Friday, January 28, 2011

HCRHST: Day 2 - Memaloose to Mosier to Hood River

HCRHST stands for the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. My son and I are attempting his first end-to-end which turned out to be about 90 miles. For pictures and back story check out these other pages: Getting Ready, Day 1, Pictures, Progress.

When we awoke it was still dark and there were 8-10 inches of snow on the ground covered with an inch of ice from the freezing rain, but we made it! Camp was broken down as it was beginning to become light and we checked in with the larger Ranger. He didn't think we should continue. Jules didn't think we should continue. My father knew better than to tell me not to continue. Undaunted we headed up to Memaloose for a look at the view we missed yesterday.

Memaloose means "of the dead" in Chinook (a local tribe). Islands such as the one in this picture were the burial place for their people and were frequent in the Columbia before all the dams flooded them. The dead were wrapped and floated out on canoes to the islands as a final send off back to the water the Chinook relied on so heavily.

Memaloose is a famous place on the Oregon Trail as well as heavily mentioned by Lewis and Clark. The Barracuda greatly enjoyed using his monocular to look around at the eagles nesting, the tombs on the islands, and anything else he could possibly spy. He was quite excited to be standing in a place we had read about in Lewis and Clark's Journals and actually able to see one of the islands they found so disturbing. (I'd be disturbed too if I kept passing by islands with multiple dead corpses rotting on them for seemingly no reason).

This Brunton monocular was gifted to The Barracuda by our friends. It is RAD! I would whole-heartedly recommend it for anyone with adventurous kids. The Barracuda carried it the entire time and it came in quite handy. Thanks Laura and Jasper!

Our trip to Mosier was going to mean 3.5 miles backtracking and then another 10 for the day till we could get somewhere possible to camp. I honestly didn't know if The Barracuda could do it. The extreme weather advisory was still in effect and wasn't supposed to lift until the following day. Our packs were still heavy as very little food had been eaten and our journey would be uphill.

Thankfully, the crazy weather meant that Jules (and every other school district in The Gorge) had the day off. He threw chains in the truck, drove up to see us, and jumped us the 6 highway miles to Mosier. This was an incredible relief. We got coffee and ate at the only cafe left in Mosier and then headed out to Hood River. Whew! Crisis averted!

As Jules dropped us off at the trailhead from Mosier to Hood River, we ran into Matt Dewey again. He said hello, asked if we were going to continue, and gave us the weather report (freezing rain all day). I told him we were going to try and he shook his head. He'd opened the tunnels for us and given us a nice track to walk in so we weren't trudging through fresh snow.

Icicles the size of the Barracuda hang down menacingly from the ceiling of the tunnels as water drips through the mountain and freezes. These were a very exciting stop!

The Mosier tunnels are a five mile section of the old highway which was considered a major feat of construction back in 1915. Personally, I still think it is a major feat of construction. The tunnels were blasted straight through the mountain and the bridges were constructed contouring out over the basalt cliffs to give incredible views of the Gorge.

Looking back over our progress was a helpful venture for The Barracuda. He could physically see the Memaloose Islands we had been standing at earlier in the day. He also got a wonderful birds eye view of the Gorge which was quite impressive.

Along with the majestic tunnels were sets upon sets of tracks perfectly preserved in the snow by the freezing rain. Since the roadway is not able to support semi trucks or nearly the traffic of today's interstate, it is now only a walking, biking, and cross country skiing trail. With no cars allowed on the road, many animals use the pathway regularly without fear. Rabbit tracks, coyote tracks, elk tracks, small rodent tracks, bobcat tracks, deer tracks and more we couldn't identify were spotted all spotted. Pictures were taken for The Barracuda's nature journal and many were followed off into the side brush of the trail only to disappear.

Spirits were high as we trudged closer to Hood River. We weren't making amazing time due to the snow and the continuous freezing rain, but mostly due to all the great sights.

By the time we were 3/4s of the way to Hood River, the trials of the night before had been forgotten. The day had been a fun one and the weather was warming enough to not need balaclavas covering our faces as we hiked.

As we neared the end of the trail, it became apparent that my fabulous National Geographic, plastic, rip proof, water proof, swanky, GPS gridded map might not be the greatest judge of distance. It kept seeming like we should be at the end. Thankfully we ran into an at-risk high school science teacher and her dog, Mole the chocolate lab. She was cross country skiing the opposite direction and informed us there was only a mile left. As timing would have it, by the time we had covered that mile, she was returning and offered us a ride into Hood River. We gladly excepted.

She gave us the low down on Hood River, places to stay, the best coffee shops, what her students were doing. We told her about our trip, gave Mole treats, and thanked her readily for her kindness. She dropped us off at the Best Western and went along her way.

The weather had everyone holing up on the highway. Hotels were booked and not too happy to see people on foot with large backpacks and unclean clothes. They refused to take my cash without a credit card, wouldn't except Jules' because it wasn't in my name, and generally were kinda snotty. When another woman heard our trouble, asked if we were on foot and offered us a ride to another hotel in town in exchange for a road report. She was worried about the road, we were worried about a hotel, it worked out well.

The Hood River Inn was our next stop. It was the only place in town with a vacancy. I asked about their cheapest room and if they would take cash. The response was similar to the Best Western - they wouldn't take the card, they wouldn't take the cash, they only had a $150 suite left. It looked a bit hopeless. From the lobby we pulled out the map and scoured it for any campsites possible. Not a one. The closest was a state park down Interstate 84 about 5 miles with no way to walk other than on the shoulder. At this point it was 3:30pm and things were looking to get dark soon. I asked The Barracuda if he wanted to just call it quits. He was adamant he wanted to finish. So we loaded up our packs once again to head for the coffee shop to pay someone 20 dollars to take up down the highway to Viento State Park.

As luck would have it, the general manager (a very nice older woman) came through just then. She looked down at The Barracuda over her glasses with a smile and said, "My, that looks like a very heavy pack for someone your age. It's almost as big as you!"

Now is a good time to admit that my son has the charisma of a cult leader. People adore him and he can talk them into quite a bit when he wants to. He flashes his eyes, throws around a chuckle and a smile, it is obnoxious and borderline sociopathic. We are trying to teach him to use this power for good, rather than evil.

The Barracuda saw his moment of opportunity. He recognized her weakness. She didn't have much of a chance. I stood back to watch the show.

