Camps......the good, the bad, the ugly.....

We all had little camps, big camps, good camps and bad lets hear some of your camp "bungles or "fiascos"

In the fall of '97, we traveled the 20 hours from Louisiana to Colorado to hunt elk and deer above Steamboat Springs. That was the year of the worst snowstorm on record for the month of October in Colorado. It was bad to say the least. On opening morning, we awoke to about 4 feet outside our two dome tents, which had collapsed several time throughout the night. Trying to keep from freezing, we took a 20 gallon propane bottle and lighted the end, with the fuel coming directly out of the bottle ablaze
biggrin.gif we put it as low as it would go, just a small flame, and then hung our wet clothes from a line some 4 feet overhead in the top of the tent. We then struck out for the mornings hunt!
About 5 minutes down the trail, I realized I had left my wyo saw and decided to run back for it. I got to the tent only to find it BLAZING OUT OF CONTROL!
The weight of the clothes had lowered the roof to the point they sagged into the flame.....and the clothes, tent and all were one big ball of fire!
Add in the propane, ammunition and other flamables, and we had ourselves a regular BOMB on our hands!!!
The bullets began to ignite and we dove for cover!
.....and when all the shots had fired, and the smoldering stopped....we were nothing more than "refugees" in one of the worst snow storms ever to hit that area.

Luckily we had the second tent and our vehicles close by which we slept in a couple of nights while the area thawed out. Folks were airlifted out, and some had frost bite.......but we stuck it out and managed to harvest a few nice animals later in the week.

But as a rule, I no longer hang clothers from the top of my tents over open flames

We survived and were better men for it!
I've run into bad blizzards before, DS - but cannot top that tale!

Hell, I never would've lit the propane bottle - I would have though it would take off like a rocket.
Cali....anyone who hunted Colorado or Southern Wyo that year will remember that one. The worst storm "in 100 years"....funny things is, the one we got here this last week was the worst storm "in 100 years"

As for the propand bottle......I have lit the end of them on more than one occasion quite successfully......but I don't think it meets "federal guidelines" to do so
DS, you gotta wait until a few folks post stories before you break out a doozie like that! Nobody can top it, so nobody will try!

Great story DS.

Let's see, back in 2000 we went to bed and all was fine. It snowed that night and the temps dropped. We woke up dry and chilly.
Then last year it got cold so I lit the furnace and was warm all night, woke up and fixed some freedom toast and had some coffe and went hunting.
I know, it may not be as drastic as DS's story, but it was hell from where I was sitting.

DS, ya bum !!! HOW many times do I need to tell you to hanng the Wet cloths in the Tent with the hookers ? they only sleep on the one side and you can move the Twister mats to the side while your cloths dry

BAD CAMPING TRIP ? HUMM... I'm Sure everyone Remembers this one but I'll share it Again.. this one happened to me. I'll cut and PASTE it and tell the WHOLE story... !!! HEHE


I left Frday after having a good lunch with the wife. I made it up to were the hike started and headed out. It was Early afternoon and the sun was beating down fairly good. I pulled the thick garbage bags over my lags and Crossed the river that I needed to so I can start my weekend endevour.. 1/2 way across the river my first of several lack of foresight's came to past. The Bags got cut on the rocks and started ripping. I double timed it across knowing if I slipped it was all over before it began. Fortunately I made it without falling, Unfortunately I had ripped bags and wet feet. NOT a good way to start a 6 mile hike !!!!!

I continued on with visions of big deer.....

1/2 hour down the trail stopped and changed socks. I had the pair I was wearing, and 3 other pair. another 1/2 hour down the road I did it again. I had 3 pair of wet socks hanging off my pack and I smiled as my feet were fairly dry by this time (NOTE TO SELF... Do something different next time, Wet feet suck !!)

The trail in wasn't all that bad, GPS says it was only about a 500ft climb. Only 500' untill I started heading north. then the other 3,600' elevation started. My legs started burning and I thought of the 32oz and 48oz bottle water knowing I had to spare what I could. 1/2 way up I had about enough. I took my first drink and decided to chomp into a little snack I brought... Here is blunder #2.

Packing this pack I used Trailmix I made and Sealed last year. I now know that Peanuts and other snack mix go bad after awhile. I had relied on 4-1 gallon bags of mix/food for the 3-4 days. 90% of my food supply gone. ALL GONE !!!! Rotten to the core.

