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9/04/2016 6:32 pm  #1


First solo - Western Uplands!

Hi all, this is my first post here and I made a profile just to have a place to talk about how excited I am--this week is my first solo backpacking adventure. I'll be doing the first Western Uplands loop including the journey around Maggie's Lake. I've backpacked before (including West Coast Trail in June and Highland last week) and in a few weeks I'll be heading to Killarney for the Silhouette Trail solo. I thought I'd benefit from a bit of solo experience first especially considering I've got a new stove... 

I don't exactly have questions as I prepare by reading trip logs and just having an open mind and strong legs! I wanted to do a longer loop but was advised to go easy on my knees. I never had knee issues until WCT and they still haven't recovered. Luckily I've been able to invest in some lighter gear in the past couple months. I hope it helps!

Thanks for reading - and see you around I'm sure!

 

9/04/2016 7:24 pm  #2


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Hi there,

Thanks for sharing this - it's nice to hear someone else express their excitement with solo hiking! Sorry to hear that your knees took such a beating on the WCT; I haven't done this one yet, so I don't really have a frame of reference as to how demanding it is. If you were okay with the Highland Trail, you should be just fine on the WUT as. If you don't already use hiking poles, I can't recommend them enough for saving your knees.

Weight is definitely a big deal, and I've become quite strict with what I pack, especially for solo ventures. I love Mike Clelland's book 'Ultralight Backpackin' Tips, although he's more extreme than I'll ever be. If you're doing the entire Silhouette Trail, the section between 'The Crack' and camp site H21 has some sections that are very demanding. If you have any questions on solo hiking, the WUT or Killarney Trails, I'd be happy to provide my input for what it's worth. 

Have fun with your WUT trip and good luck with the new stove!

Cheers,

Rich
 

 

9/05/2016 5:27 am  #3


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

If you're doing the entire Silhouette Trail, the section between 'The Crack' and camp site H21 has some sections that are very demanding.
 

 
Isn't that most of the trail? LOL

Have fun and don't over do it. I agree with a Rich that hiking poles can help. Killarney could be tough on your knees.

 

9/05/2016 7:42 am  #4


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

I definitely rely on my hiking poles. I recently read they relieve your knees of about 26 pounds per step, which is a bounty, especially on trails with lots of hills--moreso down than up!

My pack is 42 pounds including 3 litres of water, which is a little less than it was for my weeklong backpack trip but I know there are a couple places I can shave it down. This trip is more of a test of equipment than of my mettle.

Thanks all and Rich I will likely take you up on the opportunity to chat about Killarney in the coming weeks. Thank you.
 

     Thread Starter
 

9/06/2016 8:51 am  #5


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Good luck! You're going at a great time. Trail should be dry and clear, no bugs. Leaves just starting to turn.

With knee issues, you'd really benefit from losing some pack weight. 42 lbs is on the high side of things. If you want to post your packing list, I'm sure people can point out opportunities for you.

 

9/07/2016 10:36 am  #6


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

hi there 

I've done the Highland and sections of the Western Uplands and I will admit they are fairly easy compared to Killarney :-) 


I have a few tips for Killarney ( as well as algonquin )  - I've done the La Cloche trail solo 2X ( both I did in 3 days! ) 

to save on weight - cut back on the water you carry - 3L of water is about 6.5 lbs - 
if you use Jeffs Map - both algonquin / Killarney have lots of rivers and lakes you can water up as you go. 
I found in Killarney - there was water every hour or less - I would just hike - when I came to a stream / lake I would drink about 1/2-1 litre and pack about 500ML - then drink the 500ML about 30 minutes later - knowing in 20-30 minutes there is another water stop. 
Believe me 6 LBS of water is alot of weight -  I notice when I have 1L in my pack :-) 


a few other tips - that are weather dependant - but clothes are a lot of weight - some planning can shed a few pounds - it theres no chance of rain - I'll skip the rain gear - even with a small chance - in summer I'll hike and get wet - but have a pair of dry camp clothes ( for clothing I have my hiking clothes - that can get wet, be vented if hot ... and my camp clothes that are dry and warm for what the expected temps are ) 

how long are you planning for La Cloche Silhouette Trail ? 


