Stone's North Woods Adventures (SNWA)

Discussion in 'Adventure, Hiking, Backpacking and Travel' started by Stone, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Monday, 02.20.17, 10 am, EST.

    Checking in here for the first time since Saturday. We had to postpone Sunday's meeting because several key players could not attend -- people are still 'digging out' here. I was disappointed, but OK with it in the end.

    Now back to the topics at hand. ANR, I confess I don't see the viking (nor bigfoot, nor a SNUFFALUGALESS o_O) in the smoke yet, but probably because 1) there's very bright (and welcome) sunlight streaming in my window right near my laptop, so the monitor is reflecting; 2) I haven't had enough <insert mind altering substance: coffee, black tea, gin, smoke ....> yet. I'll try again later.

    L'ster, thanks much for your kind words. I'm touched by them. When I got booted from this wonderful and worthy forum back in Dec, 2014, it was a dark time in my last six years. As I've written elsewhere here since being back, the last 6.5 years -- it'll be 7 in May -- have been THE most challenging years of my 66 years by far. More so than grad school, a doctoral oral exam from hell, a college teaching job from hell, a divorce, and the death of both parents -- combined. I've never been forced to live like that -- so close to the line of poverty, but always under it, forced to move 30 times. Twelve communities (cities, towns) in three states on two coast -- and three if you count Maine's coast as different from Florida, and I do.

    Why did I do it? That's a very long story, but suffice to say, it was for professional reasons. I believe strongly in what I do professionally. I was moderately successful with it on the west coast, but hated the west coast, and pursued a relationship with a woman who lived in this state.

    So in July 2010, I moved to Maine (to a very crappy town, the worst in the state, down south near Portland) by commercial jets (via BOS Logan, where I spent the first night on the floor) and a bus with meager belongings in an expedition backpack, a rolling duffle bag and three shipped boxes. I had full intentions of getting my feet on the ground within months with her help, buy a car, then fly back to the west coast to retrieve my remaining, most valued belongings in a small U-Haul truck.

    But the relationship failed almost immediately in a brutal, heart ripping way (the worst of my life; she was not the person that I and numerous others thought she was), and the business strategies I used in the west simply didn't work here. So, into the poverty pit.

    From there, it was, try town 2. Not enough support. Try town 3. Some are interested, and I could probably have made it there, but I hated the town and area, so ... ... ... try town 5 (Camden by the sea, playground of very rich people owning sailboats and yachts).

    [​IMG]

    There was more interest there in my work, but it was way too damned expensive to live there :eek: -- 2nd most expensive town in the state, second only to Bar Harbor -- and far too crowded (US Rt 1 runs right through town, and in summer, is one big gridlock permanently).

    By Dec, 2014, I living in town 6 -- south of Camden -- (but about my 20th living space). I was nearly homeless, living in my office, and working on a consulting project for which I was to receive a $20k advance in November. My organization had been promised a $300k budget for 2015 by the same company that I was consulting for. For the first time in years, I was optimistic and hopeful.

    Then we learned of the tragedy of my consulting fee and our budget. The founder and CEO of the organization that was funding my/our work was funding his organization(s) by oil brokerage. He was an experienced broker, moving for the first time into oil, but at the wrong time, as it turns out. He had three tankers in port, ready to unload. His brokerage fee was to be US$10M. But just then, oil prices tanked -- pun intended -- and so did his budget, and thus ours.

    I was thrown back into the poverty pit at the start of winter. No home (office only), no car, no income. I came unglued on the old forum one night while drowning my pain in whiskey and reading about someone's new car they just bought. I said stuff I shouldn't have -- it was an angry, hurt kid in me lashing out -- and got banned.

    I regretted it immediately -- at least the next day once I sobered up. I wrote a long apology, and had someone else post it for me. But I retired the name "Nem" at that time. I no longer use it, and -- again -- I'd much prefer than you all don't either. :)

    Nem was from a past life. I'm a different person now, hopefully a better one, but sure as hell wiser from the experiences of the last 6 years. Sure some of that online persona still exists. But I'm moving ever closer toward being more open, trying to manifest more of who I really am as a person instead of being sheltered behind a pen name. So, I've retired the name "Nem", buried it with those dark times, which are past now (as of last December when I moved into my current place in my new town and region).

