Camping not Hiking

Many of my regular readers will have noticed that I have been inactive with regards to trail reports over the past few months, initially this was because of an injury to my knee. However, once that had recovered, another more serious health issue arose resulting in a series of treatments and less activity. But now I am beginning to look outdoors again.

For the time being the focus will be on camping as opposed to long distance hiking, that is, trips of short distance to nice camping locations here in Denmark or further afield. As I began to think about camping spots in Denmark I began to scroll through my many photos looking at locations which I have enjoyed over the years. It is these campsites that have kept me going outdoors, no matter the weather or the location.

With the multitude of beaches in Denmark there is never a shortage of sand to camp on. At this location perhaps the most entertaining aspect was the fishing trawler, fully loaded with duck hunters, criss crossing its path trying to shoot sitting ducks. My impression was that no ducks were harmed, but much alcohol was consumed.

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Posted in Black Diamond Shelter, CampingnotHiking, Coastal Walking, Denmark, GoLIte, Tarptent, Tarptent Moment DW, Tarptent Notch, Uncategorized | Tagged | 14 Comments

Ruta Locura Jetboil modification

I have been a long term user of the Jetboil, and one of its only draw backs, in my view, is its weight. However, Ruta Locura have developed a modification which utilises a 24 gram gas burner from China. The burner, BRS-3000T,  was favourably reviewed by Roger Caffin at BPL.com (membership required) and to date I have found it to be a reliable burner. The only downside in my opinion is the aluminium thread which connects the burner to the canister, a brass thread would be a better option (see my experiences with the original Jetboil burner here)

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The Ruta Locura modification includes, the burner, a Carbon Fibre lid and 2 circular discs of titanium foil to mount the burner and to protect the gas canister from the reflected heat. The latter disc provides the added advantage of being able to store the burner within the heat exchanger section of the pot allowing more storage space within the pot. A full review by Ryan Jordan of this system can be found here (membership required).

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Posted in Jetboil | 3 Comments

Why am I not using Pacer Poles, at the moment?

As many of my readers know I have been a long term user of Pacer Poles, with one of the most important aspects in my view being the handles. However, it is the handles which are the only drawback for me at the moment.

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Recently I have been focussing on only using one pole when hiking, my reason being that with one pole I walk slower. However, I always carry the second pole and can grab it if needed. When using only one pole I tend to use it as a hiking staff, with the added bonus I can swap from hand to hand whenever the need arises.  To date I have found this approach successful, though in more rugged country I would likely need to use two poles.

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Posted in Cascade Carbon Poles, Gear, Pacer Poles, What works for me. | 2 Comments

Late evening Farum Sø

A quick overnight was on the cards so I set off, camera in hand to find a spot to watch the sunset and the sunrise.

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The mosquitos were kept at bay by a pleasant breeze off the water.

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Meanwhile the clouds were building in the North East.

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By morning it was grey and cloudy with a much cooler breeze, and with no sunrise to watch, I set off early and was home in time for breakfast.

Posted in CampingnotHiking, Farum Sø, Hilleberg, Olympus 12-40 mm 1:2.8 Pro, OMD EM 5 II | 6 Comments

There and back to see how far it is.

Living near Copenhagen, we are fortunate  to have many forests and most of which include  camping sites where you can spend a night or two just enjoying the outdoors. A quick look at the map here (only in Danish) will soon show all the sites from free camping areas (Frit teltningsområde),  big camping areas usually with more than one shelter (Stor lejrplads), and smaller places, possibly without a shelter, (Lille lejrplads). Living so close to so many places I often question why I need to travel for a few hours if all I want to do is enjoy some down time adjacent to a lake, or a beach.  So late in the evening I set off to Farum Sø, where there are a total of 5 campsites around the lake,  intended for use by all, but especially suited to kayakers and canoeists.

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The weather was muggy but mostly clear as I set up the tent adjacent to the lake, at a location I have visited many times before.

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Posted in Denmark, Farum Sø, Hilleberg, iphone | 3 Comments

Recent Readings

I have had a chance of late to catch up on the stack of books that have sat forlornly on the shelf waiting to inspire me and entertain me. Here are my thoughts on these books.

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Thru hiking will break your heart: Carrot Quinn. 

The  book is best described as a personal diary of Carrot’s Pacific Crest Trail thru hike in 2013. It is a fascinating and enjoyable read describing the days events, how she gets fitter and faster, her struggles with camping alone, strange sounds in the night, food (too much or too little). The friends she makes along the way, her appreciation of everything about the trail and her preference for sleeping outside not inside a house, motel etc. It is apparent as she continues her journey that this is the life for her and she begins to wonder what will she do when she returns to “civilisation”. A quick look at her blog page will soon indicate that she has continued to complete long distance trails each year. Carrot clearly did her research before commencing the trip and was often commended on her lightweight gear and small pack. Reading the book has me feeling that I am there with her as well it has enthused me to get the pack on and go. I recommend this book to everyone, and to those of you who are hikers you will quickly feel at home as you hike with Carrot along the 2659 miles (4279 kms) of the PCT.

