhat spoiled by Bryn And me. Tripod Hill on my left shoulder.

Here it is without us. You have followed the Seaforth up from Loch Marie which you can just make out left of centre behind the Tripod Hill to the right of the Gair Loch (at the right base of the hill, then pretty much straight up to where you are now.

Finally you break free of the leatherwoods and have a view of Centre Pass - still a long way up, another half an hour or more! Some of the younger folk leave their packs near Centre Pass and climb Mt Memphis - risking the keas! I must say I have never been tempted, but then I have seen the view many times flying over it.

The cliffs certainly beetle overhead.

There are many strange plants in these high alpine meadows.

The last pinch is a bit of a climb - you wonder whether you will ever make it!

Centre Pass.

Time for a drink. You will miss that beautiful cystal clear Seaforth River water.

Now you have all that way down again to go to the Spey.

In Centre Pass in 2008 Bryn and I were visited by a pair of Kea who entertained us for quite some time with their many tricks.

I suspect they would have eaten out of our hands - or nipped our fingers off!

Again the cliffs beetle overhead.

You feel quite small in this grand scenery.

Just before you enter the leatherwoods you can turn back and view Centre Pass one last time. There is an hour or so of tree-root hopping to go - nowhere near so bad as the descent from lake Roe to Loch Marie though.

There is a substantial slip to cross. You may not be able to see the markers on the other side - look out for the cairns.

Finally you are down to flat going along the Spey River.

The Dusky still has the odd muddy patch awaiting you.

Finally you arrive at the Upper Spey Hut. Your last night in the wilderness of Fiordland. Time for a feast on all your remaining food (except tomorrow's lunch and breakfast).

02/05/2017: From Dawn to Dusky #6: Loch Marie to Kintail is another long section much like coming up from Supper Cove. It takes me 7-8 hours, but I am not a racer. Much of the trip is walking along pleasant river flats. Some of the clearings are so big you have to look out for the (large) triangles on the other side. There would be pleasant camping along this section, as in similar parts of the trip up from Supper Cove. I have seen fish in the river above Loch Marie, and there is a mounted photo on the wall of the Loch Marie hut of one such caught in the upper reaches of the Seaforth River above Kintail. It would also be a fine area for deer hunting during the 'roar'.

The first approx 3/4 of an hour are not so pleasant, hillsiding, rocks and tree roots, etc. this can be avoided if the river is low. You can walk up along the other side (or in the river) and cross once it flattens out on the true right bank as I have done here:

Looking back towards the Loch Marie Hut (centre) you can see it was easier going walking up the river.

You can avoid this bit of difficult going at the start when the river is low.There are a couple of  bits of hobbit country where you climb over tree roots for about an hour I guess, but it is very pretty, and not too bad.

This new bridge is a pleasant spot for a breather. It was not so nice wading across here up to your neck in the past.

There are some quite big clearings (more on the other side of the river - usually easily crossed in this section). this one complete with waterfall.

Hobbit country.

Some places you have to hang on so you don't fall in the river.

This debris gully is a good spot for a morning break.

And to check your map - you should have it laminated (as shown) for Fiordland weather.

You wouldn't want to be here when it was really raining though!

Lunch stop about half way you can get down onto these boulders and have lunch in the sunshine on a nice day.

Tripod Hill and waterfall.

 

We often stop for a break at the Kenneth Burn walk wire. Bryn taking it easy. Bryn and Irralee are both immune to sandflies. that would be nice!

Kenneth Burn.

After the Kenneth Burn there is a bit of a rocky climb around a giant slip and a bit of tree-root hopping going down to the head of the Gair Loch (which can be quite unpleasantly swampy when it is wet). After that it is easy river flat going to the Kintail Hut which is off the track a bit to the left. It is a very damp spot, so you probably won't be having a fire. You also have to walk back about fifty metres to get a sat phone signal.

