Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cicada Molting

Typically when I am out in the bush I only carry my Kodak ZX5 camera. I rarely shoot any stills with it as there is no zoom and really I got it to shoot video, which it does fairly well.  I do have a large Nikon D90 DSLR that I occasionally use. I have plans to bring it out on some bushcraft day hikes, but it is quite heavy and not as robust as the Kodak. As a result, I sometimes shoot random pictures and forget to take them off.  Such was the case of these shots of a Cicada climbing out of a molt. These are not the 17 year Cicada but rather the standard every Summer Cicada.

We are ripe with Cicadas during the summer and their molts litter the underside of branches on all the trees in the yard. While I have found live ones climbing around I have yet to find one coming out of the molt.  But, back in August while mowing the yard, I found one perched on the side of the house.  I watched and shot pictures for about 20 minutes before I needed to get back to the yard work. It was a very interesting experience to watch him wiggle and shake trying to free himself from the old body. These are some of the better shots out of the bunch. You can see gallery over here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gear: #21 Therm-a-rest Xtherm Sleeping Mat

When I planned to try to simplify my shelter and sleeping system by moving to the ground there were a few challenges. The first being that I hated sleeping on a thin closed cell foam mat.  I did not get much cushion and ended up with a sore back. So when I started to look at pads I knew an inflatable was where I needed to be. The Xtherm has a 2.5 inch loft and does quite well in keeping my back in the proper shape.  So far my only concern is the Regular size is only 20 inches wide and my arms sort of fall to the ground. I may have to return it and get the large which is 25 inches.

Gear: #20 Snow Peak Trek 900

I picked this set up as a replacement from my Coleman 800 kit. Not only is the pot lighter it is slightly larger in capacity than the Coleman. I feel this will be a good replacement allowing me to not only boil up water for freezer bag cooking but also to cook in the pot.  I have not tested the boil times in the Supercat stove against the Coleman which sounds like a good item for a future video. I suspect the times should be fairly close depending on how the different metals retrain the heat.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Adventure: #27 Cuivre River Overnight

I took a break from the seemingly endless supply of yardwork, home maintenance and 95+ degree weather to hit the trail again.  While it was just a short overnight, to a familiar location no less, it was good to just get out. The high was around 75 which made for just about perfect hiking conditions. The night was a little chilly in my fleece top quilt. It just does not have the coverage needed, not to mention I forgot a pair of long underwear. Temps dipped down to about 55 but my new Thermarest Xtherm did an excellent job of keeping my warmth away from the ground. The new TarpTent Double Rainbow gave me tons of room to spread out the back and shoes. Overall I am happy with some of the new gear choices and look forward to using them more.