Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

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Taurinor
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Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Taurinor » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:37 am

I've done a couple overnighters with my kit, some at a nearby state park, some in my backyard, but one thing they've all had in common is that I knew where I would be setting up camp before I even left my house. This took some of the stress out of the trips, since picking a good spot to camp is critically important, but on the other hand, it meant that I didn't get the opportunity to practice this important skill! I wanted to change this, so I went out to one of the nearby wildlife management areas with my local group for an overnighter this weekend.

Fortunately, one of the guys in the local group had been out to the WMA a few times, so I was able to rely on his experience while planning. He liked the lakes at the northern end of the area, so we decided to park and look for a campsite in that area.

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We stuck to the path that followed the water's edge, partially because one member would be joining us a few hours late and would have to find us, and partially so folks could fish if they like.

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Two group members were using modern gear, one was using a mix of modern and primitive gear, and two (Patrick and I) were using primitive gear. Everyone made an attempt at garb, though, which was awesome!

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Primitive or modern, there was one constant across all of our kits - we packed for a cold night. The forecast was predicting overnight lows of 20-25 degrees F. I carried two wool blankets, which made for a bulky bedroll. It was manageable, though.

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It was a bit chilly during the day (high 40s), but dry with clear skies, which made the hike while we looked for a place to camp quite pleasant. We walked for about half and hour, then decided to turn back and set up at a site we had found near the cars on the way end (but passed by in order to have a bit more of an adventure.

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I'm so upset that I had to wear my modern glasses - I bought a pair of colonial-style frames, but my optician is fitting them with lenses and I didn't get them back in time for this trip. I also left my walking stick at home, but I found another one to use to pitch my tarp for the night.

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We pitched camp and the late arrival found us (to my relief).

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One of the other guys used this spiffy tarp set-up. He hadn't had time to attach tie-out loops to his tarp, so he tucked small stones in his tarp to give his guy-lines something to grab on to.

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As I said before, it was a lovely day.

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We set up camp near a fire circle someone had left. Virginia's burn law is currently in effect, so we had to wait until 4 pm to start a fire. We were able to collect cedar and birch bark, and there was plenty of dry wood around, so getting a fire going actually went very smoothly.

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Patrick brought his hnefatafl set along, so he taught everyone to play (I think this is my favorite picture of the trip, BTW).

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The temperature dropped rapidly when the sun went down, but everyone was reasonably comfortable near the fire.

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Patrick's reindeer pelt was a pain for him to pack in, but worth it when it got cold.

Even with my two blankets, it was a cold night. The burn law meant we couldn't have a fire after midnight, and even with my two blankets and cloak, I was chilly. I think it was largely because my blankets are a little small, and even with two I couldn't seem to get them wrapped around me appropriately. I didn't get cold enough to panic, but I was uncomfortable enough that I slept on and off. The big lesson I'm taking away from this trip is that it's time for me to invest in a heavy, queen-sized wool blanket, like a four-point or the like. I think it would be less bulky than the two blankets I carried, but actually keep me covered and warm.

Everyone made it through the night, though, and we packed out in the morning. Everyone also seemed to have enjoyed it enough to come out again. All and all, I consider it a successful trip!
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Harper
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Harper » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:16 am

I know that it is still cold, but I hope that you did/do a thorough tick check--those little b@$t@rd$ are out.

Better safe than sorry.

It looks like you had a great trip.

Alpaca wool blankets will simultaneously cut down on the bulk and be warmer.
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Greg
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Greg » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:23 am

Way to get out and in it! Bravo to your whole crew.

Italian Surplus blankets are absolutely stellar, and worth every penny. Just make sure you get an original (should be labeled as New Old Stock) and not a knock-off.
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Elleth
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Elleth » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:39 am

Oh that looks like it was a grand time!

