Lessons learned

Thursday, 20th June 2013; 1:13 pm

The primary reason for my bike/hike trip to the Manistee River and Old Mission Peninsula was to learn from the experience, to make my trip to the Western UP go better. It worked. Here are the mistakes I’ve learned from:

  • My backpack was uncomfortable. This was a combination of the belt not being very effective at transferring weight off my shoulders, and the pack being too heavy. I was so pleased with myself for figuring out how to attach extra stuff to the pack – tent and sleeping bag hanging off the bottom, shoes hanging from the sides, pillow strapped to the top – that I didn’t think that exceeding its intended capacity by 100% would make it uncomfortable to wear. So I’m doing two (maybe three) things about it: 1) I’m going to leave the stove, gas, and pan behind. Hot water is a luxury I can live without for a couple days; it just means that my oatmeal and freeze-dried dinners will be air temperature instead of hot, which I think I can handle in July. 2) I’m going to try to rig up some way to redistribute the weight of the pack. 3) Instead of camping at a different spot each night on Isle Royale, I might find a centralized spot and spend the middle day hiking without the pack, only wearing it for the shorter hikes “in” and “out”.
  • My scooter was a bit underpowered for climbing hills. Most of the time my scoot can maintain 40mph, which is good enough. But on some of the hills on this last ride, it bogged down, and the hills I’ll be seeing in the Porkies and Keweenaw (and perhaps a few other areas) will be the biggest I’ve encountered. To address that, I think I’m going to get the performance upgrade I talked about in my last post.
  • My underwear chafed my thighs. I’d forgotten about the importance of underwear that fits just right when hiking, and the sightly baggy cotton boxer briefs I wore… did not. I don’t think I’ll go all out and buy $50 backpacking underwear just for this trip, but I’ll be more choosey in selecting something from my current stock.
  • I didn’t bring my hiking staff. After I injured my knee, I bought a telescoping staff for serious hiking expeditions. I should have brought it to the Manistee River. I will bring it to Isle Royale.
  • My hayfever nose-spray bottle leaked. Instead of packing it with the rest of my toiletries (daily vitamins, basic meds, etc) I’ll put it in one of the pockets of my camera bag, to keep it upright.
  • I got careless with my pre-launch prep. I didn’t check to make sure that my bug repellent had enough to last me, that I’d refilled my oil tank, and other OCD tasks. I’ll do better next time.

2 Responses to “Lessons learned”

  1. Taj says:

    But your backpack is festive…form wins, function you can work with.
    There’s special runner stuff for the chaffe, goes on like speed stick deodorant, running or sporty stores should carry.

  2. Todd says:

    Don’t worry: I’m sticking with the backpack I have… in this case it’s because cheapness wins. 🙂