    @Jeff Randall -- being the good person he is -- was kind enough to give me a second chance here on the new forum. But I didn't want to use "Nem".

    So, I chose Stone. Stone is part of my real name, a family name, but has metaphorical significance for me, also. I'm a closet geologist -- since I was a kid. I even won third place in my county science fair for a geology project. I still want to be a geologist when I grow up (I'm more ecologist now) -- and love rocks. I did some rock climbing in my 40's (5.9 stuff, never lead climber). I search out rock outcrops and glacial erratics in the woods and gravitate to them on my walks.

    It's also more reflective of my connection to one of my hero's, and an ancestor in my family -- 19th century US mountain man Jim Bridger. Named after him are Fort Bridger, WY, and Bridger National Forest just south of Grand Tetons, engulfing the Wind River Range where I walked in my 20's. I've known of his life since I was a kid, and read bits and pieces about him. I'm finally reading his biography -- you'll see the book among the books in an image in my OP ... or is it the second post? Can't remember. One of those images above.

    Later, I'm going to change my avatar to his image. {Done.} Ragnar Lodbruk has served as my avatar for a long while. I still admire that character, at least in the early seasons of the story. But by season 4, he's become ... a bit like I was back in December, 2014: defeated, beat down, losing confidence in himself, too much substance use.

    Time to move on ...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  2. Lockster

    Lockster Member

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    Thank you for bringing us up to speed on your travels, I'm sure it gave you no joy relating the painful memories from the past, so my sincere thanks for sharing.

    Stone is a strong name, it invokes images of impregnability, strength of character. As I said, I was shocked to log-on one morning to see a forum "character" had suddenly and permanently departed. I was very sad, particularly after reading the seemingly out-of-character manner of the banning.

    One of the reasons that I enjoyed your posts is that being Mid 40's, raising 3 kids mortgaged up to my eyeballs, working 2 jobs and living the suburban nightmare of work, sleep, work, I found much of my day-to-day life depressing. All of my childhood friends have moved away and I generally have mainly acquaintances, but no one seems to enjoy the wilderness activities that I do, I feel out of touch with most of the people that surround me. So I tend to get my "fix" of wilderness friendship on various forums, and partly live vicariously through the adventures and hunting expeditions of others when I can't be enjoying adventures of my own. I enjoyed your posts more than most because your personality shined through, you would even tell us what you were eating, or about random occurrences in your day, we didn't "know you" but we were able to get to know a little of you. I found it refreshing and your anecdotes occasionally helped to cheer up some otherwise pretty $hitty days, so I am glad that YOU are back (regardless of what name you go by), at least now I can enjoy the ramblings of Stone. :)

    So your affection for pistols, shotguns etc, are they a new-found interest or were they always something that you wanted but just couldn't afford?
     
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  3. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Lockster -- L'ster if I may to save keystrokes (got some arthritis biting my right hand) -- what a great post. Thank you. I'm honored. <looks down, slightly shy in the face of a complement, kicks rock, says "shucks"> Makes me feel good when at least some like what I write. Writing is a passion for me since I was, like, in 7th grade. I got high marks on some short essay assignment -- teacher singled me out in class, which was horrible because some of the other kids in the class hated me after that :oops: -- and that started me down a writer's path for my life. I blog, too, and someday, I'll work up the nerve to share it here, but not quite yet ... I'm also writing a book, but that's a story for another day.

    Yet, I share things here that I wouldn't enter on my blog (and vice versa, though there's some overlap).

    Anyway, 6 months ago, or even last October, stuck in a hellish rooming situation in Bangor and thus still mired in the crap of the last 6 years, relating that would have been painful. More of the same. Now, I'm out of it, I think permanently, so reflecting on it is actually ... comforting in some way. I'm distancing myself from that time -- the pain of it is starting to fade (but I'll never totally forget) -- and by processing it some, it helps put it to rest ... sort of retrospective.

