Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cushman Wandering

Mount Lincoln reflections

I followed a recent survey line to see where it went and I ended up near the Dry Creek trail.  Then I wandered out onto the lake bed and checked out the new Osprey nesting platform near the old rail tracks under the lake.  The lake is low for the winter so one can walk among the stumps.  The city of Tacoma plans to make more stumps and cut more trees to help the wild life.

I did not hike on any trails and still racked up 5 miles.  I found some interesting stuff along the way too.  I've been having fun exploring all the little nooks and crannies that I always meant to explore but did not have time for because I was off doing big miles on some trail some where.

It's almost time for me to add up my miles and take my annual statistics refresher course.
I hiked 630 miles this year, most of it on trail, but a lot of off trail miles too.   I also gained 117,040 feet in elevation this year shattering all of my old annual records for elevation gain and mileage.

Following a survey line

A twisty tree on the survey line
Little waterfall on the survey line

New Osprey nesting platform in the middle of the Lake

Ice covered Climacium dendroides moss

freezing weather helped me to keep my feet dry

freezing weather helped me to keep my feet dry

The things one finds when they wander off the beaten path

Old Railroad under Lake Cushman

The original dirt road to Lake Cushman can be seen when the lake is this low

Old rail road track under Lake Cushman

Mount Rose named after Pioneer Alfred Rose
Alfred died of smallpox leaving his wife to run the farm on
the shores of early Lake Cushman before the dam destroyed the valley

Sparkle ice, stumps, water and snow

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dosewallips after the storm

After not hiking for over a week I was more than ready to get out.  My nerves were frazzled.  Recently the washout before the washout on Dosewallips came back.  When I heard this I decided to hike up there and see what other damage may have been done to the area after the recent floods.

It was the day after Christmas so there was not a lot of daylight to work with.  I got up early and was on the road by 7:20.  I found the washout before the washout and I decided that a Jeep Wrangler could get through it.  Maybe even a Jeep Cherokee could do the job if not for two big rocks sticking up waiting to catch the differential.

I walked to the old closed car campground and had my lunch and tea there.  I cooked my lunch as I still have plenty of food left over from my PCT planning.  This was my first time using my new purple titanium cup.  The purple coloring on it might be fragile, so I don’t know what will happen the first time I put it over an alcohol flame. I’m hoping that the gentle alcohol flame will not discolor it.

My lunch was rice with dehydrated hamburger with a few spoons full of powdered beans and dehydrated bell peppers.  I get huge cans of minced dehydrated bell peppers at Wal-Mart for about $12.00.  My coffee was Vinacafe brand 3 in 1 instant.  I love that stuff!  I packed chop sticks because I saw them in the store and I just had to buy them.

On my way out just before I reached Elkhorn camp my legs began to hurt with each step, so I knew I was near the 12 mile mark.  It never fails, when I hit 12 miles I start hurting.  I took a break at Elkhorn to have a second cup of coffee even though I knew it meant that I might be hiking out in the dark.

The second break did my body wonders and I hiked the rest of the way out without pain.  I used my USB hand warmer during my breaks and during the last hour or so of my hike.  My hand warmer worked out really well for me it kept my hands warm and  I was able to avoid having to dig into my pack to look for my headlamp because my hand warmer has a small flashlight built in.  

As I approached the parking area a car drove up.  I hoped that nice people were in the car.  I saw the movie “Wild” just before Christmas and there were enough creeping rapey scenes in the movie, that I might be a little bit on edge for the next few hikes.  A man got out of the car and asked me how to get to Dosewallips State park.  Poor guy, he was a long way off track.  He had seen the signs for the National park and turned off the highway about ½ mile too soon.  I gave him directions and he took off in a hurry hoping to reach camp in time as the sun had already set.

  I don’t like driving in the twilight, I’d rather drive in the dark, so  when I got to my car I had a cup of tea from my waiting thermos and I sent a text message home.  The tea in my thermos was still hot, but not nearly as hot as it was when I first brewed it.

I’m going to call it
13.5 miles with 1,100 feet elevation gain.

The washout before the washout


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Duckabush is impassable

Winter "oyster" mushrooms
I went up the Duckabush trail today and found it to be pretty much impassable after the lookout on Big Hump. One could continue I suppose, but it did not seem worth the effort to me. Many trees are down across the trail in the burned area.

