Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Definitions: Wool

(1) Wool is animal hair made into fabric, and then worn by humans, who have no decent fur of their own, but who think being fuzzy every now and then is still a pretty nifty idea.

(2) Wool is also hair fibers, including those of the Cashmere or Angora goat, the specialty hair of the camel, alpaca, llama, vicuña, Patagonian hairy lizard-rat, sheep-dog, bushy squirrel, kinky-maned wart hog, or Shetland carrot (for vegans).

The process of converting wool (the fuzzy stuff) into wool (the same fuzzy stuff but with sleeves) is like this:

First it is removed, or liberated from the animal, preferably when said animal is preoccupied with something else like eating, watching TV, or playing checkers, and is thus less likely to bite.

This first-stage result is called fleece.

The next step is to remove foreign matter like dirt, bug parts, dead skin, feces, sweat residue, extraneous vegetable matter and such-like from the fleece through a process called scouring. (Sounds kinda painful though, don't it?)

So anyway, after that the fleece is washed, and the washwater is shunted over to the company cafeteria where they make a nutritious soup from it. (And cheap too. Nutritious and cheap, and sometimes a little stinky.)

The fleece or wool (as we should now call it) is then carded (combed), spun (twisted), and ends up as yarn. (Which is another story in itself, with its own thread, which could be why they call it yarn. Maybe!)

After all that they put the yarn into two equal piles, and bring in a dog to bark at one pile (which becomes the woof), and the other half is slammed in a door to make it slightly bent. (This is the warp, eh?)

Following this step the woof and warp are combined by a complicated, clickety-clackety, dangerous looking device called a loom to make fabric (finally), which is where cloth comes from. (No, the stork did not bring it. Grow up once.)

(3) Wool is a fuzzy fabric, much favored by hikers, that when you put it on makes you feel like a normal animal again, with a pelt and all. Unless you are wearing the vegan version, in which case you feel more like a Scottish carrot salad. (And are advised to avoid areas known to be rabbit-infested.)

How it's done: Pringle of Scotland Animation by David Shrigley.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fresh, May 21

PetaPixel Breathtaking Timelapse of the Grand Canyon Captures Full Cloud Inversion.  Shot as part of the SKYGLOW Project in collaboration with the International Dark-Sky Association.  Visit site  ▷

The Adirondack Almanack Porcupines And Their Need For Salt.  Wooden axe handles and canoe paddles that have been left lying on the ground are both known targets of this rodent.  Visit site  ▷

The Trek Porcupines, Cookies, and Other Unexpected Adventures.  The mountains — and more unexpected adventures — await, I'm sure of that.  Visit site  ▷

40 years of walking The Bivy Condensation Conundrum.  The worst offenders are the polyurethane membrane/WPB materials that are only vapor permeable.  Visit site  ▷

The Adirondack Almanack Don't Go Out Without A Net: It's Black-fly Season in the Adirondacks.  From Mother's Day to Father's Day. That's when the mosquitoes take over, then the deerflies and the no-see-ums.  Visit site  ▷

The GearCaster Bots Are Stealing Your Campsites And Permits.  The folks at KQED uncovered the prevalent use of bots to book campsites throughout California's park system.  Visit site  ▷

The Atlantic A Creationist Sues the Grand Canyon for Religious Discrimination.  Creationists have a bit of an obsession with the Grand Canyon.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal When a River Trip Ends in Tragedy.  Here we were, trapped in a canyon, and yet also caught between some of the West's other competing activities, things like farming and irrigation.  Visit site  ▷

Martha's Vineyard Times Visiting physician sheds new light on Lyme disease.  Sudden-onset dementia should really be a red flag for Lyme disease.  Visit site  ▷

Atlas Obscura Ol Doinyo Lengai — Arusha, Tanzania.  This rare volcano spews the strangest and coolest lava in the world.  Visit site  ▷

The Trek Unstoppable.  I tried to give up 4 times today but that voice is getting quieter. 110 down and only 2540 miles to go.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal The Guy Who Captures Seemingly Impossible Photos.  A lot of times it is just about being at the right location at the right time.  Visit site  ▷

The Summit Register Water Treatment 101: Viruses.  Even as a traveler in the backcountry you must be observant of your surroundings.  Visit site  ▷

Lotsafreshair How to make a Buff from an old t-shirt.  Are you ready to get your crafty side on?  Visit site  ▷

Mile Hike Guys How to sew a DIY Backpack part 3.  Patterns and sewing.  Visit site  ▷

Men's Journal The 25 Best Adventure Photos of the Past 25 Years.  Nailing the shot might not be the same as reaching the summit, but these photos prove it's a feat worthy of its own accolades.  Visit site  ▷

Outside Online The 40-Year-Old Scientist Who Dropped Everything to Hike the Appalachian Trail.  Who she'll be when she finishes, she isn't sure.  Visit site  ▷