He dropped his little face, quivered his lip slightly, and gave her big puppy-dog eyes. "It is heavy," he said, "I don't understand why we can't stay here. We have money, but they said you wouldn't take it. Why can't we sleep just one night? We won't hurt anything." It was a masterful performance. The lady looked distraught. She gladly accepted Jules' credit card to cover the deposit stating "We probably won't even need it." The room's cost was dropped to "government rate" of only 75 dollars. We were given a large room with two beds and plenty of space to let gear dry out. I thanked them at least a dozen times, quickly signed the paperwork before anyone could change their minds and handed over most of our trip money.

Gear was strewn about the room to dry, the heater cranked up full throttle and The Barracuda promptly stripped down to watch cartoons for hours. Before bed we hit up the hot tub to rest sore muscles. It was awesome!

With another day down and a total 34.5 miles behind us, we slept well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

HCRHST - Days 1: The Dalles to Memaloose

HCRHST stands for the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The entire trail is not completed for bicyclists, nor does it run singularly as itself right now. You connect with multiple Forest Service trails in existence. By 2016 it is going to be opened as a contiguous paved bicycle path which runs from Portland to the Dallas.

Our hike began in the Dallas with looming bad weather on the horizon. The winter had thus far been so mild it didn't really bother me. The Columbia River Gorge is notorious for bizarre weather patterns and academic people flock to local universities from around the world to study it. Apparently a bunch of geological stuff all comes together in one place to effect the weather and that doesn't happen very often. Growing up here, it all seems normal. It's just The Gorge.

So we left from the Dallas, in the rainshadow of the Cascades. It was cold, but it is always cold there in January. The air was still dry then, as the day wore on it you began to smell the snow coming.
This was really hard for Jules. He has never left us out into the wilds before. His worry level was quite high, even with me armed with my cell phone. He was able to go home and commiserate with my father.

About 20 minutes in, The Barracuda announced "You're right, Mom, this is a lot of fun!" The Barracuda's experience road walking is quite slim since we normally keep to trails. Road walking has a significantly different feel, but he was quite thrilled with the Ponderosa pines, the cascades of frozen icicles along the road sides, the views of the Columbia we looked out upon.

The kid did the entire time we were out in a pair of Sorel puddle stompers we picked up from Goodwill. He's a beast!

The snow was not expected till somewhere around 5:30 that night and by 7 pm an extreme weather advisory was to come in effect. We had no way of knowing that as we walked, the weather was coming closer and the advisory being bumped up hour by hour.

A very nice woman stopped us along the road, concerned. She asked if we wanted a ride to which we responded no. So she handed over an old Stanley thermos of cocoa to The Barracuda. I explained that we would need to give it back to her since we were on foot and couldn't carry the poundage. She again looked concerned (we got this a lot by the end). We arranged to meet up with her before we crossed over the freeway to our campground to give her back the thermos. Apparently she was a photographer who was taking pictures of the ducks and would be down there anyway.

Hot chocolate raised the cold spirits of The Barracuda. Road walking isn't much fun and often begins to hurt the ankles at about 5 miles.

When we handed the thermos back over and began to walk toward the underpass, the woman became increasingly concerned and actually got out of her car to stop us. Apparently she thought I was going to try and cross the existing highway (an Interstate, with semi's) with my 6 year old while carrying heavy packs. Someone had tried to cross the highway on foot about a month before and it hadn't ended well. She insisted we let her drive us across. The Barracuda was tired, so we agreed. It wasn't until then that I heard the weather advisories on the radio. Snow was projected to hit any minute. It was only around 1:15. The day was hardly over for us.

The nice lady then proceeded to drive us over two miles further down the road to a campsite that she felt was better. It was well intentioned, but our quick jaunt of less than 1 mile across a highway had now become about 3.5 miles tacked onto tomorrow just to get us back on track.

There was no time to think about it, however, because as we were unloading our packs from her car the snow began to fall. It was about 1:30pm and we had to get a tent up fast. We followed the signs to the designated camping area, only to then see that it was closed for the season. If we wanted to legally camp we would have to hike the 3.5 miles back along the railroad tracks. There was just no way. The tent was pitched, The Barracuda went off to play, and I hiked back up to the rest area to fill the water bladder with scalding hot water from the rest rooms.

On the way back down to the campsite I was stopped by the Park Rangers. Matt Dewey was a nice young man, who we would see regularly over the next few days. Jules later became convinced he was in love with me, but Jules regularly becomes convinced of that with many people. Matt informed me the park was closed and we couldn't camp. He also wanted to know what I was doing camping with my son, in the Gorge, in the middle of January.

I explained we were homeschoolers, studying Lewis and Clark, this was close to the time of year they went through (they did it in November), we were heading to Troutdale on foot, a nice woman dropped us off here by mistake, we needed to get out of the weather. His look of "should I call the authorities on this person" quickly shifted to "WHAT?!" About that time another, larger Ranger began walking up the road with a concerned Barracuda.

Now is a good time to admit that I don't trust people, any people. For a long time after living with even Jules I had secret money set aside in case we needed to leave. There is no logical reason why I shouldn't trust any people, I just don't. Thankfully, Jules doesn't trust people either so he understands and it works.

At the sight of the Ranger with my son, my hand quickly went to my Spyderco and my face went dead. I took two steps back from the truck Matt was in, called The Barracuda over behind me and just stared at the two of them. Matt noticed my change and began back-pedalling fast. He called his supervisor to see if we would be allowed to camp that night and the other Ranger talked to us. He asked The Barracuda how old he was, commented on our gear, and asked how the trip was going. Our information was taken down and then made sure we had someone who could come get us if everything went wrong. They were both leery to leave, but we were granted until 9 am the next morning, and told they were going to come check on us to be sure we were out.

We ate at about 3:30, crawled into our sleeping bags and read Call of the Wild till around 5, and hugged the still warm dromedary. We were asleep by 6, but it didn't last long. Every 2 hours I awoke to knock the snow off the tent and keep it from collapsing. At the 9:30 I woke up to a whimpering Barracuda. His face was freezing, he couldn't sleep, and was having trouble staying warm. He crawled into my sleeping bag for us to share the rest of the night and the snow checks were bumped up to every hour and fifteen minutes. The freezing rain began around 3 am so I could sleep longer.
We only emerged from the tent to use the bathroom and all we could see was cold.

