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Father and Son Backpack Camping Hickory Run Fall 2014

Father and Son Backpack Camping Hickory Run Fall 2014

Stephen and I planned on doing a small weekend trip to hickory run. We plan on doing a little scouting, testing some gear, trying some new recipes and cooking techniques.

I have been diligently working on reducing my pack weight, as you may have read on my "Gear Loft Page", I was about 55lbs+ for my "2013 Backpacking Pinchot trip", I thought I was gonna die walking any kind of incline wearing that pack.

Well that trip was an eye opener and I decided to do something about it.

I am very proud to announce my backpack weight for this trip .
Drum Roll Please....

Entire pack including Food, Fuel, Clothing and water is 30 lbs, that's 25 pound less than the Pinchot trip with a 50% reduction in, I'm stoked.
I dropped a little weight also, 12 pounds (208 lbs), so my total weight reduction is 37 pounds.

Hickory Run State Park.
Walk in site 2

41°01'27.1"N 75°41'57.9"W
41.024195, -75.699409

Arriving Friday Night September 19th, Leaving Sunday Morning September 21st.

19 oz of water, 4.2 pounds of food, some fresh.

  • Spam X 2 (3 oz. each) used half 1.5 oz.
  • Honey Bun (Used)
  • Poptarts x 2 (0)
  • Nutty Bars (Used)
  • Mashed Potatoes (0)
  • Oreo Mini's (0)
  • Large Bagel (0)
  • 2 english Muffins (Used 1)
  • Mac'N' Cheese for two meals (0)
  • Spaghettis for 2 meals. (used 3/4)
  • 2 hot dog rolls (1)
  • Bisquick Mix (Used)
  • Muffin Mix (0)
  • Mustard (Used)

I know the food is overkill and will adjust in the future. I outlined above in red what I used (This weight could have been easily reduced to 3 pounds)

I only included a small portion of the fresh foods weight into my total pack weight (1 lb 4 oz).

The fresh food is divided between Stephen and Myself, If I was solo back packing or doing any real length of hiking and brought fresh food, I would take two eggs (4 oz.), 2 English Muffins (3.6 oz.), vacuum sealed hot sausage (4 oz. including cheese and tomato paste) instead of the hot dogs (no bun)and maybe 6 or 8 ounces of cheese and salami.
This would cover 3 hearty meals.

The fresh food would go into the cozy with about 16 - 22 oz. of ice cubes, weather dependent of course... I would utilize the melted ice and pack in less water.

Fresh food

  • 4 oz Cream cheese (0)
  • 2 x 20oz Milk used (Used 1)
  • 4 Hot Dogs (Used 1)
  • 8 oz. Pepperoni (Used 2 oz.)
  • 2 sodas 22 oz. (Used 1)
  • eggs x 6 (used 1)
  • Salami and Cheese 4 oz. (Used 2 oz.)

Snack Bag.
Three day coffee and snack bag (16 oz. 1 lb.)(5 cups)
  • Via coffee x 5 (Used 3)
  • Sugar Packets 25 (Used 15)
  • Creamers 10 (Used 6)
  • Hot Chocolate 2 (Used 1)
  • Camp Coffee Mix 2 oz. (0)
  • 2 Oatmeal (0)
  • 1 Hershey Bar (0)
  • 1 Nutrigrain Bar (0)
  • 1 Peanut Butter Crackers (0)
  • Jiff to go peanut butter (0)
I will try to get 2 ounces off the snack bag next time out

1 full fuel container and a half full fuel container, weight penalty 8 oz. . I will only usually take one Full (fresh) canister.

I have a few more ounces I will be shaving when my new gear comes in.

OK... back to the Trip...

Traffic was unbearable on the way up, we were at a stand still on the NE Extension I was right at the exit so I got off and was frantically looking for 309, the traffic was no better after a few hundred F-Bombs, I eventually found 309 and took that to the next turnpike on-ramp.

