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Back Out After Two Years Away!

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Online SA Bill

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Back Out After Two Years Away!
« on: November 23, 2011, 09:08:38 AM »
Don't you hate it when life gets in the way?! It's been so hectic for me and my family that I haven't made a trip to BB in two years!  :'( I managed a couple of trips to GUMO these last two years but haven't been able to return to BB for my usual one or two trips per year.

Anyway...I head out Monday for 4-5 days in the park...depending on how well I can weather the cold. Seems like it will be kinda cold for my old bones. I don't much like camping when it's below about 40. Gonna be that cold or below every night I'll be out there!  :nailbitting: Taking two sleeping bags + a catalytic heater to try to sleep somewhat comfortably. I like to stay up way into the night looking at stars with a telescope but the cold may put a crimp into that activity.

Sooo...intenary-wise, my only plans are for a hike to an area I've never explored and a hike to a place I haven't visited in 15+ years. The unexplored (by me) area is out around Mule Ears Peaks. Thought I'd go as far as the spring and maybe as far as Smokey Creek on Tuesday as a day hike. The place I want to return to after a long absence is Emory Peak. It's been a long time since I was on top so with the new trail realignment I thought I'd give it a try. 10+ miles with lots of elevation gain/loss will be fun!  :vomit: That's why I thought I'd do the low land hike first on Tuesday. Lay off on Wednesday and laze around the Basin. Then try Emory on Thursday. Driving home Friday afternoon.

In the long run, I'll just go with the flow and whatever happens...happens. At least I'll be out there recharging my batteries which are in dire need of recharging at this point. That's what it's all about!  :13:
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

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Growing up is optional.

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2011, 01:20:57 PM »
You'll have a good time! Layering bags is not a bad deal at night. I still swear by the Big Agnes combos I have. I *almost* have a bag/pad combo for every temperature range. If you think I can help you out in that department, PM me. Whatever the case, I'm sure you'll enjoy it! That's why we keep coming back to this board, right? 'Cause it reminds us of where we'd rather be at any given point in time! :)
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Offline mule ears

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 01:40:53 PM »
That's great you are getting back.  I know the feeling and frustration.  I am heading back after 3 years, two weeks from today.  Can't wait!

You will have a great time.
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Offline alan in shreveport

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 09:28:47 PM »
 "That's why we keep coming back to this board, right? 'Cause it reminds us of where we'd rather be at any given point in time! "

          Amen to that brother

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Offline fartymarty

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2011, 10:22:37 PM »
In the long run, I'll just go with the flow and whatever happens...happens. At least I'll be out there recharging my batteries which are in dire need of recharging at this point. That's what it's all about!  :13:
   Bill


That's for sure, have a great recharging! :crossedfingers:
Fort Worth

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Online SA Bill

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2011, 10:16:49 AM »
You'll have a good time! Layering bags is not a bad deal at night. I still swear by the Big Agnes combos I have. I *almost* have a bag/pad combo for every temperature range. If you think I can help you out in that department, PM me. Whatever the case, I'm sure you'll enjoy it! That's why we keep coming back to this board, right? 'Cause it reminds us of where we'd rather be at any given point in time! :)

Hi stingrey! Thanks for the offer! Yeah, hopefully a bag inside a bag, if it comes to that, will keep me warm enough to sleep okay. Which BA bags do you have? I always wanted to try their Encampment bag but never found one at a price I couldn't resist. I have one of their tents and they really do make good stuff. I confess to being here on BBC every day. Like you said, keeps us up on BB in between trips.
  Have a great Turkey Day!
    Bill


Bill - In San Antonio

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Online SA Bill

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2011, 10:18:34 AM »
That's great you are getting back.  I know the feeling and frustration.  I am heading back after 3 years, two weeks from today.  Can't wait!

You will have a great time.

Thanks me!
Hope your trip after a few years away is a good one!
  Happy Turkey Day!
    Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Online SA Bill

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2011, 10:30:12 AM »


That's for sure, have a great recharging! :crossedfingers:
[/quote]

Thanks fm...I'll try!  :eusa_dance:
  Happy Turkey Day!
    Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2011, 02:17:06 PM »
Well, let's see... Here's what I can recall off the top of my head, all "long" bags by Big Agnes:

Lost Dog 50
Yampa 40
Fish Hawk 30
Mystic 15
Elk Park -20
Dream Island 15

I HAD the Encampment 15 and didn't like it so much compared to the Mystic 15. The Encampment was not as warm as it claimed and it was heavier by at least a pound than the Mystic. I honestly wouldn't have minded the weight difference, but the fact that it wasn't as warm as it claimed was something that I'm not the only one has claimed.