 

 

9/07/2016 4:17 pm  #7


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

I concur with Lofty - I carry, at most, 1 litre between water stops and have never gone thirsty. I also keep clothing to a safe minimum and scrutinize the weight vs. calorie ratio of every food item. You may be able to shed some ounces in the cooking gear department as well (a small titanium or aluminum pot, spork and lightweight mug may be all that's needed). Another quick win was realized when I upgraded my pillow to an inflatable one made by Sea to Summit (at Atmosphere) which is lighter and much smaller than my Thermarest....

Just some ideas - as Spicol noted, there are a bunch of us who can provide some more ideas in the gear department....

Rich

 

9/07/2016 9:39 pm  #8


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Hi
I can add my name to the solo hiking list. I've solo hiked the Highland Trail, 2/3 of the Western Uplands, all of the Silhouette Trail, and 3/4 of the Coastal Trail at Pukaskwa. Pukaskwa was the hardest of those, with Killarney next. I haven't done the WCT, but from what I have heard, it's tough, and if you can do that, most of what Ontario can throw at you will be straightforward. Anyway, If you have any questions feel free to ask me. I have some trip reports at... neelands dot smugmug dot com. 
(BTW 42 pounds does sound high. I've never gone over 30 and I still have good knees. maybe that's why. Also started using poles after Killarney made my knees sore a bit.)
Ralph

Last edited by Methye (9/07/2016 9:39 pm)

 

9/09/2016 7:34 pm  #9


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

womanwalkingaway: first off I love the name; secondly I too am a solo woman backpacker so I wish you well on your adventure.  I have yet to meet another solo woman on the trail...I know they are out there and I hope to cross paths someday with one to chat awhile. 

 

9/09/2016 8:54 pm  #10


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

spicol wrote:

With knee issues, you'd really benefit from losing some pack weight. 42 lbs is on the high side of things. If you want to post your packing list, I'm sure people can point out opportunities for you.

Packing lists are always fun. You can learn a lot from what and how others pack.

When talking weight, however, you have to be sure you are talking the same language (see below). 42 lbs is in line with my total pack weight and I would like to lower it but that would require a lot of $$$ in gear replacement and/or loss of creature comforts.

Enjoy your trip and let us know how it goes!

                                                                                                               ----------

Base Pack Weight - Weight of pack and gear carried in the pack, but no consumables
Total Base Weight - Base pack weight plus weight of clothes worn and gear not carried in the pack
Total Pack Weight - Base pack weight plus the weight of consumables (food, water, and fuel)
Total Weight - Weight of everything, or total pack weight plus the weight of clothes worn and gear not carried in the pack, or the weight of everything you take with you whether worn or carried

Source: http://www.hikingwebsite.com/backpacking/packweight.htm 
 


Dave
 

9/13/2016 6:18 pm  #11


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Wow, thank you for all the responses! I have been swamped trying to organize my life for the 'vacation' in Killarney coming up, so I just got to check in now. Western Uplands was wonderful, though the mosquitoes were really trying--I am one of those people who mosquitoes absolutely swarm--and I use all natural spray that is more of a ... minor deterrent than a repellent ;P

Okay, I got my pack weight down to 37 pounds for this trip. It isn't that I have bad knees, chronically. Just that the WCT really did a number on them--the terrain there is unbelievable. They have just about fully recovered now.

I honestly don't know what else I could drop from my pack. I did let go of the idea that I need a day's worth of water on me at all times. I am a water worrier!

Here is my pack list. I don't have the weights broken down very much because I am dealing with an ancient scale.