The trip was over 3 hours LONG and Stephen was getting antsy, every time he asked if we were almost there I would say yes, lol, and we were about 2 hours away due to traffic.

We arrived at camp and hiked our gear in, the site was familiar as I had camped here the year prior, we set up camp and Stephen was setup before me.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 on the Left (Me)
Marmot Limelight 3p on the Right (Stephen)
Both are great tents!

We made a very small cooking fire, starting the fire was funny as hell, I usually use Vaseline soaked cotton balls as my go to firestarter and usually one spark is more than enough to get the fire going using my Armageddon Gob Spark.

I recently used all but one of my fire starters last camping trip so I made some more for this trip, anyhow I laid out a cotton ball and Stephen asked if he could give it a shot, after all he has seen me do it numerous times.

So I stretch out a cotton ball and he starts striking the gob spark 8-10-15-20 times no go, so I toss on another cotton ball, same thing, I toss on three more, same thing then I had an a-ha moment... I thought to myself these must be synthetic cotton balls, So I toss on the last one and this was one of the older ones. Stephen strikes the gob spark and poof, we are going. After that LEARNED experience, we cooked a couple hot dogs and had some coffee and cocoa.

We decide to let the fire burn out and call it an early night and hit the sack around 9:00. Our neighbors voices are carrying so I am laying on my side on my good ear and can't hear a thing. Lol one of the benefits of being deaf in one ear.

The night was bit restless for me but I was fairly comfortable, I did have a little issue with getting my pillow just where I wanted it, the Thermarest pad was awesome... much firmer than my other pads, but just a tad narrow.

Stephen said he slept fine but the ground was a bit hard, he refuses to use a sleep pad because he says its a pain in the arse to setup and breakdown. I am looking into getting him one of the Cascade Designs RidgeRest® Classic pads.

The next morning we got up around 7:30 and make breakfast.
Stephen looks thrilled don't he?

One of my favorite breakfasts is a Breakfast Sandwich, an egg, with salami and cheese on a toasted English muffin. I take an 8 oz weight penalty for this luxury but it is well worth it.
Stephen was going to skip breakfast until he seen me making my breakfast sandwich, I think the smell of the hard salami cooking threw him over the edge.

I had some problems with the new Fire Maple Hornet Stove FMS-300T, but was fine once I switched canisters to the Primus from the Coleman. For some reason once the Coleman canister gets cold from usage the FM Hornet looses power, best way I can describe it is, the flame gets real low and then only heats at a simmer, if you tighten up the stove when this happens, it starts working on full again.
New Fire Maple FMS-300T (Hornet)
My Favorite camp breakfast and the main reason
I will never give up my frying pan!
Stephen making his breakfast.
Yep! It's that good!!

I had a chance to try these WYSI wipes in the field, these things are worth their weight in gold, I keep 5 in my Essentials kit, we just add a tad of water, wash our face and hands, then use the wipes to cleanup our cook gear, we then open them up and let them dry out and use them to help with the fire starters.

After Breakfast we decided to do a little recon mission. We were checking out the Group camping areas for potential future camping trips for the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.

We headed over to the lake then boulder field and picked up some wood for the fire tonight. We stopped at the day area and lake, checked out the concession stand and bathrooms.

We then headed over to camp Daddy Allen and there were scouts camping there, We introduced ourselves and told the scoutmaster where we were from and why we were there and we asked to look around.

He was very helpful but had to head out on a hike. I couldn't get to see too much other than the Kitchen/Dining area because folks were still in the cabins, he said they had 89 people there this weekend and the cost of Camp Daddy Allen was $125.00 for the weekend, not bad considering the occupancy is 124 and 31 cabins. Click here for a map.

After doing our scouting we decided to head back to camp. Stephen was working on his Batonning Skills, cutting and batonning wood, making tinder and kindling for tonight's fire.
Wood for cooking on the right, wood for sustaining a
fire for the night on the left, great job Stephen.

