What are your backcountry indulgences?

1:32 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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This may be a recurring theme here, but since a lot of us are sheltering in place and not getting out as much as we'd like, I thought I'd go ahead and post it.

So we all have our luxuries when we're in the backcountry....

It might be a chair, a nip of something, a little something extra. My own luxury items vary from trip to trip, but my greatest indulgence by far is this stainless steel cook kit. I call this my "bushcraft cook kit," but that's just an excuse to justify the weight (and redundancies!)--the truth is, I often also tote my axe and saw when I carry this kit to take advantage of dead and down timber in locales where that is allowed (plenty around me here in NC).

I'm not even going to list the weight; that's beside the point. I wanted the heft and aesthetic of steel, perhaps to balance my lightweight Ti fetish on other trips. This is intended for backpacking treks where I'll be cooking over open fires (although it includes both an alcohol stove and a twig stove for a quick boil). My goal was to assemble a kit that would allow me to cook basically anything I wanted to in the wilderness. Obviously not every place I go allows fires or has established fire rings, so my opportunities to use this indulgence are limited. Still, it's created a lot of memorable meals in memorable places. Somehow, admittedly in lumpy but endearing fashion, it all fits in the canvas bag. Feel free to let me know what I'm missing or to ask questions about any of this.

IMG_0652.jpgIMG_1159.jpgIMG_1932.jpgIMG_1750.jpgOkay, now that I've confessed, what are your own favorite backcountry indulgences, and why do you bring them? Please share pictures if you have them. 

1:45 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
Old Guide
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I want to hike with you. I have my own knife and fork.

2:16 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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There’s always room around a campfire!

2:46 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
BigRed
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I-m-a-little-teapot-.jpg

3:04 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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The exact system components evolve over the years, but I seldom roam without my "recliner"...enjoying a pre-dinner snack here after a 17 mile day the other weekend:
20200321_164506.jpgWeighs in just over 2lbs, but we are talking about a comfortable chair and 3-4" pad depending on brand.  Relaxing in the tent, relieving my chronic lower back pain, and sleeping like a log, move my "indulgences" to almost "necessities"...

And save me a seat around your fire if that's what's on the menu!

5:17 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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Now that is ingenious!

5:18 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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FlipNC said:

The exact system components evolve over the years, but I seldom roam without my "recliner"...enjoying a pre-dinner snack here after a 17 mile day the other weekend:
20200321_164506.jpgWeighs in just over 2lbs, but we are talking about a comfortable chair and 3-4" pad depending on brand.  Relaxing in the tent, relieving my chronic lower back pain, and sleeping like a log, move my "indulgences" to almost "necessities"...

And save me a seat around your fire if that's what's on the menu!

 A place to sit eases many burdens.

7:23 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
Patman
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I've camped with Phil several times and seeing him in that chair and tent always springs fond memories of making spaceships out of our dining room chairs when I was single digits. Phil travels the multiverse in that gear. 

4:44 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
whomeworry
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My equipment indulgences:

  • Simmer capable, remote canister stove (vs over-canister stove).  I, too, like to cook!
  • Camp Light.  I use day light for hiking and exploring, so end up cooking dinner in the dark.  A lit kitchen area greatly improves this task, and allows you to see your companions faces.
  • A Bigass tent!  I hate being in tents, for their cramped sense of space.  UL Dyneema tarps allow this indulge, but they ain't cheap.

Water-jug.jpg

  • Above: A 2 or 3 (shown) gallon bulk water container.  Convenient, and lessens wear and tear on water side terrain, caused by water fetching traffic.  Attach a cord and hang from a tree for ease of use.
  • Below: A grill grate for wood fire meat roasting in the BC.  I have two sizes: a small one (shown) made of SS; the larger one is mild steel.  The smaller one was designed and marketed for back country use.  The larger one was directed at the car camping crowd.  You will typically see people use the larger grate in campground fire rings to do grilling.  It is about  the size of two small grates lined up along their long side.  (Peruvian style roasted chicken.)

DSCN0206.jpg

Roaster-Pan.jpg

  • Above: A roaster pan with smoke catching cover, for slow smoking/roasting beef roasts, duck, whole chicken, etc.  The roaster is made from aluminum foil.  The pan is two sheets of foil, joined with a lap fell seam.  I've roasted turkey, duck, and rib roasts in this set up.  Works real well.


