It was a toxic combination of beans, exhaustion and a closed tent
It was a toxic combination of beans, exhaustion and a closed tent

Toxic Tent

by Bruce “Dudley” Watts

It was a new challenge for 3 keen campers … climb a winter high peak in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains.  However, with our blinded enthusiasm, we never anticipated what was about to happen. We arrogantly assumed we had planned for everything.

In 1993 Dave, Denis, and I were all strong and experienced campers, had done much and seen even more. So to bag a winter peak was just another thing to do for these self-respecting campologists. 

Although collectively we had ascended dozens of the high peaks in the spring, summer, and fall, a winter ascent was a right of passage for mountaineer wannabes. 

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My Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail was a "Fail"
My Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail was a "Fail"

Pukaskwa Fail

by Bruce “Dudley” Watts

2020 is a strange year, heck it’s a nasty year, so why shouldn’t my Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail attempt be any different. 

2020 was supposed to be my Appalachian Trail (AT) year,  but COVID 19 shut that down. Still, I have made the best of it. I spent lots of quality time with family, reconnected with local wilderness, cycled and hiked, yet nothing seemed to be able to fill the gaping void left when the Appalachian Trail was denied.

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Cold weather camping is wonderful if you are prepared, otherwise it can be down-right nasty !

10 Tips to Sleep Warmer

by Bruce “Dudley” Watts

Introduction

After a long and rewarding day on the trail, it’s so important to get some quality sleep so you can recharge fully for tomorrow’s adventures. Ideally, you want to be warm and smiling as you effortlessly visit cozy snooze-ville. You definitely don’t want to struggle with a sleepless nasty shiver-fest. Keep in mind that everyone's metabolism and body structure is different …and please consider these tips as suggestions, NOT rules!    

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I don't hang my food

I Don’t Hang My Food Anymore

by Bruce “Dudley” Watts

When wilderness camping,  you will be sharing the backwoods with countless hungry, curious critters. We are guests in their home, and they find the delicious scents you bring with you at a minimum interesting… and possibly even hard to resist as a meal of opportunity. 

I’m well aware I share the forest with countless creatures and have been dutifully hanging my food bag out of reach of bears and other mid-size animals for years.  When I first started backwoods camping in the early ’80s this was frankly the only option. 

Despite all my good efforts, and even when my hangs were well beyond the prescribed parameters… I have lost 2 bags to Mensa smart athletic bears and countless sacks have been ripped open by bloodhound-ish red squirrels. 

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Bruce celebrating the completion the 900 kms Bruce Trail at the northern terminus in Tobermory
Bruce celebrating the completion the 900 kms Bruce Trail at the northern terminus in Tobermory

My Gear on the Bruce Trail

by Bruce “Dudley” Watts

I've been hiking for over 40 years, and with the passing of time... my gear has evolved.  

Originally one of the most important factors was price. I was young, with less disposable coin and frankly less committed to the sport. This has changed.

As time moved, so did my knowledge, skills, and commitment.  Likely the biggest changes to my gear list were because of these 3 issues; more available money, improved product technology, and changing camping styles.

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It was easy crossing rivers on the ascent, yet the descents were darn dangerous

Mountain Rivers - The Ups and Downs

by Bruce “Dudley” Watts

Spring hiking in the mountains has lots of surprises. Dangerous surprises. This doesn't include the hungry bears emerging from hibernations, nor the swarms of thirsty black-flies in the hunt for their first taste of blood. Likely the most deadly of mountain dangers are the cold, fast and unpredictable rivers.

Several decades ago while on my first spring backpacking trip in the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, I learned this truth the hard way.

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The 1st season of spring is "Muck"

The 3 Seasons Of Spring

by Bruce “Dudley” Watts

I'm not crazy (I know that's what all crazy people say).

I truly know there are 7 days in the week, 12 months in the year, and 24 hours in the day (except for Canadian metric time of course) but when it comes to the 4 seasons, I take some liberties. I have created several sub-seasons to the traditional spring, summer, winter, and fall.

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Campologist Talk

A blog for campers by campers. Bruce is the primary contributor, with regular posts from Tracy and friends.

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