Stories from "Out There"

Solo Trekking in The Wilderness – Going “Out There” Alone (Part 2)

Solo Trekking in The Wilderness – Going “Out There” Alone (Part 2)

{ Excerpt from Part 1:

……. Nice .. About 14 inches of Beautiful Rainbow Trout.

I put him on an improvised “stringer”, and dropped him back in the water .. and settled back to watch the river go by,

Something caught my eye, and I went to look ..

Across the feeder creek I watched a Beaver busily dragging branches into the water and tugging them Up-stream along the creek?

(This would bear some exploring  maybe tomorrow) }

Day 3 Continued …

As evening approached I pulled the trout out of the river, Gutted and Cleaned it, and headed back to Camp.

I rekindled the fire, and spread the fish out on a forked stick, and propped it up near the fire, to cook while I prepped the rest of the meal. Also set a pot of water to heat.

I had carried in one good sized potato, and when the fire had developed an amount of hot coals, I wrapped the potato in a layer of ferns, and buried it just under the hot coal bed … By the time the fish was done, the potato would also be done, and ready for dinner. (Old BoyScout Trick)

One other thing I prepared was the Miners Lettuce and Sorrel that I had picked earlier, making for a nice Green Salad, to go with the Fish and ‘taters.

I used some of the boiled water to make a small pot of Pine-Needle Tea.

I had a couple biscuits left from the previous day, and that rounded out the meal.

I had timed everything just right, and the Potato was done (only slightly burned on the outside/skin) and the Fish – that I had repositioned several times, was Perfect.

I got my “plate” out of the pack (actually a large Frisbee, which worked Great as a plate, or even a shallow bowl) .. “peeled” the potato and mashed it with some butter and Salt&Pepper;, Fileted the fish, and piled the salad on the plate beside both .. and kicked back in my Hammock, to an Awesome Hot Meal.

As nighttime fully fell, I cleaned up around Camp, Buried the remains of the fish, a ways away from the Camp (to possibly use for Trap bait), and then I banked the fire well, and snuggled into my Sleeping Bag, and listened as the Night Critters went about nightly rounds.

I heard a couple Coyotes  yapping in the distance, and an Owl ‘twittering’ in a nearby tree, assuring me that “All Was Well in the Neighborhood” .. The Sounds of the Forest lulling me in to a comfortable sleep.

Day 4

It looked like today was going to be a nice one 🙂

… The skies are clear, and the temperature has risen nicely.

In the fire pit I had set my Cook Pot full of water in the middle of the coals Before Banking it up and covered it over – Just the top of the pot-lid Peeking out .. and when I touched it it was hot – Yay!

I un-banked the fire and “blew” it back to life .. adding  twigs and then larger pieces of wood till it was burning nicely.

I added Coffee Grounds to the hot water, and set it again into the coals to make “Cowboy Coffee”, as I prepared to face the day.

When the Coffee was hot I poured a cup and drank it while perusing the TopoMap of the area .. I located my position and took note of the small feeder stream I had watched the beaver dragging branches up the evening before. From the looks of it, it seemed that the Creek cut Up a slightly shallower slope of the valley side, and not too far up it looked to flatten out into an open area of interest .. that I wanted to explore today.

For breakfast, I made up a large bowl of oatmeal, and added Butter and Brown sugar and a hand full of Blackberies I found right near the camp .. Yummm.

I spent some time baking up some more biscuits (I should have done that the previous night)

I cleaned up around camp, and hung up ‘the vittles’, and then checked my Trekking bag**, making sure that I had everything I wanted/needed to take along on my excursion today, and then headed back to where I had seen the beaver ‘working’ the previous evening.

** Today’s “Trekking Bag”

    • MOLLE II Assault pack
    • Rain Gear (This is The Pacific Northwest, after all)
    • 10X12 Etowah Tarp, 6X8 ‘ground’ Tarp, Plus Paracord and plastic stakes.
    • GorTex Bivi +Sleeping Bag
    • Pathfinder “Canteen” Cook Set
      • Canteen, Cup, Stove, Lid, Hanger,Titanium Spork, Fire-Starters,
    • ESEE-6 Knife
    • First-Aid/Self-Aid/Repair Kit
    • Fire Kit
    • Head-Light
    • Paracord, White Waxed cord,

I was pleased to note, that along-side the Creek was a well used Deer/Elk Trail, which made progress much easier (as this is a heavily wooded/Brushed terrain.

I hiked Up the ‘trail’ for about a half hour, and suddenly came upon the ‘flat, and a small “beaver-Dam across the creek, with a small ‘pond’ behind it.

There didn’t appear to be a “Lodge” built up adjacent to the Dam, but there had been quite a bit of activity in the area, and the potential for a small ‘lake’ coming together was high.

I moved a ways away from where the “work” looked to be happening, and found a nice flat area that would work nicely for my shelter*.

… *I had long ago learned about this simple Tarp-Tent shelter .. (Fully enclosed, and roomy enough for my needs), that utilized my 10X12 Etowah Tarp, and created a “floor” area of about 6X8 feet and a max height of almost 6 feet at the ‘door’.

The ‘door’ side can open up completely, making for a great view .. Or for enjoying/using the campfire, or can be completely closed creating a rain-proof/wind-proof snug shelter, with enough ‘venting’ at the high point to allow for some cooking and/or heating within.

