Author - Gary Metz

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National Trails Day!
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Map page getting better!!
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Self reliance skills
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The quest for the perfect camp biscuit!
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CT DEEP and CFPA Rewards for hiking!!
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My day chasing DEEP Backpacking Camps
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Nipmuck Trail Campsite
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Knowlton Brook Campsite
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General Lyons Shelter (Lean-to)
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Dawley Pond Shelter (Lean-to)

National Trails Day!

Every year the American Hiking Society (AHS) hosts a National Trail Day which, they hope, will drag more people off their chairs and into the woods. I think it works. I saw more people that were asking general hiking questions today than I ever do which would lead me to believe that this was a first time experience.
My favorite question today, by the way, was “We have to go up that?!”
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Self reliance skills

I have taken some time recently for researching and to bring my daughter up on self reliance skills, how too’s and whatnot. Can you build a fire with your surroundings or a firesteel?

Cora Trimming Fatwood

Cora Trimming Fatwood

Cora and I have been working on gathering and using different fire starting methods to bolster our self reliance in the event that we get stuck somewhere.
Fatwood, lighterwood, or whatever you call it regionally, is resin impregnated wood found in pine hearts, or downed stumps.
We played with fatwood this weekend! Cora used fatwood and a striker to start the fire for my birthday gathering and she did a good job doing so with minor coaching. I should mention that it had rained for 3 days and everything she is working with is wet or green.

She was there for everything from finding the fatwood to processing it, right to the actual fire itself! Very proud, the girl has some stick-to-it ethics!

The quest for the perfect camp biscuit!

I was on a search for a way to make a biscuit while backpacking. I have seen many ways of baking but most used expensive pots or combinations of expensive pots to dry bake there food. I want to use what I have until I can get better and more updated gear.

To skip to the meat of it, scroll down.
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CT DEEP and CFPA Rewards for hiking!!

So who doesn’t like awards and prizes?!!? I do for sure. I am about to start gathering the needed parts to get my bits that say, you’re a super hiker!
Connecticut’s Department of Environmental and Energy Protection (DEEP), Connecticut Forests and Parks Association (CFPA), Madison Land Conservation and Trust, The Sleeping Giant Park Association (SGPA), The Burlington Land Trust, Steep Rock Association, and The Western Connecticut Council of Governments(WCCG) have all started programs to get people on the trails and you can get patches and trinkets to signify their successful challenge completion.
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My day chasing DEEP Backpacking Camps

My day chasing around DEEP backpacking camps. You may know, or not, that I am cataloging the all of the trails in connecticut and the shelters/camping areas open to backpacking or free use.
I am moving right along with some of it and had a wonderful day outside doing just that!
Here are the pictures of today along the Nipmuck trail! I only found one tick and he died from the permethrin on my boots!!

  • Morning Tea
  • Salamander
  • Flowers
  • General Lyons Fireplace
  • Ladies Room Rock
  • Me Knowlton Brook Campsite
  • Natchaug Trail Distance Sign
  • Nipmuck Trail Arrow Sign
  • Nipmuck Trail Sign
  • Reservations
  • Pixi Falls Sign
  • Rock Lean-to Nipmuck Trail
  • Root Den
  • RT 74 Nipmuck Trail Bridge
  • RT 74 Nipmuck Trail Bridge
  • Pixie Falls
  • only one tick

Nipmuck Trail Campsite

The Nipmuck Trail campsite provides plenty of room to put a few tents and has 2 fire pits as well, though only one looks to be routinely used. There is a nearby stream that looks like it would provide water year round.
The walk down to the Pixie falls it lovely and the shade provided by the trees and the cool running water should provide some relief from the heat in the summer, be sure to check it out on the way by.

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Knowlton Brook Campsite

Near a half a mile off of route 74 is the Knowlton Brook campsite. it is unremarkable in amenities but packed full of atmosphere! the fire ring is roughly 10′ away from the brook itself and there is room for a couple smaller tents.
The brook should provide year round water and during the summer the swampy areas surrounding it should dry up some. I would still recommend bug spray and boiling/filtering your water.
Bring your poles, there are native trout in that brook!

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General Lyons Shelter (Lean-to)

Settled about 1/10 of a mile from the parking area for General Lyons historic site. This shelter has access to water from a running brook close to the shelter or a well pump in the historic site. There is a fire ring which should be used with caution as to the dry grasses and under brush close by. The shelter is in good repair and has a picnic table available.

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Dawley Pond Shelter (Lean-to)

This shelter is located on the Pachaug Trail at Great Meadow Brook Pond. This shelters seems to be heavily visited by locals and was not in the best repair when we stayed there. The site was littered but was easy to clean up.
The view and sound, being next to the pond, were fantastic. I don’t know if there are many camping spots that rival it. Remember to bring your bug spray!
The pond should provide a year round water source but as always be sure to boil or filter your collected water.

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