Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: river camping

Drawback to Remote Primitive Camping Sites

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One of the major drawbacks to remote primitive camping sites, you never know what idiot you are going to end up next to.

November 24, 2012 a buddy of mine and I headed out to the Angelina river close to Jasper Texas to do some camping. These are primitive camping sites that are only available by boat.

We arrived at the camping site, set the tents up, then headed out to the river to do some fishing. Just before the juglines were set out, I got a call on my phone saying my son-in-law and his hunting buddies caught a hog in the river bottom. The dogs had chased the hog a long way from the boat, and they needed some help. But that is another story.

After helping my son-in-law and his hunting party pack the hog back to the boat, my buddy and I headed back to our camping site.

By the time we got back to the camping site we only had about one hour of light left. We broke out the camp stoves, cooked a quick meal of Mountain House freeze dried foods, then started the camp fire.

Shooting – The whole time my buddy and I were cooking dinner, and starting the camp fire, the group in the next camping site over were shooting their guns. After the sun went down and the last glimpses of light faded away, the people kept shooting their rifles.

Gun safety – trigger disciple, muzzle disciple, target disciple.

How the hell are you supposed to have target disciple when you are shooting into pitch black darkness?

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Loadout for river camping trip

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As the river trip inches closer, its time to start thinking about the loadout I want to bring. There are going to be 4 people spread out over 2 boats. Due to the distance we are traveling, over 10 miles, weight is going to be a factor. The heavier the boats are loaded down, the worse the gas mileage.

This is going to be a warm weather trip, so the heavy sleeping bag can be left at home. There will be no need for coats, gloves, cold weather head gear, cold weather boots,,, nothing like that.

For this river camping trip I am going to try to keep the gear down to a minimum. Not a “bare” minimum, just not carry a lot of excess gear.

Medium or Large Alice Pack – if you want to limit the amount of gear you can carry, start with the pack. The larger the pack, the more likely you are to take stuff you may not need.

For the past couple of river camping trips I have brought my large Molle pack. For this river trip I am going to go back to basics with the Alice pack.

When packing my gear I am going to start out with the Medium Alice pack.  If I run out of room I will grab the Large Alice pack.

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Firearm for a river camping trip

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AK-47 AR-15 Survival RiflesA buddy of mine and I are planning a 100+ mile 3 – 4 day river camping trip. On this trip we will be going into some pretty remote areas. After we put our boats in the river, there are no boat launches for probably 50+ miles. The location is East Texas on the Sabine river.

I would like to bring either a rifle or shotgun for personal protection. Black bears are known to be in the area where we are going, as well as everything from coyotes to wild hogs.

I am more concerned about running into a rabid raccoon, then having problems with a black bear, but you never know.

The options are:

AR15
AK47
Mossberg 590
Ruger 10/22

My first choice is the Ruger 10/22. Its lightweight, ammo is easy to carry and the 22 has a low report.

My second choice is either the Mossberg 590 or AK-47.

The mossberg loaded with slugs or buckshot is capable to taking down anything in this part of Texas.  I mounted a Surefire light on the Mossberg 590 last night.  In a marshy area, having a weapon with a light on it sure could come in handy.

The thing with the AK, its reliable. I dont think I have to worry about the AK getting muddy and not working.  At this time I do not have a light mounted on the AK, but I am working on it.

My third choice is the AR-15. The 223 is loud, and I am not sure how the 223 would work on black bear if one where to enter our camp site.  I have some parts ordered to mount a light on the AR.  It should be ready in plenty of time for the trip.

I am not “that” concerned about black bears, but I think they should be taken into consideration.

If I wanted a weapon with a light, the choices would be either the Mossberg 590 or the AR15.

Pistols:

I thought about bringing a pistol, but some law enforcement people get pissy when you have a pistol.

Post your comments in this forum thread about taking a firearm on a river camping trip.  There is a poll in that forum thread.  If you do not want to post any comments, at the very least log-in and place your vote.

 

River trip part 4

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This update was supposed to be in 2 parts. The first part was supposed to be doing some maintenance to the boat, such as fixing some broken rivets. The second part was supposed to be taking the boat out on the river to make sure is running ok, and to to use a GPS to see how fast the boat can travel down the river.

