Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ultralight Backpacking Cache or SHTF Cache - Part 1 of 2


I only have experience in woodland caching, so you may have to modify some of this information for your region.

( picture from Google )

The most important thing that I can say about caching, make sure it is allowed in the recreational area. Also be sure that the container that you use will be picked up. My friend would always use 50cal ammo cans. They ran him around $13.00 and it guaranteed him that when he deposited it along side the road, it didn't stay there long. Other options have been food grade containers, but size tends to be the problem when digging the cache. Generally, mostly food items are stored in the watertight container as a resupply point. I'll run through a short list of what I have personally stored in some of my caches.
  • Paperbook books - Thoreau,  Orwell, Asimov , and short story fiction.
  • Lighter - just in case and it takes up little room
  • Candle for tent - old used tuna can for base
  • Tuna/canned meats
  • MREs
  • dehydrated meals - All individually Ziplocked, then Ziplocked in a gallon size freezer bag.
  • Toilet paper roll
  • M&Ms
  • Fresh socks - fresh socks are great!
  • Capt. Morgan or Gentleman Jack
  • Cigarettes - back when I smoked.
  • Pasta/ dehydrated tomato paste/Parmesan cheese
  • Navajo bread mix/small can Crisco
  • Cashews/Almonds/nuts
  • Dried Fruit/Crackers
  • Spare batteries
  • Coffee/SUGAR/Tea Packets/Koolaid
  • Map sections for further up the trail
  • New Trash bag/ Wet Wipes
  • Note - I'll explain later
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas. I have stored fuel (white gas ) further under the cache in a separate heavy duty contractors trash bag. I am frugal, but the extra cost of the contractor trash bags are well worth the investment. The same goes for Ziplock brand baggies. I have taken cheaper brands on my hikes, and have regretted the "savings".

LOCATION:  It is usually located near a trail head or roadway for easy caching. I try to choose an elevated rocky hillside area to bury my cache. Make sure it is out of a flood area, where water collects, or pathways of water. IMPORTANT: You should very carefully consider where and how water will travel. Moss indicates constant water. A good location should be easily found by only you.

NUTS AND BOLTS: All of the items inside should be secure and stable. Once the container is closed, I like to sanitize the outside with a slight bleach water solution. I am probably being over cautious, but feral hogs and bear are a real threat to a hidden stash.

Security is also another issue. Do not bury the cache while other people are around.

Now, back to the contractor trash bags. The cache should be put into it with the opening of the trash bag pointing down. Think water flow. I'll dig a little deeper and place the fuel canister, also wrapped in a contractor trash bag, below the actual cache to keep any chance of contamination to near zero. The dirt is flung to make the area appear undisturbed. Any rocks are carefully set aside to be placed around and on top of the cache. Forest duff  is placed around the area to help the cache blend into the area. I will almost always carry a few larger stones to place on top of the cache to mark, but more importantly deter any critters from getting into the cache.

The Note: Usually I leave a short worded note saying that I am a thru hiker and to please throw the trash away and thanks. Never signed, never giving direction, never giving any clues.

 To be continued....SHTF cache link here

Here is another post with a You Tube video describing how to make a PVC tube for caching.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Larry Williams - Chapter One

                    Foreword: I wrote this story several years ago after my friend, Larry Williams committed suicide from acute depression. It was a way for me to heal, and also a way to honor him as a friend. Before this was published, only a few people had read the story, but I think he would have liked it to be published. You see, Larry had written several stories and wanted to be published, but he never got around to having it done. The photo below was taken from one of our many backpacking trips, and he always said, "This is the photo for my dust cover."


