Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What Now? Meat training for winter strength!


As everyone knows, backpacking season ends all too soon, and so begins another winter, the season of our discontent.

The sky grays, leaves fall, and the cold hand of winter advances toward our throats.

This is the off-season, the doorway to months of inaction. Though some make up for the lack of trail tromping by skiing or snowshoeing, it is not the same as actual, real, true backpacking.

Muscle tone fades, and joints lose their hard-won toughness. Bellies soften and enlarge.

What to do?

Well, how about strength training?

Well, with simple equipment you can make at home, it's easy to overcome winter's assault on your strength. If this sounds interesting, then here's how:

Prepare your equipment.


  • 1 sheep stomach, liver, heart, and tongue
  • 1/2 pound minced suet (227 g)
  • 3 medium onions, minced
  • 1/2 pound dry oats, toasted (227 g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (2.5 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground herbs (5 ml)

After soaking the sheep stomach overnight in salted water, boil the other sheep parts and mince them.

In a bowl, mix in the other ingredients, stuff the stomach with the mix, and tie it off.

If you are a cautious sort, puncture the stomach with a fork. This will prevent an explosion during cooking.

Place the stuffed stomach into a pot and boil for three hours, then remove it and allow it to cool and air dry.

Now you have a solid, thoroughly cooked, dry, and pleasantly rubbery Exercise Haggis, or Exer-Haggis as the strength training professionals call it.

Face it, you can walk all year, even if it's not really hiking. Your greatest problem in the off-season is loss of upper-body strength. Exer-Haggis is ideal for combating this.

Upward sausage press.

If you've properly prepared your Exer-Haggis, it should be as long as your arm, which makes it easy to hold.

Lie flat and face-up. Use a bench or the floor. Either works.

Start with your Exer-Haggis resting lightly on your forehead.

At this point some dripping can show up if you chose the puncturing option, but keeping an Exer-Haggis refrigerated a few days before use ought to coagulate it and forestall problems.

Firmly but gently grasping your Exer-Haggis, push it upward until your arms are fully extended.

Then slowly lower the Exer-Haggis until it again rests on your forehead.

Repeat until exhausted. If possible, do not drool. (I know, hard not to!)

Horsie goes a-prancing.

Start on the floor, face-down, with your Exer-Haggis resting in the small of your back, like a small cowboy on a friendly horse. (You.)

Push against floor with the flats of your hands until your body is raised and your arms are extended.

Slowly lower yourself back to the floor without letting your Exer-Haggis buddy fall off. The larger and heavier your Exer-Haggis, the more exercise you get.

Repeat until you can't stand it any more.

Around-town carry.

Put on your coat, and, while carrying your Exer-Haggis comfortably in the crook of your arm, walk around town, frequently shifting it from one arm to the other.

Do your shopping, go out for coffee, or visit friends. It's all good exercise.

This, of course, will tire you, which is fine. That is the point. It means that you needed a workout, and got one.

An especially nice thing about having an Exer-Haggis with you is that it is naturally curved like a meat-filled travel pillow.

If tired, find any convenient chair and recline with the Exer-Haggis behind your neck. After a few minutes of comfy power-napping you will be fully recharged and ready to continue your carry.

What's next?

Sadly, no Exer-Haggis lasts forever. Yours will finally wear out, and begin leaking. If you are lucky, or if you planned ahead, you have a pet, or children, and they aren't fussy about what they eat, especially if you lock them in a room for a day or two.

Just slice up your worn out Exer-Haggis and dish it out. Before very long you'll have space in your fridge for a new one.

And since the Exer-Haggis is made from things other people never eat, it's really cheap to make. Go ahead, make two while you're at it!

No pets? No children? No problem!

Relax. Here's what you do.

Just toss each worn out Exer-Haggis into the freezer. By the the time the freezer is full, backpacking season has almost returned again. And that means it's time for some leg work.

Empty the freezer, and hitch all your used (and still solidly frozen) Exer-Haggis to a line tied around your waist.