DSCN0198.jpg

  • Above: cooler made of blue foam pad jacket and a bear canister.  Foam jacket consists of two layers of blue foam pad, glued together to form 1" of insulation.  It will keep pre-frozen contents refrigerator cold for three days if you take measures to minimize opening, and exposure to wind or sun.  

DSCN0861.jpg

  • Above: Sun/rain parasol,  here tilted to allow sun to illuminate my face for the pic.    This is my most used, albeit nonessential, piece of gear.  (Paiute Creek, at JMT.)
  • Also above: note behind my left shoulder, the fishing pole lashed to my pack frame.  Definitely an indulgence.
  • Cuisine luxuries: a spice kit stocked to cook whatever is going on the trip, and select fresh foods, depending on the venue.  I'll bring oranges on a long trip and save them for the last two days, as a surprise treat for all.  Companions are gobsmacked, and they taste great!  I've hiked in pizza - yummy!  Back in the day we once hiked in a keg, but that was far more about being stupid than any indulge taken.

 Ed

5:16 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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Ed...the master of indulgence!

Patrick has his own spaceship but instead of a chair he has the monster comfy sleeping pad...
2018_1007_07542000.jpg

8:45 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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I saw what I've quoted below and my mouth started too water...Ed, it sounds as though we all need to bring our utensils and camp with you! I am playing with a collapsible camp reflector oven made from cut and folded sheets of disposable aluminum drip pans...theoretically it would allow for baking and a turn-it-yourself rotisserie. I think I'll try it out during this shelter-in-place period. I'll write it up if it works. If it doesn't, well, back to the shop to tweak it...

DSCN0206.jpg

Roaster-Pan.jpg

  • Above: A roaster pan with smoke catching cover, for slow smoking/roasting beef roasts, duck, whole chicken, etc.  The roaster is made from aluminum foil.  The pan is two sheets of foil, joined with a lap fell seam.  I've roasted turkey, duck, and rib roasts in this set up.  Works real well.
9:43 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
balzaccom
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Gosh---I'm not sure we can really play in this league...but"

We usually take a three man tent for the two of us.  And yes, that is an indulgence.  Right now it's a Tarptent rainbow.  It has the additional advantage of blending into the granite landscape of the Sierra... 

sarLNKpVqKai5IiTuEXIe__CIRmU6HyT7vJv0dw4eR9oHtS_4V6qwrCDmhucKeN3m6tOgZiyRhpn9iwpKkNpSinjDHVv850dalQfWI7X_T2g5xzIA_0H05LI3N92uKutfI6JM4-75RjugtVet7BwnX5oGIXRZyCnyeRKKpnOqSzwbCa1PSyhJGBnwRsFP6ADJncip0IdpNU2fYtiJkZ2mwconphjsjEaVqfmtIyKg-hXIddE9sGuIsOXQrCuMMAXMWlBw_ze3zx-MD-f99tTFUrl895MEtvbINCTB6hciaW0bjXHCB2IyS0QHGQ9GYBv7dcW_E95gryq1enxVcZcaPRl0qZsyzKJV7xuPI6Di2GVIwHQh3ivYeEaa32rphj9Ut5Ntsw2XHBpo4XlVCM9zDJprNp0RuPNTcFvWhzv81GKVlHcsu5G9hoCqQrw3n4U_SUQuGFpO94RPMH8zraYI3GttVybRRt9NDjSaY6pvq2E08k5Kle5cvTrIwQ_pyipLZUSv2OTafaHNQLl9x6YFRPgUn8umJnlU-MAydCgwlSmARL8OJo48ybcMGMrgHdUz8vLcP9L0P8OGHD6a_ubsIzRCL19g4dhFmFdFNXNMM71VELLzqc_c46JtddCZaX1Ty65yteC-M8Ynr8PA-Z6zGEjHvjGybrVpXOIlvDRxKqZXnn6GJ4gmEloSGoBPfYFOmGimjH-H4LimPBottg6B1kiuxmDzl3DYY5OCP3hIbd416zEQpQO8Xo=w1029-h772-no

And we do take our neo-air mattresses.  We no longer consider those indulgences--they are necessities, in that they are the difference between a good night's sleep and something else.  Here's how I made that decision:

"After listening to my wife complain about her sleep for many trips, I bought a Neo-Air mattress for her and she loved it.  In fact, she raved about this so much that I decided to try it out one afternoon for a nap.  I was amazed.  Heaven.  We now both hike with a Neo-Air full length pad.  Weight is under a pound, and they roll up into a package smaller than one of our 32 oz. water bottles.  And sleep is a whole new ball game:  I can sleep on my side without my arm getting crushed!"