I turned back at N47 41.228 W123 05.370 and then had my lunch at the rocky viewpoint.  It rained for over half of my hike but I stayed dry.  My gortex boots from last year are still water proof.

I finally bought myself the cook pot that I have been wanting for years. It is an Evernew .9 liter.  I could never justify to myself spending the money to get a smaller lighter pot. But after this summer on the PCT fighting to shove my bulky cook pot into my pack I decided it was worth the price. I used it today for the first time. I really like it, it's not just lighter and smaller, it also has longer handles and a better fitting lid.

I might have a Vargo Titanium ti-lite mug/pot 750  and a Snow Peak Trek 1400 Titanium pot w/ pan  for sale here soon.  I bought them on a lark because the price was right, but my new pot was already in the mail and they all came on the same day!  I'm going to play with the Vargo and the Snow Peak for a while first though.

I don't care for the start of the Duckabush trail, it's a just a logging road hike in a creepy dark second growth forest, it is no where near the river.  Then when the trail finally reaches the river and the old growth it leaves it and heads up a 1,000 foot hill away from the river and into a burned area.  On the other side of Big Hump the trail is nice, but it's too far for me to go for a day hike and on this day the trail was blocked by downed trees.

6 miles RT with 1,000 feet elevation gain

Witches butter winter fungi

My lunch time view

A creek that crosses the trail

A conk that never learned how to conk

Glowing orange edge fungi

fog worked to my advantage here

Fungi with Polytrichum juniperinum moss.

My new nifty cookpot

New cook pot with old dog

Peltigera venosa

This is the trail, we got around this but turned back later when it got even worse

Root ball pulled up the trail here

With downed trees as far as I could see we turned around here
Mossy trail head sign
View down the valley

Sunrise at Triton Cove

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The YACC Stove Original Directions

Ray Garlington who is the author of this post has given permission to grab it and his photos from the wayback machine and post it here.  I think this is the easiest pop can stove one can make and this post is what really got me started with making my own stoves.  I like this stove because it is easy to make and it saves extra weight because it serves as a pot stand.  This is also a very efficient stove.

When I first starting trying to make a pop can stove all the directions I found were too complicated and I almost gave up and then I found this page that changed everything for me.  I still make my own stoves and I only make simple ones like this.

Thanks Ray!

The Garlington YACC Stove

Yet Another Coke Can (YACC) Stove

Got 5 minutes, a coke can, and a pair of scissors? If so give this little stove a try. It is easy to make, and uses only one can. Also, the pot sits right on top, so it doesn't need a  pot stand. Just add a piece of aluminum foil for the wind screen & you are good to go. The YACC stove can raise a pint of 65*F water to 135*F using 1/4 oz of alcohol when air temperature is around 65*F. I have found this sufficient for my lightweight 'cooking' needs. A 4oz supply of alcohol lasts me for 16 stove firings, which equates to 4 gallons of 'hot' water. Of course, if you need more heat, you can add more fuel.

The stove was inspired by the Antigravity Gear stove (uses two cans) and "The One Can K.I.S.S. Soda Can Stove" by DeoreDX on the TLB Forum. I liked the idea of using just one can, and wanted construction to be as easy as possible. The YACC stove can be made quickly with just a pair of scissors.

Here's how to make it

Obtain an aluminum soda can.

Remove the opening tab from the top, and tear the top out with a pair of pliers.

Mark the side of the can 3/4" up from the bottom. Flip the can over and mark the side of the can 1 1/2" from the top.

Using a pair of scissors, cut the can in half
Now, carefully cut along the marked lines. If your marked lines are on the 'thick' side, cut the bottom along the outside of the line (thus making the bottom slightly larger).
Take the top section and cut slits every 1/2" from the cut edge to just below the shoulder of the can top.
Push the tabs slightly toward the center and slide the top section into the bottom section. Push the top (carefully) all the way down into the bottom. The tabs of the top will follow the can bottom until they jam up against the domed part of the bottom. As the shoulder of the top starts to go under the cut edge of the bottom, look for bulges that might tear the bottom and push them inward with the flat side of the scissor's blade. When fully seated, the top's shoulder should be slightly under the bottom lip. None of your slits should be visible from the top. (If they are, you will need to cut another top.) Hold the can together and roll the cut edge of the bottom slightly inward over the top's shoulder to hold the stove together.
If the details above sound too tedious, just push your two stove halves together. At first, your stove will spring up so that the top slits are exposed. Don't worry, because after you light the stove, you put the pot on, which will compress the stove anyhow. After using the stove a few times it will stay compressed (particularly if there was a little soda left in the bottom).