Then start walking. All that weight dragging behind you will give your legs a stiff workout. You'll be way ahead of your friends on your first backpacking trip.

When your collection of Exer-Haggis thaws or you become tired of all the dragging, cut them loose and leave them for forest critters. They need to eat too, so it's OK. Bio-degradable and all.

And then?

If you really get into it there is always Haggis hurling. And no, this is not part of the dining experience.

You throw haggis.

Or, if that part is not for you, you can be an official such as a Hagrarian, Clerk of the Heather, Peater, Barrel Master, Haggis Hooter, or Distance Referee.

You might even be so enchanted after a season with your Exer-Haggis that you give up backpacking and begin hurling full time.

It can happen.


Haggis Hurling, The Revival of a Traditional Scottish Sport
Glen Haggis
Lorne is haggis world record-breaker
Haggis gets a bashing from fakes
Address to a Haggis:

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his sturdy fist a blade,
He'll make it whistle;
And legs and arms, and heads will cut,
Like tops of thistle.
You Pow'rs, that make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare,
Old Scotland wants no watery ware
That slops in bowls:
But, if You wish her grateful prayer,
Give her a Haggis!



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Me? Wondering. Oh, OK — Haggis. It's what's for dinner.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Anything Happening Out There? 15 JUN 19

Ars Technica Hawaii warns tourists of parasitic worm that can burrow into human brains.  Health dept reports three more cases in people who visited Hawaii Island.  Visit site  ▷

BBC Outlook The scientist in the treetops.  Nalini Nadkarni is a tree canopy scientist who works with prisoners. [audio, 14:00]  Visit site  ▷

Radiolab Plant Parade.  Plants doing things we never would've imagined.  Visit site  ▷

The Trek Can You Find Kyrgyzstan on a Map? Now Might Be The Time.  Though it is still a relatively little known hiking destination, Kyrgyzstan's reputation for great hiking is growing.  Visit site  ▷

Pacific Crest Trailside Reader Yet Another Scenic Trail.  The Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal.  Visit site  ▷

Adirondack Explorer Black Fly Season.  Crawford recalls one canoe trip he had to abort. "The dog had his ears all blown up and swollen and my face was all swollen," he says.  Visit site  ▷

Highlux Photography Perú: Sacred Valley, New Bikes and Medical Mishaps.  Each region celebrates Semana Santa in their own way, but Cusco has a particularly special tradition it recognises each year: Lord of the Earthquakes.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal Griz Expert Says...  ...Mountain Bikes Are a Threat To Montana's Bears.  Visit site  ▷

Section Hikers Backpacking Blog Zpacks Plexamid Tent Review.  The Plexamid wouldn't be my choice because gear weight isn't the most important criteria I use to pick a backpacking tent or shelter system, but there is a lot to like about the Plexamid.  Visit site  ▷

VICE 'High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End' Starting in 2050.  On our current trajectory, the report warns, "planetary and human systems [are] reaching a 'point of no return' by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order."  Visit site  ▷

Explorers Web Dealing with Wildlife, Part 2: Crocodiles.  They'll find a meal and it won't matter whether that meal is a human or an animal, or if it's in water or on land.  Visit site  ▷

NPR The 'Great Dying' Nearly Erased Life On Earth.  Scientists see similarities to today.  Visit site  ▷

Behance Mudbugs.  'Extremely creative! Nicely done!'  Visit site  ▷

Petapixel This 3D Map Shows Where You Can Hike to in Any Given Amount of Time.  The map doesn't just take into account the straight line distance for its calculations, but the geographical properties of the map as well.  Visit site  ▷

The Atlantic Stolen Timber is Funding British Columbia's Opioid Fix.  Green fir boughs, bright under the morning sky, were strewn across the highway. Sawdust had been crushed into the ridges of a roadside snowbank, leaving an ocher stain.  Visit site  ▷

The Shooting Star A Guide to Exploring the High Tatras of Slovakia.  My heart skipped a few beats as I thought: damn, I'm hiking alone in the High Tatras of Slovakia!  Visit site  ▷