Black Diamond head lamp
Katadyn hikerpro water filter
A lightweight firstaid kit
Small repair kit (with field repair kit for thermarest, carabiner, duct tape, paracord, etc)
A few journal pages and a pen (in this I also keep my licence and permit)
Toilet paper kit (paper bag, TP, ziploc for packing out)
Omni tool
Whistle/compass
Waterproof map case
Cell phone

In my Ursack I keep my food, fuel, and hygiene stuff
Food: Mostly dehydrated meals, cliff bars, crackers, babybel cheeses, hot chocolate, honey
Fuel: 230g butane, small primus stove, small bic
Dishes: one small aluminum (?) pot w lid, a spork
Hygiene: homemade deodorant in small ziploc, homemade toothpaste in small ziploc, toothbrush, 'bug spray' in small spritzer, tiger balm, ibuprofen, chunk of soap, lipbalm

Water sandals (these aren't really light but they are perfect for going through streams and for camp

Eureka Midori 2 tent (5 pounds ish)
NeoAire Xlite thermarest
MEC scout tarp

Sleeping bag probably like 4 pounds to be honest, I'm not sure

Clothing: 3 socks, 3 underwear, base layer, fleece pants ( for sleeping, sometimes paired w base layer), 1 shorts/swim suit, 1 sports bra/swim suit, 2 tank tops (very light and quick dry), 1 long sleeve quick dry, fluffy sweater (very light), goretex rain pants and rain jacket (I can't really lose them, I am miserable when I get wet), fleece neck warmer, buff, fleece toque, and gaiters. Oh and a medium size microfibre towel and facecloth. My clothes bag is my pillow

So it's really not like I carry a lot of luxuries or superfluities! Oh I should mention my backpack itself is a Gregory 80L so NOT light. I know this would be a lot more helpful if I could breakdown the weights more accurately, I apologize. I do feel way more confident about 37 pounds, that's for sure.

     Thread Starter
 

9/13/2016 6:20 pm  #12


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

solosal wrote:

womanwalkingaway: first off I love the name; secondly I too am a solo woman backpacker so I wish you well on your adventure.  I have yet to meet another solo woman on the trail...I know they are out there and I hope to cross paths someday with one to chat awhile. 

solosal, thank you! I met a solo woman on the Highlands in Algonquin and my sister and I chatted with her for a while! On WCT I only met one or two solo women and one wasn't holding up so well. I really encourage women to go into the woods alone--we belong there. <3
 

     Thread Starter
 

9/13/2016 6:23 pm  #13


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Methye wrote:

Hi
I can add my name to the solo hiking list. I've solo hiked the Highland Trail, 2/3 of the Western Uplands, all of the Silhouette Trail, and 3/4 of the Coastal Trail at Pukaskwa. Pukaskwa was the hardest of those, with Killarney next. I haven't done the WCT, but from what I have heard, it's tough, and if you can do that, most of what Ontario can throw at you will be straightforward. Anyway, If you have any questions feel free to ask me. I have some trip reports at... neelands dot smugmug dot com. 
(BTW 42 pounds does sound high. I've never gone over 30 and I still have good knees. maybe that's why. Also started using poles after Killarney made my knees sore a bit.)
Ralph

Pukaskwa is on my wish list. It's so beautiful! How long did you dedicate to it?

I am a little nervous about Killarney (understatement). I had a hard time with Uplands (the length on the first loop between maggie lake and ramona lake). Not sure why, just hit a major wall--and the mosquitoes! Lots of hills... Hills can be disheartening for me.

I've read your trip reports, actually! Thank you for the time and energy you put into those. They have been helpful to me.

     Thread Starter
 

9/13/2016 6:27 pm  #14


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Lofty wrote:

hi there 

I've done the Highland and sections of the Western Uplands and I will admit they are fairly easy compared to Killarney :-) 

I have a few tips for Killarney ( as well as algonquin )  - I've done the La Cloche trail solo 2X ( both I did in 3 days! )

to save on weight - cut back on the water you carry - 3L of water is about 6.5 lbs - 
if you use Jeffs Map - both algonquin / Killarney have lots of rivers and lakes you can water up as you go. 
I found in Killarney - there was water every hour or less - I would just hike - when I came to a stream / lake I would drink about 1/2-1 litre and pack about 500ML - then drink the 500ML about 30 minutes later - knowing in 20-30 minutes there is another water stop. 
Believe me 6 LBS of water is alot of weight -  I notice when I have 1L in my pack :-)
a few other tips - that are weather dependant - but clothes are a lot of weight - some planning can shed a few pounds - it theres no chance of rain - I'll skip the rain gear - even with a small chance - in summer I'll hike and get wet - but have a pair of dry camp clothes ( for clothing I have my hiking clothes - that can get wet, be vented if hot ... and my camp clothes that are dry and warm for what the expected temps are ) 

how long are you planning for La Cloche Silhouette Trail ?
 