Theory of Operation

OK. Now that you see how it goes together, how does it work without any gas jets? Well actually, the jets are there, but hidden under the cut-edge of the stove bottom. All those cuts in the top allow gas to pass through which find their way out the small gap between the can top and bottom. So, in the end you have a two wall (well sort of) stove that is pressurized (again, sort of).

Operating Instructions

This stove requires preheating to the point where flame comes out the seam. Details:
  1. Pour the fuel into the stove body. Denatured alcohol, Heet, everclear, and similar products are good fuels. 1/4 oz of fuel will burn for about 3 minutes.  Note: It has been reported that the stove will not burn on rubbing alcohol.
  2. Position the wind screen and light the stove by holding a flame above the large hole.  Watch out because the stove lights easily and the flames are nearly invisible at first.
  3. Hold your pot about an inch above the stove until flames exit the side of the stove (about 15 seconds). When that happens, immediately position the pot on the stove.


Variations in building technique may cause you to end up with a stove that has problems.

Stove burns too fast

If you think your stove is burning too fast, you can extend the burn time by making the stove a little tighter. Separate the stove halves and flatten all the slits as much as possible. When you reassemble the stove, make sure that none of the slits are visible (i.e. make sure they are hidden in the bottom of the stove). If the slits are showing, even though the top is pushed as far into the bottom as possible, remove the top and cut off a little from each of the tabs. When you reassemble the stove, the top will go further into the bottom, hiding the slits. A tighter stove makes it harder for the vaporized alcohol to get out, so that burn speed will be reduced. The slowest I have been able to make the stove burn is for 11 minutes on 1/2oz of fuel.
Stove burns too slow
It your stove burns to slow, or fails to ignite on denatured alcohol, you need to loosen the gap between the top and bottom halves. Push a needle into the seam between the two halves in about 5 spots spread evenly around the can.

Burping Stove

The most troublesome problem reported seems to happen when a relatively large fuel load is added and the stove gets too hot.  If this happens, liquid alcohol is forced out of the stove onto the supporting surface where it will ignite.

Burping stove repair #1 (Posted by Parkinson1963 of the Lightweight Backpacker

"I figured out the burp is cause by a build up of pressure in the stove between the the two walls. The solution is to bend about four of the fingers into the open part of the can slightly, making these slits slightly wider. This allows the presure between the walls to be less, and less likely to burp. After six consective burns with one ounce of fuel each time, no burps.
This is the best stove so far two cups to full boil on 3/4 ounce of fuel, no pot stand only need aluminum foil to make a windscreen. Fantastic!!!"

Burping stove repair #2 (Posted by Parkinson1963 of the Lightweight Backpacker): 

"I discovered another easier way to eliminate the burping problem. Simply make four holes just below the top rim I used the awl on my swiss army knife. A tight very carefully made stove plus the four holes made for a perfect stove with no burping."

Burping stove repair #3 (Ray):

Using a sharp push pin, punch a row of holes around the shoulder of the can. Punch them above the seam between the stove bottom & the top. They vent directly into the center of the stove and keep the internal pressure low. They have the appearance of the gas jets on the usual pepsi stove, but when the stove is operating, it looks like the flames are emanating from the seam.


Here are some other construction ideas you might like to try:  add an interior wall to the stove, cutting the top out cleanly.