You can tell he was bored, he stacked all
the splits on top of each other.

Lunch time
Stephen had a slice of pizza from the prior nights
dinner that he heated in the frying pan.

I made a pizza of sorts, its a recipe I have been working on for sometime, probably better to call it pepperoni cheese bread, (Bisquick, String Cheese and Pepperoni) I did not add any sauce, I love this recipe.
This is another reason I will never give
up my frying pan!
This is truly an awesome lunch!

After lunch we decided to take a little hike. I scoped out two puffball mushrooms I was going to cook to add to my dinner but they were bad, oh well.

We took another hike down to the creek and talked a bit, I was going to show Stephen how to Filter water but we never got a chance to.

About 3:30 we decide to lay down for an hour or so before dinner. Just as I am falling asleep I hear Stephen say, "Dad are we making the fire" so I said, "yeah, in about twenty minutes", damm and I was just getting comfy.

OK it's dinner time, so whats for dinner, Stephen wanted the Mac n' Cheese I had brought but I told him they had sun dried tomatoes in them, he was willing to give it a shot.

I was trying a new recipe, a modified version of Trail Dads Spaghetti, I doctored up the sauce adding Parmesan, Tomato Paste, Pizza Sauce, Stewed tomatoes, Diced Tomatoes, Worcestershire, Minced Garlic, Cayenne Peppers Onions, and Green Peppers and ran everything through a food processor before dehydrating.
On the trail I added half a cup of dehydrated mushrooms (mushrooms were cooked with a splash of soy sauce before being dehydrated), and made pepperoni and spam meatballs or should I say Meat squares.

My dinner was fantastic but I could not finish it. I need to half the recipe.

Stephen did not like his Macaroni and Cheese Dinner and I tasted it and did not like it either, so he decided to make Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Flavored Mashed Potatoes, these were awful as well.

I have had the Loaded Baked Flavored Mashed Potatoes and the Four Cheese Flavored Mashed Potatoes and these were awesome. I was starting to feel bad for the kid.
He did pack a can of Raviolis but said he wasn't hungry enough to toss on a can of Raviolis.

We need to work on better meals for him.

Time for our fire, we decided to use one of Stephens WAX fire starters and a simple lighter, poof! minutes later and we were going good. I heated my coffee by the fire and we played a game, see who can hit the metal pole with rocks 10 times first, we played a little bit of Trivia also, damm that boy is pretty smart.
Anxiously waiting for my coffee to heat up!

Stephen got a bit hungry and decided to fry up some salami, well at least I know we can always pack in a bunch of Hard Salami.

We had some visitors root around our site hey it was a little bit of excitement.

Lets get some light on this guy.

I see he has a buddy or maybe a girlfriend.

I think we were in bed by 8:00, the night was fairly cool I guess around 56°-58° but humidity was over 80%. Over all I slept fairly well with the exception of our noisy neighbors, oh well they were having a good time.

Stephen slept OK but was spooked from the Critters and all the Bear talk before we went to bed, Stephen asked what I would do if a bear came up the hill, I said, "Stephen, I would smear peanut butter on you and knock you down  so I could get away". Ha Ha!, If that didn't make matters worse!!

We hung our food bag on the lantern pole and it really wasn't high enough to keep bears away but it was fine for the raccoons, the food should have been kept in the car.
Packing Up.

On the way home Stephen had said he woke up a few times thinking the bear was scratching at the food bag, He said, "Dad I kept hearing this sound, it sounded like a bear scratching that vinyl material on the food bag". I laughed my ass off, It was actually me tossing and turning on my new Thermarest Air Pad.

Sunday morning we got up around 6:30 and started to break camp, I made a cup of Coffee/Cocoa and Stephen said he was fine so we headed out by 7:30 and took another ride over to Camp Daddy Allen and I took a GPS Reading.

The ride home was under two hours and smooth sailing all the way.

Can't wait for our next trip, I just plan on helping Stephen a bit more with Meal Planning.