I decided to only carry a litre of water... and if you knew me, you would know how major this is for me. I am, let's say, highly uncomfortable at the thought of going without water. General question--do I need to treat the water with Pristine drops as well as filter or is that overkill?

I may be able to cut back on clothes a touch...

What about Killarney is difficult standing next to algonquin--constant hills, steep grade, rugged trail, all of the above?

I have 7 days there! More than WCT. But I have a really rough day that is 16k PLUS Silver Peak, so that will be quite a haul. The joys of last minute booking...

     Thread Starter
 

9/14/2016 12:38 pm  #15


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Sounds like you are on the right path.
Couple of suggestions...

I have a Katadyn Hiker as well but now only use it for group trips and canoeing. For solo hikes I've gone to the Sawyer Mini. Light, inexpensive and can simply be screwed onto the top of a pop bottle.

I no longer bring a tent unless I'm expected severe weather or in heavy bug season. I also have a MEC Scout and use this as a shelter. 

Ditch the cell. No signal will be available and paper maps are more reliable.

Longer term, I would consider investing in a lighter bag but that will cost you $$$.

http://i1341.photobucket.com/albums/o757/Algonquintripper/Resized%20photos/RamonaLakecamp_zps74531143.jpg~original


Dave
 

9/14/2016 6:12 pm  #16


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

Shaving 5 pounds off the pack is a huge deal and I'm sure the difference is highly noticeable. I have a Gregory 70L pack that is also on the heavy side, but I find the comfort makes up for it. I have a much lighter MEC Spirit 40L pack that I use for solo hiking, but I sometimes wonder whether the Gregory's comfort factor would trump the MEC's weight...

As for other low cost weight reduction ideas, I'm not sure how large/heavy your Omni tool is? Can something else be used/improvised in its place? Also, could lightweight flip-flops replace your sandals? Can anything further be shaved from your clothing, hygiene, emergency supplies without sacrificing safety? 

Killarney has some longer climbs and more rugged sections than Algonquin, with some rock scrambling involved. It's definitely more technical in spots, but nothing outlandish. The 16k plus Silver Peak day will be a challenge, but highly rewarding. We hung our packs at the base of the trail going up to the peak - you definitely don't want to be carrying it up! 

Cheers,

Rich
 

Last edited by hiker72 (9/14/2016 6:13 pm)

 

9/15/2016 9:39 am  #17


Re: First solo - Western Uplands!

wwa - glad you had a nice trip and already found some weight savings. Cutting weight really helps with your enegy levels and to prevent injuries and sore muscles. From the list you posted, I have a couple of thoughts on top of what others have said:

MEC Scout Tarp: At ~650g, this is a pretty big opportunity. Your tent is large for a soloist, with a nice vestibule - lots of room for you and gear to hang out if it rains. Could you leave the tarp at home?

Waterproof map case: Not sure which one you have but I find these usually weigh a lot more than a simple ziploc bag and don't offer better performance. Small weight savings add up.

Neck warmer, buff and toque: Do you you use all of these at once? Some people do run colder. But I find the buff does the job of the other two and combined with a fleece sweater that zips up to cover my neck, it's enough for 3-seasons.

I'm normally not that detail oriented but I found it a great execise to get a digital kitchen scale and weigh everything in my pack, including my food. It really helps to find small savings that add up. For example, I had a pre-packaged small first aid kit that weighed about 250g. It just seemed like dead weight for something I might not even need - with a ziploc and some selective pruning, I was able to get it down to <80g. 

Have a great time in Killarney!

 

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