 

11:19 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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Great friends

Multiple dogs

Real food

Lollygagging and looking at trees all the time

A chair

Naps

1:19 p.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
MossBack
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i try to go pretty light and generally go solo, but i do take a few technically unnecessary items - a couple of cans of beer (only carrying the weight on the way in), a small array of fresh vegetables to add to dry soup mix or just to eat raw (radishes, g. onions, small carrot) and a simple lightweight "crazy creek" chair (not a real chair, per se, but its nice to lean back in and doubles as a little floor mat in front of the tent door).

i really, truly cannot wait to get out there. 

5:57 p.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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MossBack said:

i really, truly cannot wait to get out there. 

 Amen!

3:11 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
pillowthread
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Yes. My kind of thread. I like a pillow, and use a Klymit Cush. I also make use of a TAR chair setup, and can be found indulging in fresh-ground coffee through an Aeropress many days from civilization.

Otherwise, I do often bring a smartphone into the backcountry. If not a GPS. Are these sorts of things indulgences? IDK...

3:53 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
BigRed
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I've said it before: You can have my Helinox Ground Chair when you pry it from under my cold, dead butt.
P1010566.jpg

7:09 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
whomeworry
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I purchased a SlingLite chair, back when they first came out.  It is nearly identical to, but preceded the the Crazy Creek Sling Chair.  Very comfortable, but I found I am too fidgety in camp, always busy, and getting in and out of those chairs became too much work for me.  I found adding a sit pad to my bear canister was a better solution for me, and weighs about the same.

Ed

8:13 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
LoneStranger
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PercyGirls_1-14-1.jpg
They add 10 or 20 pounds to my pack and half or quarter my daily miles, but my favorite luxury on trail is these two. The low miles and good food are nice of course, but nothing beats sharing the woods with folks you love.

9:48 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
Old Guide
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I guess my only extra indulgence besides lots of food and water is my Harmonica and/or a very vintage fixed blade knife.

10:25 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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LS...great post.  I miss my two kids and the times we spent together in the backcountry.  I still relish the couple of trips a year my wife takes with me, but they are limited with her back and foot problems.

Balzac...I agree the air mattress is now a necessity.  The new 3-4 inch thick ones I still consider a luxury but am carrying anyway.

Ed...we are opposite on the camp approach, once I get done with a long day hiking, you'll find me in my tent with everything within arms reach until I fall asleep.  Except in bear country, where I'll be in the "kitchen" one time then back to the sleeping area for the remainder of the night with minimal movement.  Sitting in camp is one of my great joys in life.

1:27 p.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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pillowthread said:

I also ... can be found indulging in fresh-ground coffee through an Aeropress many days from civilization.

 This might fall into the category of essential for me! Aeropress one trip, Ultralite Java Drip on another, even a Bialetti for really indulgent trips! But good coffee, regardless of mehtod--it took me far too long to realize that I should not skimp on my favorite beverage when in my favorite surroundings!

1:30 p.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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Old Guide said:

I guess my only extra indulgence besides lots of food and water is my Harmonica and/or a very vintage fixed blade knife.

I'd be curious about both of these faithful trail companions, if you'd be willing to share a picture. I know I should probably count a fixed blade knife as a luxury, but carrying one is essential for my happiness--whittling, making feathersticks, splitting tinder, and more.

1:31 p.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
Bentbrook
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LoneStranger said:


PercyGirls_1-14-1.jpg
They add 10 or 20 pounds to my pack and half or quarter my daily miles, but my favorite luxury on trail is these two. The low miles and good food are nice of course, but nothing beats sharing the woods with folks you love.

 That's good living.

