Sunday, December 19, 2010

Battery Point Hike

Over the Christmas vacation, we have been try to get out and go Cross-country skiing and hiking every day. While in New Zealand, we will be going on two four-day backpacking trips, so we need to get into shape.

We hiked out to Battery Point a few days ago. There was almost no snow, but it was icy. There are about five different streams that you cross on the way, and all of these were solid ice. Part of the reason we went was a geocache I wanted to find. I got a GPS a few years ago, but there are only one or two geocaches in town, so this is the first one I have found. When we got to the beach, there were huge waves crashing on the shore. Much different from the summer!

We have been out to Chilkoot Lake a few times. The first time we went, there wasn't very much snow, so we walked. The lake was mostly frozen over, and was thick enough to walk on (about 4-6 inches.) However, a couple of weeks ago some people fell in, but managed to get themselves out. We walked out on the ice and rolled around and had fun slipping and sliding. A couple people were out ice skating. My sister can skate, but I never learned.

I took a few panoramas, laying on the ice and swiveling around.

To see the images, check out my Picasa gallery.

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Zealand

Since it is a holiday, my family has been working on our vacation plans. This February, we are going to New Zealand for 5 weeks. It should be a very fun vacation (and the first one we've had in 5 years). We are planning backpacking, kayaking, and canoe trips, all of which require gear. We are trying to figure out the right packs, the right tents, and the right stove.

We are trying to pack as light as possible. Normally we would just build a fire, but it is forbidden in national parks. We would also just eat cold food, but a few places lack safe drinking water and my mom doesn't believe in water filters. My mom has chemical sensitivity, and carrying around a bottle of White Gas in our car could make her sick. We might try a alcohol stove, but supposedly we would have to burn Vodka or Everclear, which isn't exactly cheap. It also burns at a low temperature, meaning we would need a lot to boil all our water.

On the subject of backpacks, I need a pack. I think I want a Osprey Talon 44 pack, which seems like it could function as a daypack and a weekend overnighter pack.

We are also trying to find a good tent. We want a superlight one, but also a cheap one. My mom has quite a few disagreements with today's tent designers. Today's tents have fly's that cover the entire tent, like an opaque forcefield. That's because that is better in stormy conditions. But what about just normal Alaskan rain? With this kind of fly you can't see out of the tent, you have very limited ventilation, and it is bright orange inside. If it is raining for weeks on end, you don't want to be stuck in one of these tents. Lots of tents also have complicated pole setups, making them heavier and harder to setup.

The kind of tent my mom wants has a staked out fly (see picture) thus it is rainproof. I suppose the best options is a tarp shelter, like MSR's Zing or Twing. Of course, those cost as much as a good tent.

I suppose if we want a tent that suits our needs, we out to design and build our own.

Winter Update

Here in Southeast Alaska, it is finally starting to become winter. It has already snowed a few times, but it wasn't until yesterday that it actually stuck. Now it is all frozen and my little sister is sledding around the yard. I would like to be outside with her, but I have so much to do that I just haven't found the time.

Instead, I have been sitting in my room, staring at a computer 8 hours a day. I am taking two online Honors classes, and they have been taking up most of my time. Because my parents pay by the month for my classes, I have to work as quickly as possible. Right now I am taking Honors Biology (Hard!) and Honors Algebra II (Easy) both on a 4-5 month time schedule.

Of course, I have found plenty of time to goof off. Recently I made a movie for one of my classes, full of special effects. I would post it here, but there were other kids in it and I don't have permission.

I have also been quite busy with DDF (drama, debate, and forensics). I am currently debating about Cyberbullying. The resolution is one of my least favorites, mostly because of it's vagueness. "Cyberbullying should be a criminal offense" is missing a few key things. Define Cyberbullying for example. Cyberbullying ranges from juvenile name calling to full scale harassment and stalking.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Venture Scout Camp

This weekend the Venture Scouts were going to go and camp on Pyramid Island. We were going to Zodiak out there, but when Saturday came, it was horribly windy and rainy.
The Venture Scouts own 28.8 acres of property, which is where we went instead of Pyramid Island. On the property there is a cabin and a large shelter with a firepit. When we got to the cabin, it smelled horrible of mouse poop. They had eaten through all of the old food and made a huge mess. For the first two hours I helped Greg (our scout leader), and Brenda, the other chaperone, clean out the cabin. A few of the other kids helped, but mostly they just sat around talking.
After cleaning out the cabin I helped set up a sailboat that they had. Quinn, an eleventh grader, has a sail boat, so he knew how the rigging was supposed to go. We got all of the lines untangled and raised the sails. One had a few holes, so we will probably buy a new one.
I told Greg I would be interested in learning to sail, so after we fix it up, we might get someone to give us lessons. After that we got out some unfinished wooden kayaks and looked at those. We built a fire in the fire pit and cooked steak and potatoes in tin foil.
After dinner we got out some tents and set them all up. The venture scouts own about 15 tents, but they took a while to set up, so we shared tents. For the rest of the night we sat around the campfire and drank hot chocolate.
The next morning I got up about a half-hour before everyone else and built a fire. After everyone else was up, they heated coffee on the fire. For breakfast we had bacon and eggs.
We were going to try cooking them in paper bags. The bacon fat would keep the bottom from burning, so it would leave a platter. It didn't work very well so se just cooked them in skillets on the campfire. We also wrapped some apples and sugar and cinnamon in tinfoil and cooked it on the fire.