Well, the boat never made it to the river.

Broken boat rivetThe front of the boat has a deck that is held in place with rivets. Over the years of walking on the deck the rivets have slowly pulled lose or broken.

Replacing the rivets

Use a drill bit the size of the rivet, drill through the middle of the rivet, the head should come loose.

Use a punch or drift pen to drive out the middle of the rivet.

If the rivet does not want to drive out, use the drill to drill it out.

Insert new rivet into the hole.

Use a rivet gun to secure the rivet.

Fixing boat rivetsIn all, 25 rivets were replaced, which took about an hour.

If you are wondering what that stuff is on the deck of the boat, that is boat carpet that has rotted and fallen off. I need to take a scarper to remove the last bit of the carpet. My son suggested taking the boat to a car wash, then using the high pressure setting to wash the rest of the carpet off.

I thought about getting a stainless steel wire wheel for my grinder to buff the last parts of the carpet off.  But then again, a paint scraper might work just as good.

Why the boat did not make it to the river

The lower unit is leaking oil.

Evinrude leaking oil from lower unitBefore the boat was taken on the upcoming 100+ mile river camping trip, I wanted to put in the shop for some preventive maintenance.  The water pump impeller had never been changed, the spark plugs needed to be replaced and I wanted the oil in the lower unit replaced.

While the boat was in the shop, the mechanic discovered the power pack was going bad.  This might have explained why the motor had been difficult to start.  After talking with the mechanic on the phone, I gave the go ahead to replace whatever needed to be replaced.

When I got the boat back, the motor would not even idle.  I also noticed there was some oil on the ground below the motor.  I did not think anything about the oil, I thought it was residue from the mechanic cleaning the motor.

After a closer look, it appears the oil is leaking from a water vent hole.

Edit

At first I thought something was wrong with the motor, but after talking with my dad and several internet searches it seems that its just un-burned oil in the gas.  My dad suggested that I take the fill screw out of the skeg, check the oil for water, and go from there.

My wife and I are planning on taking the boat out on the river today. While we are out I plan on getting a fresh can of gas, mix in some oil and go from there.

Forum thread on Evinrude 30 horsepower leaking oil.

Other sections to this article:

River trip part 1
River trip part 2
River trip part 3

This series of articles is in preps of a 100+ mile river / camping trip down the Sabine river.  My buddies and I are planning on launching the boats around Bon Weir Texas, and ending up in Bridge City.

River trip part 3

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Evinrude 30 Horsepower Angelina River TexasWhen planning a trip like a 100+ mile river / camping trip, its important to test your gear. Part of the testing phase is making sure your boat is in good running order. The purpose of todays trip was to test the boat to make sure it was in good running order.

A few weeks ago I put the boat in for repairs. During a recent camping trip a bolt fell out of the gear shifting lever, the water pump impeller has never been changed, and the spark plugs were looking a little old, the oil in the lower unit had never been changed and there was a short in the starter button.

Trip to the shop

I brought the boat to a local boat repair place. the service guy was told what I wanted, I even had him go out to the boat and take a look at something I wanted fixed.

When I got the boat back, not was it running worse then before it went in the shop, but some of the parts I wanted fixed were still on the boat. I especially told the guy I wanted a part replaced. Since it was not replaced, I guess what I said was not important enough for him to listen to me.

While I was talking to the guy about what all I wanted done to the boat, I specifically told him some of my buddies and I were planning a 100 boat trip down the Sabine river.  The plan is to out in at Bon Weir where HWY 190 crosses the Sabine river, and go all the way to Bridge City.  I hoped the service guy would take what I told him about the river trip I had planned, and with that information make absolutely sure the boat was in running order before I got it back.

Before the boat was taken out to the river for a test run, the water hose was connected to the motor, the motor was cranked and let run for a few minutes.  The motor seemed to be running a little rough.  I did not think anything about it.

The trailer was hooked up to my truck, and off to the boat launch my step son and I went.

Once in the water, the motor cranked up fine, but seemed to idle a little rough.