Add an interior wall to the stove

If you do this you have, in essense, the anti-gravity design built with one can, but without the careful sealing. It takes a few extra minutes, a stapler and a needle to do this. Here is what you need to do:
  • When you cut the can in half, be a little more careful and cut closer to your 'top' line. Your objective is to leave enough aluminum from the center of the can to cut a strip 1.25" wide for the complete circumference.
  • after cutting the top and bottom pieces, carefully cut a 1.25" wide strip from the center section of the can. Take the time to draw lines and cut carefully.
  • take this strip of aluminum, fashion it into a cylinder and slide it up into the groove inside the top of the can.
  • hold this strip together with your fingers, pull it out of the top, and staple it together about 1/4" down from the top.
  • Take the strip, and use your scissors to cut 1/4" long slits, about every 1/4" around the bottom of the strip (the rim of the cylinder furthest from the staple).
  • Slide the strip into place in the top and assemble the stove. Push the top and bottom of the stove together as tightly as possible, then run the back of your scissors around the seam to make sure it is lying flat and there are no tears in the bottom.
  • Take a sharp pin and punch pinhole jets into the top about every 1/2" around the circumference of the stove, just above the seam.
  • With this modification, the stove burns longer with a more even flame. I get 4+ minutes from 1/4oz of alcohol and higher final water temps.

Cutting the top out cleanly (Posted by Rambler of the Lightweight Backpacker):

For me a can opener does not work well cutting out the top as it did when cutting out the bottom of the original pepsi can stoves. A 2" hole saw fits the can top ridge circle pefectly. Holding the saw cutter by hand rather than attached to a drill and then turning the can and drill in opposite directions by hand soon cuts out the top cleanly. However, it is best to use this method before cutting the can in half, ie. after removing the tab, the next step is to remove the top. A key instruction to a successful stove is to be careful to make the slits 1mm above the shoulder. Using the guiding line is a useful tip. Thanks to rgarling for an easy way to build an effective stove.
Comments from Tony Wong about his first YACC stove:  (sorry about the lost pictures....)

 I was quite pleased with my first attempt. I used a Pepsi can and followed your instructions. Here's a shot of the stove in action burning methyl hydrate (paint thinner grade).

// picture missing//

Some of the things I ran into/discovered.

  It took me some time to figure out how much a "quarter of an ounce" is as it's been a while since I measured volume in imperial units. I managed to find a graduated cylinder in both units and discovered a 1/4 oz is equivalent to about 7 millilitres. 

  In your instructions, I wasn't sure where to light the stove, in the big hole in the top or try and light vapours coming out the side. In the end I just lit the fuel inside the big hole in the top, eventually the stove started to work, so I guess that's the trick. Perhaps a worthwhile addendum to your web site instructions?

  Performance wise, 1/4 oz (7 ml) methyl hydrate heated one cup (250ml) tap water to point too hot to put fingers in. Sorry don't have a thermometer handy. I seem on the short side of max temperatures and burn times reported by others.

  I found a carpenters marking gauge made it easy to measure out and scribe lines around the can. The gauge has an adjustable fence, measurements on a ruler, and a scribing awl.

// Marking gauge picture missing //

  To cleanly cut out the top of the can, I tried a round hole saw, but found I wasn't making any headway in cutting the top off. Instead the teeth were scraping along the vertical surface where the top of the can meets the thicker rim of the can. But I discovered when I used a bent needle nose plier, that the hole saw had thinned the aluminum sufficiently where the can top meets the thicker rim and the metal tore away nice and cleanly. A bit of filing took the sharp edge off. Unexpected, but it worked out nicely.

  Initially, I couldn't get the two parts of the can to stay together. But after the first burn, it seems the paint and varnish on the top part of the stove gets burned off and the surface is less slippery. The increased friction seemed to hold the 2 halves of the stove together nicely without any other physical fastener. I didn't have any luck rolling or squeezing the circumference of the stove bottom to hold the top piece in place. I tried a circumference clamp all around the can, but I couldn't reduce the diameter of the outside can to hold the inside can. But after the first burn, it was no longer an issue.

 To get the slit length correct, I used a scrap strip of aluminum and inserted it into the can bottom and pushed it down until it bottomed out against the bulge in the can bottom, just like a slit in the top would do when the stove was assembled. I marked the strip at the top edge of the can bottom and used that to mark how long the slits needed to be. After assembly, some of my slits extended above the top of the bottom can--I must have cut the bottom can a bit too short. On the next stove, I'll cut the slits first, insert into the bottom can, and mark where I need to cut the bottom can off to ensure the slits are covered.

Vancouver, BC Canada

Let me know how your stove works out. Reach me at rgarling AT yahoo DOT com