Camping the Abandoned Air Force Base

Haunted by the need to Camp in an Abandoned Place, Mike and I decide do a Backpacking Trip to the Abandoned Lyndonville Radar Station in the Remote Woods of northern Vermont.

Lyndonville AFS, also known as the North Concord Air Force Station, was a cold war era radar base that functioned as a ground control intercept and warning station from 1956 to 1963.  Built as a defensive measure against the ever growing threat of a Soviet nuclear attack, it’s mission was to provide the Strategic air Command with 24/7 data on aircraft approaching the eastern US.  Roughly 25 miles from the Canadian border, near the town of East Haven, Vermont, it’s location was chosen due to it’s far northeast orientation, under the assumption that this would be a likely attack vector for soviet nuclear bombers attacking major metropolitan areas on the east cost, including the US capitol itself.

Today the base sits abandoned on the remote ridge of East Mountain, with all of it’s radar towers still standing as a reminder of the post WWII escalation that almost brought the world to it’s end.  On the upside, the views are fantastic.

Notable Gear

Mike’s YouTube Channels:

Hiking the Dix Range Pt 2 – Adirondacks 3 Day Backpacking Trip | Hammock Camping

Join Sara and I for 3 days of Hiking & Hammock Camping on a Backpacking Trip in the Adirondack’s Dix Mountain Wilderness.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Hiking the Dix Range Part 2 is comprised of mostly hiking and summits, as we ascend from camp up onto the Dix Range to hit the Beck-Horn (a subsidiary peak of Dix Mountain) and the summit of Dix Mountain itself.

The previous Dix Range Part 1 covered our hike in to camp, setting up our base camp with our two person hammock camping system, and some campfire chat while we made a campfire, camp chores, and cook some backpacking food.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page or by clicking this link for direct download: Adirondacks Dix Range Backpacking Trip 2017 – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot, 675 Elk Lake Rd, North Hudson, NY 12855
44°01’15.0″N 73°49’40.9″W

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • A quick breakfast and discussion on where we get our Cook-in-Bags for preparing our morning oatmeal.
  • Hitting the trail towards the Adirondacks Dix Range (full trail log below)
  • Some night hiking on the descent.
  • A backpacking food taste test of AlpineAire Guacamole.

For more details on trails used for Day 1, see our Adirondacks Dix Range Part 1 Blog Post.

Trails Used Day 2

  • Set out from camp and continue north along the nearby Elk Lake to Dix Mountain Trail.
  • Get some views of Dix Pond along the way.
  • At the junction, head right (east) to ascend the Dix via Beckhorn Trail.
  • Tag Beckhorn (a subsidiary peak of Dix Mountain) for some amazing 360 views of New Yorks Adirondack Mountains.
  • Continue a short bit and tag the official summit of Dix Mountain for another round of views.
  • Begin a steep and rocky descent via the Hunters Pass Trail.
  • Rejoin the Elk Lake to Dix Mountain Trail at the junction from earlier
  • Return to base camp along the Elk Lake to Dix Mountain Trail.

Dix Range Adirondacks Day 2 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 2 Total Mileage:  7 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain: 2,913 feet
Day 2 Gross Elevation Loss:  2,913 feet

 

Trails Used Day 3 (hike out)

  • Break camp along the Elk Lake Trail, after the Lillian Brook LT and just before the large bridge crossing Lillian Brook.  As of 9/14/17, this site had a yellow “Camp Here” disc, designating it a fully legal spot, despite it’s proximity to a small stream nearby. The stream is probably a convenient water source when flowing good, but we opted to get our water a 100 meters or so down the trail by the Lilian Brook bridge.
  • Head south on the Elk Lake to Dix Mountain Trail
  • Pass the Slide Brook Lean-to . The Slide Brook LT and camping area makes for a popular base camp for hikers hitting the Dix Range. We chose to push on a bit (under 2 miles) to the lesser used Lillian Brook lean-to area, which as some nice, legal campsites that are a bit more secluded.
  • Return to the Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot.  This is a decent sized lot along a gravel road on the way to the Elk Lake Lodge.  If the lot is full, you may park for free at the Elk Lake Lodge, a bit further up the road.

Day 3 Total Mileage:  3.6 miles
Day 3 Gross Elevation Gain: 354 feet
Day 3 Gross Elevation Loss:  559 feet

Full Trip 3 Day Grand Total Mileage: 14.6 miles
Full Trip 3 Day Grand Total Elevation Gain: 3,900 feet

Notable Camping / Backpacking Gear Seen on this Video

Our Dog’s Backpacking Gear

Backpacking Food

Hiking the Dix Range Pt 1 – Adirondacks 3 Day Backpacking Trip | Hammock Camping

Join Sara and I for 3 days of Hiking & Hammock Camping on a Backpacking Trip in the Adirondack’s Dix Mountain Wilderness.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Part 1 covers our hike in to camp, setting up our base camp with our two person hammock camping system, and some campfire chat while we make a campfire, do camp chores, and cook some backpacking food.