As (Pannick/pissed off) set in I grabbed a berry dessert (DEHYDRATED) that I had and Quickly pulled out the pocket rocket stove and cooked up some Grub. After scarfing it down and using 11oz of water for the ordeal my belly was full and my nerves settled. Time to venture up the hill before night fall.

I made it to the top and found a nice tree to set up camp for the hunt weekend. I still had 10 mins of light so I headed up the ridge a ways to see if I got cell reception. (YES, I opted to bring the cell phone, whats another few oz's right *SMILE*). With no luck, I headed back and layed down and fell asleep at 8:15ish with no dinner but still a full stomach.......

8:45....Snap,. Crack Swoosh.... "WHAT WAS THAT" .. HUH ?!? my eyes were fully oppened thinking I could look right through the tent. Was it a BEAR ?!?! AM I just a PANSEY ?!?! YEP, probably the latter.... "GO to sleep ya moron and stop talking to yourself".... ZZZzzzzzzzzz....

I drifted to sleep and woke every hour or so untill the 6:45 Alarm woke me. I was full of energy and hopped out getting dressed and Happy it didn't rain. It was real cool to be that far back in and able to hunt right after opening the tent door. I started heading up the ridge with little water and no food. Breakfast was a .... WELL... a piece of gum *SMILE*

The sun rose as I overlooked a nice basin. I glassed every crack and tree and only saw 2 3-point bucks and a couple of does. I heard bugleing all morning every 15 mins or so and figured some Dumb-nut was in the bottom practicing. It kind of sounded weird.. Low and behold I finally heard one that was most definately real. I glassed the canyon bottoms and finally saw the first Cow ELk. Ahhh... how they stand out in the Lush green trees and foliage of the canyon bottoms !!!!!

A 6 point elk came out and stood there Bugleing and pushing the cows around like he was the king... WELL... I guess having 15 women to do with as ya please might make you one .. eh ?!?!

I moved around the mountain side hopeing to make a little 5 mile loop dropping down to get a drink of water in the creek bottom. 1/2 way around at the head of the canyon I had cell reception. GOOD thing to hear the wifes voice with the "POOL BOY" in the background (JUST KIDDING). she was really worried that I wasn't doing OK and that I might have forgotten something going SOLO and no one to bail me out. WELL, I told her of the food deal but that I still had 2 dinners and one desert still... Plenty of food ... hehee

I made the long trip sidehilling it not seeing much. Not kicking much out and sweating the whole time. I finally made the decent down to the creek. When I got there I realized it was Dry at that end. Here was #3 inm the blunders. Instead of making the 20-30 min hike down further to fill up on water, I crossed the dry ditch and made the 3000' climb back up to camp thinking I could come back the next day and fill up down a diferent finger of the ridge....


OK,I made it back up to camp and did a little evening glassing not far from camp. I had 24 ox of water left. NOW, if your not sure what 24ox of water is, go look at a gatorade bottle and see... NOT a freaking lot for another 2 days!!!

I made dinner and the first bite I had all day around 6ish. I used 16 oz of water and then layed down for a 1/2 hr nap. I awoke and move to my evening perch. Before I got there, I saw a band of 3 men riding horses packing 4 other horses. I figured I'd bum a swig of water or something.. HELL, Maybe even a POP !!!. The first thing they said was "WELL, Say something so the horse knows your're there..".. Uhhhhh "HELLO HORSE ? I'm here" and I shook my hand. "MY horses aren't used to seeing people up here"... GOOD GOD I thought... He's one of "THEM"... KNOWING he didn't want me in "HIS" area, I never bothered asking for water and we went on our way....

Heard the elk and saw a forked horn come accross the canyon and cross 75 yrds below and stop to my RIGHT for about 20-25 mins before night.

NIGHT came and no other deer and I went back to camp.I tried holding out but took a drink of water before I fell back asleep leaving one swig left for the AM. I slept better this night and heard bugleing again in the same canyon and his Distinctive sound. Coyotes would pipe up every hour or two, letting me know they wanted my food. LITTLE did they know......

Morning came And I was WEAK. WHAT a PUSS I thought. I need to force myself to the ridge and Glass again. I made it over and glassed for a few hours. I saw a few bucks and some does. I heard Crashing coming through I I thought It was the MOTHER SHIP !!!

