Month: July 2019

This past weekend, I completed a 2-day Presidential Traverse with a great group of fellas. Here I am, broken, tired, but feeling extremely accomplished just before our descent on top of Mt. Madison, Presidential Range, New Hampshire, USA.

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This past weekend, I completed a 2-day Presidential Traverse with a great group of fellas. Here I am, broken, tired, but feeling extremely accomplished just before our descent on top of Mt. Madison, Presidential Range, New Hampshire, USA. submitted by /u/LevGlebovich
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An easy hike to the top of Max Patch just in time for sunset. Pisgah National Forest, NC/TN, U.S.A.

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An easy hike to the top of Max Patch just in time for sunset. Pisgah National Forest, NC/TN, U.S.A. submitted by /u/paddyspub92
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7 Tips To Maintain Your Padded Jacket

A padded jacket is quite an important investment when it comes to trekking. It forms an essential layer to keep you warm on any Himalayan trek, especially on winter or high-altitude treks where temperatures fall to -5° and lower.

Amongst the warm layers you will invest in for a trek – like fleece jackets, woollen sweaters and thermals), padded jackets are usually the most expensive of the lot. Unless of course, you’re buying a down jacket.

Padded jackets cost anywhere between Rs. 1,500 – Rs. 3,000 based on the brands. It is thus good practice to maintain it well so that it lasts long.

Here’s what you can do to keep your padded jacket in good shape.

1. Do not wear your padded jacket while trekking
I have seen many trekkers wear their padded jacket while trekking. This is a big mistake.

For one, this increases the chances of your jacket being torn or scratched by sharp objects on the trail, like thorns or branches. Since padded jackets have a delicate exterior, they are susceptible ..

A padded jacket is quite an important investment when it comes to trekking. It forms an essential layer to keep you warm on any Himalayan trek, especially on winter or high-altitude treks where temperatures fall to -5° and lower.

Amongst the warm layers you will invest in for a trek – like fleece jackets, woollen sweaters and thermals), padded jackets are usually the most expensive of the lot. Unless of course, you’re buying a down jacket.

Padded jackets cost anywhere between Rs. 1,500 – Rs. 3,000 based on the brands. It is thus good practice to maintain it well so that it lasts long.

Here’s what you can do to keep your padded jacket in good shape.

1. Do not wear your padded jacket while trekking

I have seen many trekkers wear their padded jacket while trekking. This is a big mistake.

For one, this increases the chances of your jacket being torn or scratched by sharp objects on the trail, like thorns or branches. Since padded jackets have a delicate exterior, they are susceptible to damage.

I suggest you wear your fleece jacket during the trek. You can wear your padded jacket after reaching your campsite. This way, your jacket will last you a long time.

Do not wear padded jackets while on a trek, even in winters. You can layer up with warm layers and fleece jackets instead.

2. Avoid using your padded jacket in heavy rain

Padded jackets are sold to us as water-resistant. But depending on the water resistance measure, they last between a few minutes to a few hours in the rain. The average padded jacket (~3,000 mm) lasts only about an hour or two in mild rain. An 8,000 mm jacket would last a lot longer though.

Having said that, most padded jackets are only splashproof. They are not meant to be used during heavy rains.

So avoid depending on your padded jacket during heavy rain. Use it simply as a buffer time to pull out your rain wear from your backpack. If it is just a harmless mild drizzle, you can wear your padded jacket. But avoid getting it completely wet.

Most padded jackets are only splashproof and can withstand mild rain for about 1-2 hours. So avoid getting them completely wet.

3. Do NOT Dry clean your padded jacket

Though most padded jackets come with instructions allowing dry cleaning, I suggest you don’t do it. Most dry cleaners are not equipped to handle your mountaineering gear correctly. They may end up causing more harm than good. It’s a risky choice.

After your trek, you can hand wash or machine wash your padded jacket instead.

It is enough if you wash your jacket once a year. Don’t wash it too often.

4. When hand washing, do not wring your padded jacket

While hand washing your padded jacket don’t wring it. This will damage the acrylic or synthetic fibre inside.

Instead, dip your padded jacket in detergent water, brush off the dirt gently with your hand, and then rinse it in a bucket of water. Hang it under sunlight and let it dry.

5. Follow this procedure for machine washing

I advise you to machine wash only if you have a front-loading washing machine. The centre agitator present in top-loading washing machines can damage the acrylic fibre filling and make it accumulate in small corners of the jacket.