Outside Online Meet the Octogenarian Who's Going to Break the Appalachian Trail Age Record.  He knows that a routine fall that wouldn't be an issue for another hiker might end his record attempt.  Visit site  ▷

BBC How army rations helped change food.  When soldiers go into the field, they carry with them tiny miracles of engineering military meals.  Visit site  ▷

The Ultralight Hiker Ultralight Ultra-Sharp Knives.  3 Grams.  Visit site  ▷

Expert Vagabond Packing & Planning For The Arctic Circle Trail.  Here are some useful tips based on my Greenland adventure in August 2015.  Visit site  ▷ Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail.  Explore and connect with nature on this 160 km backcountry trail between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut.  Visit site  ▷

GQ The Last American Man.  Eustace Conway is not like any man you know. He's got perfect vision, perfect balance, perfect reflexes, and travels through life with perfect equanimity.  Visit site  ▷

GQ The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit.  For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal.  Visit site  ▷

— Links to external images are removed after one week. —

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Definitions: Post Exercise Chill

(1) Death. The state of being dead. Deadness. Deathablement. Extended deathiness closely following any exercise, like breathing, for example, or just getting out of bed. (It happens.) Death can be brought on by many causes but the most common is dying.

(2) A side-effect of cotton clothing. You know how it is when you're huffing along and sweating all over, and basically generating clouds of steam because you're so stoked? And then you stop, and in a few minutes, because your clothes really are all wet, and you aren't generating those 1800 kilowatts of energy any more, you get cold, and then you almost croak from hypothermia? Well, that's post exercise chill. Either that or you really are dead, and that wasn't exercise you were doing, just some residual twitching. That happens too. Remain alert for the telltale signs.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Fresh, May 14

APOD: 2017 May 9 Big Dipper Above and Below Chilean Volcanoes.  Do you see it?  Visit site  ▷

Trail Recipes Launching New Online Backpacking Meal Planner.  We launched a new online tool that will help you create backpacking menu in just a few clicks.  Visit site  ▷

Section Hikers Backpacking Blog Top 20 Backpacker Recommended Backpacking Stoves 2017.  What are the most popular backpacking stoves that backpackers really use? What backpacking stove fuel types are most common? How many stoves do backpackers typically own?  Visit site  ▷

Cool Tools Kuda Outdoors Self Inflating Travel Pillow; When I woke up the in the middle of the night, I thought I had lost it. But there it was, on the bed, holding my head at just the right height.  Visit site  ▷

ScienceAlert North Dakota has experienced more than 700 oil spills in the past year alone.  If you averaged out all the oil spills in the state, you'd have one every 11 hours and 45 minutes. And the Dakota Access Pipeline opens this week.  Visit site  ▷

Sprinkles Hikes Black Toenails - A Rite of Passage... or is it?!  Borderline horrifying.  Visit site  ▷

Stick's Blog First Look at My 2017 Zpacks Arc Haul Gridstop Backpack.  The sad thing is, it will be several months before I get to take it out on its first real around Thanksgiving time!  Visit site  ▷

Michael Snyder Breaking In Your ULA Backpack.  How to properly break in your backpack.  Visit site  ▷

Behance West I.  Cody Cobb.  Visit site  ▷

Public Delivery The border wall as you've never seen (and heard) it.  Photographer Richard Misrach and sculptor Guillermo Galindo, a joined forces to come up with Border Cantos, an art project accompanied by its own special sound and music.  Visit site  ▷

Faith Is Torment Papercut Art of Endangered Animals by Patrick Cabral.  The works are being auctioned off through Acts of Kindness of which 50% of the proceeds will go towards the World Wide Fund in the Philippines.  Visit site  ▷

PetaPixel Helmet Cam Captures Crazy Footage of Bear Chasing Mountain Bikers.  It's been a rough week for people on bikes.  Visit site  ▷

The Unconventionalist How to Succeed as an Adventure Storyteller.  Don't count on motivation, count on discipline.  Visit site  ▷

The Atlantic Scenes From Xinjiang.  Sharing a border with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, and Tajikistan.  Visit site  ▷

The GearCaster Design Your Own Trail Running Shoes With Salomon.  [They] require just 30 mechanical and manual operations to build, compared to 180 using normal production methods.   Visit site  ▷

The Trek 24 Insane Thru-Hike Transformation Photos.  You're going to undergo some sort of physical transformation.  Visit site  ▷

The Ultralight Hiker Dude I want that.  If you have become jaded by the offerings of your local outdoors store, check out some of these products.  Visit site  ▷

Deuter Blog USA Packing A Backpack.  Leave the superfluous at home!  Visit site  ▷

The Great Plains Trail About the Great Plains Trail.  The trail will allow for hiking, horseback riding, and in most areas, mountain biking.  Visit site  ▷

— Links to external images are removed after one week. —

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Definitions: Carn

Alternate Scot-speak for "cairn".

