canada general hiking moosling trip reports

Ribbon Lake camping

Camping at Ribbon Lake was another cunning plan of Tanya’s, come to fruition while my mother was visiting.  A bunch of us had booked camping sites up at Ribbon Lake, and four families gathered in the parking lot to hike in together.

The Ribbon Creek bridge is much further away when you’re hiking instead of riding the High Rockies trail.

There were four kids along in our group hiking in. All good little hikers, but enjoying the stops to check out the river and throw rocks into them.

Our lunch stop was at the scenic circular waterfall.

After a break to feed the starving masses, we wandered up through the burnt trees, gradually chatting and get to know each other. We knew Tanya & Mark of course, but hadn’t met the other two families before.

Almost everyone was in photo approved colours though!

As we climbing up above the treeline, we found a patch of snow! This also had to be played with.

And then a boulder for the kids to play on…

Goofballs hamming it up on top of the boulder…

The way up and over South Buller Pass was still a little snow bound, but easy to hop across, especially when you weigh under 25kg.

I always seem to end up dragging Mum out into snow, no matter how hard she tries to come in the middle of summer when there can’t possibly be any snow.  She’s a very good sport about my attempts to drag her about on mad adventures though.

The final section of scree up to the pass was clear though, and there was some scrambling on the rocks instead of walking on the trail.

We didn’t hang out for too long at the pass – it was windy! But down below we could see Ribbon Lake. We started descending steeply.

More snow! We didn’t do much glissading, but it was tempting.

This part of the descent was a little spicy. There was a steeply angled strip of snow that led into the creek. A slip would have led to coldness, wetness and possible injury. We took it carefully.

No-one slid into the snowmelt creek though! And we were marching across the bridge and along the final stretch through the trees.

We set up at camp, finding some empty tent pads, and then the boy got another lesson on tying the laces on his new shoes.

We met up with the other family there, and started cooking dinner and playing games.

Then we sent the menfolk to go and wash the dishes in the cold cold lake so we could take photos of them.

Sitting around the campfire, we read stories, ate dinner, and played Catchphrase with a neat little electronic gadget someone had brought along.

I ended up in bed fairly early – I started off there trying to get the boy to sleep, but I think I fell asleep before him.

The next morning the kids were up building forts out of the campfire wood collection – or really, just inhabiting the forts that had already been built.

Meanwhile the smaller kids brought in an engineering consult as they tried to construct a smaller house out of wood. The big bad wolf would have had them in no time.

Then it was time to say goodbye. Three families were headed onwards, to descend the chains below Ribbon Lake, pick up cars and start a lengthy car shuttle. We were headed over North Buller Pass, and another crew were headed over South Buller Pass. But no matter where we were all going, we could rest safely in the knowledge that we were all so lovely and brightly coloured that we were sure to scare off any predators that were trying to eat us.

Another fun camping weekend! And it didn’t rain that much, woo!

Distance in to Ribbon Lake via South Buller Pass: 10.5km
Elevation gain: 630m

craft general

Down Quilt Recipe

First of all, my supplies were ordered from Thru Hiker, and I used the tutorials here and here to make my quilt.

The finished quilt

Decide on a quilt size and design
We went with 201cm x 188cm (79 x 74″), tapering to 127cm (50″) wide at the bottom. When deciding on quilt size, remember that there’s about a couple of inches of shrinkage between the nice flat fabric measured out on the floor, to the poofy and crinkly finished quilt.

Most people seem to make footboxes. Neither of us wanted a footbox, but thought that it would be easy enough to retro-add a footbox later if necessary.

The quilt fabric comes on bolts that are about 60″ wide – if you’re going super light, that can be a two person quilt. We’ve spent enough time in tents together to know we don’t want to be forced to always snuggle. As a result we needed twice as much fabric, and to join the fabric to make it wide enough.

We didn’t add draft excluders, but may add them later too. They’d just be flaps of fabric that could be tucked under the thermarest at the edges, adding to coziness.

Baffle height/quilt warmth and how much down will we need?
Based on comfort ratings, I decided on 2.5″ high baffles, which should give a -7oC (20oF) rated quilt.

Down calculations used the formula:
Length x Width x Height = Approximate Volume (cubic Inches)

Divide the Approximate Volume by the fill power of down (900) to determine how many ounces of down you will need.

79″x74″x2.5″ = 14615
14615/900 = 16.2oz

As you have to order from Thru-Hiker in multiples of 3oz, we ordered 18oz, which gave as the recommended 10% extra of down. Although when it came down to it (hehe), we didn’t waste that much. That would be 1.8oz, over a quarter of one of the bags they sent me! Over $15 worth! If you lost that much down, your whole house would be coated in the stuff! I may have inhaled a feather or two, and a few got left behind, and there was that one I accidentally swallowed, but certainly nowhere near 10%.

5 yards 0.9 oz Momentum90-MR Fabric (60″ wide)
5 yards 1.1 oz Nylon Ripstop (60″ wide) (should have got the Momentum90 for this too)
3 yards Nanoseeumâ„¢ Netting (48″ wide)
18oz 900 Fill Power White Goose Down
100% polyester threads (no cotton!)
Sewing machine with a thin needle (I used a 70/10)

General dealing with fabrics
You can’t use pins on the fabrics (unless you enjoy the sport of hunting down that escapes out of all the nice holes you made for it), so it’s masking tape all the way. I allowed 2 inches for all seams, which gives you a good bit of wiggle room. It’s all very slippery. And the shiny side is the wrong side! Also, be alert to make sure you’re only sewing what you want to be sewing – I found the slippery fabrics had a tendency to try and sneak in underneath the foot and get sewn when they weren’t supposed to. Tins of food make handy fabric weights.