And so went our first night. I later found out the temperatures dropped somewhere between 8 and 11 degrees. With the crazy windchill it was definitely much, much lower. The campsite we were supposed to camp in (the one that was open) is an exposed site on right on the Columbia River. I don't know if our tent would have withstood the winds or if we would have been able to handle the cold had we not been taken to the wrong place.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dehydrating Flavors for Oatmeal

I am a creature of habit. I like to do the same things in the same order over and over. I even like to eat the same things, in the same way, over and over. The Barracuda has a bit of this. When he likes something, he likes it and that just doesn't change. When something works for him, it works and that doesn't change either. As far as we are concerned, there is no reason for experimentation once you have found what works. Not so much Jules. Jules gets bored. Jules likes variety. So in order to make everyone happy, we go with the tried and true and then try to jazz it up a bit.

Enter the oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a great one for backpacking. It is light, rehydrates and heats in almost no time with very little water, and it is highly filling.

You can buy flavored oatmeal in a dozen or more flavors now, all prepackaged and such. The only problem is that it rarely only contains oatmeal, the packages are very messy when opened, and they are really darn expensive. You then stuck with a bajillion little wrappers to carry around with oatmeal powder gunk on them which inevitably gets wet and then you have oatmeal goo on everything. It's gross. I don't like it. So, much like everything else, we just make our own.

As a general rule of thumb, I packaged 1 cup of oatmeal and 1/4 cup of flavoring per person. This many seem like a lot, and initially it is. However, there is a turning point in any hike when you realize you are not able to consume enough calories. You become constantly hungry in the back of your mind. Even when your stomach is distended and you can't eat any more, you're still kinda hungry. At that point, 1 cup is about right. It fills you up, but doesn't slog you down.

The entire package gets opened and dumped into boiling water. I never measure how much water, I just add until the consistency is about correct. Everything rehydrates in less than 5 minutes. This is usually our lunch so that we can pound between 4 and 6 miles before eating at a nice stopping place. It is filling enough we can then pound another 6 before stopping to do dinner and bed.

The flavorings are simple enough: cranberry, blueberry, blackberry, and apple cinnamon. The cranberry and blueberry are just dried berries from the summer with a sprinkling of brown sugar added. By using jam and cinnamon applesauce we can also stretch oatmeal flavors with products on hand which have been presweetened, but don't contain high fructose corn syrup.

Dehydrating jam and applesauce are a bit of a pain. Luckily you don't need very much. Pour the contents out onto the fruit leather tray of your dehydrator. I tried waxed paper here and it was a complete fail. The plastic fruit leather thing is the way to go.

The Barracuda wants to try strawberry, but I personally think that sounds nasty. I'll probably cave and we can give that one a go, too.

Dehydrate at 145 degrees for a good 14 hours or more. You want them to look like fruit leather and then dehydrate another 8 hours so they are incredibly brittle.

At this point I peeled the blackberries off, ground them up and then dehydrated them again for another 8 hours. They just wouldn't stop being incredibly tacky feeling.

Once they dry out to the point they are stiff or crumbling (or you are just so sick of them you never want to deal with them again), you can package them safely without worry of mold. You want to pulverize the fruit into either small chunks or fine powder in a food processor. If the fruit is in larger pieces it will not rehydrate as fast as the oatmeal and you will either be left with extremely stretchy oatmeal or crunchy fruit. I often will throw in bits of dried apple rings with the apple cinnamon oatmeal as well to give it some added texture.

For the adventurous, you can mix and match your flavors however you would like. Any more than 1/4 cup of any flavoring to 1 cup of oatmeal is a bit overpowering, however.

These are all packaged in mylar and labeled. The mylar can be reused indefinitely and is water tight so you can rehydrate while moving if necessary. This works well when you are freezing. You cut the package open, boil the water and then let it cool till scalding. Add the water to the package and reseal with duct tape. Place the package inside your shirt and walking will gently stir and rehydrate while keeping you warm. Any left overs can also be safely stored in the mylar, duct taped shut, and eaten later in the day. We bring the mylar home, wash and reuse. Since it statics shut, the food residue powder doesn't really come out.

We do not oxygen absorb our backpacking food. For one, it is more weight and two it is really expensive. If we were planning on packaging for months in advance we probably would just to ensure freshness.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Bad
Yesterday we had to put the cat down. Princess Bell Bell had a traumatic life before Jules rescued her from a shelter in Georgia. She traveled with him across the country and was very much his girl. However, she has had skin issues for years and neurotically licked herself. About a year ago she was pulled off all grains thinking it was an allergy and that seemed to help. Then had a complete freak out resulting in steroids to get her to stop attacking her skin. After that, she never seemed to quite heal.

The Ugly
She developed mites. They went undetected by the vet for quite some time and eventually I turned to the Internet to try and figure out what she had. At a certain point, they can't be cured and the pet has to be put down. Mites are one thing that I never want to learn more about. Apparently (and disgustingly!) they are constantly on our pets and even us with no one really knowing much about it. It is only when the immune system gets suppressed or when the populations get extremely high that there are nasty break outs. Once there is a break out, it is extremely contagious. Eeew!

The cat gave them to the dog. Only in a small place and it can be treated since we caught it right away. However, it means the entire house has to be washed, disinfected, completely scrubbed.

The Good

Last night and early this morning, things weren't looking good for the dog. I had applied tea tree oil to the patch of skin on her back which was infested. She was bathed and then Neem oil applied. We have given her tea tree before and had no issues, but late last night she began slight muscle tremors and then couldn't walk. She was lethargic, though alert and seemed to be fine other than her back legs. Apparently, she got mild tea tree poisoning. Thankfully she is now up, eating, and has even gone for a walk. She is actively trying to kill the squirrels in the front yard, though still being tender with her left foot. Guadie seems to be 85% better and on the mend.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Building an Outdoor First Aid Kit

Jules and I have always had the decided consensus that we will not breed fear into our child. He can go play where we can't see him, within reason. He can climb large objects, with a bit of climbing knowledge. He can stay home by himself if we are only gone for a bit, as long as he has a cell phone and doesn't open the door. He can play near the water without a life jacket, as long as he can tread water. He personally owns his own axe, BB gun, tent, and Spyderco all of which he can use himself quite proficiently.