Science Alert. There's a Limit to Human Endurance.  Right before your body starts eating itself.  Visit site  ▷

Sarah Swallow Ruta Del Jefe.  Ruta Del Jefe is a 125-mile self supported adventure race following dirt roads around the Santa Rita Mountains, the lair of one of the only North American Jaguars to live in the U.S., El Jefe.  Visit site  ▷

David on Earth Website Review - Evolution Basin.  Those who don't do this kind of in-depth investigation haven't yet come to appreciate the art of hunt. It's a mystery to me. But they seem to find their way in the world in spite of this obvious character flaw.  Visit site  ▷

trek-lite BPL Aeon Li Review.  This shelter is like marmite to me, I like it but I don't like it. I'd love to give it a go but its an expensive tent to take a punt on.   Visit site  ▷

Reddit Romania | Solo Adventure in Apuseni Mountains.  Cliffs up to 200 meters high, subterranean tunnels and a series of small falls. There's no road, and there's no beaten path.  Visit site  ▷ Lia Ditton is here to conquer oceans and inspire women.  Meet the woman who's sailed the equivalent of eight laps around the world.  Visit site  ▷

TTBOOK The Weird, Wild World of Mushrooms [audio 51:11].  We owe our past and future existence on Earth to fungi. And the people who love them are convinced that mushrooms explain the world.  Visit site  ▷

Roden Explorers Archive Tiny Loops, Hold Me Closer.  The bud has been nipped. Pretty much all I can do on my phone is message, maps, and email. It feels like a tool that I use, that doesn't use me, and that brings value to my life.  Visit site  ▷

Behance SPLITS.  Made half over and half under the surface of the water.  Visit site  ▷

Behance Hitchhikers.  Thorns and burs.  Visit site  ▷

Climbing Nutrition Revisiting Macronutrient Ratios.  Macronutrient ratios are easy to come up with and calculate, but they're inherently problematic.  Visit site  ▷

Back o' Beyond Skinners Sock Shoes Review.  Lightweight, minimalist footwear that feels like wearing socks but provides a bit more protection and durability.  Visit site  ▷

REI Co-op Journal What is a Hammock Underquilt?.  And How Do You Use One?  Visit site  ▷

APOD A Triangular Shadow of a Large Volcano.  Why does the shadow of this volcano look like a triangle?  Visit site  ▷

Messy Nessy The French Town on the Edge of a Giant Hole.  The tourist slogan is, "Welcome to Aveyron, Land of Emotion."  Visit site  ▷

Zhang Kechun The Yellow River.  Zhang Kechun. Born on December 14rd, 1980, in Bazhong, Sichuan Province, China. Work and live in Chengdu, China.  Visit site  ▷

Backcountry Post Goat Rocks attempt & Tahklak Lake.  Both my friend and I being from Michigan snow camping isn't exactly what we consider 'fun'.  Visit site  ▷

Cool Tools Book Freak #7.  Random Advice.  Visit site  ▷

Gizmodo Earther.  Study finds lakes are still filled with DDT 50 years after it was banned.  Visit site  ▷

FellBound Decline and Fall: The TGO Challenge 2019.  It's peeing down chaps. Overtrousers time.  Visit site  ▷

Hike Bike Travel The Superb 8 Day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu.  the Choquequirao trek is the only one I’d recommend, now that I’ve done it. Six of the eight days on trek are incredibly quiet, beautiful and peaceful.  Visit site  ▷

Kottke Stone Alphabets.  Assembled by Belgian type designer Clotilde Olyff from stones collected at the beach.  Visit site  ▷

The Guardian ‘Frightening’ number of plant extinctions found in global survey.  The plant extinction rate was 500 times greater now than before the industrial revolution, and this was also likely to be an underestimate.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal Why We Love the Humble, Indispensable Windshirt.  What the hell is a windshirt, anyways?  Visit site  ▷

Ken Ilgunas Six days on the Cape Wrath.  About my ninety-mile hike of the northern portion of the trail, which I completed a few days ago.  Visit site  ▷

swissmiss Rules for Being Human.  This is a list.  Visit site  ▷

Twitter mr. joshua.  "Do it."  Visit site  ▷

Twitter mr. joshua.  "Do it." (Differently)  Visit site  ▷



"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!" ― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 [dead]

Images removed after one week.


