My intent was to spend time in and around a particular valley to do some scouting and more so work on camp tasks. I wanted to work on thoroughly scouting draws, ridge lines, trails, and so on. This could be looking for the presence of enemy, or signs thereof, possible sites for Rangers to use as way stops, camps, overwatch positions, etc. Basically wanting to get to know that area.
The pack was right at 37 pounds when I hit the ground. Heavy on water since I had no idea on the state of the stream flowing through the valley. The stream was actually full and moving at a good pace. I cached my ruck early on and spent the rest of the day exploring the ridgelines, fingers and draws. While scouting i found a good spot to use as my camp site.
I set camp on a finger coming off of the higher ridge line of the valley, back about 150 meters from where I could overlook the area. Not so much a low-viz/high threat site, more really that I just liked the spot.
My goal was to push myself hard all day so that when I made camp, I’d be tired and short on daylight. I was definitely smoked by the time I retrieved my ruck and got to the site, but ended up having more daylight than I had planned. I set up a lean-to initially. Gathered fuel, prepped meal, realized I DID NOT pack tea or coffee! After food and packing up the cook gear, I broke down the shelter and packed everything for movement as fast as I could. It was still daylight so not too much fumbling around but a good thing to practice every once in a while.
I ended up going with a low A-frame for the night which didn’t work out as well as I think a low plow point would have for this time.
Colorado is known for drastic temperature changes within a 24 hour period, but this one caught me. I didn’t gather any bedding for under the ground cloth. The ground was fairly soft and the plants growing around the shelter site give a little padding. It was low 90’s/upper 80’s all day and stayed hot til well after dark. Holy hell it cooled way down! I dug out my wool tunic and cap and tried to burrito roll as much as I could. That’s one reason the low A-frame was the wrong choice. Not able to easily get the blanket situated. Of course once the sun broke the horizon, it was soon back to hot.
In the morning I was happy to see my food bag which I had moved away from camp still untouched. After food and getting everything packed I stood and watched the valley for a while. It really was a great view. I then moved around for a few hours before packing it in and returning home.
- Taylor Steiner
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Thanks for sharing Andy, it has been a lean year here for any sort of outing and seeing this helps keep me motivated.