2:34 p.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
Old Guide
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I can't  post pics but I like to play my Harmonica when I'm out in the woods alone, tho I'll play for others rarely. I'm terrible but been doing it for 40yrs. I quess I just enjoy it.

I have lots of knives but I love old vintage fixed blades and one on my belt or in my pack allows me to show others what good knives we once made and I know with one I can handle most any situation...be it as you ask, passing the time making  fuzz sticks or whittling, cutting my meat and cheese or anything else. I believe they're a required tool tho many folks do not. Its how I was taught and what I learned on my own. Its also what I taught to those I mentored.

9:56 a.m. on March 29, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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In the Ruby Mountains of Nevada at 9,800 feet, steak and lobster, ice in the bourbon, and ice cream with chocolate sauce.   Crazy people with dry ice.  Never seen anything like it. 

3:17 p.m. on March 29, 2020 (EDT)
balzaccom
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Lone stranger, you win the prize for the best post so far...

And it gets better.  My daughter now out hikes me, and consequently takes some of the load off me!

1:25 p.m. on April 1, 2020 (EDT)
FromSagetoSnow
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A ukulele

Other people

9:54 p.m. on April 1, 2020 (EDT)
Gary Dolan
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I like a ski pole but my brother still likes his Collen Fletcher 6 foot bamboo hicking staff.

10:09 p.m. on April 1, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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So I've got a plan...Ed and Benbrook cooking, Big Red has the kettle on, Jeff and old Guide playing music. Unfortunately not mich left to do so that leaves the rest of us to sit in our chairs or nap until dinner. 

11:33 p.m. on April 1, 2020 (EDT)
Gemma Seymour
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A second cookpot is my main indulgence. I like to have a pot just for boiling water, and a pot for cooking. Currently, I'm using two GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.1L Boilers (hard-anodised, non-coated).

My fuel canister goes inside one pot, and my dishes got inside the other. I have two plastic Japanese lidded soup bowls, one large and one small. The small one is for drinks, the big one for eating. The lids keep bugs and debris out and can also serve as additional dishes.

Someone gave me an UCO Mini Flatpack Grill for Christmas, but I have yet to pack it. I'm more of a "hike into a campsite and stay" kind of girl than a "miles to go before I sleep" type, so a little extra weight isn't that big of a deal, but I don't want to get crazy loading myself down, either.

Speaking of hiking in and staying, I also have a well-seaasoned antique 8" cold handle steel skillet that I sometimes use. Nothing is better for frying.

1:03 a.m. on April 2, 2020 (EDT)
Bob Handelsman
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extra one liter water bottle (empty when I'm on the trail)

spoon and fork

small notebook and small pens

sunglasses

camera

lexan and metal cup (each 2 cup size, they partially nest)

fishing tackle (sometimes) (includes fly rod and reel, small fly box, leaders and tippet,

forceps, ankle supports and wade staff)

daypack (for day hikes)

Bass Pro camp stool

6x8 tarp with paracord

water shoes fastened to outside of pack with carabiner

tent

sleeping pad

10:06 a.m. on April 2, 2020 (EDT)
bwbarb
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Necessity or indulgence? A half liter off brand platypus filled with whiskey, scotch, or bourbon.

5:25 p.m. on April 2, 2020 (EDT)
g00se
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Last year i was at the trailhead of a week long hike. It was a cold morning, and I was still wearing my comfy fleece hoody. Despite the ridiculous weight, I kept it on and carried it with me all week. The thing weighs 2lb, but I was comfy every night.

7:14 a.m. on April 3, 2020 (EDT)
Chimney Rock
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The most recent "indulgence" purchase I've made is the Z-Seat cushion made by ThermaRest.  It's super-lightweight, but pound-for-pound offers a great deal of comfort when sitting around the campfire sipping a beverage. I noticed my lovely spouse kept stealing my seat on the last trip, having also adapted to this piece of gear as quickly as I did .... so last week I bought her one as a surprise for our next trip.

The AeroPress coffee press ... I'm one of those early risers ... usually awake before daylight. And there's nothing finer than starting the day with a good cup of quality coffee ... especially when soloing.

10:07 a.m. on April 4, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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A good list.  I cannot help but think that a knife, a sleeping pad, or a hiking staff are not indulgences, unless you live in a monastery.  Sometimes the thing to do is loosen up and try something new.  

