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  1. #1

    Default Staying Put and Hunkering Down

    There seems to be 3 types of storms that will keep a backpacker in his shelter: cold rains, severe cold snap, and deep snowfall/blizzard. What's the longest you've stayed in your shelter to sit out one of these paralyzing storms?(Please, no AT-built shelter stays included).

    Has anyone spent 3 or 4 days at the same spot in a bivy sac? (God help them). How about 3-4 days under a tarp in a blizzard? What's the longest you've had to hole up in a TarpTent?

    I know, most backpackers will say, "Well, when it gets real bad I just pack up and get out as fast as I can, either to a town or hostel if I'm on the AT or back to my car if on a regular backpacking trip". But I'm not interested in the bug outs, I'm interested in backpackers who don't have an exit until the weather clears.

  2. #2
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    For me "only" 16 hours, but mostly because I sleep so good during T-Storms & that was a GREAT T-Storm (I slept straight thru 14 hrs.) and I was in a very sheltered area with a good sturdy tarp. I finally woke up, & sat there for about 30 minutes deciding if it was worth it to head out. I did head out, & was glad I did, as it rained another 14 hrs & I was ready for town (Damascus the next afternoon).
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

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    Registered User Cheers's Avatar
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    Dunno if this counts but i got pretty sick on the JMT back in 2002 and had to spend 3 days in my tent, camped right next to the San Joquin, about 6 miles from the Muir Trail Ranch. I didn't even have the energy to make it that far. It sucked to be in my microzoid for that amount of time, and kind of scary to be somewhere so remote. I believe the nearest highway was 40 miles away bushwhacking. Not quite the same as being weathered in, but it was just as unpleasant. I was certainly grateful for the extra food i'd packed.
    Cheers

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheers View Post
    Dunno if this counts but i got pretty sick on the JMT back in 2002 and had to spend 3 days in my tent, camped right next to the San Joquin, about 6 miles from the Muir Trail Ranch. I didn't even have the energy to make it that far. It sucked to be in my microzoid for that amount of time, and kind of scary to be somewhere so remote. I believe the nearest highway was 40 miles away bushwhacking. Not quite the same as being weathered in, but it was just as unpleasant. I was certainly grateful for the extra food i'd packed.
    Cheers
    Now that's what I'm talking about! I should've added a fourth category: Poisoned in the bushes and blown out on the trail: getting sick and staying put. I was by Mt Rogers once and drank cow water and puked all night on some nondescript bald in a cold wind. Which god to call on to get help? I tried all of them, none came by for a visit. But this hurling didn't keep me tentbound for 3 days, I did a dehydrated bug out to the car the next day--12 miles of some weird hiking and stumbling.

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    Nicksaari's Avatar
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    hey Tipi
    my adventures dont compare to yours, i know i read your trip report recently and you were hunkered down for a while due to some nasty weather, but im sure you kept busy reading and keeping sane conversation with Shunka.
    i was smart one afternoon, rolling into the byrd's nest #3 when it wasnt an overnight shelter at the time yet. listening to the weather forcasters warning of snow from an Alberta clipper, i decided that it would be gun to gather as much wood as possible in the shelter and prepared to hunker down. i was there for that night, the next day, and the following night. i read "a sand county almanac" twice and watched the snow fall for about twenty hours. i hiked down to the tourist road and had the road all to myself to thorton gap. the rangers were none the wiser.

    and, i purposely payed for one night in the middle of the week renting Doyles River Cabin and got snowed in, and had to "accidentally" stay an extra two nights because of the drive being shut down. because i also had cell phone coverage, i got some friends from UVA to meet me halfway up Brown's Gap fire road and they stayed with me and we ate and drank like kings watching the snowfall. all we were missing was the companionship of intoxicated college girls.

    but enough of my lame adventures: i want to hear Tipi's longest hunker down session. where? how long? under what circumstances? what did you do to pass the time?

    nick

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    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    3 days in a Andre Jamet pup tent (hurricane) rain & wind. Slept though most of it.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    Nicksaari's Avatar
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    aaaahhh. now that WOE has brought up hurricanes...
    Hurricane Isabel 2003. hunkered down in Va Beach for the storm and surfed the next four days, and then helped the 'folks clean up. man that was one of the greatest weeks of my life.

    but i def wasnt in a tent.

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    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Woe? Oh no.... What is the E?

    To answer your question TP my tarp is 8 x10 and I have a small ground sheet I can pitchit high enough to stand up underneath it and use the hammock as a chair. Then I just have to find something to read.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  9. #9
    The trail is childhood reborn. Simple, carefree, and full of Wonders Captn's Avatar
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    Three days in New Mexico under a 8x10 sil tarp with 8 inches of snow and temps dropping to 8 degrees.

    Fun, fun, fun.