I back the boat out to the main river channel, then gently throttled the motor.  As soon as the boat started to plane out, I knew something was wrong.  At maximum throttle, the boat would drop RPMs.  On top of acting a little sluggish, the motor does not sound right.  Its difficult to describe, but something just does not sound right.

Spare parts

While talking to a buddy of mine a few days ago, I need to pick up some spare parts for the trip.

Some of the spare parts I may need to bring:

Spare fuel line
Duct tape
Electrical tape
Fuses for the light system
Pliers
Screw drivers

One thing that will shut down a boat motor quick, and that is a broken fuel line. The fuel line on my boat is getting close to 3 years old. It would be pretty bad if the fuel line ruptured while on the trip.

Other sections to this article:

River trip part 1
River trip part 2
River trip part 4

River trip part 2

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Toledo Bend DamFor those of you that have not read River Trip Part 1, please do so.  After talking to my buddy about the boat launches I went and looked at on my first trip, he sent me an email with what was supposed to be a boat launch just south of the dam on Toledo Bend dam.

The plan for Sunday was for my wife and I to make a trip to Toledo Bend dam.  There are two roads on each side of the river on the south side of the dam where the Sabine river starts.  The goal is to see if there a feasible boat launch.

What I found on the trip on each side of the river were steep banks, and no real boat launch.  There is a place where a pipeline crosses the river.  On the Texas side of the river, it looks like bags of cement were placed on the bank to stop erosion.  The bank is so steep that it would be dangerous to carry a boat and boat down the bank.

Comparing the banks at the Toledo Bend dam to the other boat launches:

From my house, its plus or minus a few miles, its 50 miles from my house to the dam at Toledo Bend

The banks dam are very, very steep.  I would consider the banks so steep that it would be unsafe to a boat and motor down the bank.

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River Trip Part 1

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Sabine RiverFor around 14 years or so, a couple of my buddies and I have been talking about making a river trip from the northern part of the Sabine river, all the way to the Orange / Bridge city area.   If everything goes according to plan, we will be making the trip sometime in 2012.  The trip is currently in the planning phase – we talking about what boats we want to bring, where we are going to launch the boats at, who is going to be going on the trip,,, just stuff like that.

There are two boat launches in the Bon Wier Texas / Merryville Louisiana area that we are looking at using.  On Sunday January 15, 2012 my wife and I made a trip to the boat launches to see if it was feasible to launch at either one.

Sunday morning started off bright and when my wife and I crawled out of bed around 8:45am.  After getting our shower and having some breakfast, it was finally time to get one the road.  We stopped at a local corner store to picked up some snacks, bought a sunday paper for the coupons, then it was to wal-mart to get some gas.  If you use the wal-mart gift card, you save 3 cents a gallon on gasoline.  A few days before hand, my wife put $40 on a gift card.  When we stopped at the super wal-mart in Jasper I put the whole $40 in my truck.

After gassing up, and getting some snacks, it was finally time to get on the road.  My wife and I left Jasper heading west on HWY 190 towards Newton.  At Newton, we passed over HWY 87, then turned south on HWY 190.

HWY 190 south of Newton is a nice country drive, and a scenic drive.  There is very little out there, besides trees and the occasional house.

The plan was to look at the boat launch at Bon Wier where where 190 crosses into Louisiana  first, then go to the launch at Merryville.

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3 day fishing camping trip

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Testing bug out plansDuring a long term SHTF / teotwawki survival situation, fishing will be an important way to gather food. One of the goals of this fishing / camping trip is to practice our SHTF / teotwawki fishing skills. another goal of this trip is to make observations about issues that people might run into.

There are a lot of people out there who plan on bugging out to the wilderness after the food and water run out at their home. Part of the SHTF survival plans are along the lines of “when we run out of food, we will have to go to the food”. This usually includes grabbing the bug out bag and bug out to a wilderness location where they survival can hunt, fish and gather wild foods.