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Me? Not sure how to get out of this alive.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Definitions: Map Time

A normally wildly inaccurate estimate of the time needed to hike a route, based on the hallucinogenic toxicity of shiny new equipment and fresh, crinkly boots, screaming optimism, inexperience, cabin fever, and absolutely blind, naive faith in the truthfulness of maps.

Also known as "Book Time".


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Me? Trying to find my map with both hands.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Definitions: Established Camp Site

A basic established camp site is obvious because of devegetated ground.

Bonus features of the basic camp: noisy neighbors coming in late, leaving early, or staying up all night. Or all of the above.

Spilled or discarded food, human and pet feces, used toilet paper, crumpled beer cans, shreds of waste paper, lack of privacy, discarded plastic bags, and prowling night vermin are also available at no extra charge.

A deluxe established camp site has: convenience stores, fireplaces or fire pits, garbage cans or dumpsters, road access, marked parking spaces with gravel, asphalt, or concrete paving, picnic tables, piped in and potable water, raised platforms to set up tents on, reservation systems, restrooms with sinks and mirrors, showers (with or without hot water), toilets (pit or flush), utility hookups (gas, propane, water, electricity, sewer), and firewood (either free or for sale).

Extra-super-special bonus features: multi-lane highway noise, flashing headlights, sirens, aircraft racket, passing freight trains, gangs, wandering aggressive pets, random gunfire.

No mint on your pillow.


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Me? Plotting another escape attempt.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Anything Happening Out There? 31 MAY 19

Adventure Journal We Can Stop Climate Change.  ...Just Have to Plant a Trillion Trees  Visit site  ▷

Hike 734 Lower Yosemite Fall.  Very popular. Don't expect to be there by yourself.   Visit site  ▷

The Hiking Life The Altiplano Traverse.  Stage 1 — Salt Flats, Volcanoes & Quinoa.  Visit site  ▷

Forbes The American Blogger Making Six-Figures While Traveling The World.  Based in New Zealand, solo female traveler Liz Carlson is known for her brand of wild, messy adventure.   Visit site  ▷

Willis Wall Multimedia Willis Wall Pose Poised for World Wide Infection.  I know it's not just me. I can't stand those ridiculous Instagram poses.  Visit site  ▷

Willis Wall Multimedia Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: May 4-May 7, 2019.  Some may complain that this trek and Machu Picchu itself are too "touristy", but my daughter and I found that this experience was one of our most enjoyable times outdoors.  Visit site  ▷

Atlas Obscura Portable Architecture You Can Roll, Wear, Tow, or Float.  A sauna on skis and 11 other dwellings made to move.  Visit site  ▷

LENSCRATCH The Center Awards: Curator's Choice Award 2nd Place: Cody Cobb.  Recognize outstanding photographers working in all processes and subject matter.  Visit site  ▷

The Atlantic 100 Years Ago in Photos: A Look Back at 1919.  A promotional tour through the Cascade Mountains from "Seattle to Mt. Rainier," circa 1919.  Visit site  ▷

Washington Trails Association Saving Mount St. Helens.  The fight to save the land around the volcano, both before and after the 1980 explosion, is a fascinating case study of the preservation of public land.  Visit site  ▷

Section Hikers Backpacking Blog Soto Amicus Stove and Cookset Combo Review.  It always works; it is light and compact enough, and the price feels like a real deal.  Visit site  ▷

Washington Trails Association Building More Than Trails in the Columbia River Gorge.  It seems like you could wander into those hills and emerge days later and miles away from where you started, yet still in the same landscape.  Visit site  ▷