Out of curiosity, I don't see anyone carrying a bow: hunting regulations in that locale, or just no interest?
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Straelbora » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:34 am

Great pics! I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing I had been there, too (although I imagine I was a lot warmer that night than out in the Wilderlands).
Vápnum sínum skala maðr velli á
feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
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Taurinor
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Taurinor » Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:59 pm

Harper wrote:I know that it is still cold, but I hope that you did/do a thorough tick check--those little b@$t@rd$ are out.

Yup - one of the guys woke up with a tick on his hand, which was a weird place for it to bite. It was probably the only bare skin it could find.

Greg wrote:Italian Surplus blankets are absolutely stellar, and worth every penny. Just make sure you get an original (should be labeled as New Old Stock) and not a knock-off.

Thanks for the recommendation; I'll keep an eye out for one!

Elleth wrote:Out of curiosity, I don't see anyone carrying a bow: hunting regulations in that locale, or just no interest?

Mostly regulations - I think with a hunting license and small game heads it would have been alright to carry one (it was crow and groundhog season), but I need to familiarize myself with the hunting laws more. It's (rightly) illegal to hunt with field points in Virginia, so carrying them in a WMA just seems like asking for trouble, even with no intention of hunting with them. It was also in the mid-to-upper 40s during the day, which is right on the edge of where I'm comfortable shooting wooden bows, so even if we had carried them, I don't think they would have seen any use.

Straelbora wrote:I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing I had been there, too (although I imagine I was a lot warmer that night than out in the Wilderlands).

I'm positive that you were!
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Udwin
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Udwin » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:48 pm

Thanks for sharing! Looks like a good time was had by all. Using two blankets, I had the same bulky bedroll issue as you; I found that keeping one 'horseshoe'-style and the other pinned around me as a 'cloak' was a decent workaround.
Where the heck did Patrick get ahold of a reindeer pelt??
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Taurinor
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Taurinor » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:31 pm

Udwin wrote:Thanks for sharing! Looks like a good time was had by all. Using two blankets, I had the same bulky bedroll issue as you; I found that keeping one 'horseshoe'-style and the other pinned around me as a 'cloak' was a decent workaround.

I'm hoping that if I buy a quality blanket (instead of trying to get a deal and spending the $20-30 I did on each of the ones I have now that didn't cut it), I'll be okay with that and my cloak/half-blanket, but I will definitely keep that in mind.

Udwin wrote:Where the heck did Patrick get ahold of a reindeer pelt??

Tandy, oddly enough - they were on sale in December, which is either morbid or funny, or both.
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Manveruon
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Manveruon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:20 pm

Great pics! Looks like you guys had a lovely adventure! Your experience at night sounds a lot like my own a couple summers back, except that was in the middle of summer and I was still absolutely miserable, haha. This year I'm hoping to try again a couple of times with different methods.
Taurinor
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Taurinor » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:35 pm

Manveruon wrote:Your experience at night sounds a lot like my own a couple summers back, except that was in the middle of summer and I was still absolutely miserable, haha.


When I pick the date for Spring or Fall overnighters, it usually ends up below freezing. My group has decided that I'm not allowed to choose the dates anymore...
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Taurinor
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Taurinor » Sat May 06, 2017 11:21 pm

An update with regards to the blanket situation - I got this Hudson Bay 6-point (queen size) off of Goodwill's auction site for about $70, including shipping.

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I don't love the orange, but it's not an artificial search and rescue-ish orange, so it doesn't especially offend me. I've had thicker wool blankets, but this has a nice loft to it that my other blankets don't have, and there's certainly plenty to wrap up in! It's going to be exciting to get it into a bedroll, but hopefully it'll be cozy. Of course it's warm out now, so I'll have to wait 6 months to find out...
Last edited by Taurinor on Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Udwin
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Udwin » Sun May 07, 2017 12:51 pm

Wow, that's an awesome score! Great find!
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Re: Recap - Wildlife management area overnighter

Postby Elleth » Sun May 07, 2017 7:12 pm

Oooooh I think you're going to like that one! I found its cousin in brown and black in a second hand store some years back, and it's a favorite companion all winter long. Toasty warm and lots of room. :)

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