Bronze's Expedition Log

Expedition Log

Sutter’s Fort Mountain Man Traders Faire

April 19th, 2009

I spent the weekend in Sacramento where I attended the above event to acquire some missing elements of my equipage.  Purchased were the following items: Read the rest of this entry »

Pemmican Production

April 5th, 2009

After much pondering and lively debate (internal or otherwise) I produced a 12lb batch of pemmican this weekend.  The main contentious issue was storage.  Do I make individual portions wrapped in wax paper?  Do I put a day’s supply in tins?  Do I follow the plains Indian’s example and pour 2 weeks worth into a rawhide bag and seal it with melted fat or beeswax?  Yesterday I settled on a bit of a hybrid approach. Read the rest of this entry »

Storage Thoughts

March 15th, 2009

I picked up my panniers, as well as a sawbuck saddle, hobbles, manty, rope, scale and pack pad from Western Feed yesterday.  I was very pleased to see that the oversize panniers were indeed quite large and my previous concerns about volume have been allayed.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dried Beef Supplier

March 13th, 2009

I am extremely pleased to announce that I have just received a shipment of 60 lbs of jerky from Tillamook Country Smoker!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Halfway There

March 3rd, 2009

Well, I baked 8 more days worth of hardtack this weekend, bringing me half way past my projected need. It’s definitely satisfying to see that my tedious labor with rolling pin and mixer is yielding some results. The rations almost exactly fill a box that recently contained 5000 sheets of 8.5×11 copier paper. Now I just need to fill another!hardtack-box

I returned to work solo with Bootsie on Sunday. I pleased to say that it went a good as I could have hoped and I ended the day with a good deal of satisfaction and excitement. The training from Dee has already made a drastic difference in her responsiveness. It’s amazing how clearly the change can be perceived in even her body language. Whereas before she would walk alongside me–head up, ears perked–she now trails me with her head down, calm and surrendered to her role as the follower. She was very responsive to my speed and movement. Very impressive!

Now I have renewed desire to get out there and play with her! It was starting to feel like a chore just doing the body work around the yard. Of course that must continue too, but I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to take her out past her comfort zone and start working on her trust in me!

Hardtack Factory

February 22nd, 2009

I’ve got the process of making hardtack down to a pretty good science now. I made 8 rations this weekend, and 16 last weekend. 70 to go! I combine 4 cups of unbleached whole wheat flour with 1 tablespoon salt. I mix it together in the Kitchenaid with the dough hook, and slowly add water until it makes a dough–usually between 1.5 and 2 cups. There is usually a little unmixed dry flour in the bottom of the bowl but it’s quicker to just let it be than to try and mix it in with the dough.I knead the dough for about a minute and then cut it into 2 chunks. These are rolled out and cut into squares using a cooked piece of hardtack as a template. I poke a set of holes on each side with a fork and it’s ready to bake. Unfortunately my stove has two settings–off, or 550°–which is completely absurd. Thus I’m not sure exactly how long or at what temperature to cook it. I believe about 45 minutes at 350° should do it.

Three tools I recommend, which have made this job infinitely speedier and easier: a silicon rolling mat, a non stick rolling pin, a stainless steel dough scraper. When working on my car, fixing things around the house or undertaking a craft project, I find having the right tools for the job saves precious time and frustration. Baking is obviously no exception. (Unfortunately this is rarely the case for me, witness: the stove.)

Below you will find some photos of the process.




Above is 8 days worth of hardtack. About 2.5 pieces per day, yielding a nominal 400 calories. That is less than 10% of my projected caloric intake, but I figure it will be a welcome change of pace from the pemmican!

Provisioning Update

February 8th, 2009

I made 8 days worth of hardtack today, bringing my total rations to 43 days worth. To reach my goal of 140 rations I’ll need to make 6.4 cups of the stuff per week from now until June 1. Read the rest of this entry »

Bears and Hardtack pt II

February 1st, 2009

The week ends with moderate successes in the Mule Department. I returned Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and have been able to execute the bodywork without any real difficulty. Bootsie is very responsive in our walks around the property, navigating with ease the various obstacles I arrange for her. Read the rest of this entry »

Bears and Hardtack

January 31st, 2009

Researched permit requirements and bear canister requirements in my Wilderness Press guidebooks and on the PCTA site. For a nominal fee the PCTA will issue a blanket permit for any thru-hiker going more then 500 miles on the trail. I will need to get California Campfire Permit too, but these are free from any ranger station. Read the rest of this entry »