IDONTDOOHILLS MLD Trailstar - Review/Overview.  The Trailstar is effectively a five sided shaped pyramid tarp with various pitch options, superb wind shedding performance and stacks of space.  Visit site  ▷

IDONTDOOHILLS MLD Cricket — Review.  I have been nothing but impressed and so have a few of my hiking friends, no less than four have ordered a Cricket since using and/or borrowing mine.  Visit site  ▷

Backpacking Light REI Quarter Dome SL1 Review.  The REI Quarter Dome SL1 earns a Recommended Rating for its wind stability, condensation resistance, livability, and value.  Visit site  ▷

TTBOOK Loving Bees.  We explore the art to building a relationship with bees, and the science of how they thrive. [audio: 51:12]  Visit site  ▷

Trekking Blogs Top 100 Hiking Blogs in 2019.  Last Updated May 16, 2019.  Visit site  ▷

Gizmodo Earther.  It was 84 degrees in northern Russia this weekend.  Visit site  ▷ 24 percent of West Antarctic ice is now unstable: study.  Antarctica's ice sheet has thinned by up to 122 metres in places, with the most rapid changes occurring in West Antarctica.  Visit site  ▷ How plants are working hard for the planet.  "We know that terrestrial plants are currently absorbing more CO2 than is released into the atmosphere through the combination of fire, decomposition, plant respiration, and human-related emissions," lead researcher Lucas Cernusak said.  Visit site  ▷

Andrew Skurka Standout gear for cold-and-wet conditions in the Appalachians.  Understandably, it's difficult to get excited about spending three days outside in inclement weather and whiteout conditions. But our groups rocked it.  Visit site  ▷

Reddit TarpTent Aeon Review: 3 out of 5 Stars : Ultralight.  While my experiences did actually all occur, perhaps take them with a grain of salt. Or don't-I'm still nervous to set my shelter up in any form of weather.  Visit site  ▷

Flashbak Gorgeous Celestial Maps and Illustrations.  From A 19th Century American Atlas.  Visit site  ▷

Vintage News In 1980, Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption claimed 57 lives.  From photographers to an innkeeper.  Visit site  ▷

Phases Magazine Noritaka Minami — California City.  California City, a master planned community in the Mojave Desert conceived by sociologist turned real estate developer Nathan Mendelsohn in the 1950s.  Visit site  ▷

YouTube Cat TV.  Mouse Videos for Cats to Watch.  Visit site  ▷

The GearCaster Jordan by Bike.  In Search of a More Meaningful Experience on Two Wheels  Visit site  ▷

The Satanic Temple Tenets.  #1: One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.  Visit site  ▷

Vox World Bee Day.  20 photos of bees that will make you say "damn, bees are beautiful"  Visit site  ▷

Nydia Lilian Photography & Graphic Design.  Landscape  Visit site  ▷

McSweeney's Internet Tendency I Don't Think a Woman is Electable In 2020.  Because last time around the female nominee only got three million more votes than her opponent.  Visit site  ▷

BBC Health.  How sedentary life has changed our feet and what we can do to reverse the damage.  Visit site  ▷

Science | AAAS 'Wood wide web'.  The underground network of microbes that connects trees-mapped for first time.  Visit site  ▷

Ridgeline Issue 020.  Special photo edition: Didn't Die in the Mountains.  Visit site  ▷

Backcountry Post Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, UT-AZ Backpack.  April 26-29, 2019: Days 2-4 Paria River.  Visit site  ▷

Washington Trails Association Hiking Slow: What You Can Learn From a Snail.  To hike slowly is to gain a new perspective on familiar trails. It's an art form requiring discipline and whimsy, focus and distraction.  Visit site  ▷

Highlux Photography Perú.  The Madre de Dios Jungle.  Visit site  ▷

ExplorersWeb Dealing with Wildlife, Part 1.  Cougars.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal The Hokule'a Has Sailed 40,000 Miles Guided Only By the Wind and Stars.  Before the canoe's construction, Hawai'ian voyaging culture had been on the verge of dying off.   Visit site  ▷