    And it's like most negative experiences in life, especially those that are painful or traumatic: because we do what we have to to get through it, including deflecting some of the painful stuff, sometimes we don't really know what it was like until after the fact. Over the last couple of months, I've been reflecting on it a lot, and realizing how ... close to insanity I was at times -- out of character, as you call it. It was hard to "act normal" among people who had things OK, or really good, when I was constantly stuck in such crap.

    And that was one of the factors. That I was constantly stuck in crap for years. Six years. If it had been 6 months or a couple of years, I could have dealt more easily. I tend to be a very resilient person who's dealt with a lot of adversity in my life (I almost died during illness as a young child, for example, and grew up dirt poor). But the sheer time scale of years of this just wore me down.

    Another part that made it hard -- that I left out of my description -- was that in addition to the relationship that failed in a terrible way -- I felt betrayed by her -- there were two other instances where I -- along with loyal associates -- almost made it out of the poverty pit, heading toward the big time with big budgets (years before the story about the oil broker), but got screwed over by people we trusted but should not have because they had agendas of their own that didn't match ours. Every time, it kicked me back to poverty. Then came a six month business relationship with a company that promised to really launch us with marketing, advertising and a web site with e-commerce that would have launched us globally, only to find that one of the two principles was a publicly vocal advocate of a movement that's recognized as involved with domestic terrorism. We severed ties immediately, but there went our business plans. Back to first base, again.

    But that's all behind me now. I've got a great, affordable place to live, with hundreds of acres of amazing woods around me -- hikeable and I think camp-able -- and my professional prospects are looking up. Months of work to do before I see the positives, perhaps longer. But I think it'll happen.

    I can honestly say, I haven't been so content and at times just plain happy in years! Most days, I awake, look at where I am, and just start smiling about it. :)

    Great question, and relevant to this thread. Thanks for asking.

    I'll eagerly respond, maybe a little bit tonight after dinner (long cooking period coming up), but I've also got work to do tonight (editing a super important professional video only tangentially related to this thread), so I'll def get to it soon. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  4. Theodore

    Theodore Member

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    Perhaps I missed it, what business are you in? Or were in? Or, what are you referring to with the partners above? Just curious.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  5. KMCMICHAEL

    KMCMICHAEL Member

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    Stone, I have had better luck than you admittedly, only a first bad marrage which cost a fortune, but I have a good one now. I have been lucky in many ways. I am also younger and probably prettier. My education consists of hauling watermelons as a youth. This has helped my career in so many ways. However, I do enjoy reading your adventures and hope your book is successful. I have fantasized about writing. Laziness prevents me from this persuit. However, I must admit, as a profoundly smart bastard, my advice to you is get the f$&k on down the road. Do not dwell in the past. It can be good to vent but look after your own future. Many might like to hear your misfortune but is it good for you to recount? Look ahead! Write!
     
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  6. Stone

    Stone Member

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    KMCM, totally agree. I'm mostly moving on now, but not entirely past it. That six years was very formative for me. It carved me deeply like millions of years of wind and water carve and shape a canyon. It would be an injustice for me to simply forget it and move on without giving it some time to look back, to reflect, to remember the treacherous ones, but more importantly, my closest friends -- some of whom are on this forum -- who helped me through it.

    And, by doing so, I've learned TONS about how to avoid that kind of situation in the future. Without reflection, I could potentially repeat the same mistakes that lead down that path. What's the saying? Those who forget history are bound to repeat the past, or something.

    I'm far from "dwelling on it", though. Most hours of my day, I'm dwelling on here and now -- relishing where I am now -- and planning for the future. Far and away, that's how I spend my time. But for a few minutes or hours of a week, I reflect on those times, especially when asked a question like Lockster asked above about ... how Stone is different from Nem, and why. That's why I laid that out in some detail.

    By the way, I'm not seeking any sympathy for what I went through. Way past that. Even when I was in the thick of it, I rarely spoke of those times to seek sympathy, but to help supporters understand more clearly what I was facing, and how to help me get out of it. And it worked. I'm out largely due to friends who got it, and helped me all the way to here. I'll be grateful to those people for the rest of my days.

    @Theodore, you haven't missed anything. I've not really spoken of my profession here, because most of it is not really related to this forum (even though there is a bushcraft component to my work).