The Kenneth Burn 'slip' has regrown with hundreds of acres of fuschia. This is a favourite food plant of the NZ moose, and you will see many examples (mostly old) of moose browse and barking if you keep an eye out. If you are very quiet and lucky you might even snap a photo of one -- there is reputed to still be a $100,000 prize! When I was walking out in 2012 there was one spot in particular to the right of the track just about the top where a moose had obviously stayed and grazed the tops of every plant for several days - just days before I passed, worse luck!

This is the Fuchsia slip I have been talking about. Hundreds of acres. You can imagine thousands such throughout the moose range in Fiordland.

Irralee pointing out some moose browse about 2.5 metres up a fuchsia on the Kenneth Burn slip.

Detail: You can see they have bitten through twigs between 1-2 cm in diameter and broken them off. Nothing else could do this 2.4-2.7 metres (8'-9')off the ground.

A bit of rougher going heading down to the Gair Loch.

A bit of swampy going near the Gair Loch.

Easy to go down to your hips!

Looking down on the Gair Loch from near Centre Pass. The track has circled behind the Tripod Hill(from left to right in the photo) then come along the right hand side of the Loch. There would be good fishing, I imagine.

And then pleasant walking for an hour or so until you come to the Seaforth walk wire and the Kintail Hut.

Like this.

Seaforth Walk Wire. The hut is a little further along about 200 metres back from the river on the true right bank

Kintail Hut.

28/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 4 & 5: The trip to Supper Cove is a side trip taking two days - but really worth it! The walk up/down from Loch Marie to Supper Cove takes me 7-8 hours. I know you may be younger and in more of a hurry - who know why? Most of the distance is very pleasant, flat walking along a river/lake. There are two exceptions: the hour you have to spend climbing around the giant slip which created Loch Marie until after the Bishop Burn (which is not too bad actually), and the last hour if you cannot cross Supper Cove at low tide before you reach the Supper Cove Hut. It is one of the nastiest tree/rock hopping bits on the whole track, seeming doubly worse as it comes at the end of a long day. Many folks have turned their knee or ankle on this section (including me), so leave early enough you are not hurrying at the end of the day when you are tired.

Supper Cove itself is one of the pleasantest spots on earth, and you should plan to spend a few days there. It has likely got the very best toilet view in the world too! You might be able to prearrange (as I sometimes have) a helicopter or the float plane to leave some supplies tied up in a bag in the rafters of the boat shed so you can extend your stay. You will be able to have fresh fish three times a day if you have a hand line, some sinkers and hooks - or you may be lucky enough to find some there that the DOC has not confiscated. You should plan on this and have some oil/Alfoil (and a little salt to taste) to cook the fish with. The Blue Cod particularly, easily caught in the deeper water off the rocks behind the hut are perhaps the best eating fish in the world. Maybe include a cheap frying pan in that bag.

In 2009 I paddled this section with my Alpacka 'Fiord Explorer'. I am not going to do so again!

There it is on the shores of Loch Marie! See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/dusky-track-canoeing-the-seaforth/

I even paddled across the lake itself though I can't imagine why now.

First the track follows the old miner's track along the edge of the lake. A few rocks, but easy going.

The loch is beautiful in the dawn.

Everywhere there is the beauty of water moving.

My son Bryn crossing the first walk wire in 2008.

Some beautiful views of the lake through the ancient trees.

Sometimes when the lake is very low it is easier to walk along the edge of the lake. Look out fro moose tracks in the soft mud and sand. Such tracks have often been seen here.

At one point as you climb around the slip listening to the roar of the water as it crashes over the giant boulders and wondering that trout can find their way past it, you will come upon the remains of the iron tools C19th miners used to make this section of the track. What hardships they must have endured.

Lots of places DOC have put in new steel or wooden bridges (even a new walk wire) since I first walked it nearly twenty years ago. It certainly cuts out some difficult scrambling up and down.

Eventually you meet up with the Seaforth River again below the Bishop- Burn. This must be about where I put in on my raft trip in 2009. There are many beautiful river vistas ahead.

Mind you there were some rapids to avoid!

Real 'Huck Finn' stuff this.