If you're Scots you can't leave well enough alone, or you simply want to be left alone, so you invent your own word and then build a pile of stones and hide behind it, daring anyone to come by and bug you.

If they do, after all that, you can bury them in a hail of rocks (which you now have an ample supply of, since you have thoughtfully prepared against just such an eventuality).

This gives the whole concept of "prickly" a new meaning.

So a carn is either a pile of stones to show the way, a supply of stones laid in against busybodies, or a tomb marking the last known location of a busybody, now only a body and no longer quite so busy.

This might also explain why the Scots' national flower is the thistle.

Kinda fits, don't it?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fresh, May 7

personal message The Mountain.  Friday, May 5, 2017  Visit site  ▷ National Park Maps.  Just free maps, period.  Visit site  ▷

The Trek Your socks are your best friends. Know how to care for and feed them.  Some years ago the Germans did away with socks, and kept the soldiers' feet well greased. That this plan had its disadvantages is proved by the fact that the Germans are provided with socks at the present time.  Visit site  ▷

The Adirondack Almanack Research Finds Increased Infected Ticks in Adirondacks.  Nearly half of the adult blacklegged ticks, and a quarter of the nymphs collected in North Country counties tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.  Visit site  ▷

Future Travel The Unbearable Lightness of Being (in 26C).  Eventually all airlines will be like Aeroflot. Anyone who ever used the bathroom on a CRJ-200 would agree that it feels like it was designed by an indifferent Soviet engineer.  Visit site  ▷

Rambling Hemlock Gaining a search image.  Spring transformations are happening. And I'm hiking with a naturalist with years of experience in this area. Nothing is dull anymore.  Visit site  ▷

Rambling Hemlock La Sal Ramblings.  Maybe I will get another job here next season. I sent in my application last week. But who knows what will happen.  Visit site  ▷

GORE-TEX Blog Safety Tips for Hiking in Bear Country.  Here's how to avoid an encounter, identify different species, protect your camp, and even survive an attack.  Visit site  ▷

The Morning News El Lobo Returns Home.  When the eleven crates were finally opened, the wolf family sprang out into the wilderness and freedom — fulfilling their long journey and giving hope for wolf recovery around the world.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal The 61-Year Old Shepherd Who Shuffled His Way to an Unlikely Ultra Win.  If you don't wear out, you rust out, and you rust out quicker than you wear out.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal There's Just One Square Inch of Silence Left in the U.S.  Even in vast wilderness areas, silence, free from the clamor of humankind, was nearly impossible to find.  Visit site  ▷

Section Hikers Backpacking Blog ULA Catalyst Backpack Review.  The ULA Catalyst is one of the largest sub-three pound ultralight style backpacks that you can buy with 75 Liters of carrying capacity.  Visit site  ▷

Atlas Obscura A New Look at the Little-Known Pyramids of Ancient Nubia.  More than 200 pyramids mark the tombs of royalty of the Kingdom of Kush.  Visit site  ▷

HikeLighter.Com Zpacks 'Solplex' Flex Tent (free standing) Upgrade.  It currently sits at the #3 spot on my Lightest Fully Enclosed Solo Shelters Comparison chart, which is crazy impressive.  Visit site  ▷

Liz Thomas Tips to keeping feet happy while snow hiking.  Here's why I think it works.  Visit site  ▷

LightHeart Gear LightHeart Gear Hikes Coast2Coast Sweden.  This route will take Judy through a gorgeous area of Sweden and she will spend a few days along the famous Halland Trail.  Visit site  ▷

Backpacker Modern Man Vs. Mad Dog.  Does gear, or the lack of it, make or break an adventure? More to the point, does it matter at all? [1998]  Visit site  ▷

Section Hikers Backpacking Blog How to Bend Backpack Frame Stays.  One of the biggest benefits of a backpack with frame stays is that you can bend them to create a personalized fit.  Visit site  ▷

Into Cascadia Review: Hanchor Marl 42L Pack.  Hanchor sews packs better than any North American ones I've used.  Visit site  ▷

Climbing Nutrition An In-Depth Look at Energy Metabolism.  The better someone understands the basic science about a topic, the less likely they are to have pseudoscientific beliefs on it.  Visit site  ▷

The Salt Lake Tribune Op-ed: What Bears Ears is really like.  I know what it feels like to walk up these canyons and explore the world of The Ancient Ones.  Visit site  ▷

ColoradoHiking Conquer the Rain.  How to Stay Comfortable Backpacking in Bad Weather.  Visit site  ▷

Portland Monthly Hiking 350 Miles on the Oregon Desert Trail.  The ODT is not, Patrick cautions, for the casual backpacker.  Visit site  ▷

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Six Long Distance Hiking Tips: It's Not Just About the Gear.  To help you build your own ultralight philosophy and methodology.  Visit site  ▷

— Links to external images are removed after one week. —