This was a week of unexpected twists and turns. I had to return both my sleeping bag and my backpack. But I skip ahead. Let's rewind and the necessity for the returns will become more clear.
I've been continuing my research on what to have in my pack and mostly what I will need to ensure that Eros will enjoy his time on the trail. Aside from needing to speak to a vet about what I will need to have in Eros' first aid kit, I think that I have completed my list of his gear and food. My roommate very intelligently advised I write down said list to ensure nothing is forgotten at the last minute. I usually trust my memory but in this case I believe her advise was very good. I have already started following it.
Eros goes to the vet on the 16th so I should be able to share his complete gear and consumables list after that.
Since I believed that I had my pack and sleep system squared away my research had turned to food and how to prepare it. Having to eat dehydrated hiking food sort of bugged me. Actually bugged me a lot. I've been driving everyone I know batty from talking of what I'll eat. And breakfast has especially been a worry for me. I need breakfast but I don't like oatmeal which is such a simple backpacking breakfast. So I've been researching. Although I don't feel I have finished said research I have come across a few very interesting things and recipes I could enjoy on the trail. I also came across some very interesting DIY stove and windscreen things, which intrigued me enough to have me try one.
I made a cat can stove. Actually I made two, and an aluminum foil wind screen.
It was so simple to make and my cat just loved that this experiment was taking place. She very rarely gets canned food so it's a special treat for her to have it, especially since I ended up making two different sizes. She was a cat in heaven. And my roommate and I were having a grand giddy time with this little cat can stove.
It works with denatured alcohol and calls for matches rather than a lighter. But then if you have extra long matches you can just reuse it by lighting it with a lighter. The wind screen is just aluminum foil I have at home that I folded. Et voila, a super cheap super light cooking system. It ways less than 1 oz only 17 grams.
So once it was made using a plain old paper hole punch we absolutely had to try it. Problem was I had to order the cook pot I wanted to try it with, or rather the grease strainer. So I didn't have anything other than normal household pots and pans. First we tried just boiling water and for that used a bunt cake tin. Worked like a charm, except it wasn't overly stable. The bottom of the tin isn't exactly flat. We poured a goodly amount of alcohol in the little can, set it ablaze and boiled out water with great glee and excitement. Very reminiscent of quest for fire.
Even the puppies had gathered around to see what all the agitation was about.
Once the water was boiled, the flame kept on so we decided to further the experiment and cook an egg. Me roommate rushed about to get what we needed while I ensured no dog hairs got singed. Since we'd over estimated the amount of alcohol needed to boil water the flame was holding steady.
And low and behold we cooked an egg using alcohol and a can of cat food. We shared our glorious egg in victorious joy as we laughed like goons.
Penelope made sure the plate was properly precleaned before going into the dish washer. And all in the house were very happy and proud of our accomplishments for the day.
As for my backpack and sleeping bag returns, this decision came about following an 8 mile hike day followed by a night spent in my tent in my bosses' lower yard.
This went well enough on our hike. Eros did great carrying the bulk of the food he'll be needing to carry on the trail. My pack was filled with as many water bottles I could find around the house and all of the gear I had so far. This brought my pack up to 23 pounds. the weight of the pack itself was not a problem but I could not seem to make it fit properly. I kept having to rearrange it, change the strap length. And the front buckle on the waist was extremely painful. Also the bottles fell out of the side pockets more than once. So all in all I was not finding the pack to work for me. I have now ordered a completely different pack which I will hopefully receive in 3 weeks.
That evening Eros and I got in the car and drove to my bosses' house for a new experiment in sleeping in the tent. This time it would be just him and me and in an unfamiliarish environment. He's been at my bosses' before and could no doubt smell their puppies whom he knows well.
We got there after dark as arranged and I put up the tent light by a flashlight (I don't have a head lamp yet). Everything went wonderfully well. I love my little tent! Eros and I settled in for the night once I got over the dizzy feeling I always get from inflating my sleeping pad. He popped his head up a few times before finally settling down and going to sleep. I too settled to sleep and did find slumber for a little while but very quickly woke up again as temperatures dropped. I was getting colder and colder as the night wore on. I started out in long johns and socks and ended with a double layer of clothing and still could not warm up in my sleeping bag. I curled up to warm up, nothing I snuggled up to Eros who was quietly snoozing away, nothing. I had a simply miserably cold night of little to no rest.
I still hung on till morning, always hoping I would warm up somehow, but didn't. By 7 am the tent was packed up and we were in the car headed home where I was greeted by my two girls pouting because I'd not brought them along on our adventure.
Thus came my decision to return the 30 degree sleeping bag I had bought. the temperatures that night had not gotten as low as 30 degrees. I should have been fine. But there it is. I've done some research on sleeping bags and I think I've chosen something that will suit me better. It is actually what is referred to as a quilt. This too will take a couple of weeks to reach me once I order it.
I'm just glad that I tested these things before heading out on the trail. It would have been a miserable time if I hadn't.
So the research and experiments continue and on Monday Eros goes to the vet, a new vet.