After Erecting the Tarp-Tent, I had piled up a goodly amount of pine needles and Ferns, covered over with a thick layer of Sphagnum Moss, and then enclosed by the ground-Tarp , in half of the ‘footprint’ .. leaving the other half open as a work space and storage space.

I laid out my Bivi and Bag, and stored my other gear inside .. Hung up my small Candle-Lantern, and after a good look around and some tightening-up, I called it Good !

It was passed Noon, so I went ‘foraging’, and looking for possible Trapping opportunities. The ‘exposure up-stream was good, and Berries were plentiful .. I gathered a good amount of Salmonberries and Thimbleberries .. and also more Miners Lettuce and Sorrel, as I came across it.

As I was wandering around I spotted a few ‘trails’ through the brush, and took note of where they were .. thinking that I would ‘set’ a few traps, and see what I might ‘catch’.

I went back to my campsite, and got a fire-pit laid out .. got some water heating and munched berries as I improvised a few deadfall triggers .. I “smoked” the trap parts near the fire, to remove my scent, and when the water was Hot, I made some Sorel tea, and ate a couple of the biscuits I had made before heading out.

As evening approached I went out and ‘set’ the traps I had configured, in the spots I had spied earlier (‘baiting’ them with Fish Entrails).

When that was done, I returned to Camp, and relaxed by my shelter and watched the fire until it burned down, and then closed up the doorway to the shelter and snuggled into my Bivi and went to sleep.

Day 5

Today dawned Clear and bright .. looking to be a Nice Day.

After making some breakfast (Instant oatmeal, with Butter, brown sugar, and the remaining Thimbleberries), I went out to see if any of my traps had been ‘tripped’ ..

Of the first 3 I looked at, One was tripped .. (and of the other two One was fully intact and the other intact, but the  ‘bait’ was gone)

I lifted the log that had fallen on the 1st trap, there was Nothing.

I dismantled the three, and Moved on, two additional traps appeared untouched, and one more was tripped.

I lifted the large rock which had fallen, and found a large ‘squished’ squirrel .. Yaaay – Dinner for tonight.

I dismantled the other two traps, and scattered what bait was left around, for the local critters to find .. I put the squirrel in my dump-pouch, and went in search of some readily available tubers, to add to the soup I planned on making for dinner.

I spotted a patch of ‘Tiger Lillis’, and dug up the bulbs (only taking a few from each area).. I also found some ‘rice Lillies’, and gathered a bunch of their bulblets .. all in all I gathered a good hand-full of the bulbs, and put them in my ‘dump-pouch’ too, and then went back to the high end of the little pond, and searched the small stream, looking for a bit more protein. I didn’t find anything of interest, but on the way back towards my Camp I came across a beautiful deer antler 🙂

I sat by the ‘working end’ of the little pond, watching and hoping to see the Beaver doing his job.

I didn’t see the Beaver again, but while I was sitting there, a Mama and ‘spotted’ baby ‘Black-tail’ deer stop by to drink from the pond. The baby was more interested in playing than drinking .. and she trotted around while the Doe drank her fill, and then she got spooked and they ran back into the forested area .. and I got up and went back to camp.

Evening was falling, and I Rekindled the fire, and got a pot of water heating while I walked a ways away from camp to skin and clean the squirrel .. then came back and cut up the squirrel into small pieces, and broke up the bones, and put it all into the now boiling water.

I rinsed off the lily bulbs and cut the larger one in half, and added them to the soup pot. .. I let it all boil for a while, and then set it to the side of the fire, where It could simmer, till all was done and yummy.

… (I salted the small hide, and rolled it up, to deal with later)

I mixed up some biscuit dough, and set it near the fire to ‘rise’ (kneading it and letting it rise twice), and then I baked up a bunch of biscuits, to go with dinner, and for tomorrow, when I was planning on leaving.

I had gathered some “Licorice Fern Root, and I boiled up a mug of water, Chopped up the Root and put it into the boiling water, and then covered and set it near the fire to ‘steep’

I checked the ‘soup’, and the meat was almost done, so I gave it another half hour to ‘cook’ .. while the biscuits were baking.

When everything was ready, I set the ‘soup pot’ on a flat rock beside me, and removed the last of the biscuits and I was ready to ‘chow down’

The squirrel meat was tender and yummy (a little ‘wild’, but Very Good) .. The Lily Bulbs were Very Sweet, and a great addition to the meal.

I ate most of it, and sopped up some of the juice with a biscuit .. mmmmm 🙂

After it cooled of a bit more, I broke-up the bones more (to access the marrow), and let is soak in the remains of the soup .. (I would heat it up in the morning for an energy boost before heading out)

I cleaned up the area, and ‘did my dishes’, before it got dark.

I banked-up the fire, and as it burned down to coals, I again set my full pot in the middle for the coals and banked it up and covered it over with ash – leaving just the tip-top of the pot peeking out.

This would do one of three things.

  1. The coals would die out, and the water would not be hot in the morning ..
  2. The coals would get too much oxygen and be too hot and the water would all boil away ..
  3. The coals would simmer at just the right intensity, that The water in the pot would be HOT, and the coal-bed would easily be blown into a morning fire

… (I have had varying luck with this process, and I was hoping for #3)

I drank my Licorice Fern Root Tea (My Wife’s all time  Favorite Woods Treat), and then closed up the Tarp-Tent and  snuggled into my Bivi/Bag and was soon sound asleep.

—————————— End Part 2 ——————————
( Part 3 to follow in future post )

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