He is going to scrape himself up, has cut his body a few times, has been pulled out of a pool by an adult with all their clothes on, and has already achieved a handful of concussions. But he also has a really great sense of his own limitations and the confidence to try things which most kids would be concerned over. One of the better developments is his caution about panicking when he realizes something isn't working out well; he merely asks for help and begins talking himself down. This has meant a few bizarre situations: Getting wedged 3+ feet off the ground between the our fence and the neighbor's fence, jumping on a bed till dizzy enough to gash his head open, getting his pants caught at roof level on the wrought iron fretwork out front, slapping himself in face with a spatula so hard there was a major mark for days, hanging from a tree feet from the ground by only his shirt, running full force into a cabinet door hard enough to slice his head open. He is definitely my son. I was an emergency room kid.

Luckily, we have only had to go to the emergency room once and it was an incredibly extreme situation with a very, very young Barracuda. When your child cries blood, you go to get pediatric facial stitches!

Our ability to hand most medical situations is due to a very hardcore first aid kit at the house and an all purpose outdoor first aide kit whenever we venture into the forest. We use the same outdoor first aid kit whether we are going to cut firewood or just day hiking. With the track record of our son, it seems highly irresponsible to do any less.

Regular first aide kits seem to lack items for serious bleeding, stitches, burns, infections, and adequate medication. They are all just far too generic. They have to be. How can the designers of the kit have any idea about your personal needs? Jules calls them "Boo-Boo kits," because all they really fix are the small "boo boos." So, we built our own designed to our specific needs.

Jules is in charge of this area of our lives. I take care of outdoor food; he takes care of outdoor safety. If you are interested in building a first aid kit for a specific personal situation, check out Nut 'n' Fancy's YouTube feed (search Level 1 first aid kit, and if you're really digging it his entire Level 2 series). Be warned, this dude is HARDCORE and really, really knows his stuff. He will tell you more than you ever wanted to know, but should know if you are compiling something which could save your life.

Click on Image to Enlarge
After 3 different colors, green seemed to show the best. This is designated as a Level 1 kit. We have one outdoor kit, one in each of our cars, and a level 2 kit at the house.

Our first aid kit is laid out in a triage fashion. Items are bagged by the escalation of the injury. Each of these lists is in its own bag. In this way, you don't have to go crazy, dump everything out, and then try and figure out a way to put it all back.

The bags are resealable clear mylar. They are military grade communications pouches which are waterproof and exceptionally durable. You can purchase them on Ebay. The smaller inner bags are just little dime baggies.

Minor Issues
10 dosages of Advil - Jules thinks Advil cures everything. It does work to kill swelling and any kind of pain.
8 dosages 800 milligram Tylenol - These are the serious pain meds that don't actively conflict with much other meds if they are necessary.

8 doses Midol - This is the best over counter muscle relaxant there is. My athletic trainers used to hand it out without telling the guys what it was. It's mild enough to not cause you to sleep, but eases muscle cramping.

6 doses Imodium - Dude, food poisoning sucks when you really need to walk a good 10 miles.

6 doses Sudafed - Sudafed kicks the snot out of cold symptoms.

6 doses Mucinex - Mucinex is amazing at clearing up your head and lungs from crud.

4 doses Clariton - There have been two or three times that unexpected allergies have knocked Jules and I down. These will take the edge off enough that you can hopefully get out of the situation.
You may notice there are not childrens medication. This is due to The Barracuda being allergic to a filler placed in most over the counter kids meds. Taking OTC meds induces vomiting, hives, and skyrocketing fever. He would rather suffer, than take something and suffer more. We focus on herbal medicine at home.

6 butterfly - These work best on fairly severe cuts around curves (ears, nose, fingers, feet)

6 small - These are for those annoying issues which aren't going to do you any actual damage, but more cause you to hate your life because they just hurt. They are also sized just right for small people.

6 medium - As far as bandages go, these are the go to. Minor cuts and scrapes on hands, fingers and feet.

4 extra large - These must be purchased separately than the multi-pack box. They are big enough you could pad the wound with a 2 inch gauze pad to cover a fairly deep wound.

10 feet of Duct Tape - This is wrapped around itself and folded up all compact. Duct Tape is great when you notice rubbing on your feet or some other area. It is sticky enough to not come off and can be used to prevent future injury. Plus, it's Duct Tape - what can't it do?

1 Strip Moleskin - Used for developed blisters to remove pressure.

3 2nd Skin Patches - Burst and open blisters or burns.
I have highly, highly sensitive skin. I break out in a rash from Windex. Jules fertilized the yard and two days later when The Barracuda and I were playing in it I broke out in hives which lasted 4 days. I just plain don't go near chemicals. We believe natural products are better, but honestly, I can't really use much else. Jules could survive walking through nuclear winter style radiation. If you know of products which work for you, go for it. Even expensive "hypoallergenic" stuff causes me problems.

Miscellaneous Creams and Oils:
Neosporin - Standard low-grade infection prevention and healing. Be sure to wrap it in electrical tape due to heat and cool causing it to burst. If you wrap it up this can prevent explosion all over the other stuff. Not really the end of the world, but gross.

100% Tea Tree Oil - 1 half ounce vial. This is hardcore infection prevention and killer where only a little goes a long way. Its anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-everything. It is also a natural thing which won't harm the wound, cause me to break out, be too harsh for our child, and can be used externally everywhere. It has personally killed a staph infection on myself which Jules was on 3 rounds of meds and in and out of the doctors office for.

Vitamin E Lotion - Jason 25,000 I.U's of Vitamin E Age Renewal Moisturizing Cream. This is wonder gunk. I don't even know how it works, but any skin issue it takes care of amazingly fast. Rashes, irritation, chap, blisters, swelling, hives, peeling skin, bites, sore feet or muscles, etc. Once the heat has been removed from a burn it takes care of it brilliantly. It also doesn't go bad and is safe to use on my highly sensitive skin and The Barracuda.

6 Alcohol Swabs - Basic alcohol swabs for quick cleaning and sterilizing tools for use.
Sprains and Stitches
10 feet 3M Porous Medical Tape - In our house, this is called stitches tape. By cutting small sections and pinching a fairly serious cut shut, it can seal it. Think butterfly bandages on steroids. The Barracuda has had me use stitches tape on him at least 3 times. It has prevented many a trip to the hospital and I am highly impressed with its effectiveness. It won't close a sucking chest wound, but man it's good. It can also be used to hold on gauze in an area where the skin needs to breathe. We keep it wrapped around a slice of an old credit card.

