31 March 2014

Relative Calm Before the Storm - A Cedar Bottom Walk

Once again we're expecting another winter storm, snow and ice and the usual quintessential winter mix.

On radar the storm looks its about to close its jaws around the North country, though I think this particular storm is a little over hyped locally. Guess we'll see.

Having some small amount of time to kill I took a walk through a Cedar bottom to see what I could see. This area has often provided cover for deer in the past and I was hoping to spot a few.

We've had moderate temperatures for the past few days, often getting into the high 30s so we're beginning to experience some melt finally. Snow loads are down in places holding deer, a far sight easier to walk here than the open woods.

As usual, a couple stills for those who don't watch videos, though there is some fair deer footage in this one.

Hopefully the storm we're supposed to get over the next two days isn't as bad as we're being told, we sure could use a break.

29 March 2014

Frost River Isle Royale Jr. on ALICE Frame

One of the most common complaints I hear about canvas packs is the lack of frame or general discomfort to carry. While much of the discomfort can be eliminated by packing it correctly, you can also add a basket or frame or both for that matter.

Most of the time I just use a ash pack basket in mine and it's plenty comfortable for me. However there are times when carrying a extra heavy load or needing to, could be done in a more comfortable fashion with the addition of a frame.

It's very simple to match them up and you don't need to mod or change anything on the frame or the pack. You will need the ALICE frame shelf and two 1" webbing straps and two strap adjusters, though this is optional.

You're also going to want either a 18" pack basket or similarly sized wastebasket.

In my case I have a pack basket, a 18" basket fits fairly snugly, you can do this with the wastebasket as well. The weight of the loaded pack while on the frame should be primarily on the ALICE shelf and thus the waist. Having a rigid interior will help accomplish this. It will also provide the rigidity at the top so that you can use the leather compression straps to pull the pack in tight and secure to the upper part of the frame at the bend point.

In the image below you can see where the upper leather compression strap goes around the frame to the buckles on the front. By having either the pack basket or the wastebasket inside the pack you can torque down on this strap, pulling the frame tight to the pack.

Obviously do the same thing on both sides.

In the below image you can see where I used the webbing to go through the tab and back to the frame shelf. This probably isn't completely necessary but  I did it to further secure the pack to the frame.

Attaching the pack in this way allows you to use the great Frost River straps.

I've had this pack off and on the frame for over a year and have seen no adverse affects to the pack at all.

The waist pad and belt are original to this frame but there are upgrades available that would add comfort and more support. I may eventually try that upgrade but for my purposes the original pad and belt work just fine.

That's it, nothing else to do or add or change. Makes for a nice set up with a frame, and gives you all of the benefits of a ALICE frame pack with the great durability and functionality of the Isle Royale Jr.

23 March 2014

Winter Trek Bacon & Gadwall No Sign of Spring

The icy grip of winter shows no signs of weakening in the North Woods. Yet another week of very cold temperatures and forecast holds nothing but the same.

Cabin fever has a hold on me now, I day dream of spring and bare ground even on treks on frozen trails in my backwoods. This has been winter to remember. Off trail the snow remains at over three feet in depth, hard packed trails make travel easier but trying to bushwhack through the powder is a fool's errand.

Even this Northman is ready for it to pass.

I hiked around my trails, the total loop was about eight miles. Sun was shining which was nice but the cold wouldn't let up even at midday. Spent some time in the day camp, did some wood processing, made a greenwood grill for the bacon and gadwall, just general piddling.

Somehow much of my footage was corrupted, I don't know what caused it. Missing parts are some downhill sledding, the making of the sapling grill for the bacon and duck, other miscellaneous pieces.

As usual, some stills to follow the video for those who don't watch them, though there's more in the video. (Best in HD for those with the bandwidth)

Staghorn Sumac, a testament to its tenacity, a frozen treat for the eyes in the whiteness of winter.

01 March 2014

-25F Day Camp Bacon & Mushroom Soup

First day out with the Boreal Shirt from Empire Canvas Works. I had Kevin make this one out of a couple blankets that I had. This was my first chance to get outside since I took delivery of it.


Quite cold today at -25 so a fire and something hot was in order, video covers most of it. As cold as it was I really needed to get outside for a while.

And the soup came out pretty good!