Camping at Bowden

It has been a long time since we have done any camping or caving trips. We mainly wanted to do a caving trip back to Bowden, but we also have been wanting to get some more camping in. So we figured we would camp out Saturday night, and hit the cave early Sunday.
Sam was starting his new internship on Monday, so he wasn’t willing to go this time, so it was just Ben and I this time. We were able to pack fairly light, and we were planning to camp at a camp ground above the cave anyway.
We had pretty good timing as far as the weather goes. We ran into a couple small showers on the way up, but that was all, it was a good dry night to camp. The ground was alittle wet, but nothing major, and we still found some dry wood around camp. We setup our tarp overhead as usual just in case it rained though.
Ben setup one of his 2 man tents under the tarp, as I gathered up some firewood for the night. It was actually fun for once gathering wood, as I had just purchased a new knife, and was excited to try it out. The knife is a Ranger RD9, with a 1/4″ thick blade that is 9 1/2″ long.
     The thick blade gives it a good weight for chopping power, yet it was still small enough to be alot easier to handle than a large machete. I didn’t chop anything real big, mostly 2″ diameter stuff, and de limbed most the branches. It worked especially well for the de limbing, the weight of the knife itself was enough to slice right through them. The blade is made of 5160 carbon steel that is heat treated. The edge head up Very well with the two days of use. Aside from the scuff marks, I couldn’t tell it had been used at all. So far I am very impressed with the knife overall. The knife had a bit of surface rust the next day when I got around to cleaning up all my gear.

     I took a dish scratch pad and some soft-scrub to it, and it cleaned up very well, with only a couple slight stains on it. I use a Tuf-Cloth on the blade to help protect it.

     A few months ago I purchased a large crate of Trioxane Fire Starter tablets that have proved to work really well. I brought a few along with us camping, and even went all out, and brought the propane torch. The Trioxane was used by the military as fire starters and food heaters, but were later discontinued do to the toxic fumes they emit. They burn with a very hot blue flame for about 8 minutes, so they are great for drying out damp woods. I used a few to start the campfire, and lit them up with the torch. Then used alittle gasoline to speed things along, its sort of become a tradition of ours.

     Here is a video of me lighting the fire.     bowden_camp_6-3-06.wmv
     By this time we were quite hungry and started preparing super. Which tonight, would consist of hotdogs. While preparing, we realized that we had forgot to bring a can opener. Quite pathetic isn’t it? So, being the resourceful person I am, I whipped out my trusty Benchmade Nimravus knife, and proceeded to hack open the cans of hot dog sauce. It wasn’t very easy, or pretty, but I got them open. The Nimravus didn’t suffer as much damage as I would have thought. The M2 tool steel help up very well, with only a few minor nicks in the edge, which were easily sharpened out.

    The rest of the night was pretty un-eventful, we sat around talking about where we wanted to go caving the next day, and what entrance we wanted to go in. Ben had been working long hours at work, and this was his first weekend off in quite a while. So he was very excited to get out and do something, too bad his body wasn’t as excited about the trip. A few minutes later I looked over to Ben, who had gotten awfully quiet. He was all but asleep, his head bobbing around as he tried to stay awake. I asked him what his problem was, if he was a bobble head doll. I got a very mumbled response as he tried to assure me that he was just fine. He got up to make a pot of coffee, and came back to his chair about 2 minutes later, with no coffee. I asked what happened to getting coffee? All I got was mumbles. He told me the next morning, that he knew better than to even attempt it, he got as far as getting the pot out, and knew it just wasn’t going to happen. I let him crash out in his chair as I sat tending to the fire for about another hour, before calling it a night, and crashing out also, as I was getting very tired also. But not before taking a couple classic photos. Ben’s gonna hate me for this one.

     The next morning we got up, grabbed a bite to eat, and packed up camp. The cave was only about a 15 minute drive away, so we were able to get a early start.