    In a nutshell, I was in university until I was 40 -- 16 years, through an undergrad and three grad programs (two MS and a PhD). After that, I taught college -- not university, but small college -- for 8 years, full time biology and math instructor. In 1998, I quit that job (low pay, absurdly heavy workload, terrible politics) and invented my current job. Very hard to explain what I do now. It would take a book chapter for that.

    Short version for now: think of me as a science and mathematics educational consultant who is attempting to teach people (who want to know, including high school and college teachers but many others) some pretty cool, hot new ideas in science and mathematics that represent a revolution and renaissance in science and mathematics equivalent to relativity theory and quantum physics, and the revolution that lead to calculus, but far easier for non-scientists to understand, far more fun, more relevant to everyday life. I use consulting, writing, public lectures, small seminars and courses, and increasingly, videos and webinars. The applied component includes working in wild ecosystems, which demands outdoor skills, including basic survival and bushcraft skills.

    That's enough for now. Perhaps someday, I'll post a video about it. ;)
    ______

    Took a long, great afternoon walk today in the woods out back, actually on the snowmobile trail. It was warm today (high 30's F, edging into the low 40's) -- LOTS of melting -- and great sunshine. Beautiful. Had a couple of negative encounters with snowmobiles on some really twisty parts of the trail -- some of them travel way too fast, irresponsible, since they know it's open to hikers like me. I tied a hunters orange bandana to my walking stick and raised it every time they approached. Most honored it and slowed down on approach. Some didn't. The latter will find voodoo dolls in their bed tonight with many pins stuck into them. :mad:

    But overall, beautiful day. Shot lots of video footage. I'll get around to editing it, and post it here eventually.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  7. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Ok, so I spent the night in the kitchen cooking up meals for the next few days, and interacting with a neighbor about an unfortunate situation happening here involving some violent neighbors and suspected drug activity. We're on it, and will quell it. We've already involved the police and an attorney. Most people here are good folks with heads well screwed on. The three causing problems -- a couple and an individual -- slipped in via a loophole. We'll solve this. (Even still, this is still far and away the nicest place I've lived in Maine.)

    But the point is, I have no time and energy to edit videos tonight, so I'll address Lockster's question from above, lest I forget. (I'll start early tomorrow and get the other work done.)
    I've owned shotguns since I was maybe 12 or 13, rifles since I was 14 (or 7 if I count the BB gun then pellet air rifle), and handguns -- much later in life -- like my 30's. Currently, I own no long guns -- that's another story why (sold them because: 1) I decided they were no longer the ones I needed, and 2) to fund moving and rent) -- but i still have my 9 mm pistol (Ruger LC9s). Love it. Will keep it.

    I intend to add a shotgun (see "shotgun" in sig line for which one) and another rifle (Ruger American Ranch Rifle -- the bolt -- in .223/5.56 mm). But I'm too poor to get either right now because I'm still digging out of the last few years.

    So, no, def not a new-found interest, but long standing, well-researched. I've chosen those two long guns carefully, with a purpose. Hopefully I'll add the shotgun by summer, and the other before year's end. We'll see. :)
     
  8. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Ok, so enough small talk. Time for the next installment of SNWA.

    I started this thread with a pictorial tour of my apartment. Now, here is a 10-minute video of my afternoon walk late last Monday -- week ago today -- at the tail end (last few hours) of the last nor'easter (blizzard on the upper east coast).

    Warning. This -- and all my current vids -- are being shot with a pocket Sony cam, a hand-me-down from a few years ago from a very kind person on this forum. (Thank you!). I'm (obviously) not a trained video professional, but with decent editing software and re-takes, I can do a passable job. My goal is to purchase a nicer cam -- I'd like to spend a few hundred on it. This little cam doesn't focus well in snow -- it needs sharp edges to find the focus -- so there are some terribly focused sections that will make you dizzy. :confused:

    And worse, there's a resolution issue with the editing software. This entire video should be full screen -- 1080p -- but some scenes are full screen, some are 3/4. It's a technical issue that I have to resolve with the software company (Camtasia).