                  I've toyed with the idea of expanding the short story into a broader novel, but have also lacked the time and initiative  to put my thoughts into words. The direction of novel is also in question, but know I want it to be about backpacking. -K

 Chapter One
                  The day started early, a typical early fall Saturday morning at Steele Creek Campground. The air was clean and crisp with a slight chill. In a few more weeks, the frost would start gathering on the leaves, with the sun rising and birds waking shortly after. It was time to start gathering the gear and get ready for our day's hike. The routine was the same: boiling water for coffee and oatmeal, making packs small, and checking the area for trash. My friend Larry was already waiting in the truck, along with my day pack.  
                  The drive to Compton trail head takes about forty minutes. It's a drive where your mind
likes to wander. We had often talked about what this country must have looked like before the white man invaded or where the Osage Indians would have set up camp. These hills had a lot of good memories for us. If I had to guess, we had taken at least twelve backpacking trips together in addition to planned meetings on his solo hikes. He had been coming up here even before it was a National River and had seen many of the changes, both good and bad, for himself. It seemed as though every trail head and dirt county road had a story between the two of us. We had finally arrived and it didn't take long to grab my pack, a bottle of water and his staff. Larry and I headed out from the trail head.
Larry Williams was many things: cook, backpacker, bartender, Americorp volunteer, Ozark Eco-tour guide, AT&T operator, writer, canoeist, but mostly, he was a “hippie.” Most people were defined by their jobs, but he defined himself. Few people knew that he was part Indian, but he was modestly proud of the fact. He introduced dozens upon dozens of people to backpacking and canoeing, but mentored only a select few. I happened to be one of those lucky few. I met him when I knew him as a cook, and we quickly became friends. We would often spend hours talking, drinking, and listening to music into the wee hours of the morning with a small circle of friends. Every autumn, when the leaves started to turn, he would start to get wanderlust. Until seven years ago, when his ankle finally gave out, he had spent the fall backpacking this area; adding a week every year until he was wandering the Upper Buffalo Wilderness for sixteen weeks at a stretch.
His only real claim to fame was that he had survived a fall off of Cedar Creek Falls at Petite Jean Mountain. At that time, he was one of only seven to ever survive the fall. He once told me that when he was falling, he felt “that Mother Earth had wrapped her arms around him and held him safe.”
Our friend Steve was with him on that trip. I once asked him what he was thinking as Larry was falling; he told me that he was thinking , “He has the keys.” Larry had a different outlook on life after that experience. He had a greater respect for the earth and shared that respect with others. He was secretive about his special places he had discovered on his “long rambles”, as he liked to call them.
Hemmed-in-Hollow, today's hike, was one of those places. Even though quite a few people know about the falls and the hollow from floating the Buffalo River, he knew this place literally from top to bottom. We were going to do “The Grand Tour” as he had once called it. It involved starting at the Compton trail head and dropping down to an abandoned cabin that had belonged to Uncle Vic. From there, we headed southwest towards the eastern rim of the hollow that overlooks the Buffalo National River and Hemmed-in-Hollow waterfall. This prime no-fire campsite was a destination of a spring trip in 2000. A narrow foot trail hugged the top edge of the bluff line, northward to the top of the falls, and arced around to California Point on the western side of the hollow. The trail finally became big enough for two people to comfortably walk side by side at this point, and headed in the hollow itself. We reached an old gnarly cedar tree along the way to the bottom that a biologist was “gonna name the tree after Larry if it was a new species”. The trail continued under the waterfall, and would get you wet when the wind was right. The trail from the top ended near the opening into the hollow.
As I walked further into the hollow, I thought about the times we had been here before. We had been here twice by the river and twice by foot, but this would be our last time. This is where Larry and I would end our last hike together: I was here to scatter his ashes. I thought long and hard about what I would say when I got here, but sometimes saying nothing is best. We had been like brothers for a period of years and had said everything that needed to be said. It had been an honor to carry his staff for this last time. I firmly planted it into the highest point in the hollow underneath an old weathered beech tree. I opened the box and scattered his ashes among the leaves, rocks, and new growth. It seemed appropriate that his energy would always be here. Larry's final request had been fulfilled and I smiled thinking that Larry would float the Buffalo one last time as it began to rain.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to pack for an ultralight backpacking trip ( or anything )

My backpacking guru, Larry Williams, broke it down for me many many years ago. He told me to think of my backpack as a house. I should make a list of the rooms in the house, then go from there...

