3 Days: Hammock Camping Under a Harvest Moon

3 Days: Hammock Camping Under a Harvest Moon

The summer just flew by.  Even though I’ve been out hiking, kayaking and camping all year, it feels like I haven’t done much!  So, since I worked on Labor Day I took my 3 day weekend this past week. With my normal days off being Fridays and Saturdays I decided to take Thursday off and head out late Wednesday to Frances Slocum State Park in Luzerne County Pennsylvania. That extra few hours on Wednesday makes it feel so much longer, probably because there’s no need to rush the following morning.

img_20160914_192919I got to the park and headed to camp site 95 in the walk-in tent section and got my hammock up and grabbed a bite to eat just before the Sun set. I was eager to test out some gear… some new and some I just hadn’t had a chance to try out yet. I recently purchased a new Paria Outdoor Products Sanctuary SilTarp after my recent backpacking trip. I was looking to shed weight in any gear I could and this tarp is only 15oz packed. So I got to test that out. I also gave my DIY emergency blanket under quilt a try… still needs some work but it’s a good start. Early in the year I found a steal of a bargain on an Exped Scout Hammock Combi for $68, usually goes for more than $200. This was the first time I used that, for 1 night anyway, I switched back to m ENO Doublenest for nights 2 and 3. I also gave my new Fire Knife from Light My Fire a good test… took a lot of practice to get the hang of, but I’m getting better with it. Continue reading “3 Days: Hammock Camping Under a Harvest Moon”

Backpacks, Hammocks and Coyotes

Backpacks, Hammocks and Coyotes

This was supposed to be the year I got out and did some multi-day backpacking trips. I thought by this point I would have 3 or 4 under my belt. Unfortunately, the weather never panned out for the days I could go… that is, until this past weekend.

My normal days off are Fridays and Saturdays, a friend took Friday off and wanted to get out and do something… no need to try to plan anything out, I already had several trips planned that I could never get to. We decided to do part of the Quehanna Trail out in the Moshannon State Forest, Clearfield County, PA. This

A little Elk watching before we hit the trail.
A little Elk watching before we hit the trail.

was the first multi-day trip with the new gear, so we didn’t plan on huge mileage. There is a 20 mile loop we wanted to complete, starting at Parker Dam State Park, taking the QT to the West Cross Connector and then back to the park. Continue reading “Backpacks, Hammocks and Coyotes”

Video: Kayaking Bradys Lake

Video: Kayaking Bradys Lake

Bradys Lake is a 229 acre man made lake located in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. This is the 3 rd time I’ve kayaked here and haven’t been disappointed yet. The lake is very secluded, and sits 3 miles off the nearest main road in the middle of State Game Lands.

On this trip I tried out some new audio/video set ups. The first was a new GoPro mount on the stern of my kayak, unfortunately it failed pretty quickly (this is why you tie off GoPros). I also used a Tascam DR-05 for audio to try and pick up better audio around the lake, as luck would have it, nature decided to be oddly quiet on this trip. But I learned a lot about the set up and look forward to future attempts. Let me know what you think.

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service!!

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service!!

What is known as “America’s Best Idea” turns 100 today! The National Parks Service was created August, 25 1916 and now oversees more than 400 sites, including reserves, preserves, historic sites and parks. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of these great sites like Acadia National Park and Assateague Island National Seashore. To celebrate the National Parks Service’s centennial I decided to share a some of my favorite photos. Enjoy!

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Gettysburg National Military Park

Continue reading “Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service!!”

Kayaking With a Black Bear… Seriously!

Kayaking With a Black Bear… Seriously!

Before this past week I hadn’t seen a single Black Bear in 2016. Then at Trough Creek State Park I came across one who was thoroughly investigating a picnic area and could not care less that I was 30 feet away watching him. So, on Saturday 8.20.16 I went kayaking at Shohola Marsh Reservoir in Pike County, Pennsylvania with a friend of mine. This was the 3rd time we had kayaked here and both times before we had seen more Bald Eagles than you could shake a stick at.

What's that swimming in the distance???
What’s that swimming in the distance???

We arrived about 8 a.m. and promptly hit the water, heading straight to the back side of the lake… that’s where we have the most Eagle sightings. After paddling for a few minutes my friend points out something swimming across the lake a few hundred yards ahead of us and asked “What is that?” It was big and black and looked like a bear’s head, but I didn’t say anything because… you know, how often to you see a Black Bear swimming across a lake? Especially a few hundred yards from shore? We watched it for a few seconds and he said “I think it’s a bear! I saw it’s snout!” I had to concur, it was most definitely a Black Bear swimming across the lake in front of our kayaks! Continue reading “Kayaking With a Black Bear… Seriously!”

Lightning, Thunder & Bears… Oh My! 3 Days: Dodging Rain at Trough Creek State Park

Lightning, Thunder & Bears… Oh My! 3 Days: Dodging Rain at Trough Creek State Park

The original plan was to head to the Catskills and disappear on the trails for a few days… the weather had other ideas. I decided to head south west instead to Huntingdon County, PA and explore Trough Creek State Park, Raystown Lake and a little bit of the Rothrock State Forest… weather was still an issue.

Also, here are some photos of the trip.

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Kayaking Frances E Walter Reservoir: 8.5.16

Kayaking Frances E Walter Reservoir: 8.5.16

Well, after a rained out weekend last week… headed out to Frances E Walter near White Haven yesterday for some (cloudier than expected) kayaking. This place doesn’t look like it belongs in Pennsylvania, check it out.

For more hiking, kayaking and outdoor adventure videos check out my personal YouTube Channel – http://youtube.com/KurtZitzelman

For reviews, how-to’s and more Crooked Site videos check out – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNEjU3JjLDUeQD2M3uN3FVA

3 Days: Looking for Elk

3 Days: Looking for Elk

It is thought that in the late 1600’s, when Pennsylvania was in it’s infancy, that there were as many as 100,000 Eastern Elk that roamed here. After the massive clear-cutting of the forests and un-checked hunting the entire species was made extinct… other species where eliminated from the state but have slowly returned such as River Otters and Fishers. White Tailed Deer were almost eliminated as well.

IMG_20150912_113353756However, in the late 1910’s and early 1920’s an effort was made to reintroduce Elk to the Keystone State. Rocky Mountain Elk were transplanted from Yellowstone National Park and an Elk Farm in Monroe County, Pa. Since that time the Elk herd has slowly grown from roughly 177 to now nearly 1000. Still a far cry from their earlier number.

Continue reading “3 Days: Looking for Elk”

Gear in 120 Seconds – New Video Series

Gear in 120 Seconds – New Video Series

Back in the day when I used to do phone reviews, I had a series I called Apps in 120 Seconds.  These were short videos that gave basic, stripped down reviews of apps without all the unneeded fluff… who really wanted to watch a 15 minute video about Angry Birds?? I recently decided to take that concept and retool it towards outdoor gear, so today I launch Gear in 120 Seconds or GI120 for short. I’m kicking off the new series with 3 videos:

GI120: Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Daypack

The Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Daypack is a light weight, compactable top-load daypack/hydro-pack. Although the hydration bladder is not included, most standard bladders will fit – my CamelBak Antidote 3L bladder fits easily. Made from ripstop nylon, this pack is made for simplicity. There are no side pouches, just the main compartment with a hydration bladder sleeve and a small zipper pocket on the front that doubles as the stuff sack. The mesh shoulder straps and waist and chest straps are adjustable.

GI120: Paria Tri-fold Carbon/Cork Trekking Poles

The Paria Outdoor Products Tri-fold Carbon/Cork Trekking Poles are perfect for those who want poles that pack out of the way. Personally I have a love/hate relationship with trekking poles… I love having them when I need them, but when I don’t I hate trying to pack them!! These tri-fold poles collapse down to only 15 inches!! They can be stored in a side pouch or even completely within most backpacks. They set up in seconds too, 2 sizes are available the 100 (100 to 120 cm) and the 120 (115 to 135 cm).

GI120: Anker PowerCore 20100

If you are planning on spending more than 1 day outdoors, you’ll probably need to charge some gadgets… whether it’s phones, tablets or cameras. Unless you are car camping at a site with an electrical outlet you’ll need something like the Anker PowerCore 20100 – a 20100mAh power bank that can charge 2 devices at once.

3 Days: In the ADK’s

3 Days: In the ADK’s

In 2015 I started doing a lot of 3 day adventures. I did 1000 miles in April as a road trip to Virginia, Assateague Island in Marland and Delaware, I did 3 separate 3 day trips to various Pennsylvania State Parks throughout the summer and then in October I did 9 days planned as 3 segments – 3 days to Acadia National Park,  3 days in Acadia National Park and 3 days from Acadia National Park as a New England road trip.

So far in 2016 I hadn’t done or planned any 3 day trips. The fact that the weather turned this most recent trip into 3 days was a happy accident. Right now you may be wondering why 3 days? Well, it’s just long enough to have time to do a lot and still short enough to cause some urgency… Continue reading “3 Days: In the ADK’s”