5 feet First Aid Athletic Tape - Standard white waterproof tape used to splint sprains or support broken fingers or toes. This is also wrapped around a slice of an old credit card.

Swiss Army Knife - Just a small one to cut the tape as needed.
Severe Injury
3 Tefla Prebandage - This goes onto the wound before gauze in order to prevent ripping the wound back open with removal. The prebandage stays in places and allows the wound to breathe.
3 Giant Adhesive Bandage - These are 4x6 and designed to cover the gauze and contain moderate bleeding. Basically a giant Band-Aid.

3 4x4 Sterile Gauze Pads - Standard gauze for moderate bleeding. Before applying gauze read up on basic aid training as more damage can be done to a wound if used incorrectly. All good intentions can actually wind up hurting someone instead.

3 5x9 Surgipads - These are serious bleeder situations. They are designed to contain major blood loss. If you are using these, the goal is to physically remove someone as fast as possible or they are going to die.

Suture Kit - This is used in self rescue types of situations to close a gaping wound. Something has definitely gone wrong. This is another one of those situations that if you are pulling it out you've gone through every other option and someone is not going to make it. Don't carry this if you don't know how to use it. It's another situation you can do way more harm than good if used incorrectly.

I honestly thought Jules was a bit over reactionary when he put the first IFAK bag in my car. Three or four uses patching our son back together and I'm now sold. We need to add some burn gel and some Derma glue, but all in all it works pretty well. Like anything, it is still evolving as we go. Every kit should be personalized, this is just our take.

The entire kit weighs 8 ounces which makes it doable to carry around for just about anything outdoors that we need.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Wanted an Adventure

We are home. We had to stop. Jules picked us up today after work. There is serious flooding around these parts. When we hunkered down in the rain, even Multnomah Falls (major revenue and tourist attraction) was closed. The Sandy river (which we would be walking in less than two days) was evacuated on foot because it was flooding and taking out the roads. If you would like to see some incredible footage, check it out.

For our part, Wednesday was filled with rerouted trails, washouts, landslides, rock slides (gorge basalt is a finicky thing), and boulders covering the trails.

These became our makeshift trail markers after three reroutes. The Forest Service began throwing down straw trying to absorb water and keep as many trails as possible open.

This is the trail. The blow downs were so dense in a few areas we began to cut switch backs in an attempt to go on. Cutting switch backs is a grave offense under normal conditions. The Barracuda was quite shocked.

Boulders larger than me dumped down onto the trail causing us to boulder our way across. As exciting as this was at first, it became a bit scary as smaller versions fell over our heads and dusted the trail.

Frequent washouts and small, spongy crossings looking out over large drops filled with rubble.

It was getting to the point of possible unsafety. When we hiked out the maximum temperature was going to be 43 degrees, the nightly temperature in the 20's. With rain and extremely low temperatures spirits were dampened and again, it looked unsafe. Hiking in the snow is one thing, hiking in 30 degree rain and then sleeping in below freezing temperatures only to go again tomorrow seems like a great way to get pneumonia to me.

So with 30 miles left to go, we will have to day hike the last few when it looks a bit better on the weather horizon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Do You Actually Do?

It wasn't until I decided to hike with The Barracuda that I thought much about what my life entailed. When you have to consider yourself completely gone from your environment you tend to hone in on the things you actually do and what preparation is needed.

When someone asked me, I had many titles to what my roles in our life were. I was a mom, a radical homemaker, a homeschooler, a writer, a spouse....As much as that seems to suffice for people who ask, it doesn't really say all that much about what I actually do. When I had to think about what wouldn't get done when I was gone, my life evaluation got a bit more interesting.

When it comes right down to it, I have no idea what day it is right now. I think it is a Saturday, but I'm probably wrong. I also have no idea of the actual date, sometime in mid January. I don't know the time either, late enough that I should be in bed.

What I do know is that I need to put in our seed order in about 2 weeks. I need to do laundry tomorrow because Jules is out of work pants. I need rake the remainder of the debris from the yard and reseed. I need to cook the cottage cheese which is culturing on the refrigerator because it is now sharp enough. I know the cherry tree in the backyard has 5 inches of new growth this year and that is the best in a long time. I know the pear trees and apple are hanging on, but not doing as well as we'd hoped. I know one of the Rhododendrons appears to have a fungal infection that was aggravated by all the rains this year. I know that something had died in the refrigerator. I know The Barracuda needs to start back with his math book tomorrow because he is getting squirrelly without schoolwork, we need to finish up the book Hatchet, begin Call of the Wild, and practice his Cha-Cha dancing. I know the garlic is going gang busters and the Spring bulbs have already started coming up with the mild winter.

In leaving for two weeks to hike, it really hit me just how much my life has changed from a year ago when I was working.

Two weeks is half a cord of wood. It's 15 jars of food, two pints of jam, and 56 gallons of filtered water. It's 10 math pages, countless hours of discussion, 10 units of Spanish, and 7 hours of living room dance practice. Two weeks is 5 designated dog walks and 8 cans of tuna for the cat. It's two missed skating trips and 6 missed outings with homeschool friends. It's three loads of laundry, 4 changes of sheets, 8 trips to Goodwill and 2 books. It's 5 blog posts. This is the way I now measure my life.

Not once in my thinking about getting the house ready for me to leave did I consider how much money it was. Before when I would take a vacation from work, things were always scaled across how much money would be lost and how many days I would have to cover for those who were covering my shifts. Now I just write whenever. If articles are available I write them. If I need to leave, I leave. When I return, I will write some more. It doesn't matter what day or what time or even how many (for the most part).

As I stuffed The Barracuda and my packs, it was even more blatant how simple our lives had become. Two weeks is 2 sets of pants, 4 pairs of socks, 4 pairs of undies, 6 torso layers, a hat, gloves, a water filter, 14 pounds of food, and a tent. We don't need much more than that.

Sometimes it is good to remember.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Filtering Water

Our rain barrels have long been used for most of our water needs. However, the main thing that was missing from our house was a water filter. Until we could filter the water adequately, we weren't going to risk drinking or cooking with it. It never seemed to kill the dog, but then she likes to eat cat poop and I have a feeling that might just kill me.