Hiking the Dix Range Part 2 will be comprised of mostly hiking and summits, as we ascend from camp up onto the Dix Range to hit the Beckhorn (a subsidiary peak of Dix Mountain) and the summit of Dix Mountain itself.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page or by clicking this link for direct download: Adirondacks Dix Range Backpacking Trip 2017 – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot, 675 Elk Lake Rd, North Hudson, NY 12855
44°01’15.0″N 73°49’40.9″W

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Base camping with a ton of camping gear vs ultralight backpacking.
  • Finding & legal camping spots in the Adirondacks.
  • Pros and cons of using a bear canister. These are not legally required in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, but we had one anyway, for reasons discussed in the video.
  • Hammock camping with our dog, Denali.
  • Outfitting our Dutchware Chameleon Hammocks with the Double Dutch Bugnet system.
  • Hammock under quilt attachment using of Chameleon hammock’s underquilt hooks.
  • A look at the MalloMe Camping Cookware Set for backpacking food preparation.
  • Building a campfire and cooking some of of favorite backpacking appetizers and dinners.
  • Sara reviews a flashlight…

Trails Used Day 1

  • Parked at Elk Lake Trailhead Parking Lot.  This is a decent sized lot along a gravel road on the way to the Elk Lake Lodge.  If the lot is full, you may park for free at the Elk Lake Lodge, a bit further up the road.
  • Elk Lake to Dix Mountain Trail
  • Pass the Slide Brook Lean-to . The Slide Brook LT and camping area makes for a popular base camp for hikers hitting the Dix Range. We chose to push on a bit (under 2 miles) to the lesser used Lillian Brook lean-to area, which as some nice, legal campsites that are a bit more secluded.
  • Pass the sign for Lillian Brook LT and continue a bit further.
  • Setup camp along the Elk Lake Trail, after the Lillian Brook LT and just before the large bridge crossing Lillian Brook.  As of 9/14/17, this site had a yellow “Camp Here” disc, designating it a fully legal spot, despite it’s proximity to a small stream nearby. The stream is probably a convenient water source when flowing good, but we opted to get our water a 100 meters or so down the trail by the Lilian Brook bridge.

Dix Range Adirondacks Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Total Mileage:  4 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 633 feet
Day 1 Gross Elevation Loss:  339 feet

Notable Camping / Backpacking Gear Seen on this Video

Our Dog’s Backpacking Gear

Backpacking Food

Stay tuned for Hiking the Dix Range Part Two where we depart camp and head for ridge.

Hiking Big South Fork Pt 2 – Tennessee Hammock Camping & Backpacking Trip

Join me for 3 days of hiking & hammock camping on a backpacking trip in Tennessee’s Big South Fork Nat’l Rec Area.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. BSF Part 1 is mostly in the woods and at camp and is more of a hanging in the woods, conversational type video. Part 2 covers days 2 and 3 where I traverse into the higher regions of Big South Fork, hitting the ridges for views of the Cumberland Plateau’s sandstone bluffs and Big South Fork River.

For more details on the first day of this trip, check out my Big South Fork Pt 1 blog post and video.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page, or via this link for direct download: Big South Fork Backpacking Loop 2017 GPS Data – Sintax77

Big South Fork John Muir John Litton Backpacking Loop Route Overview – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Bandy Creek Visitor Center, 151 Stable Rd, Oneida, TN 37841
N36° 29.275′ W84° 41.837′

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Place Holder

Trails Used Day 2

  • Break camp along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail
  • Continue north on the Laurel Creek Fork Trail
  • Make a left (east) onto the John Muir Trail (the next 2 miles will cover the bulk of the elevation gain for the day)
  • Make a right (west) onto the Fall Branch Trail
  • Setup camp along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail (less than a 100 meters after crossing the creek / bridge.  There is a campsite immediately next to the creek as well)

Day 2 Total Mileage: 15.2 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain: 1,616 feet
Day 2 Gross Elevation Loss: 1,266 feet

Big South Fork Day 2 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Trails Used Day 3

  • Break camp along Fall Branch Trail
  • Continue south on the Fall Branch Trail
  • Make a Right (north) onto the John Litton Farm Hike Loop Trail (heading south will ultimately bring you back to the parking lot as well).
  • Continue south onto the road (gravel, then paved) until you arrive back at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center Parking Lot.

