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”

Ziplining in the Catskills

Ziplining in the Catskills

There is a video of this adventure at the bottom of this page.

Should you be looking for an adventure in the north east, well anywhere really, might I suggest — ziplining!!! Now, anyone who knows me is probably aware that I have battled a fear of heights my entire life. As a child, if I thought a building was too tall, I’d have a hard time walking up the stairs…. indoors!

Over the years though, I have found ways to push my boundaries. At first, just to be functional in the world, it’s difficult going through life avoiding structures over 2 stories. Last year, I hiked the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park, a near vertical climb 525 feet to the summit, that hike “broke” whatever it was in my head that was holding me back. So, this year I decided I wanted to zipline. What better way to do that than on the fastest, longest and highest zipline in North America… the Skyrider Tour at Hunter Mountain, NY. Continue reading “Ziplining in the Catskills”

Heading for the Hills… Well, the Adirondacks!

Heading for the Hills… Well, the Adirondacks!

In just a couple weeks I’ll be heading back to New York State, this time to the Adirondack Mountains! I’ve spent quite a bit of time the past couple years exploring the Catskills and Hudson Valley, but this will be my first trip to Adirondack Park.

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Checking out some maps of the Adirondacks

Currently, the only set plans I have is where I’m staying. 4 nights hammock camping on an island in Lower Saranac Lake. The rest of my time is up in the air. If anyone has any suggestions for hiking and/or kayaking hot spots, let me know in the comments below.

While there I’ll be taking lots of photos and video, so stay tuned that. BUT… before I head off to ADK, I’ll be hitting the fastest, highest and longest zip line in North America next weekend at Hunter Mountain, NY… video of me most likely screaming to follow!

Clever Little Spider

Clever Little Spider

Look closely at the following photo. At first glance it looks like nothing more than a bee on a flower. That’s what I thought when I snapped the shot. But, after getting home and looking at it on a larger screen I noticed something…

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That bee is in some big trouble!!! This appears to be a Goldenrod Crab Spider (or Flower Spider) and it has caught this small bee by surprise.

How to: Make a Heat Reflective Pouch

How to: Make a Heat Reflective Pouch

So, last time I covered how I’m starting to make my own dehydrated meals for the trail (Eating Well on the Trail). For my tests I was using a recycled Mountain House bag, which works well but seems to hold a little odor from whatever you cook in it. Plus, I imagine at some point it’s going to start leaking, or the zipper seal will give out all together. Since my next phase of this project is vacuum sealing individual portions, and multi-day trips would include several meals, just carrying 1 zipper pouch would start to get messy and carrying one for every meal would be a little impractical.

My solution… a reusable heating pouch. I’m sure I’m not the first person to do this, so I won’t try to take credit for it… but, I will show you how I made mine in case you want to make one of your own. So, check out the video for the step by step and I’ll list the materials you need below it. Have your own design? Share it the comments or at facebook.com/CrookedSite

What You Need

Reflective material – I used Reflectix insulation. It’s two sheets of foil sandwiching some bubble wrap. I got a 24″x 30′ roll for about $16 at the local Lowes.

Tape – Duct tape will work, I used foil tape.

Scissors –  to cut the tape and reflective material.

Velcro **optional** – to keep your pouch closed.

 

Eating Well on the Trail

Eating Well on the Trail

For years I have relied on store bought dehydrated meals while hiking and camping. In most instances you can find brands like Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry with many options from breakfast to dessert. On the rare occasion, I’ll pack along a MRE when I can get my hands on them.

Recently though, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing my own dehydrating. This would allow me to control what ingredients are used and portion size. After quite a bit of research I decided it was time to go for it. I purchased a $35 electric dehydrator and started working on  recipes.

Trail Burritos

I successfully tested my first trail dish today… Continue reading “Eating Well on the Trail”

Hammock and Gear Test at Promised Land State Park

Hammock and Gear Test at Promised Land State Park

It’s hard to believe it’s only April and I’m in north east Pennsylvania. I guess it can all be blamed on El Niño, with the warm weather and relatively easy winter. Whatever the case, I’ve been taking advantage of it hiking, camping and kayaking. This past weekend I decided to head to one of my favorite car-camping spots… Promised Land State Park, located in the Pennsylvania town of the same name. I very much needed to test some new gear, and it’s always best to do that in a place you are familiar with.

As with any kind of activity, you always go through an evolution Continue reading “Hammock and Gear Test at Promised Land State Park”