First, close all the zippers and buttons, and turn your jacket inside out. Add in two or three tennis balls in the machine along with the jacket. These balls prevent the acrylic fibre filling from bunching up. This will maintain the loft of your filling.

Use a gentle cycle with water set to a temperature not higher than 30 degree Celsius. I recommend you set it for two rinse cycles to remove all detergent residue. Skip the spin cycle.

After washing, dry your padded jacket in the sunlight for atleast a whole day to thoroughly remove moisture.

Drying your padded jacket thoroughly is very important to prevent lumps and odours. Wash the jacket in the first half of the day and dry it in direct sunlight for the whole day. Use a hanger to hang the jacket form the clothes line. Do not use clips.

After drying, pat your jacket well to re-loft the filling.

6. Do not use hard detergent while washing

You shouldn’t use any regular hard detergent to wash your padded jacket. It not only damages the texture of the jacket, but also removes the splash-proof layer.

I recommend you use ‘Nikwax’. It’s a detergent specifically designed for cleaning mountaineering gear. You can get it online for Rs.1,800-2,500. It’s a worthy investment for washing all your trekking gear.

7. Don’t fold your jacket when storing

While storing your padded jacket, avoid folding it and dumping it in a corner of your wardrobe. Hang it using a good quality smooth hanger instead. This avoids any unnecessary creases and ensures the acrylic fibre lasts longer.

Do not fold your padded jacket while storing it. Hang it using a good quality hanger in your wardrobe to maintain the padding loft.

If you follow these simple steps, you can rest assured that your padded jacket will last you several long treks.

If you know of any more tips, do drop in the comments!

(This article is part of a series by Trek Leader Tanmay Bain on how to maintain your trekking gear. You can read his previous article on maintaining your backpack here, and trekking poles here.)

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Berry Road

BERRY ROAD

Berry Road is an apt moniker for this Mormon Lake hikeA drive
along Lake Mary Road that runs between Flagstaff and State Route 87 at the edge
of the Mogollon Rim south of the community of Happy Jack is a dramatic tour
of Arizona’s plateau lakes region and
the high-country woodlands of Coconino National Forest. A particularly scenic section passes by Upper and Lower Lake Mary and Mormon Lake.
Mormon Lake is a sometimes marsh, sometimes lake

At roughly
2-miles across, Mormon Lake is Arizona’s largest natural lake. Fed mostly by
snow melt, the lake’s surface area vacillates between a substantial pool and
swampy swales depending on seasonal precipitation. This year has been a pretty
good one for the lake. Even now, in late summer, the watery basin is a
collection of deep ponds, reedy puddles and emerald wetlands.Berry Road traces the cliffs below Lake Mary Road.Wildlife feed on skunk bush fruits that grow along Berry Rd.

The
easiest way to view this natural wonder is to make..

BERRY ROAD

Berry Road is an apt moniker for this Mormon Lake hike

A drive
along Lake Mary Road that runs between Flagstaff and State Route 87 at the edge
of the Mogollon Rim south of the community of Happy Jack is a dramatic tour
of Arizona’s plateau lakes region and
the high-country woodlands of Coconino National Forest. A particularly scenic section passes by Upper and Lower Lake Mary and Mormon Lake.

Mormon Lake is a sometimes marsh, sometimes lake

At roughly
2-miles across, Mormon Lake is Arizona’s largest natural lake. Fed mostly by
snow melt, the lake’s surface area vacillates between a substantial pool and
swampy swales depending on seasonal precipitation. This year has been a pretty
good one for the lake. Even now, in late summer, the watery basin is a
collection of deep ponds, reedy puddles and emerald wetlands.

Berry Road traces the cliffs below Lake Mary Road.
Wildlife feed on skunk bush fruits that grow along Berry Rd.

The
easiest way to view this natural wonder is to make a stop and one or both of
the scenic lookout points on Lake Mary Road. The northern most overlook near milepost 322 that's named for wildlife conservationist Douglas C. Morrison, Jr. Overlook, sits on a rise at the
lake’s northeast corner while a second point two miles to the south offers dizzying lake vistas from
the top of vertical cliffs of volcanic stone.

Both sites
have interpretive signs that describe land features and wildlife to look for
while visiting the area. If you have a sharp eye, you might notice a rough road
below the lookouts that traces a ledge above the lake. This is the old Lake Mary frontage
road—better known as Berry Road.

A grasshopper blends in with grasses around Mormon Lake.
Trail visible below the north roadside overlook site.