The flat going is split by an unexpected ladder.

Crossing the Mcfarlane Burn 2008.

The Old Supper Cove Hut site. Just before you leave/join the river you will see (if you look carefully) the remains of the old hut. Right in the centre of the photo you can just make out the parallel lines of the tree fern trunks which formed its floor. It was the last point you could get to by boat. It would have been a useful shelter if the river and particularly the Henry Burn swamps were flooded. It would have been a cold, wet camp to have lived in whilst you were building the track in the C19th though!

My son Bryn demonstrating just how swampy it gets between the two arms of the Henry Burn in 2008.

My daughter Irralee crossing the 'Waterfall Burn' in 2007.

The Waterfall Burn. There is a 160 metre waterfall at the top of this unnamed stream. You can climb up with difficulty by following the next gully (ie on the true right down Fiord). in 2000 the top of this higher waterfall was shrouded in mist and it appear4ed to simply fall from the clouds. It was pouring with rain and photography was impossible/disappointing. There was fresh moose sign (tracks/droppings) up this burn then too.

 

 

Easy walking, as you can see. If the tide is not so full you can still cut off a fair bit of nasty stuff. The track is usually not far from the shore (after crossing) the first ridge. If you are looking across the Cove facing the hut you will see some white rocks on the other side. if you aim for the right hand end of those rocks, you might still see a taped trail leading up to the main track when you get near. This is the view looking from the hut side towards the 'Waterfall Burn' side. The low tide at Supper Cove is approximately 2 1/2 hours earlier than Port Craig (so, if Port Craig's low was at 1:30 pm for example (as it was on 21/04/2017), Supper Cove's was at approximately 11:00 am.. You can check the tide info at the Met Service NZ before you start on the track to see whether you will be able to cross Supper Cove.

If the tide is fully low you can walk all the way across the cove. You can just walk out past the boat shed and helipad, cross the Hilda Burn, then head straight across the Supper Cove flats. Only 'thermometer deep' as you can see Bryn crossing in 2008.

This is the first view of Supper Cove looking towards the hut (unfortunately at high tide). The hut (invisible) would be almost exactly centre. See the white rocks on the shore opposite. You would aim just to the right of them if you were walking across at a lowish tide, then walk up (approx 50-100 metres to the true left bank of the Hilda Burn) to intersect with the track. I did mark the low tide trail in 2014 with tape and a buoy hung from a tree on the shore. You might still spot them.

First view of the hut from the air (with Della 2011: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/10-days-in-fiordland/)

My daughter Irralee crossing the Hilda Burn 2009.

Arriving at the Supper Cove Hut.

This is the beautiful view from the verandah looking up the Seaforth. The moose were released on that sandbar (centre) in 1905. Many delights await at Supper Cove.

Such as fishing off the rocks for blue cod: my son Bryn demonstrates.

A Hummingbird hammock comes in handy at Supper Cove 2017: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-hummingbird-in-the-hand/

It is becoming a busy switch over point for tour boat operators.

You can often 'catch a lift' to/from Supper Cove from a a helicopter:

Or a float plane.

About 100 metres behind the Supper Cove Hut there are the remains of another 'mystery' hut guarded by a fantail. You can continue up that ridge (past the cataract) and drop down into the Hilda Burn upstream (if you are intrepid/foolhardy). Just after where the Burn splits in two I glimpsed a cow moose in 2000.

27/04/2017: From Dawn to Dusky # 3: It will take you slightly longer to walk from Lake Roe to Loch Marie than it did from Halfway Hut, though this will come as a surprise when you seem to have walked 3/4 of the way there over pleasant snow-grass tops sprinkled with myriad jewel lakes and you are gazing down on the Loch and its tree trunks just a kilometre below you. That last kilometre is a doozy!

Looking back towards the hut from lake Roe look-out reveals the way ahead towards Loch Marie.

Looking down from the climb in the previous photo.

Last view of Lake Roe and its hut. 

A myriad jewel lakes.

Mist magic.

Looking up the Seaforth towards Centre Pass.