I have fond memories of bringing a cooler with ice and beer on a backpacking trip in a little red wagon.  The trail was not that hard.  We attached ropes to the bow and stern of the wagon to hoist it over big rocks.  The weather was warm. we brought dogs and beautiful women.  We swam a lot.  Clothes were not necessary.  That was an indulgence. 

4:03 p.m. on April 4, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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On other trips it was good weed and mushrooms. 

3:32 p.m. on April 8, 2020 (EDT)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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My Canon DSLR camera is my outdoor indulgence. 

6:11 p.m. on April 8, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
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I swore by an SLR and then a DSLR for near 50 years and used them to wonderful results. But now it is just too heavy so I’d say one of my indulgences is a good iPhone and it’s camera systems. The desert is in a glorious bloom right now and I got this shot earlier this week, a thistle down near a brimming creek.


0651DADC-BEB6-49AA-8FCB-DF33D699395C.jpg


The phone does many other things too, books, navigation and more. We used the reference book for the southwest edible plants to learn the uses for thistle when we took the picture and they are pretty much the whole plant, roots too.

But I don’t consider a knife an indulgence. It is an indispensable  tool. It would be a culinary crime to hack at a good old world Gouda with a pair of tinsy scissors.


B0B99E93-3BD3-4C47-9912-D10FB5544A1C.jpg

i shot RAW files on thistle images and hdr tiff for the Gouda.

8:38 a.m. on April 9, 2020 (EDT)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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Great pictures, Ghostdog! Now I'm hungry for Gouda...

What (if any) camera app do you use on your iPhone?

12:11 p.m. on April 9, 2020 (EDT)
Ted Vahan
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Good food and whiskey and I'm happy!

One time a group of us were in Zealand Hut in the Whites and we're firing up steaks on the fire while this poor group of guys were heating up something that looked like oatmeal and smelled like fish.  We didn't feel guilty at all as they watched us enjoy our meal and feed the scraps to some camper's dog!

2:17 p.m. on April 9, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
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Alicia said:

Great pictures, Ghostdog! Now I'm hungry for Gouda...

What (if any) camera app do you use on your iPhone?

 

Alicia thanks. First I’m still using an iPhone 7 Plus. It has two lenses. I use the ProCamera app to shoot with. Then if the file is RAW the Raw Power app developed by one of the Apple Aperture developers for the first processing step. Then the exported tiff or any hdr tiff I’ve shot is finished in Snapseed. That is an amazing app for processing tiff, jpeg or heif files. Snapseed was developed by Nik software as their mobile app.

I hear the much newer iPhone 11 Pro Max and it’s native camera app using smart hdr is really good. Eventually that my be an appealing route.

5:18 p.m. on April 9, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
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I’ll add that a DSLR still has superior image quality and better enlargement potential if that matters. However phone cameras have come a long way and can do some things better and easier. For photojournalism they are pretty good. A DSLR has more capabilities in some areas but for an ultralight compact unit that does many other things well they are hard to not to like.

11:03 p.m. on April 10, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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Last night a fire at the backyard campsite felt pretty good.  Looking at the snow on the local mountains and having a couple of beers was just great with 3 dogs and a great woman. 

10:00 a.m. on April 13, 2020 (EDT)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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Thanks for the photo info, ghostdog. I'm using an iPhone 7. If/when I'm able to upgrade I'd love to have one of the phones with far better cameras. They take impressive pictures. 

2:11 p.m. on May 4, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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Sometimes it is fishing. 

Sometimes photography. 

Sometimes horses and mules. 

I indulge in long winded discussions about forestry, landforms, botany, geology and wildlife at the drop of a hat with anyone that will listen. 

10:19 a.m. on May 5, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
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A few more indulgences:

A dry pair of socks for those really cold and wet trips when your first pair look like this coming off the drying line...
P2180072.jpgA good book on a lazy morning with an extra cup of coffee...
20190623_065330.jpg

 My little weather meter seems to always make the trip strapped to my pack...

20170916_133724.jpg

And a wee dram of Scotch each evening while watching the sun set (an indulgence but not overindulgence).
20170602_205006.jpg

May 25, 2020
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