Arctic Dreams: Barry Lopez

I have been reading books by Robert MacFarlane, who has written an introduction for this book. The book is a collection of stories on the authors travels around the Arctic and it provides a comprehensive historical background to the discovery and exploration of the area.

In the prologue Lopez, quickly had me  focused when he stated

Difficulty in evaluating, or even discerning , a particular landscape is related to the distance the culture has traveled from its own ancestral landscape

Without much extra thought it is clearly evident to me that I have moved a long way, from where my forebears were living in small country towns now I lived in a big city very much detached from my roots in the outdoors, it made me wonder what that meant for future generations living in big cities never to experience the outdoors in a meaningful way. Perhaps the following quote highlights our disconnection from the fauna and flora.

A fundamental difference between our culture and Eskimo culture, which can be felt even today in certain situations, is that we have irrevocably separated ourselves from the world that animals occupy. We have turned all animals and elements of the natural world into objects. We manipulate them to serve the complicated ends of our destiny.

It struck me as I read this quote that it was also true of the landscape, we turn it into an object that can be manipulated to suit our purposes, and sold physically or as a postcard to the highest bidder. A disturbing thought in my view. As I write this I read of persons placing a baby bison in the car, perhaps typifying the concept of controlling and manipulating for our own rewards.

Which is perhaps summed up by Lopez when he states

One of our long-lived cultural differences with the Eskimos (here you could insert any first peoples) has been over whether to accept the land as it is or to exert the will to change it into something else.

All to often we take the later course.

Lopez’s writing is insightful providing descriptions of his day to day tasks and his travels. Each chapter whilst separate is intertwined with the general theme of the conservation and ecology of the arctic along with the life of the Eskimos and their survival in such a harsh environment. The author also recognises how the original inhabitants experiences and knowledge were considered to be of lesser importance than the “expertise and technology of the europeans”

As I read the book I recognised how little I knew about the exploration of the arctic and the massive loss of life, especially of whale hunters, that took place over a number of years. The discoveries, the sea life and the plant life all dominant this book from start to finish and it is a book that I can recommend for this interested in learning a little more about the arctic.

A landscape Memoir: Tim Winton

Tim Winton is  highly regarded Australian author and since being introduced to his books I have read them all. His latest is a story about his growing up in Western Australia and the impact that the landscape had on his development, It only took a few pages for me to recognise how I also had been influenced by the landscapes in which I grew up in Victoria. Winton quickly recognises the benefits of the outdoors whilst travelling in Europe when he writes

For a while I’d assumed our mounting mutual fractiousness was the result of cultural fatigue – the perpetual bafflement at local customs and manners – but the real source was physical confinement and an absence of wildness

Interestingly I have noticed this feeling as well, especially when I moved to Europe, and even now finding wildness is something that I struggle with, but over a period of time I have at least come to terms with it.

Later he states

I grew up on the world’s largest island. … But in an age when culture examines itself primarily through politics and ideology, perhaps forgetting something so basic should come as no surprise. … Our creaturely existence is registered, measured, discussed and represented in increasingly abstract terms.

Aside from being born and raised on an island, I also begun to recognise how the outdoors has shaped me and my cultural artefacts and how often I seek renewal of my culture by visiting the outdoors. Here in Denmark it is the beaches the provide that link whereas in Lapland it is the open spaces that proved the wildness and vast distances  replicating my experiences in Australia.

The author eloquently describes the varying landscape, much of which is dry, but also recognises the amazing variation in the vegetation that can be found in these regions. This is certainly a book that all Australians should read as well as anyone who has ever visited, or thought about visiting Australia, as it provides a cultural and natural context upon which to develop some understanding of the country and cultural basis.

Landmarks: Robert MacFarlane

I have read many books of the authors and whilst I admit I find the language a bit heavy at times, I also find his books interesting and informative. Macfarlane has a focus on the outdoors and in this book he describes the number of different words to describe a particular object each are very much connected to the local dialect. It is a fascinating book and quickly had me looking at words and recognising there similarities, with some Danish words whilst also having me wandering how many different words there are for a patch of water in Australia. Could it be a lake, a pond, a billabong, swamp, …

I recommend this book to those of us who are interested in the outdoors and the power and beauty of language to describe it.

 

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Rethinking Cooking

Most of my trips in the foreseeable future will be shorter trips and in such cases an alcohol stove is a better option than a gas stove such as the Jetboil. The Jetboil remains my personal choice for quick water boiling as well as efficiency over trips longer than about 5 days.

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Posted in Alcohol Stoves, Cooking, FlatCat Gear, Jetboil | 8 Comments