One issue, the person rarely gets past the planning phase. In order to have a balanced SHTF / teotwawki survival plan, people should also test those plans. The only way to test the plans is to get away from the computer and do something. Being an armchair survivalist is not enough. Make your plans, test your plans, analyze the results from the test, make improvements on those observations.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas), for Christmas I bought two of my sons a Coleman sleeping bag each, a sleeping pad, and a fleece sleeping bag.  They needed a sleeping bag for our upcoming camping trip, so why not give them a sleeping bag for Christmas.

Monday, December 26th was gear load out day. I spent just about all day going over my pack, going over the boat, making sure the lights on the boat worked, hooked the boat trailer to the truck, organizing my food bag,,, just getting everything ready to go.

For Christmas my mom and dad gave me an Optimus Terra Solo.  My personal belief is that you test your gear before you take it on a trip.  To test my new Terra Solo, I setup my single burner Coleman stove on the stove in my kitchen.  Then I cooked myself a serving of noodles, just like I would on a camping trip.

The noodles I made for catfishing along with my tacklebox were rounded up.

All of the gear was put in the living room next to the front door so it could be loaded in the truck and boat the following morning.

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Camping trip load out

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Water bottle, Vargo stove and MSR potTo get ready for an upcoming camping trip I decided to do a load out list. List like this help you see what your pack contains, and hopefully spot missing items.

For those of you looking at this list and wondering how I am going to pack off of this gear, the easy answer is “I am not going to pack it”.  The camping trip is going to be on the banks of the Angelina River.  This means the boat is going to be carrying the gear for me; all I have to do is load the boat up and go.

Pack – Large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system, 2 sustainment pouches on the MOLLE pack.  I was going to take my large ALICE pack, but my sleeping bag, food, fleece liner and poncho liner filled up the pack.  This means I am having to store a lot of my gear in the sustainment pouches on the MOLLE.

Tent – Wenzel Lone Tree Hiker Tent, this item is hit and miss and might be difficult to find

Tarp – 6×8 foot for tent ground cloth.

Sleeping bag – Coleman Exponent Tasman X 32-Degree Hybrid Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bag liner – GI poncho liner and fleece sleeping bag

Sleeping pad – Coleman Max

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3 day camping trip on the Angelina River

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Camping on the Angelina RiverIt all started several months ago when I was telling my buddy about the undeveloped / primitive camping spots on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas.  Years ago we used to go camping along the bayous and marshes around Bridge City and Orangefield, Texas.  But we have not done that in several years.  So after talking for a little bit, we decided to take a camping trip on the Angelina River.

Back in early November, a date of November 29 – December 1 was picked.  The permit was submitted and the site was reserved.

November 26, 2010 – my daughter and I took the boat out – to make sure that it would run ok for the camping trip, and to check on the site my buddy and I were going to be using.  The site we had reserved was occupied on November 26th so my daughter and I could not stop and take a look at it.  So we just turned around, and headed back home.  The boat ran fine, so there were no worries there.

November 28, 2010 – my wife and I drop my kids off at my moms house where my ex-wife will pick them up.  From there, my wife and I head over to my buddies house, visit for a little while, then he rides back to my house with my wife and I.  Instead of him making the drive to my house Monday, we just picked him up on the way back home.

I spent the evening of Sunday, November 28 going through my gear, getting my large MOLLE pack together, rounding up some MREs and Mountain House Meals, charging AA batteries for the camera and flashlight, charging D batteries from my Maglight, dug the tent out,,,,,,,,,,,.

At 9:00 pm central time, The Walking Dead comes in AMC.  So I take a break from getting my gear ready to watch a little TV.

After watching The Walking Dead, I played a little Left 4 Dead 2 and went to bed around 10:30pm.

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Camping on the Angelina river

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For those you in Southeast Texas that are looking for a little adventure, the Army Corp of Engineers has something you might want to look into. And that is a series of primitive camping spots set up along the Angelina and Neches rivers.

The Corp calls these camping spots “Primitive Campsites” and here is a list from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website. As of July 18, 2010, these is no fee to use these sites, and they have to be reserved. To reserve the site, you just fill out a form, fax mail or hand deliver it to the Town Bluff Project Office (phone number 409-429-3491) and they will give you a permit to use the spot. These primitive camping spots are reserved on a first com first served basis – so do not wait until the last minute to reserve the spot you want.

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