Dry Camps?

4:28 p.m. on March 15, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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Dawdling around this weekend with gear reviews and organizing things like trip photos due to being sick keeping me off the trail for a week...

I got to looking back on previous trips and found that, unsurprisingly, about 2/3 of my camps are dry.  I define that as at least 30 minutes walk past the last water source. Doesn't include backpacking through Scotland the other year...I may have been within 10 minutes of water until I flew back to the US!

I dry camp for multiple reasons...better views, less humidity/moisture than riparian sites, better for LNT to be well away from water, and last but probably first is way less chance of running into someone else.

A little extra effort at the end of the day, with a lot of extra weight, is well worth the reward to me.

Interested if others on TS are about the same, more, or less?

6:54 p.m. on March 15, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
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All most all of our trips have been dry. We routinely hump in 12L for me and 8L for her pack. As you say Nobody out there and in our case thousands of ancient Native American artifacts and lots of dinosaur stuff too. No trails plus no water source multiplied by crazy rugged terrain equals solitude in a true wonderland kingdom of delights. It has been addicting for us. 

We have done this for near 50 nights a year for decades. Recently we had to slow it down. We have 1500 pages of photo/journals documenting this type of travel and the treasures it brings. 

so yes, I’m right there with you. 24 lbs of water plus container weight stop most cold. 

7:47 p.m. on March 15, 2020 (EDT)
whomeworry
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When my trips are dry, I am usually hiking in Joshua Tree NP.  Been doing this one or two times annually, since the late 1970s.  The last water is at the park entrance.  Gostdog's water allocation is what we use, too.  It  gets us a 2 person camp, 2 days, 2 nights, at least in the manner that we do it.

Ed

7:57 p.m. on March 15, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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You desert guys are a different breed out of necessity (and maybe a touch of sun stroke?). My dry camps are mostly in the wet southeastern mountains...usually carry about 3 liters for dinner and breakfast and get me to the next source. LOL. 

8:01 p.m. on March 15, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
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Spot on Ed. Resupply is a fact of life if you wish to continue on in the desert. Joshua Tree is wonderful. We have really enjoyed that crazy place. 

hey Phil, at least you are out there getting a taste. Sunstroke elation is a way of life out here. LOL

8:07 p.m. on March 15, 2020 (EDT)
balzaccom
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We've dry camped in Death Valley a few times, but most of our hiking is in the Sierra Nevada in California.  If you're willing to do a little off trail hiking, you can have both serenity and water.  Best of both worlds!

11:05 a.m. on March 16, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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I like the desert but usually day hike most of the time and camp out of the truck.   Backpacking away from water is how you find some real solitude and amazing artifacts.  In the Sierra I have started camping away from water on purpose, especially in popular hiking areas.  Then there is no one around. 

6:36 p.m. on March 16, 2020 (EDT)
LoneStranger
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In California most of my camping water came from jugs with an Arrowhead label. Totally different world from East Coast camping.

To your question Phil I will say, mostly no. There are some places where it makes sense, so I will lug a ton of water up there. In general I prefer to camp near water because hydration is a full time job for me. After fighting the losing battle all day I like to soak up as much water as I can in camp. Really hate feeling the tank is half empty before I even get started in the morning.

9:36 p.m. on March 16, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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I'm much less likely to dry camp in the summer months to avoid dehydration, but still often find myself downing tons of water at a late afternoon stop then hauling myself full of water plus extra up a hill. Go figure.

Sometimes its difficult to find a flat camp in a lot of mountain areas that is far enough from streams to be LNT (200 ft) without climbing a good bit anyway. At that point I might as well keep going and get a penthouse suite on the top floor! Plus I'm not a fan of adding even minimal impact to the ravaged bare sites by a stream in some popular areas that need to be left alone for a few decades to recover. 

6:29 a.m. on March 17, 2020 (EDT)
LoneStranger
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That not being able to find a flat spot big enough for a tiny tent is what prompted me to look into hammocks. My Hubba was a coffin, but still sometimes I'd see it getting darker and darker but not find a spot big enough between the trees and rocks.

There is a shelter on the Cohos that is dry with the last reliable water at the base of the mountain, four miles away. That was a tough climb with two bags of water, but top of that mountain is a great place to wake up!

8:20 a.m. on March 17, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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I've now played with multiple hammocks for several years and due to certain back problems cannot lie flat enough to not wake up in pain. I have to be totally flat and can't seem to achieve that.  Maybe one day.

9:07 a.m. on March 17, 2020 (EDT)
hikermor
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Centered mostly in Arizona, I have been dry camping for years.  No big deal - just carry sufficient water.....

7:30 a.m. on April 3, 2020 (EDT)
Chimney Rock
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FlipNC said:

My dry camps are mostly in the wet southeastern mountains...usually carry about 3 liters for dinner and breakfast and get me to the next source. LOL. 

 

This too is my typical experience in the SE.  I like the high ridgelines ... there are better views, fewer people, more solitude ... but less water sources.

10:46 a.m. on April 3, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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I have backpacked in the mountains behind my house.  They are in the rain shadow of the Sierra and pretty dry.  In the spring there are some old snowfields around for water.  I never see anyone in there after dark, and most people are on the roads.  Less than  six from the house we have perfect solitude. 

7:29 a.m. on April 4, 2020 (EDT)
whomeworry
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I love the high country.

Yea, snow patches are a good resource.  The first time I used snow patches as you describe, was trekking in the White Mountains (in California).  That was the only way I would trek there, as it is all high altitude, often crude trails.  Lots of elbow room, though. I can't see myself schlepping 3 gal water ten miles for that venue, so timing was key.  I now tank up on snow patches during many of my Sierra ventures.

Ed

11:13 a.m. on April 5, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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In the Rockies up high there is snow all summer.   A great resource for refrigeration and cooling things off. 

Humans seem to be attracted to water like a moth to a flame.  Get away from the water and you can have the country to yourself. 

6:23 p.m. on April 5, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
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Almost nobody will haul 3 gallons of water into the dry interior and that is why some of the cut off things still shockingly exist. Things open up out there that you cannot see until you are right on them. And that is why we became addicted to that type of exploration. It is like one of Tuco’s monologues in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

“Where are we going? Where? Where I'm going, amigo. Over that way. A hundred miles of beautiful sunbaked sand.
Even the armies are afraid to march through there. Sibley's men are retreating up there. Canby's men are coming here...
...but no one will set foot in this hell...
...except you and me.”

2:23 a.m. on April 6, 2020 (EDT)
pillowthread
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@ghostdog: I had the good fortune to first encounter Abbey's "Desert Solitaire" around the same time I, also, spent a year as a Backcountry Ranger with the BLM in adjacent country.

It is true, in my experience, that if one makes friends with the desert, with a lack of water and company, the entire world becomes hospitable.

6:28 p.m. on April 6, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
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pillowthread said:

@ghostdog: I had the good fortune to first encounter Abbey's "Desert Solitaire" around the same time I, also, spent a year as a Backcountry Ranger with the BLM in adjacent country.

It is true, in my experience, that if one makes friends with the desert, with a lack of water and company, the entire world becomes hospitable.

 

That is too cool. What an interesting piece of life endeavors and place in time you have shared. I really like that.

I acquired my desert addiction as a 10 year old during the mid ‘60s surrounded by the Sonoran desert and the love of slickrock canyon country in later decades. Right now the desert is in full bloom and is immaculate. 

May 25, 2020
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