Preparing For The Smokies – One Night Hike

New Era Michigan

7-21-2017

In my last post I mentioned that I am an inexperienced hiker. To this end, I decided it would be best to acclimate myself to the hiking and camping I will be doing in just a few short weeks.

We decided to hike to pigeon lake, a small pond near my hometown. My brother and I started the hike from the end of the main road (the beginning of the two track) to the lake, which is about a 1.5 mile hike.

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We arrived at around 6:00 pm, after a 45 minute hike in, where we immediately realized we did not bring a lighter. Luckily, we had a flint and steel with us, unluckily however, all of the starting material we had would not light. It was 6:00, we were really hungry, and we couldn’t light a fire to cook our food.

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After an entire hour of grinding the flint down to a thin rod and going through tinder, toilet paper, fabric, pine needles and dead leaves, we gave it one last go with some pages I ripped out of my Game of Thrones book. (don’t worry, it was just the first chapter of the next book). Apparently it was blessed by the Game of Thrones Gods because it lit up right away!

…And then went out immediately after…..

And after a couple more rounds with it we finally were able to get a fire going that stayed lit. Luckily i had prepared for our supper and brought potatoes, carrots, broccoli and beans. We had planned on catching a fish to fry with the veggies, but we forgot worms (go figure) and we were unsuccessful with using crickets as bait. If you had seen that pond though you probably would feel unsafe about eating anything that had lived in it.

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As night fell we cooked our dinner and turned in early at 10:00 pm since we were so tired from starting that fire…

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As we turned in we realized just how bad of a spot we picked to set up the tent. I had a root right in my lower back and Weston was all around just uncomfortable. We spent the entire night questioning  why we were out there in the first place and wondering if we should just pack up and leave. I would have, except I am pretty sure there was a bear right outside our tent from the sounds i could hear. At around 3:00 am, we ‘awoke’ (I use that word lightly because we couldn’t have been sleeping for more than 5 minutes) to the loud sound of thunder. We sat in the quiet for what must have been only 5 or 10 seconds before we heard the sound of distant rain. We scrambled to get the rain cover on, and no sooner than we got it on and Weston dove inside the tent did a torrential downpour start.

Needless to say, that kept us up for a couple more hours with no sleep.

Somehow in the course of the night we fell asleep and woke up at around 6 am, packed up our things and hitched it out of there to get a good breakfast.

My Conclusion: Never forget your lighter in the wilderness.

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