WELL... A HUGE 6x6 Elk and about 8 cows come busting through. They were running for some reason and Kicked up the dust like a heard of... WELL..Heard of ELK THAT was the largest ELK I've ever seen in the wide before. FAT from Base to top. Unfortunately It wasn't the Sawtooths were I'm hunting Elk.

I decided to bail off the hill so I went back to the tent and PAcked up. I had 2 choices now. After taking my final swig of drink (2 OZ.) I had to decide to bail back to the left to the Creek or make the long treck back to the truck on the Right and MAybe jump a deer... WELL, I mustered up (STUPIDITY) and went Right.....To the right that is, not the right way. afte rcomiting myself and realising there were no trees and the sun was beating down at almost 78 degrees....

I was to dry to sweat and thinking I would lick the sweat off a Hoses back jsut to get some moisture. Jsut after that I saw a big brown thing in the trail. A saddle bag !!! COOL. I picked it up and didn't even look inside till I found a tree about 10 more mins down the trail.

I opened it up and saw a 6 GAL jug of water... It feetf light, but maybe... MAybe... I opened it up and Smelt it to make sure then put the opening to my mouth !!!! Well, the 4 drops of water that hit my lips were like drinknig a gallon of water, Almost

I threw the saddle bag on my backpack and headed the rest of the eway down. I ended up taking a wrong turn and hit the main river at the wrong spot. After fighting for 15 mins through THICK BRUSH, I was standing on rocks looking at a River ... A river so WET and nice.... I dumped the packs and burried my face in the water... My lips and mouth was so dry I had to come up for air and go back a 2nd time before I could actually take a drink.

WELL... I think I learned something on this trip.

#1. Bring enough water, or more gum.
#2. uhhhh Well, See #1 *SMILE*
Funny, I don't remember any "bad" camps. When I'm hunting or fishing....It's all good.
But I gotta say, thoses pictures bring back some of the best memorys. Lets do it again.
HAHAHAHA!!!Those are great...I don't really have any bad trips to say, the worst was probably the first time I went hunting, it rained all the time we were out for a week, we as boy's thought it was funny to write things on the side of the tent and watch the water ooze in. Then to wake up to a creek inside the tent in the middle of the night. To walk miles in nothing but a solid down poor with my uncle, cousins, older brother, and dad, walking cliffs and thru raging streams off the side of the mountains. All I can remember other than that about the trip is the fact that it was my first and a great adventure...
WELL, HE also said the "GOOD" so lets here some GOOD stories....

BAD in '43 I was taking a trech across the plains of.... OHH you probably wanted a True story, LEMME start again

in '98 I was fortunate enough to get to go to New Zealand. Our first trip in the Bush trip consisted of a Helicopter flight back in the mountains.. the nights were cold and the days warm and the company was great!~!~! Here is a picture of our area we were camping..



Anyways, I learned alot on that trip and it was a Great trip becasue I could share it with my dad. The guide I was with new alot of the area and tought us how to pick out Chamois / Tahr in the hills. The hills we climbed were vertical and the rocks would sometimes slip out from under us. I felt it was a bit dangerous from that aspect but felt save regardless. We barely made it out with the fog rolling in very fast and the helicopter not being able to land.... If the fog satayed in we would have been stranded another 3 days becasue the Chopper had other comitments. OR, we could have hiked out taking about 3 days !!!!



ANYWAYS, not to post another book I was able to get a critter, and we made it out great !!!!
I have had way to many good camps to really start to put them all down here. I don't even remember any that stood out better than others...
They are and were all great...
WHAT?!?!!?...You mean to tell me I'm the only guy on here that can completely burn up a tent and all the personals in it?!?!!?!?
........hey, look on the bright side.....the bonfire from the first tent burning dried out the other tent really good!

Count on doing it again Dan!
Hey Dan and Indy...what about the time we went to sleep only to be awaken by the alarm, so we starting getting our clothes on for the morning hunt...til somebody finally realized we had only been asleep for about 15 minutes!
.......or the time we had to break out in a "rodeo" in the middle of the night!!!!!!

That may be the best thing I have learned on this board, that you can just light the propane bottles, without a regulator or appliance. That may some day, become a valuable skill, just not sure when.

Do you lay them sideways, or stand them up? And will they burn til empty, or do they lose pressure, and snuff themselves out?

