Grape Vines, Camping Gear, and Some Business Analysis

I have been out on the back lawn for the last couple of hours, unpacking, and repacking my camping gear. I have managed to pack my internal frame knapsack with most of the gear and most of the food. My canoe bag separately holds the sleeping bag, self-inflating mattress, tent, cooking pot and Coleman gas lantern. I don't like carrying more than one bag, but I am going with my Dad now (probably... pending his final decision). The knapsack weight maybe 30 pounds - with probably 65% of that being food for 2 people for 6 days. I am bringing tinned tuna and evaporated canned milk and Spam so that sort of supply adds to the weight. Ideally I would just bring freeze-dried food and everything else dry, but as I anticipate the portage being short, I am not too worried about the weight. I heard a story about a fellow who went camping in Algonquin Park for the first time and portaged with over 12 litres of drinking water in addition to everything else, for fear of beaver fever or otherwise dirty water. Well, I guess there is not substituting for experience - why not just boil the lake water? I find I learn something new every trip, so I can reduce my load. In fact, I foresee a time when I bring a tarp instead of a tent... that would lighten things a bit.

To bide my time - with 4 days, 14 hours, 38 minutes, and 16 seconds remaining until I depart - I have been puttering about this Canada Day Long Weekend with house stuff, reading, and in the back yard. We have wild grape wines growing over the fence, and they can become really noxious, choking all the bushes and such. I cut down armfuls of this vegetation and after staring at it for a while I thought I would try to make some cordage from it. It was fairly easy and quite successful. First I slit down the branch of one length, about 6 feet in length, but not before snipping off all of the leaves and stems with my knife. Then I carefully peeled off the outer bark (the dried, brown, flaky surface) from the inner bark, and then removed the inner bark in one long strip. Cutting this damp, firm inner bark further into 2 strips, I then tied them together into a pair, which I then rolled with my palm against my thigh, both clockwise. Every few inches I would stop and roll the twisted pair together in a counter-clockwise direction, thus causing the two lines to twist into each other and bind together. Amazingly it turned out perfectly, a wonderful, thin, strong, resilient line of string. Grape vine isn't ideal for cordage, with all the leaves and stems which weaken the length of the strip. Nettle, willow bark, dogs bane, or other such inner barks would do much better, but I got the technique down and it was fun. I will post pictures next time I try this. From the remaining grape vines I then wove a primitive basket. It would be useful to hold fish, and even to catch fish if placed as a weir at the head of a stream. It is hanging from the fence and Spring suggested putting a little burlap and soil into it, and then putting in some flowers.

Well, back to work tomorrow for 4 days - enjoying my job these days, keeping busy managing projects and doing some business analysis.

Hey, why not fill in the poll at the right of this post? Let me know if you would go solo camping...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!



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