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    Registered User Ramble~On's Avatar
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    I hope to meet a paralyzing storm someday that keeps me hunkered down for 3 days that would be a whoopass storm.
    I guess the closest thing to that that I've ever seen was in northern California above 11,000 ft in a heavy snow.
    The White Mountains and southern Maine are the only places on the east coast that I can think of that might see conditions like that where venturing out could be deadly. Hurricanes could keep you hunkered down but they usually pass in a matter of hours.
    The Half Gallon Challenge Aftermath Storm might be "paralyzing" enough to keep some folks hunkered down for a day or two.

    What has happened to me a few times though is I have been out during the winter and been ill prepared for the conditions.
    The only thing to do was set up the tent and deal or get off the mountain...I've always been happy I opted to stay.
    The lesson learned was to never pay attention to the weatherman...he leaves out Murphy's Law.
    "Going to the woods is going home" - John Muir

    "Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truely get into the heart of the wilderness" - John Muir

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    Registered User Cadenza's Avatar
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    Back in my Neanderthal days as a ground dweller (aka tent camper), I was camped halfway up the North River (Tellico).
    It was December, boar hunting season. Mid-1980's.
    It started raining cats and dogs. All night.
    My buddy and I woke up with our heads laying in a puddle of water, tent trying to float away, and sleeping bags wet.
    The river was coming out of it's banks.

    We laid there in misery until daylight, then got up and started packing.
    Packing is not really the proper term. We started piling everything in the car, hellbent on getting out of Dodge.
    Cranked up the car, drove down North River road until we came to the first bridge.
    The river was raging white water, running over the top of the bridge. To attempt driving through would have swept the car down the river!
    We backed up, got turned around, and headed up river,.....planning to come out up on what is now known as Cherohalla Skyway at Beech Gap.
    (Back in those days it was all single track, rough, dirt and gravel roads with big rocks and big pot holes.)
    We came upon another bridge. Same story. Water rushing over the bridge.

    We were trapped.
    We had to spend another day and night, cold, wet, and miserable.

    We did have a Svea 123 gas stove and food. Periodically, we would get in the car and run the heater to thaw out, but couldn't do that continually because we needed to preserve gas. By the next morning the water had gone down considerably. At least it was running UNDER the bridge.
    To say that we were happy to be headed home is an understatement.

    My car was a 1963 Triumph TR4 convertible with a rag top!

    If the same thing happened now, I'd cook under the tarp, lay in the hammock,....and take a 24 hour nap.
    Last edited by Cadenza; 11-10-2012 at 23:33.

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    It was probably only a day and a half, but seemed endless. On Christmas break, a whiteout in the Presidential Range kept me crammed in the old Emmonds Col storm shelter with a bunch of maniacal Cheech and Chong fans, who recited their complete works, repeatedly. I'm still scarred.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  13. #13

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    I spent 2 days and nights alone in a shelter during tropical storm Fay (2008). It never once stopped raining the whole time. I finally just hiked out, sometimes in water on the trail that was knee-deep (ended up getting a motel room to wait out the storm).

  14. #14
    Registered User SassyWindsor's Avatar
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    3 days of downpour in SNP was among the longest periods I've been been held up. Flash flood warnings was the cue that kept me put. But, the close proximity to hot showers, food, etc helped a lot. Got caught for 3 days in the California Sierra's in a total white out, no access to anything. My zip wood burner paid off big time for melting snow. Have had a couple of other times being laid up for a day or two.

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    2 day at Liberty Springs Campsite due to hurricane. I knew it was coming but weak & after postponing vacation several times said the heck with it. Just brought an extra book. Another time I hunkered down fo a day on PCT. Could have gone on but just to pretty of country to miss in the rain & fog.

  16. #16

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    Well, I'll add another one to your list Tipi. Does falling backside into an icy cold stream after sliding off an eroding snowbridge in 5-6 ft of crusted over snowy bushwacking in Glacier NP and everything you have and are experiensing is wet and cold qualify as a reason for seeking shelter, warmth, dryness, and "hunkering" down? I thought so.


    I'll tell you when you shouldn't stay put and hunker down. When, unbeknownst to you, you choose to sleep on the Old Airport Beach (Old A's) in Kona only 6 ft above the surfline when a tsunamii is on its way to Hawaii from the earthquake that just ocurred in Japan. Awakened at 3 a.m by what sounded like a rushing wind and bathtub water swirling down the drain, a tsunami hit the beach. It floated the picnic table I was sleeping on 150 ft inland! while I was in my sleeping bag. The water started to recede a bit but than on the far horizon I saw the water welling up again. Packed up my gear and got the hell out of there.

  17. #17

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    I don't know i have never ran from a storm no matter how bad it is i have always hiked on.

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    Maybe a day in the Adrondacks. I have experienced some mode of the body during such times, It becomes possible to sleep a lot more often and for much longer under these circumstances.

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    i stayed in a 6 moons tent on Bald Mnt in the non stop rain for 2 days. Miserable, that tent sucks in those conditions. Switched to a REI quarterdome after that

  20. #20
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Two days in a snow cave with some(cold and brisk) pee breaks to break up the monotony.

    Twas fun. :O
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

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