Well I can't top DS's story but the most exciting hunt camp I've had was the first year we got our Outfitters tent you know the white canvas kind. Well we hadn't quite mastered the air intake/output in the stove and the spark arrestor was tipped to side so we had some pretty big sparks/burned pieces of wood flying out of the stove pipe.. well as you can guess the big pieces were landing on the tent and burning holes in it.. So that first night was spent watching the holes appear in the tent like magic

We almost had a DS episode..but none got too outta control. Of course we got it all figured out the next day and after that year we fit a blue tarp over the tent to help with sparks and snow.. Thats my story and I'm stickin to it..
I actually remember a bad camp set up...It has been a very long time and one of the first times a friend and I had gone on our own..
We had jumped out on a little tiny island and set up camp on a great peice of sand. In the eve when the sun went down and the water started to come up, my buddy got up to take a leak and realized a big hole had started to show where the river had come up and started washing the sand away right next to the lean to we had built.
We spent half the night moving the camp across the water back to the safty of land, in the morning there was nothing but water swirling about 2 feet deep where our whole camp had been, that had been a very close call and we learned a very valuable lesson on the effects of river rise and snow melt...
Elkgunner......any of the bottles with a shut off on top(not the little 1lb disposables) can be turned down very low and lit. Mind you, this is not an O.S.H.A. approved technique.....but it has provided the needed heat in more than one bad situation. It will burn as long as there is fuel in the bottle.

DISCLAIMER: I in no way support or condone the use of propane bottles being lit and set a fire without a regulatory device in place. I , as a poster, nor Hunttalk , as my Forum host, assume any responsibility or liability in the event that some idiot manages to blow himself up by creating a bomb from above said techniques

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 04-02-2003 08:53: Message edited by: Deerslayer ]</font>
Can't beat D.S. , but I have a story.
In 97 our friend, who had gone out west one time talked my brother and I into going to Colorado for our first elk hunting trip.
We picked sleepy cat mountian and set up camp as close to the top as we could get, right under this BIG lodgepole pine. I decided to take a tent and go up even higher.
More Ammo had taken me as far as legally allowed on the atv and I hiked in from there. The first day started calm and warm but it turned cold and WINDY!!! Didn't see any thing that day but falling trees.
When M.A. picked me up it had started snowing big time. He also gave me the bad news. The wind blew the big pine tree down and it center punched our brand new truck.
He's always screwing with me and I went along with him. Well we got back to camp and my heart stopped. The tree was busted off about 8ft up and laying right were we had parked our truck.
Amazingly the trunk just missed it and the branches went in between.
We wokeup to lots of snow the next morning and decided to move camp to a lower elevation. Don
Dad, Uncle W.A., me, and my kid brother went hunting elk together in the Bighorns nearly every Fall for many years. Some years the weather was perfect. But other times, we were hammered by sleet, high wind storms, and deep snow.

One hunt we pitched our tents in the evening and the weather was dry and calm. During the night, out tents collapsed from the weight of much wet snow. Big storm rolled across the crest of the Bighorns!

Took us all day to get our stuff back 3.5 miles to the trailhead where our Ford 4WD was parked! We headed down the mountain approx. 2500 feet in elevation where it was calm and clear! During the next 2 days we saw dozens of animals headed down the mountain. But four of them were shot and tagged. Each of us killed an elk that year.
No old bull trophies-we were hunting for prime meat animals.

I started car camping with my family in the early 50's and went on my first backpack trips in the early 60's. I've been on 8 or 10 backpack/camping trips every year since. So that's maybe 300 trips? You know I've never had a bad trip. I have had problems along the way though, such as;

Broken bindings on cross country skis and broken pack frame, 6 miles form the trailhead.

Broken tent zipper, leaking Thermarest pad and leaking stove fuel line all on the same trip. I can't count the number of times I've had problems with finnickey stoves.

I've had animals eat my food, run out of water and narrow misses with skunks. I've endured frost bite and injuries.

I had 3 feet of snow fall on our camp and had tire chains break. I had new tent canvas shrink and had to adjust the legs of the tent to compensate.

I once I hiked in a circle. Man that was embarassing. I've been narrowly missed by avalanches at least twice.

On one rainy trip there was a rock slide in the middle of the night right next to our tents. You better believe that will wake you up fast.

I've had tents collapsed by wind a couple of times and once had a tent fill with 1" of water in the middle of the night.

I'll probably think of more misshaps after I'm done writing. But over the years, I have never aborted or cut short a trip as a result of these inconveniences. I always solved the problem or found a way to work around it. Like ELKCHSR wrote, each trip was an adventure and every trip was better than being at work.

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