Preparing everything
I cut the fabric to the right length, then cut an extra bit to make up the extra width. These two were joined using a french seam.

This was done with the black and the orange fabric, then they were both trimmed to size, with two inch seam allowances.

Masking tape guidelines for the baffles were stuck to both. To make for easy division of our three bags of down, I went for 12 baffled zones, with 6″ between them up the top, and a few 6.5″ ones at the foot, where there was a lot of taper.

The netting was cut to size – it doesn’t hurt to make the baffles a little longer than you need them, just in case. Ours were cut 4″ high, so there would be a 3/4″ seam allowance on the top and bottom.

Sewing the baffles
I found it was just as easy not to try and tape these on beforehand. With the masking tape guidelines you know exactly where you need to sew them (I drew little arrows on the masking tape to make sure I was sewing on the right side, just in case). It’s easy enough to fold them in place as you go, and I found the netting tended to stretch out a little, so my taping was a bit useless anyway, as the extra netting would balloon up.

After sewing all the baffles to one side (I did colourful side first), it was actually easier than anticipated to start sewing them on to the second sheet. With the lines all marked out beforehand, it’s very easy to see where to sew, and you just have to keep the sheet you’re sewing things too rolled up between the foot and sewing machine (see diagram – I found it hard to picture this stage beforehand… the grey things are supposed to be baffles, the orange and black are my fabric layers, the orange with the baffles already sewn to it).

Because the material is so thin and light, the roll is tiny. As when sewing on the first side, you just have to make sure you don’t have any material trying to sneak in underneath and get sewn in the wrong place.

Sewing the edge seams
I did a single sew all the way around 3 of the edges (of course leaving one side open for down stuffing), with a 1cm or so hem. Then a double roll of the fabric, tape it a bit, and sew again, making a nice black trim. Corners I tried to tuck a bit of each side out of the way to make a neat intersection.

This is the fun part! After reading a few descriptions, I decided initially to try the wet down method. It sounded much easier. Until I actually tried to get down wet. After five minutes of effort got me less than 0.1oz of wet down (as soon as you put water near a clump, it goes pooof, and explodes the inner dry down everywhere), I decided cleaning up dry down couldn’t be worse than this, and opted for the dry method instead.

I went into our bathroom, using the traditional method of playing with the down in the bathtub. I thoroughly recommend vacuuming the room first.

The down was in three 6oz bags. I’d made sure I had 12 baffled regions (heh), so each bag had to be divided into four. I cut open the down bag, then pulled out handfuls of down and distributed it between the four shopping bags I had. Then the bags were balanced on the semi-accurate kitchen scales until each bag was approximately the same weight. Then take a bag, holding the top closed, insert it into the baffle top first. Push bag down to the end of the baffle (there was easily enough room in there for the bag and my skinny arms). Reach to end of bag, pull out handfuls of down. Move bag up a little. Repeat. Get as much of the down out into the bottom of the section as you can, then pull out the bag, shake all the loose down off it into the bathtub, grab those handfuls and try to convince them to go in the section and not stick to you and the baffle netting. Tape/clip section closed. Repeat another 11 times.

After getting most of the down in, I did a quick vacuum of the room with a bit of pantyhose over the end of the vacuum tube. The retrieved down went in one of the less stuffed sections. Then after re-taping the seam (to get rid of the down-covered bits of sticky tape) I took the whole thing upstairs (miraculously, with no loose down anywhere).

The final seam
It was easy enough to do a basic 1cm seam along the final edge, then roll over and sew to give a nice black trim for the final finish. I then did a double sew around the whole thing, just in case (be careful of the black fabric trying to sneak in from underneath and join the hem party, I accidentally sewed a little bit of it into our hem at one point, and now I don’t really want to unpick it, as it will leave some nice holes for the down to escape out of).

And you’re down! I mean done!

general hiking travel trip reports

albert river circuit

The overnight hike of the trip – the Albert River Circuit in Lamington National Park, from Green Mountain out to Echo Point and back.

Albert River was that way apparently. We followed the arrow, the sign seemed to know what it was talking about.


The walk goes past many waterfalls. Thanks to the drought (Brisbane is in Stage 5 water restrictions) most of them were not particularly vigorous about the whole falling thing. Trickle would have been more accurate.


The view from Echo Point, from the Lamington National Park up in Queensland, down to the hills of New South Wales. None of the photos could do it justice. Here Mt Warning is visible in the light of the setting sun – it was first to be lit up by the sunrise as well. To the left of it the Cape Byron lighthouse could be seen at night, and to the far left the Gold Coast was visible. And in the valley below us – lots of tiny little moving dots that were possibly cattle.


Our little dark rainforest campground, just by Echo Point



i for one…

I’m house-sitting at the moment, and feeding the cats that belong to the house. One of the cats is ignoring me, but the other welcomed me as its new overlord as soon as it realised I would be feeding it.

Meanwhile, back to the weekend adventuring – this was camp on Monday night. It’s on Mount Ramsay on Wilson’s Prom, the granite boulders are at the summit, and provided excellent dinner tables, as well as sun lounges.

climbing general trip reports

minions to carry the cowbells

A warm sunny weekend was spent at Arapiles, as we took out a heap of beginners to play on the rock, and come multi-pitching.

Nothing quite like sleeping outside in the Pines campground, watching satellites before you fall asleep, listening to the guys in the campsite next door talk about their epics on past climbs, and having possums run all over the campsite, and over you in your sleeping bag, as they hunt around for food. And then getting woken up by the rising moon, before falling asleep again, and getting woken by the sun the second time around.

Clear blue skies, and noone fell to their deaths while rapelling. Not a bad weekend.