The GearCaster Somewear Helps You Communicate When Off The Grid.  A satellite hotspot that lets you send messages and share your location via your phone when you venture into the no service zone.  Visit site  ▷

Reddit Ultralight.  Jenny and Ray Jardine short doc. [YouTube, 28:42]  Visit site  ▷

Cool Tools Band-Aid Fabric Tough Strips.  Every other variety I have tried have stunk.  Visit site  ▷

Creative Boom Alan Berry Rhys's screen and giclĂ©e prints.  Inspired by his Argentinian heritage and passion for fishing.  Visit site  ▷

The Vintage News The Largest Tsunami in Recorded History was Unimaginably Big.  1,720 feet, or 520 meters!  Visit site  ▷

Wirecutter The Best Bug Repellents for 2019.  Picaridin...the best bottle of bug spray we found after testing 15 repellents and talking to everyone from the EPA to the American Mosquito Control Association.  Visit site  ▷

Ridgeline The Unresolved Walk, the Best Walk.  The old man arrived. He was very excited to see me. I was the only guest. Perhaps in a long time.  Visit site  ▷

Wandering the Wild I'm very sick.  Debilitating fatigue is my main symptom. Headaches, neck pain, buzzing sensations, poor sleep, muscle and joint pain, chemical and mold sensitivity, and other unpleasantries occur daily. My blood work always comes back near normal. Doctors are stumped.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal Cycling the World.  I made up for my lack of credentials as a two-wheeled adventurer with a very healthy dose of optimism and an ability to think 'everything will end up OK' even when every rational thought suggested otherwise.  Visit site  ▷

PCT: Oregon PCT Section Hikers Lose Big in Central Cascades Wilderness Access.  You're looking at a total of three fees to take a hike.  Visit site  ▷

Rocky Mountain Journal Search underway for aggressive bear.  Bit woman as she hiked near Aspen yesterday morning  Visit site  ▷

Andrew Skurka Quick start guide: Hayduke Trail [guest post].  An 800-mile network of standalone trails, dirt roads, and off-trail segments that form a semi-cohesive route.  Visit site  ▷

The Atlantic Lake Baikal Ice Formations in Photos.  A massive body of water-the world's deepest and most voluminous freshwater lake.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal The Roar of Fighter Jets Triggers a Crusade for Quiet in Washington.  "In just a few years, this has gone from one of the quietest places on Earth to an airshow."  Visit site  ▷

Section Hikers Backpacking Blog Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2 Tent Review.  While the Dirigo is well made and bomber tough, my advice would be to hold out until the shelter is refined still further.  Visit site  ▷

Vox Lyme disease vaccine.  The frustrating reason there isn't one for humans. Your dog can get vaccinated for Lyme. You cannot.  Visit site  ▷

Petapixel The Beauty of Ocean Waves.  Captured by Photographer Warren Keelan.  Visit site  ▷

REI Co-op Journal Inside the Mind of Heather 'Anish' Anderson.  "Well, here goes," she wrote in the trail register.  Visit site  ▷

Alex Roddie Paper vs. digital journaling on a long-distance trail.  Here's what I've learned about the pros and cons of each.  Visit site  ▷

Viajar a pie Gear for the CDT.  What do you need for a 5 month trip? The short answer is pretty much the same as for any other.  Visit site  ▷

Halfway Anywhere Japan Alps Traverse Map, Itinerary, and GPS Track.  Having now completed the traverse, I am sharing my day-by-day itinerary, statistics, and maps.  Visit site  ▷

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Werewolf Biscuits.  Helps to maintain a rich, glossy coat.  Visit site  ▷

Flashbak Bunny Yeager: The Brilliant Selfies.  Yeager was the woman photographer in a man's world. Yeager's spirited women were not simply an opening into someone's fantasy.  Visit site  ▷


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Me? Waiting for the next monkey attack.