    But still, it'll give you a bit more sense of who I am, complete with a selfie and the first sound of my voice on this forum. (Sniffing is not from cocaine use, but a runny nose from the cold air.) Even though I'm a Yankee now, if you listen carefully, you'll hear my Tennessee roots. ;)

     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  9. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Member

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    That was very cool! Think how often we "talk" to each other (the forum members) but we never hear each other. :) Have you thought about making some emergency snowshoe's Or something from tree boughs and paracord? Just something to last thru the season..maybe by snow time next year you'll have saved enough for a real set. ;). A section of 1x6 castoff from a construction site, 2 willow branches and paracord, some cheap chipboard left over from someone's garage project?...
     
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  10. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Thanks, Anr. That means a lot coming from you. :)

    Emergency snow shoes. Yes, totally. In my plans. I only put it off because three friends here said they've probably got a pair to loan me. I'll know by Wednesday.

    But let me see if I can find a video -- bookmarked -- about how to construct a pair of emergency s'shoes.
     
  11. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Found it.

     
  12. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Member

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    Made a set of "sand shoes" a long time ago, 2 teardrop shaped pieces of plywood and some bicycle inner tube. The idea came to me while waiting for sunset on a hot evening while reading the biography of Carlos Hathcock....I figured if it would work for soupy mud it would work for crawly sand, it should work for powdery snow too.
     
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  13. Stone

    Stone Member

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    That's a good idea. Could be useful up here in the wetlands and swamps, which are very plentiful in spring and summer. It's often hard to find a dry flat spot to pitch a tent or tarp here. One can find dry spots, and one can find flat spots. But the dry spots are rarely flat (they're sloping, rocky and/or rooty), and the flat spots are rarely dry since that's where the water collects. That's the main(e) reason I'm moving into hammocks as sleep systems: mostly eliminates that problem.

    Another sunny day above freezing today. Lots of melting going on. I have a visual natural "thermometer" out my window: I know when it's above or below 32F by the amount of dripping water coming off the roof overhang. And the snowbank out back is glistening as if wet, and there are hundreds of little rivulets washing down slope. If this keeps up, I may not need snowshoes for long.

    But a friend is loaning me a pair tomorrow, so I can at least try them out again and practice walking with them -- it's been over a decade.
     
  14. jeeter

    jeeter Member

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    Cool thread. Much more than the standard "where I've been" type, although nothing wrong with that either. This is starting to read like a book.
     
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  15. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Thanks, Jeeter. Glad you're finding value here; I always appreciate your input.

    I guess in a way, this is kind of a rough draft for a chapter or four in the book I'm writing -- a long process that really started years ago -- that's mostly about science stuff, focusing on ecology -- small and large scale (including really large scale) -- but includes a lot of ... tools, skills and experiences for living/surviving in wild ecosystems for long periods, based in decades of experience. I'm no expert like some here -- outdoor living and survival are not my main professional focus. But I've got some knowledge based on experience and my own learning -- some of it earned the hard way. I'll pass it along just in case it's of use to someone, most notably novices.

    Oh, and I hope one version of the book will eventually be printed on paper. But to start, I'm exploring various e-book formats that'll allow me to distribute it electronically for far less money, and also embed videos into it, along with links to relevant sites.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  16. TangoDelta59

    TangoDelta59 Member

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    Stone (er Dr Stone), Thanks for the thread and I've enjoyed seeing your area up there and I've enjoyed learning a little about yourself and your experiences. I think we all can learn from others life experiences except I think I'll pass on the Nor'easter though, g :D
     
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  17. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Re nor'easter: ha!

    One of my friends (not on this forum) from Oregon watched that video and responded with a one-liner.

    "I live in western Oregon so I don't have to deal with that white s***."
     
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  18. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Lookie what I got today. On seasonal loan from a friend. :cool:

    They belong to his mother, who chose quality shoes, but no longer uses them.

    I'll try them out in the south 50 tomorrow.

    Snowshoes.JPG
     
  19. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Here's the maker. They've been making snowshoes (in Quebec) since 1870.

    Pretty close to the model, though these are 20 years old.
     
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  20. Theodore

    Theodore Member

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    You better hurry up. I was in a tee shirt today. The "7 day forecast" has us up near 50°f and only two nights below freezing here. Moosehead is predicted to be slightly colder but just.
     

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