I SHOULD have the Blackburn 0 shortly, but that is for my really cold backpacking and/or fly-in trips and I ONLY splurged on this bag after really falling in love with the Mystic. In all cases, you have to really be sure to get the right pad to make sure the whole system works the way you anticipate. The Big Agnes pads are such that you can either get non-insulated (cheaper and GREAT for summer use) or insulated which makes a world of difference when it is a little cooler out like it was last week in the basin. Use a non-insulated pad with a cold weather bag and basically you'll still feel pretty cold from the ground/cot.

Anyway, I have an array of 3 pads ranging from one non- and two insulated pads and a "two track" for the Elk Park and a "hinman" for the Dream Island which is basically a double wide sleeping bag for camping with your significant other.

My most versatile of the bunch are the Fish Hawk and Mystic. Those seem to cover the majority of camping conditions, and the Lost Dog rounds 'em out for hot weather where there is somewhat of a night chill. The rest are specialty that I have accumulated over the last couple of years for specific outings mostly AFTER a specific bag didn't meet the needs or BEFORE climbing up someplace or another when it was going to be cold.

Thing about Big Agnes is that I truly feel that their sleep system is the best all around in terms of the pad going in the sleeve (no sliding off of your pad ever again) AND actual comfort. I can flip over in my bag, but it is just the right size to keep from having massive amounts of space to warm. The air draft tube and collar really prevent cold from coming in... The built in pillow pockets work great... But the number one thing I get out of the bag is sleeping through the night without having to readjust things all night.

If I were to buy a bag again, I'd definitely consider the Fish Hawk, I'd for sure invest in the Mystic (I got an AWESOME deal earlier in the year or I wouldn't have known to consider it), and/OR I'd get a thinner bag like the Lost Dog (since you can couple with the Fish Hawk to make your bag rate at "15"). Those two worked great for Scott both in the basin just cot camping and up in Juniper Canyon. Light, compress great, and kept 'im comfy.

I'd only recommend skipping the Encampment because it is too heavy IMO to be carried up someplace where it will get cold and where it will not be as comfortable as the Fish Hawk + Lost Dog combo. I think the weight comes out comparable between these two options, the price is definitely more if you go retail, but the versatility may make it worth it. 

Rambling here, sorry about that. Be sure to check http://www.wearbap.com for deals on the "demo" section. Even on bigagnes.com there is a "specials" link where I've found some stuff. But my biggest finds to date were simply by running the name of the bag + big agnes + the word "clearance" both with and without a dollar sign in google.

Like I say, PM me if you want to try anything or just to see 'em in person. It's like a friggin' REI in my camping closet. I have everything from a one person tent up to a 6 person tent and almost anything you can imagine to outfit the interior for as spartan or luxurious of a trek as you can imagine. Depending on who I go with/time of year/amount of room I have (i.e. driving the Trans Am, riding with someone, renting a car, etc), I can pretty much say I've got the gear to fit the trip. That and lights... I've also got plenty of lights, but that is another story!

:)
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Offline stingrey

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 06:32:31 PM »
Before I forget... I still grab for the Fish Hawk during most outings. It is the right balance of warm for me in Big Bend, and I'd venture to say it is the same as the Encampment in terms of warmth in general... Only at about 1lb lighter! :)
Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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Online SA Bill

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2011, 06:54:12 AM »
Hi stingrey!
Thanks for all of the info on your bags! You certainly have a collection of BA bags to choose from when camping. My bags are much more modest but I try to not camp in very cold weather. That's my consternation about next week...this front going through is going to make it kinda chilly the whole time I'm out there. Guess I'll just take several bags and layer as necessary to get enough loft to keep me comfortable.
  Thanks!
     Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2011, 08:13:44 AM »
Glad to hear you are back and doing fine.  We just returned from our family trip out there and I can tell you that the one ranger I have learned to trust said that Mule Ears springs is running.  I did not lay my own eyes on it, but he was correct on his other spring reports.

I must tell you since you helped my brother-in-law out for our backpacking trip last year, he is hooked.  He is already trying to get us to hammer out a date for a return trip this winter.  Thank you and have a good time!
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Offline Homer67

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2011, 01:06:19 PM »
One night, the night we finished off the Dodson, it got a little chilly.  We were beat and glad to get to the cache at the Homer Wilson.  That night we just threw down the sleep pads and sleep bags and pulled the tarp up over us.   Our packs held down the sides, our water holding down the end by our feet.  It worked surprisingly well, even for such a cool night. It was a cold night when we camped up on the SE rim, but the 4-season and our sm sleep bags did fine.
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

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Online SA Bill

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Re: Back Out After Two Years Away!
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2011, 07:36:23 PM »
Hi elhombre!
Thanks for the spring info. I plan to scout for a backpack to the Black Rock Canyon area next spring. Might come in handy.

That's great that your b-i-l is ready to go again! We've hooked another BB lover. Just let me know if you need to borrow any equipment. As long as I'm not out on a trip, you all are welcome to it!
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

 


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