In the kitchen, I would need pots, camp stove, fuel, eating utensil, etc...
In the refrigerator, I would need the food for the trip.
In the bathroom, I would need my first aid kit , toilet paper, toothbrush/toothpaste, and other stuff.
In the closet, I would need my clothes ( remember rain gear ).
In the bedroom, I would need my sleeping bag, pad (Thermarest is best), bivy bag.
In the living room, I would need my maps, compass, entertainment ( mini starwheel , whiskey ), etc.

Make a list! This house analogy is the best that I've ever heard on "How to Pack". It can be applied to any situation, whether it is a bugout bag, diaper bag, luggage, or backpack.

TIP: Keep your list as a future reference, and go over it once the trip is done to see what can be added or taken off.
TIP: Buy quality light weight gear. Ounces make pounds, and pounds make a happier hike.
TIP: Knowledge is lightweight and you can never carry too much of it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Does Any of this Ring a Bell?

     Hurricane Katrina was a real wake up call for the people of the United States. At least those that were paying attention to the news. We watched New Orleans. We watched the federal government fail. Now, I'm not advocating relying on the government, because I firmly believe what the bible says, "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.' " 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NIV  ( To read the full text surrounding it, follow the link Bible )

   The government has also failed "We the people". It has failed to protect the border...ask any Border Patrol Agent. It has failed to keep a budget. The politicians have raided the vault and spent money like it is their money. Wait, they spend it like it is your money. The government has passed "free trade" agreements that destroy our way of life and lower the standard of living for most Americans. The first people to lose their jobs are going to be the lowest paid, not the CEO that makes the decisions.
   There is also a feeling that things are going to get worse. A gut feeling has been described by nearly all of the preppers I've gotten to open up.  "Waiting for the other shoe to drop" has also been mentioned.
   Let's also face another fact. America has been selling fear for a long time. The best way to combat fear is to learn and prepare.This is why I think we prep.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I'm thankful for a living God....Have a great Easter.

Monday, April 2, 2012

MRE Monday - Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

This is a continuation of my review on various MREs. Today, the family reviewed the lemon poppy seed pound cake that I bought last August on sale for $1.00. They currently sale for $1.10 to $1.95 each.

Nutritional Information:
Calories from entire package: 300 Calories from fat:130
Total Fat 14g or 22% Daily Value (DV)
Saturated Fat 3g or 15% DV
Trans Fat 2g
Cholesterol 30mg or 10% DV
Sodium 250mg or 10% DV
Total Carbohydrates 40g or 13% DV
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 22g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 2%
Thiamine 8%
Riboflavin 6%
Niacin 6%
Calcium 6%
Iron 8%
Folic Acid 6%

Expectations: I had the high expectations of my Grandmother's Lemon Pound Cake with the Lemon Powdered Sugar Glaze drizzled over the top.

I'll start using a dollar or coin as a reference piece. It weighs 2.5 ounces.

Reality: The pound cake once opened had a very pleasant smell of lemon. The poppy seeds were mixed throughout the pound cake and it was moist. This is always a good sign. The youngest son came over to my chair as soon as he saw it and asked for some, I gave him a third of the cake. I had to have my oldest "Take a bite", while making a mean face.  The oldest didn't like it. I asked him why, and he said,"I just don't". I really liked this one. I gave my wife a required bite...she liked it too. Well, with all of the bites it was soon gone. Always a good sign. 

Final Thoughts: The only thing missing from this was the glaze. I'm fairly sure I could make one, if time permitted. I will be waiting for another sale and stocking up on them. When I opened the second MRE, my youngest asked for some more. I broke him another third, and he took the big piece! I hadn't thought of this, but my wife thinks it would be good heated. I'm sure that it would be good.  Anyways, for the weight and calories this is a big win. It is also good for long term storage at 70 degrees F for 5 years as with any MRE.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Truth from a child

I took the kids to a national hardware store yesterday. We were walking around, well one was riding on the side and the other was inside the cart. The oldest decided that he was going to boss me around.

Finally, when I had had enough, I told him, "You're not the boss of me. I'm the king at the house".
The oldest replied, "No you're not".
I expected to learn that Mommy or he was the king, so I asked, "Then who's the king?"
Without missing a beat he said, "Jesus."
I laughed out loud because he was right, and told him so. This is one of the many reasons that I love being a Dad.