If you’re
intrigued by the cliff-top vistas and want to get a closer look; take this low
road.

The easy
trek begins at a gate where the old road has been closed to motorized use. Open
to hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers, the crumbling route offers
excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and exploring a bounty of
fruit-bearing native plants.

Oak trees and fruit-bearing shrubs line Berry Road.

It’s not called Berry Road for naught.

The hike follows an old frontage road above Mormon Lake

The crumbling byway—with remnants of the
chrome-colored paint that marked the median– reads like a lush wildlife
buffet. Arizona walnut trees, Utah service berry, wax currents, skunk bush and
Blueberry elders drip with fruits in late summer. The abundance of wild foods attract swarms of
wildlife. If you walk quietly and gaze
over the lake, you’re almost certain to see waterfowl, hawks, pronghorn and elk
foraging among bull rushes.

A bumper crop of wax currents ripen along Berry Road.

Late
summer and early fall are the best times to observe Rocky Mountain elk. For a
primer in how best to observe these impressive beasts in their native habitats,
sign up to attend the Arizona Game and Fish Department viewing workshop at
Mormon Lake Lodge on August 17th.

A herd of Rocky Mountain elk wallow in Mormon Lake.

When
hiking Berry Road, it’s handy to have a pair of binoculars in hand to spot the
shy Great blue herons, egrets and osprey that are quick to scurry into cover when
startled.

Between
shady stands of Ponderosa pines, Gambel oaks, junipers, cottonwoods and aspens,
great views of Mormon Mountain that rises to 8,456 feet above the lake’s
western shore fill the horizon. To the
northwest, the San Francisco Peaks appear as a hazy purple silhouette.

At the
1.4-mile point, the road bumps up against stony escarpments below the south
lookout site. Here, a jungle of Arizona Walnut trees brushing against columns
of basalt cinch the road and clouds of pollinators hover around dozens of
wildflower species including poison milkweed, globemallow and wild geraniums that
sprout from cracks in the pavement.

View from the south overlook point on Lake Mary Road.
Deer, birds and rodents feast on Utah serviceberry fruits.

The first
substantial group of aspens appear at around the 3-mile point where the north
lookout site is just barely visible ahead on a prominent ridge above the road.

Berry Road is open year-round for non-motorized use.

Across the pond, lake-side homes and structures of the major recreation hub surrounding
Mormon Lake Village peek out from thick tree cover. This popular summer getaway
destination is a huge draw for summer visitors interested in the area’s boating,
fishing, picnicking, camping, hiking and eclectic mix of restaurants, trail
ride outfitters, cabin rentals and events. It’s worthy post-hike side trip,
too.

Reedy wetlands at Mormon Lake attract wildlife
Pollinators swarm around poison milkweed plants.
San Francisco Peaks seen from Berry Road at Mormon Lake
Mormon Mountain looms about the lake's west shore.

What’s
left of the old frontage road fades into a murky contour of the lake just beyond
the north lookout site.

Cottonwoods thrive in the marshy fringes of Mormon Lake

You may choose to follow the weed-encroached path a
little farther, but it’s best to leave this feral terminus and its fruits and nuts to the birds and beasts
and backtrack to the lodge for pizza and beer instead.

An Arizona walnut tree shades Berry Road at Mormon Lake
Wild geranium grow in tangled clusters along the trail.
Aspens frame views of Mormon Mountain.
Squirrels love the Arizona walnuts that grow on Berry Road

LENGTH:
6.4 miles out-and-back

RATING:
easy

ELEVATION:
7,182 – 7,031 feet

GETTING
THERE:

From
Flagstaff, go 24.8 miles south on Lake Mary Road (Forest Road 3) to an unsigned
road on the right just past milepost 319
where there’s a sign that reads “no vehicle turnaround”. Low clearance vehicles should park along the
pullouts here, otherwise drive the road 0.2-mile, cross a cattle guard, turn
right at a fork, continue 0.1-mile uphill and park near a locked gate.

INFO: Coconino National Forest

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=55014

Arizona
Game and Fish Department Elk Viewing
Workshop: August 17, 2019

https://www.azgfd.com/come-out-to-azgfds-2019-annual-elk-viewing-workshop-aug-17/

Arizona
Watchable Wildlife Experience

https://www.azwatchwildlife.com/mormon-lake

Mormon Lake Lodge

https://www.mormonlakelodge.com/

–>

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