Over the summer we stumbled upon an estate sale and picked up our MSR MiniWorks Expedition filter for about 7 dollars. Estate sales are the BEST for gear. We have since filtered all our water here at the house for both drinking and cooking. It works out to be about 4 gallons a day which is filtered with the morning chores. I really like it and I'm getting bicepts of steel!

With recent reports about the carcinogens in city tap water, I'm equally happy we have completely pulled off the central grid for our ingestion. Our city is not on this list, but a really close one is! Even before this report came out, it always bothered me that our family is pulling chemicals out of our food, but not our water. We don't need to be ingesting chlorine, or fluoride, or the pesticides and hormones which are known to exist in city water supplies.

We carry the same filter (MSR MiniWorks EX) when we backpack as we use at home. I refuse to go ultra light here. There is absolutely no reason to ingest chemicals with your water. There is no such thing as a benign chemical. If people insist on chemical free food, they should insist on chemical free water.

The filter with the toothbrush to clean it weighs 1 pound.

There are many different types of water filters out there, but the main thing to realize is a water filter has to clog. If it isn't clogging, it isn't filtering the junk out of your water. For this reason, the physical filter is the most important thing to remember. You are going to have to clean it, replace it, and trouble shoot issues with it. If you don't, the filter isn't working.

Micron Filter Level
All the talk when it comes to water filters is about mircons. A micron is the measurement of all the small little particulates which float around in the water but are unseen to the naked eye. The water filter catches these particles by having holes which are so small the impurities cannot flow through. Those holes are measured in microns as well. You want your water filter to have small enough holes it catches the bad stuff and lets the good stuff through. Chryptosporidium and Guardia are both 1 micron in size so smaller is necessary. Viruses can be filtered out using a filter of .01 microns or smaller. Any water filter worth its stuff is less than .1 microns.

Ceramic Filters
I will openly admit being a fan of these filters. They are the most durable, the easiest to clean, and the longest lasting. They are a bit overkill for many weekend warriors, but for our lifestyle I wouldn't purchase anything else. They cost more initially, but will save you lots in the long run. They are what the Peace Corp and Mercy Corps use in disaster zones because of their ease and bomb proof simple workings.

Ceramic filters are made of the material Diatomaceous Earth. This stuff does a million and one things and one of them is filtering things down to a .009 microns. The smooth outer surface is porous and much like sand stone in make up. They are cleaned by using a toothbrush to scrub off the most outer layer. The problem many have with ceramic filters is their weight. Because the filter is brittle in nature, the housing is often made of metal or high grade plastic to protect the inner workings. These filters are slower, due to their density, but last much longer.

Paper Durable Filters
Durable paper filters have accordion folds and honeycomb pleating designed to create the filter. Each layer of paper filters down to a lower micron level and the end result is filtered water. The filters are then impregnated with a chemical like carbon or charcoal to help remove and disinfect. These filters can be carefully cleaned a few times, but ultimately must be thrown away and replaced. They will get holes in them, and just plain wear out. This means you either need to carry a back up or have complete knowledge you can find your exact filter at an outfitter on the trail. I'm not a big fan of disposable items, but I can understand the desire to go with a lighter weight option. These aren't bad filters and Jules used one for his entire AT hike.
To clean you gently scrub down each of the pleats, renewing the filter for more use.

Paper Disposables
These filters bother me. They are layers of paper wrapped around a cylinder or coming out in a star pattern around a central shaft. These are extremely light weight, cheap filters. The catch is, they cannot be cleaned. The filter will last a long time, but then just goes to the landfill. Depending on how long you are going to be out, it can mean you don't need to carry a direct replacement. However, if you want to own the same filter for a while, stock up. Once the exact filter for your model is discontinued, you are out of luck. These just bug me from the environmental standpoint. You are out enjoying nature at the expense of nature itself. Something about that rubs me wrong.

These are the types of filters which are often in Britta and other countertop filtering systems. They are also the ones which are inside cheaper outdoor filters.

Disposable Disk Filters
These are weekend warrior filters. They are one time use, rather flimsy, and don't need to be cleaned. Water is forced through a single thick pouch of carbon which collects any impurities. The disk filter is then thrown away and the next time you need water you grab another disk. Again, this is a disposable option and not my favorite. However, if you don't get out much, this is the way to go. Multiple filters use the exact same style disks and there is no worry that your model is going to go out of style. It is important to remember practicing leave no trace means you are then carrying about these water laden, round disks which can get smelly after a bit.

Chemical Treatment
As stated above, I am against chemical treatments of water. Yes, they are light. Yes, they are often fairly cheap. And yes, as a child I ingested them because my family did. However, it is important to remember there is a trade off for every easy, cheap decision that you make. I'm not trading anything when it comes to my water supply.

All bacteria are not bad. Your gut is filled with bacteria which are necessary to our survival, because they digest and intake nutrients. When you ingest anything which is designed to suppress or kill bacteria on a broad scale you are hampering your bodies ability to digest and remove nutrients from your food. Unless you are also carrying a pro-biotic to balance out the bacterial water treatment, you are physically harming your system and hindering your ability to perform optimally. As an adult, I can make this choice with full knowledge. My son is 6. He cannot make this choice with his current depth of knowledge. I feel it is imposing far too much for me to give him chemicals without his full consent. I would never knowingly ask my child to drink bleach, iodine, or even chlorine dioxide, why would I put it in his water?

If I filter rainwater for us to drink at home, I will filter the stream water we drink outdoors.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Progress and Pictures

We've hunkered down in town waiting out the rain. Though it normally rains here, yesterday and tomorrow are going to be wetter than usual. We weren't able to cover much ground, it was down right cold, and we were getting soaked to the skin. The idea of this trip is to stick it out but also to have fun. In order to balance that we are holing up for a day or so, letting gear dry out, getting reorganized, and then going at it again. Though it adds on a few miles a day, it is much nicer than only covering 4 or 5 a day and hating life.

Here are a few pictures from the trip so far. I can't edit any of them, but I thought I'd throw them up so you all could see some of the great stuff we have.

Walking from the Dallas the ecosystem is dryer, colder, and much more windy. This creates the look of ancient hands holding onto the land around the river. The tiny little white specks down by the water is the railroad where a train is going through.

We break camp before daylight so we can maximize the day. The second day we awoke to some serious snow! The freezing rain held the snow in place like glue, creating quite the nice winter scene.

The Mosier Tunnels were awaiting us. These tunnels were blasted out of the mountain around 1915 and still stand as a monument to the amazing construction work of the time. They have been a highlight of the trip.

Frequently while walking the ridge lines, the mountains and trees will open up and we can stare down the Gorge for miles. It is a beautiful way to see our progress in real time and be reminded of the splendor of where we live.

After Wyeth the world tended to thaw out a bit. This meant some serious river crossings as the footbridges were blown. Very little trail maintenance is done until the early spring. The Barracuda learned to be confident and swift of foot. We also have spent much time walking in soggy boots.

The "trail" we are following isn't one that is frequently trafficked. It won't be completely open and well maintained until 2016 because that is apparently the 100 year anniversary of the when the original highway opened. Some sections are great, some sections really require some serious map work to make progress happen. I must say, my son's visual abilities and internal compass far surpass mine.

Crossing the Cascades was exhausting. My heart goes to those Oregon Trail folks and Lewis and Clark's party. The talus slopes almost made it worth it. Scree slope after moss covered scree slope were home to many a pika colony and the vantage point of some amazing views.

We're in world class waterfall country. Everyday we have seen incredible feats of water launching itself to the ground. It helps that this is winter and snow melt is coming down the basalt cliffs in buckets. As far as The Barracuda is concerned, all water is for throwing rocks into.

And water, and water, and water. Everywhere, water. It literally pours off the rocks and moss along the trails. Even when it isn't raining, the earth is shedding excess water. You hear it constantly and then begin to tune it out due to its ubiquitous nature. Sometimes it has been frozen, but as we have crossed the Cascades it is now melted and trickling as we walk.

Oh, but the green! All that water leads to a lushness rarely seen. I used to think of winter as a dead time, but this hike has really changed my perspective. Everything is green, carpeted in green, and encased in green. There are over a dozen types of moss on this tree alone. The type pictured above sticks out a good 4 to 6 inches like furry leaves and thick shag carpeting.

It has been a good trip, but high time for me to get off this computer and go to bed. Tomorrow morning will be an early one.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fungus Anyone?

Does anyone know what the name (either scientific or common) of this mushroom is? We found it in early fall in the old growth wilderness on the western side of the Cascades. We haven't seen it anywhere else, or anything else resembling it. It is known as the mystical unidentified mushroom at this point since I can't seem to identify it anywhere.

The bright yellow ring is preceded by a deep brown colored ring which is much more visible in the top view of the mushroom (see the drawing).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

So Far....

We're in Hood River at a coffee shop warming up. They have a computer we can use for a short stint of time.

So far we have traveled through an extreme weather advisory were we got 8-10 inches of snow. I woke up every three hours (and sometimes only a hour or so) to knock the snow off the tent, and the Barracuda and I both shared my my sleeping bag to keep warm. The next day was hiking through freezing rain which came down all day. The Barracuda is still going strong and when it looked like no where to sleep last night, he convinced the hotel lady to let us pay cash so we could continue.

We're off to take on Starvation Creek and Mt. Defiance tomorrow. It's been great.

The Barracuda's favorite parts so far:
Being at the hotel
ice cycles the size of him
lots of animal tracks in the snow
Walking to Memaloose

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Dehydrate Hamburger

When backpacking, food needs to provide the most bang for its buck. You want a power house of calories. Anytime you can get some protein in there is pretty darn rockin' too. The best way I have found to tackle this is to dehydrate hamburger. It is light weight, flavorful, versatile, and cheap. The texture is slightly different since it tends to crumble more when dehydrated versus freshly cooked, but it still tastes like beef and adds the same consistency when mixed with other stuff. You could probably dehydrate bigger chunks to save on texture, but then your rehydrate time (and fuel usage) would be much higher.

It used to be that you could purchase dehydrated hamburger by itself. That was about a decade ago, if I remember right. It wasn't sold everywhere, but if you wanted to find it you could. That was before the freeze-dried, fancy MRE craze which seems to have hit every outfitter we know. Now the dehydrate hamburger exists, but it can only be found inside Tasty Enchilada Bake or Beef Stroganoff Supreme. If you want to purchase it by itself, it has to be drop shipped to you an is crazy expensive. So, I just go back old school and dehydrate our own.

Dehydrator Considerations
The main thing to be sure of is the dehydrator is designed for fruit and jerky. The temperature for jerky dehydrators goes up to 155 or 160 degrees. Apparently this is what takes it out of the danger zone for germs. If your dehydrator is only for fruit and veggies it will probably only go up to around 135-140. I honestly don't know how important this is (growing up we had an Excalibur and now ours is a jerky machine) but the last thing you want out on the trail is an upset stomach or food poisoning. If you are going to try it with your home machine, I'd eat a meal at home and see.

The second consideration is fat. Fat doesn't dehydrate well. It makes things really strange and often times goes rancid rather easily. We avoid this by using canned hamburger. When you can the hamburger it is thoroughly cooked and all the fat cools on the top. If you are using fresh hamburger, be sure you cook the snot out of the meat and strain off all the fat. Next, pour in enough water to cover the meat and stir vigorously to rinse. Dump all the water off and then pat dry in a paper towel.

When canned, the fat rests at the top away from most of the meat. It can easily be removed and you are left with almost fatless hamburger to dehydrate.

To remove the fat layer, merely use a fork and pry it up. As long as the can is at room temperature, the fat will stick together (for the most part) and come up in a couple pieces. Sometimes, if I have overfilled the can with meat, I will need to either discard a bit of meat, or try and separate the fat from it. This is a bit annoying, but not too terrible. Don't fixate too much on removing all the fat - it's never going to happen. Just get most of it.

If you are crazy like me, you can save the fat for making gravy or stew. Ours lives in a small dish in the refrigerator and freaks Jules out.

Once the fat is removed, line a dehydrator rack with a single sheet of wax paper (or enough to just cover the rack). When wet, the hamburger is big enough to stay above the holes. When it dries, however, it falls through and is a total pain to try and get out. Spread the meat out on the rack however it will fit. It can touch each other and be all stacked up, and whatever. Doesn't seem to matter.
The tray seems very full right now, but it will look almost empty when dehydrated. Hamburger is just fluffy. This is the entire pint. You can do smaller batches, but it seems to take as much time as a large one and yield the same result.

Dehydrate for about 10-12 hours at 155 degrees. Check the meat every hour after 8 hours. It is done when it is hard and crumbly. You squeeze it with much pressure and it literally turns to dust. Take out the smaller pieces when they are done. Larger bits may need to be turned or rotated a bit. They will feel hard on the outside, but still squish when squeezed. You don't want the meat to yield to pressure. It should either be rock solid or fall apart when you push on it.

Try to remove the meat as softly as possible. Once fully dry, the meat tends to crumble and fall apart very easily.

The longest we have kept the dehydrated hamburger in our household is 8 months. A package of hamburger gravy got lost in the back of the pantry. On the next backpacking trip it was promptly eaten. According to the crazy survivalist websites (which call them "Hamburger Rocks") they will last for a couple years.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bring on the Cold

Jules and I are sitting down in front of the fire eating crappy pizza while my father has The Barracuda. In a bit I'm going to take my last bath for about 20 days. Apparently, snow and freezing rain are on the horizon for our first night and first two days out.


We might just have another "New Mexico" on our hands to compare all other coming weather situations to. Jules and my father have already reminded me repeatedly that I can just hunker down in the tent if things get too terrible. They have also thrown in that I can just call them and they will come get us. "There is no reason to be crazy after all," has been thrown about a few times as well.

It's not like Jules got frost bite from hiking in feet of snow after sending his warmest mittens home and a freak storm came in....Ahem....

Or that as a child my father had us backpacking in ragged out aluminum out-board frame backpacks.... and all cotton clothing.... and G.I. Joes cheapo sleeping bags......Ahem......

Or that as a family we have slept in conditions which were just as cold and probably colder....Ahem....

Or that Jules talks fondly of watching entire cliffsides sheer off when he snow climbed Rainer due to freeze-thaw conditions that were so extreme even the guides were caught off guard.....Ahem....

Or that as children we woke up in alpine areas to snow all around and then continued out hiking with my father leading the way....Ahem....

Things apparently change where your are a grandparent and a father :)

The blog should auto update itself over the next two weeks. Most of the posts outline some degree of us getting ready for our venturing out. I'll respond to comments when we get back.

Gearing Up to Go

The Barracuda and I leave in 2 days for our 80 miler. We are hiking West to East in order to begin in the rain shadow and hopefully outwalk some of the coldest rain as we cross over The Cascades. That's the theory at least. Towards the end of the hike is the heart of the Columbia River Gorge and I'm hoping we can tack on a few extra miles doing hikes to the many waterfalls. At 100 miles in less than 2 weeks The Barracuda will be squarely into the territory of being able to do the John Muir Trail. If he can handle it, we will be able to easily do the Wonderland Trail later in the Spring and summit St. Helens in the Summer.

As it stands, we are only doing 8 mile days. Both Jules and I think The Barracuda is capable of something more along the lines of 10+, but we don't want to push him. The hiking needs to be his choice. We've never had a break down on the trail (other than painfully extreme weather in New Mexico) and hope to avoid it at all costs. Usually it is the adults who are ready to quit. Often, he bounds away after dropping and unloading his pack to discover some other natural delight.

The last few days have been very full. Gear is all over our house and dishes are dirty in the sink. Finally the basics are all taken care of.

Pack fitting is serious business around here. We are each carrying 25% of our body weight with only two of us. Luckily, Jules has been professionally trained to fit packs and used to be paid a whole lot of money for it.

The obligatory walk about and observation. Both The Barracuda and I have Osprey packs. His is a Jib and will expand with him for the next couple years. Mine is a Talon 44 and I LOVE it.

Adjustments are made and the process repeats itself. If done correctly, it should take over a half hour. For some reason I chose my exceptionally unflattering wool knickers to wear during the photography.

Food has also been portioned, packaged and weighed. Everything is measured, sealed in mylar packages, and then trimmed as small as possible. Mylar is preferable to plastic bags due to its ability to be reused significantly more times, being heat sealed rather than zipped, customizable size, waterproof even when submerged permanently, and its pest resistance. We have had rodents get into our root cellar and eat freeze packed soups but never infest our mylar. We think this is due to them not being able to smell it, but don't know for sure. Its also just plain cheaper.

An entire days worth of food for both of us weighs 1 pound. Yes, I do neurotically weigh everything and own this scale for that purpose.

Clothing has been laid out, approved by Jules and weighed. The Barracuda will be carrying his sleeping bag (2 pounds), his clothing (3.5 pounds), his warm coat (1 pound), and Kitty, his monocular, and Call of the Wild (5 ounces). Add in the weight of the pack (3 pounds) and he totals 10 pounds 12 ounces with an 11 pound limit.

Before The Barracuda's pack is approved to go, he has to dance in it, jump in it, and run around a few times. At that point, if there aren't any problems we call it good.

I get the rest. Water filter (1 pound, 1 ounce), Tent with poles and stakes (1 pound, 9 ounces), First Aid kit (8 ounces), Stove with cookware and soap (2 pounds), Toilet paper and water bladders (7 ounces), Camp shoes for both of us (1 pound, 8 ounces), Rain fly and ground cover (2 pounds), clothing (3 pounds, 3 ounces), 2 fuel canisters (1 pound, 4 ounces), Odwalla bars for lunch (2 pounds, 2 ounces), Dinner and breakfast food (6 pounds, 8 ounces), Cheddar cheese (1 pound), camera with memory card and extra batteries (8 ounces), sleeping bag (2 pounds, 12 ounces), Insulite pads (1 pound, 4 ounces), ground cover (7 ounces), Nalgene (6 ounces), and headlamps and cell phone (8 ounces). Add in my pack weight (1 pound, 12 ounces) and I total 30 pounds 12 ounces with a 32.5 pound limit.

The scale maxes out at 25 pounds or I'd show you a picture. When Jules joins us we are both down to carrying somewhere in the early 20's pound range and The Barracuda around 8-10ish.

Other than a couple of sketchy backcountry connections, the whole thing looks pretty darn great at this point. The Barracuda is as excited as I am. Hopefully this opens up a giant new territory for him to enjoy and us to explore as a family.

The hardest part has been repeatedly telling Guadie she doesn't get to come. She was very excited about pack fittings and wanted hers fitted, too (yes, she has one as well). But, she would have to be on a leash in a couple areas and is just another kid to have to think about. Jules is going to bring her out on the weekend when he joins us for resupply.

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