HAE in the Carabassett Valley

map9     Last year (2006) was the first time in over twenty years the Half Ass Expedition crew missed a winter hike. They planned to make up for it this year with an epic 6 day winter expedition. After a late start and the standard drive through the rain and snow of Maine, the Team is on the Carabou Pond Road ready to hike. Now in the 20s, the weather promises snow and extreme cold temps. This year’s rare 5 man expedition features both Marcus and Rexx as well as Vincentoli, McAnus and Timur . After a short drive up the trail in the back of Marcus’ pickup, the team is night hiking, gear sleds in tow.

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That’s right, a gear sled for each of us, specially modified from ten dollar plastic kid ‘boggins in accordance with Half Ass Expeditions’ new “we’re getting old and this heavy backpack crap is gettin’ old, too” style of hiking. Just in time ‘cuz the team also added a new shelter to the base camp system. The Oware 4 man tent/tarp combined with the classic Bigtop made for some colorful and spacious wilderness accomodations. Other innovations introduced during this trip were the wood board “tent tables” under the center poles, two types of folding, lightweight camp seats, McAnus’ stove mod, and Vincentoli’s latest foam creation, Bigelow Boots version 2.0.

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Someone left Maine on overnight and 12 inches of snow coated the ground when the Team woke the first morning with a total of 18 inches throughout the day. Then the subzero temps hit. The yellow snow was close to the shelters the next two nights as the temps plummeted past 20 below and Vincentoli’s thermometer was toast! Water froze faster than you can say “Hey Rexx, where’s that “Andromeda” bag of yours?” The extreme cold was a real test of their sleep systems’ temperature range!

HAE Team in Maine.

Vincentoli’s map reading skills were far from perfect and Timur was no help. Long battles over their current position were pointless as the crew was completely lost! Attemps to find the Appalachian Trail failed and the only success was discovering their actual location after snowshoing in every direction like lunatics.

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Truly an epic trip in the Maine wilderness: 5 nights and 6 days getting tested by some classic New England weather. The Half Ass Expeditions crew was now 5 strong with the induction of Rexx as an official HAE Guide. Vincentoli took home the “Golden Gomer” award for multiple “unsurvival” moments including losing an expensive ham radio, pointing South and calling it North, and spilling hot cocoa on himself.

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With the addition of the HAE Sled system, this trip will forever be remembered as the start of a new era in Half Ass Expedition winter camping history.

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