A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Jul 4, 2017

Bolt Camp Shelter

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but there’s no reason to bore either of us with an explanation. Acknowledgement is sufficient.

I think what I will be doing for the summer, though, is posting brief recaps of trips, whether it’s camping or whatever, because experiences are important, fun to share, and fun to read about. A lot like politics. Er, wait….

This particular trip ended up being a bit different than we had originally planned. Jen and I had made a general plan to hike the Lewis River Traverse over July 2nd and 3rd. As the time for the trip approached, though, we realized that we hadn’t lined up care for the dogs, Sebastian, our Pit/Lab mix, and Belle, the Chihuahua. This isn’t a big deal and we last-minute the dog situation all the time, but this time it didn’t work out. So we needed to make an adjustment.

After talking through what we were each trying to get out of the trip, we identified the following goals. Jen: go running, spend time together, spend time with the dogs, read. Dave: sleep outside, disconnect from electronics, read.

Based on these goals, we decided to make life a little simpler to accomodate the dogs and to aim for the Bolt Camp Shelter, about 2.5 miles into the hike, and to set up a basecamp there that we could operate from. We’d spend a night or two and then hike out. Not great training for my PCT hike in 2019, but sometimes fun is fun and we don’t need to devote every waking moment to preparing for another.

As we hiked in, we were relieved to see that there were a few good open campspots available on the way in to Bolt Camp Shelter (BCS) from Curly Creek trailhead. The information I had read said that this place was pretty remote and unused, which I thought was important given the holiday weekend. There were quite a few other hikers around, but few enough that you knew when you were alone and when someone else was approaching. My thought was that if someone was already at the BCS we could have some other options. Luckily, we were the first-come and therefore the first-served at BCS.

I had brought my new “Colorado Flag” hammock by Kammok, and after inspecting the shelter carefully we decided that it was structurally sound enough to be our swinging spot. I’m a huge fan of the hammock and will definitely be bringing it along for my more “camping” (i.e., less “hiking” and being on the move) trips. With a puffy for a pillow, this is an ideal reading setup.

Happily, the fire threat is low and I felt comfortable getting a small fire going.

Campfire is my TV

Jen went running the first afternoon and I did camp chores and read. That night I slept well, although Belle was crawling all over Jen making it hard for her to sleep. Sebastian slept tied up to a tree outside the tent on my tarp, and didn’t make a sound all night.

I woke up early and while Jen slept in I started a new fire, filtered water, etc. I made breakfast and Jen woke up to join me. I have been reading this book called Behave by Robert Sapolsky which is great and fascinating, but is not a casual read. Lots of information comes at you 100 mph and as a result it’s not a book you can read for hours on end. Jen had just finished a book in two trips called The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel, so I thought I would give that a try. It is an incredible book about a hermit in the woods of Maine who lived without human contact for 27 years. I read the entire thing that day.

Rocks integrated to root system

While I was tearing through the book Jen got in another run. While she was out Belle and I took a hike a couple of miles north. On the way, I saw the underside of a tree root structure that was cool… the area is really gravelly and the tree had grown around the gravel, integrating it into its root structure. The tree this root system supports was probably about 50-60 feet tall, impossible to show in pictures.

On the way back Belle made me carry her, for a half mile or so, but when I put her back down so that I could have footing on the mud she was revved up and wanted to lead the whole way back. I spent the day doing camp chores like filtering water and tending the fire and reading. Ideal.

When Jen got back we decided that spending a second night would put too much strain on our Tuesday July 4th because we have a number of errands to run and etc. We packed up camp late in the day (around supper time) and hiked out with the dogs.