Day 3 Total Mileage: 6.1 miles
Day 3 Gross Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Day 3 Gross Elevation Loss: 313 feet

Big South Fork Day 3 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Trip Grand Totals

Total Mileage for Trip: 28.4 miles
Total Elevation Gain for Trip: 3,076 feet

The gear list used for this trip along with discussion on each item can be found in my accompanying 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List Blog Post and Video.

Hiking Big South Fork Pt 1 – Tennessee Hammock Camping & Backpacking Trip

Join me for 3 days of hiking & hammock camping on a backpacking trip in Tennessee’s Big South Fork Nat’l Rec Area.

For this backpacking adventure, I’ll be breaking the hiking trip into two parts. Part 1 is mostly in the woods and at camp and is more of a hanging in the woods, conversational type video. In BSF Part 2 we will traverse into the higher regions of Big South Fork, hitting the ridges for views of the Cumberland Plateau’s sandstone bluffs and Big South Fork River.

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page or by clicking this link for direct download: Big South Fork Backpacking Loop 2017 GPS Data – Sintax77

Trailhead and Parking Location

Bandy Creek Visitor Center, 151 Stable Rd, Oneida, TN 37841
N36° 29.275′ W84° 41.837′

Topics discussed and things that happen in this episode

  • Feeling like a lost idiot on the trail.
  • Camp setup priorities when arriving at camp.
  • Setup / breaking camp in the rain.
  • Continuous Ridgeline usage and setup for quick and easy tarp deployment.
  • Low carb backpacking food options for carb conscious or ketogenic diets.
  • Starting a campfire in the rain.
  • Campfire cooking some meat on a stick.

Trails Used Day 1

  • Parked at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center
  • Started on the Oscar Blevins Farm Loop Trail (located in the corner of the parking lot on the opposite side of the road from the visitor’s center)
  • At the Intersection, turn right onto the Collier Ridge Bike Loop. This is where I mistakenly continued straight, which would have taken in a circle. Luckily, I realized earlier enough to turn around and head back to the intersection.
  • Turn left (north) on the gravel road. From looking at the map, I could have avoided the short road hike by hopping on the access Jack Ridge trail, which appears to be found either right near where I popped out on the road, or a little ways down that road to the right.  Continuing on the road seems to have saved me a decent amount of hiking though, which made up for my wrong turn earlier,
  • Turn right (east) onto the next, smaller gravel road.
  • Arrived at the sign for Jack Ridge Loop Trail and headed left onto
  • Black House Branch Trail
  • Right on Laurel Fork Creek Trail
  • Setup camp by the waterfall pool along the Laurel Fork Creek Trail.

Big South Fork Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Total Mileage: 7.25 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 860 feet
Day 1 Gross Elevation Loss: 1,256 feet

The gear list used for this trip along with discussion on each item can be found in my accompanying 2017 Ultralight Backpacking Gear List Blog Post and Video.

The Backpacking Trip that Never Was – Hiking the Susquehanna River

Getting our Bear Grylls on. Hiking with a full overnight backpacking load-out & zero intention of actually sleeping outside.

When an iffy forecast caused us to cancel an overnight backpacking trip we had planned about four hours from home, we decided at the last minute to still get outside.  Only instead of a full backpacking trip hours from home, we decided to grab our already packed gear and hit a local spot for a day in the woods.  Backpacking meals, hammocks, a tarp in case it rained earlier than expected, etc.  The only thing that wasn’t in our plan was to actually sleep out there.  And then things didn’t go to plan.  Again.

In the end, it was a great, fun day.  Certainly not what we expected, but better than sitting on the couch (well, all day at least).  We got some exercise, Sara had some of our favorite camping foods, and I got to test out some gear and packing techniques.  The moral of the story?  Do weird stuff.  Sometimes it pays off.

Trailhead Parking Location: Rock Run Grist Mill parking area. This is a decent sized parking area by the Rock Run Grist Mill at the intersection of Stafford Rd and Rock Run Road in Susquehanna State Park.

GPS Track Data for this trip can be found on my Trip Data Page.

Total Mileage: 4 miles
Total Elevation Gain: A whopping 225′

Susquehanna River Day Hike Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Notable Gear Used

Packit Gourmet Pico De Gallo salsa and Pasta Bolegnese
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Denali’s Collapsible Dog Dish – Doggone Dish
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack
Generic Canister Stove
ALLPOWERS 21W Solar Charger
Notch Hat (Classic Multi-cam Operator model)

Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
Primary Camera – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera