Thursday, August 15, 2019

Whatup? 15 AUG 19

Eating Snow Around the World

GDT — Crossing Glacial Rivers. 

Honestly, I prefer it chilly and wet rather than hot. Crossing little bits of old broken boardwalk, rotting from years of rain and snow, made me feel like I'm entering into a more remote part of the GDT. 

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Inga's Adventures

MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit. 

Egg test: One of the reasons I wanted to try a simple stove design was to free me from oatmeal in the mornings. On short, relaxed trips I put a high premium on being able to have eggs for breakfast. Our JetBoil doesn't have an adjustable flame and we prefer to just boil water in it 

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Imgur

5 days and 5 hour on the Wonderland Trail @ Mount Rainier National Park.. 

We opted to hike the trail in 6 days and 5 nights with the hopes that by choosing a lesser number of days our chances of getting approval would be higher. We also tried to steer clear from the super popular campsites, again in order to increase our chances. Not sure if any of those actually played a part, but we did get the permit! 

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Live, Travel, Teach

Exploring Root Glacier — Hiking in Wrangell St Elias National Park. 

The Root Glacier hike is one of the best ways to access this incredible wilderness giving you the opportunity to see some fantastic mountain scenery along with the Stairway Icefall, the tallest icefall outside of the Himalayas! 

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Return To Now

Bees Voted Most Important Living Beings On Earth. 

More important than fungi, plankton, and primates when it comes to survival of life on earth as we know it. 

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Wenatchee Outdoors

Cacti of Washington State — A History. 

One hundred fifty million years ago Spokane was the west coast of Washington State. Part of what was to become the rest Washington floated in the Pacific Ocean, a tropical island on a collision course with the main continent... 

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Section Hikers Backpacking Blog

Gossamer Gear Twinn Tarp Review. 

The tarp is reasonably priced, well made, and flexible enough to earn a place in my backpacking kit even when I am sleeping in a tent.. 

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Imgur

The Long Walk. 

I have been hiking around Spain/France/Portugal for the past 12 months. Here are some of my favourite photos from my 7,000km adventure.. 

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Science Alert

Incredible Photo Captures The Exact Moment a Sea Lion Ended Up in a Whale's Mouth. 

A humpback whale's esophagus is "only about the size of maybe a big grapefruit or small melon," he said, meaning the chances of a sea lion that weighs hundreds of pounds getting swallowed and eaten are slim.. 

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My Modern Met

Blue Landscape Photos Capture the Beauty of Nature's Blue Hour. 

German landscape photographer Kilian Schönberger invites viewers to see nature in a new light. In Winter's Tale, Schönberger imagines snow-covered scenery as settings for fairytales and folklore.. 

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trek-lite.com

Making a Cone using Captain Paranoias Cone Potstand Tool. 

The last cone I made, I did the 'old' way as described on the Outdoors Magic Thread. Then, software needed to be downloaded. Since it's been on Zenstoves, it's become even easier.. 

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Therm-a-Rest Blog

How To Wash a Sleeping Bag. 

Although you may love that coffee stain that sorta looks like a poorly-drawn bear or the musty smell of campfire and morning dew, cleaning your sleeping is extremely important.. 

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The Adirondack Almanack

The Science of Rainbows. 

Rainbows are an optical illusion - they don't exist in a specific spot in the sky. Each person sees a different rainbow depending on their position.. 

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Miguel Marquez Outside

Private Property. 

Keep out. 

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The New Yorker

How Mosquitoes Changed Everything. 

Along with smallpox and influenza, mosquito-borne diseases led, by Winegard's estimate, to the deaths of ninety-five million indigenous inhabitants of the Americas, from a pre-contact population of about a hundred million. To the colonizers these were largely invisible deaths, which helped create the pernicious myth of an empty continent and a Manifest Destiny to fill it.. 

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Cuenca High Life

So close to Cuenca, but oh, so far away! A hike to Lake Luspa in Cajas National Park. 

Lake Luspa is the largest lake in the Cajas and you are walking on the Inca Trail for much of the hike. You can do this hike on your own, without a guide, but having an experienced guide gives you many more options for those little obstacles nature throws at you, like bad weather, dangerous stream crossings or trail diversions.. 

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FellBound

Backpacking Moggism. 

"My go to. As in 'my go to shelter/pack/boots/trekking poles/whatever'. I just have a 'usual' or 'favourite'. But then I'm an old fart.". 

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Chris Townsend Outdoors

Planning: I still prefer maps and guidebooks. 

It'll be the printed maps that I spread out on summits and passes to see what's around me. I wouldn't be without them.. 

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Walks with Moss

Escarpment Trail on the Kapiti Coast New Zealand. 

This was a fun hike on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. One of the neat things about this hike is that it can be done without a car since it parallels a passenger train track and begins and ends near train stations.. 

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Behance

Abstract Landscapes. 

Photos By Mitch Rouse. 

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The Atlantic

A Heatwave in Greenland. 

On Thursday alone, an estimated 12.5 billion tons of meltwater flowed into the ocean, which would be the highest single-day total since 1950. 

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AwakenWithJP

How to be a Climate Change Denier. 

Ultra Spiritual Life Ep. 164. 

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Outside Online

Long-Term Review: Western Mountaineering AstraLite. 

I can't recall another quilt that has garnered such interest, and I attribute that entirely to the manufacturer. Western Mountaineering. 

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Instagram

Davide Carovana. 

searching_for_heaven. 

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National Geographic

Inside the harsh lives of wolves living at the top of the world. 

This is a difficult sensation to describe-the lock-on moment when a group of predators sights you and holds your gaze for a dozen heartbeats. Humans aren't usually the objects of such appraisal, though my body seemed to recognize it way down beyond thought. I shivered again. 

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The Shooting Star

Travelling to Iran? Things to Know Before You Go.. 

My relationship with the hijab quickly changed from nonchalance to annoyance to resentment, and finally to empathy for the women who don't have a choice. Having said that, I must emphasize that we cannot judge Iranian women by the hijab. I met so many free-spirited, independent, badass, inspiring women across the country.. 

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Eating Snow Around the World

GDT — Grand Finale. 

I've covered a lot of distance in the last two months and seen a huge portion of the Canadian Rockies. Yet, seeing the massiveness of this range from the air made me realize that I've only scratched the surface. There's so much more to explore.. 

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jalopnik

Vanlife Can Be Cheaper, Weirder, And More Accessible Than Instagram Would Have You Believe. 

With a few hours of daylight left, and wanting to be as cool as possible, we trawled the internet until I found what I was looking for: a hotel whose pool was open to non-guests. We hurried over, paid them $10 each, and threw on our bathing suits- only to slide into the pool and realize, miserably, that it was heated.. 

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APOD

Atlas at Dawn. 

This single, 251-second long exposure follows the early flight of an Atlas V rocket on August 8, streaking eastward toward the dawn from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, planet Earth.. 

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Atlas Obscura

Rakotzbrücke Devil's Bridge — Gablenz, Germany. 

Nestled among the verdant foliage in Kromlau, Germany's Kromlauer Park, is a delicately arched devil's bridge known as the Rakotzbrücke, which was specifically built to create a circle when it is reflected in the waters beneath it.. 

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Science Alert

A Woman Let an Octopus Bite Her Face... 

So Let's Talk About Octopus Beaks. 

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McSweeneys

We Need a Wizard Who Can Appeal to the Moderate Orc Voter. 

Let me tell you, it's hard out here for an orc. We experience tremendous insecurity, not knowing whether we'll have a job, or be able to raid peaceful villages, or if our friends will eat us. Sauron appeals to us economically challenged goblins because he offers us the chance of a decent wage, respect for our values, and renewed pride in being the corrupted spawn of Morgoth.. 

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Wrong Hands

Camping with Kant. 

Share this. 

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My Modern Met

Boutique Hotel Design Cantilvered Off Preikestolen Cliff in Norway. 

[Would include] glass pool hovering 2,000 feet above Norwegian fjords. 

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David Shrigley

[Etc.]. 

IF YOU HAVE ANY GOOD IDEAS PLEASE PUT THEM IN MY HEAD.. 

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The Guardian

It's raining plastic.. 

Microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky Mountains. 'It's in the rain, it's in the snow. It's a part of our environment now.'. 

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The Atlantic

Why Is Lyme Disease So Hard to Understand?. 

I could barely walk down the street. Violent electric shocks lacerated my skin, and patches of burning pain and numbness spread up my neck. I shook and shivered. The reaction lasted five days...By the time I started treatment, the fact that Lyme disease causes ongoing symptoms in some patients could no longer be viewed as the product of their imaginations.. 

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Instagram

ToothpasteForDinner. 

drewtoothpaste my #comic from ToothpasteForDinner.com #cavemen #authenticity #influencermarketing #prehistoric #prehistory #webcomic #dumbass. 

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Jordan Vincent

A Night Under The Stars. 

When should you visit to avoid the crowds? Let's have a look!. 

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The Trek

Trekking Kyrgyzstan's Heights of Alay Loop, Day 1. 

My first instinct is to hit the snooze button, but then I remember that we are in a shared room in a tiny guesthouse in the remote village of Sary Mogul in Kyrgyzstan. We are starting a new trek today in the Pamir Mountains, and we are all eager to see what this new area will be like.. 

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Explorers Web

Running, at Age 72, from England to Nepal. 

She started last July, pulling food, fuel, stove, sleeping gear, clothing and solar panels to recharge electronics in a special carbon fibre cart that she nicknamed Ice Chick.. 

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Walks With Moss

Twin Harbors. 

I hate it when people use me as a landmark.. 

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Diagnosis:Diet

Foods. 

Nutrition science meets common sense.. 

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Washington Post

2°C: Beyond the limit. 

Extreme climate change has arrived in America. Nationwide, trends are clear. Starting in the late 1800s, U.S. temperatures began to rise and continued slowly up through the 1930s. The nation then cooled slightly for several decades. But starting around 1970, temperatures rose steeply. . 

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See if that helps.
Me? Slowly recovering from an impromptu game of tiger tag.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

FIYH (13 AUG 19 update)

Fire in Your Hand

Dave's Little Guide
to Ultralight
Backpacking
Stoves

Fire!

How you can hike lighter, hike better, hike
simpler, make your own stoves and have lots
of fun in the woods, either alone or with
friends (if you have any).

Featuring tips, stories and ravings from the
author and his imaginary friends and relatives.

Like...

Uncle Reinhold Pudzer, Citron Ella Schmelling,
Joe “Dirty Maggot” Periwinkle the thru-hiker,
and possibly some others too frightening to
mention, like Aunt Lydia Pudzer, who provides
frequent scoldings.

By Dave Sailer

Fire In Your Hand, the book, has its own blog.
It will be published in installments.  
Start reading it there.
More to come later. Keep watching.

 

 


Have extra info to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps.
Meanwhile, anyone seen a monkey named Bob? I think he has my glasses

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Whatup? 31 JUL 19

The Atlantic

The Unbearable Smugness of Walking. 

The more conscious writers become of its creative benefits, the more walking takes on the quality of goal-driven labor, the very thing we are meant to be marching against. And yet again and again in the literature of walking, a stroll is portrayed as a working method. 

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PetaPixel

Shooting High-Res Thermal Photos of Iceland to Show Nature at Work. 

Thermal cameras pick up infrared light in the 7-14 micron range, which allows them to see the blackbody radiation that is constantly emitted by all objects at habitable temperatures. 

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KUOW

Mind the gap. 

Efforts aim to stitch together long trails, getting hikers off highway's edge. [text/audio] 

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Gizmodo

Pentagon Ordered to Tell Congress If It Weaponized Ticks And Released Them Into the Public. 

On July 11, the House stealthily decided via voice vote to support an amendment to the 2020 defense authorization bill that would require the Department of Justice look into weaponized ticks. 

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World Economic Forum

Melting Russian permafrost could speed up global warming and have a devastating impact on the planet. 

An environmental vicious circle is taking hold in Russia and other parts of the Arctic as permafrost - the frozen ground beneath a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere and almost 20% of Earth's landmass - thaws. 

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Ken Ilgunas

A trip to the Alps. 

It was perfectly legal to risk death on a steep mountain trail in the middle of the night, but it was a $1,000 fine if I slept in the woods or on a park bench. 

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Big Agnes

CDT Trail Guide. 

General information about Big Agnes staff adventures in the backcountry, summer 2018 

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Parasite of the Day

Halarachne halichoeri. 

Most of them are found up the nasal passages of seals and sea lions. 

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IDONTDOOHILLS

Tarptent Notch, first impressions. 

The space inside the Notch is impressive, for what looks like a very small shelter there is literally stacks of room. 

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All Women All Trails

The Other Georgia. 

This trail I backpacked through the Caucasus, dipped in and out of small villages and hamlets along the way. I was often invited to enjoy a cup of chai (tea) on the front porch with a family, as I passed through their village. 

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Fox in the Forest

The Local's Guide to Hiking in Colorado. 

This in-depth, local guide covers how to plan a Colorado hiking trip, what to pack for a high altitude hike, local knowledge about hiking a Colorado 14er, and plenty of helpful resources. 

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The Ultralight Hiker

The Olfa Knife. 

I'm just a little late to the party concerning this knife which has been around nearly as long as I have - at any rate since 1956. You could easily skin and butcher a sambar deer with one of them, and they only cost a few bucks. 

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Instagram

terryoinfluence. 

As seen (and discreetly posted from my phone) in a local Whitehorse cafe. 

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Christof Teuscher

News: 242mi Cougar Traverse FKT Attempt. 

Update: I finished the traverse on Wed, Jul 17, 2019, in 5 days 17 hours 52 minutes (137.9h). THE GOOD: I did not die. THE BAD: A concussion from a freak fall while traversing wet deadfall. THE UGLY: Lost the GoPro at about mile 179 with many hours of footage. 

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Christof Teuscher

Report: 242mi Cougar Traverse FKT. 

The 242-mile Cougar Traverse in Washington State's Pasayten Wilderness is the longest uninterrupted wilderness route in the lower 48 states. It's one big loop without any road crossings, no possibilities to resupply, and no easy bailout options. 

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The Atlantic

2019 Audubon Photography Awards. 

You can also see all of the top 100 entries at the Audubon website. 

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Idle Words

Gluten Free Antarctica. 

'You mean if this woman eats bread, she will die?' 'Not really. She just gets sick.' 'Yuri, come here! You have to hear this. If she eats bread, the woman will die.' 

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The Adirondack Almanack

Mosquitoes: Life Under Tension. 

A female mosquito, potentially using your blood or mine for energy, delicately alights on the water to lay her eggs. Alighting is not the same as floating - in fact some insects such as water striders are denser than water and therefore cannot float. Rather, insects are held up by surface tension. 

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Volcano Hot Spot

Up and Down and Up She Goes: ISCHIA ISLAND. 

Most people know that the island of Ischia is of a volcanic nature. Many of them believe that it is just another extinct volcanic cone, layers over layers of lava, piled up throughout distant eruptive periods. Not so! 

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Miguel Marquez Outside

Urban Weed Awards (continued and complete). 

[weeds!] 

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Wrong Hands

Cat Headlines. 

[see it] 

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The Guardian

Lyme disease: is a solution on the way?. 

One of the great ironies of the LYMErix story is that while human vaccine development was subsequently quashed, the situation for dogs has never been better. Effective canine Lyme disease vaccines have long been available in both the US and the UK. 

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Eric's Hikes

Three Sisters Loop Oregon. 

The Three Sisters Loop is one of the classic Oregon backpacking loops with outstanding scenery of the one of the most beautiful areas in Oregon. This is a very popular loop and beginning in 2020 very strict permit regulations will begin. I had the opportunity to simply fill out a self-issued permit at the trailhead. 

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Adventure Journal

Lone Grizzly Makes a Home in Bitterroot Ecosystem-First Time in 80 Years. 

'Most of the places he has appeared to have gone have been out of the way,' said Clay Hickey, regional wildlife manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 'It's all tough country. If you were trying to get from point A to B, it's not how you would choose to go.' 

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The Summit Register (MSR)

Our Complete Guide to Water Treatment Basics. 

The information presented here is founded in peer-reviewed science and communicated by the experts at the Mountain Safety Research water research lab. 

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The Ultralight Hiker

Tinny's Gnomes. 

While I was working on my post about Simmer Stoves I just could not resist ordering a couple of Tinny's stoves. I have to admit to being a bit of a collector of these wonderful contraptions. Both stoves have wonderful patterns both in full flame and simmer though, don't you think? 

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APOD

Zodiacal Road. 

What's that strange light down the road? Dust orbiting the Sun. 

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VICE

Your Bagged Salad Is Full of Frogs. 

Instead of releasing him (or her) into their yard, they created a frog-friendly terrarium, bought some takeout crickets, and set him up in his new home. They even named him Lucky, because what else would you call a frog who narrowly escaped the business end of a salad fork? 

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Backcountry Post

Dayhike to Gothic Basin & Foggy Pass [photos/video]. 

Granite Falls, the nearby town, doesn't have the best reputation and there have been tons of break ins on the Mountain Loop Highway. Would absolutely recommend for a day hike though. 

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Arizona Hiking

Route 66 Ghost Roads Convergence. 

The Mother Road that ran for 2,448 miles between Chicago and Los Angeles is no longer the arterial travel corridor is was from the 1920s to the 1960s, but its legacy has been curated in stretches of drive-able pavement and backwoods "ghost roads" accessible only by way of bike or foot travel. 

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Backcountry Post

Idaho. 

White Cloud Mountains - Boulder Chain Lakes - Chamberlain Basin 

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Outdoor Herbivore Blog

MosquiToes. 

Repellants - natural and synthetic for the trail 

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Thermarest Blog

The Emotional Benefits of Sleeping Outside. 

As we navigated down the final part of the descent, the unthinkable happened. I watched him rappel off the end of his rope and fall 150 feet to the ground. I didn't think I'd ever climb again. 

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Seattle Backpackers Magazine

Mauna Loa Summit - The Big Island Hawaii. 

The observatory is at about 11,500 feet elevation. When I stepped out of my car, the elevation immediately hit me. The oxygen at this elevation is only about 2/3's of what it is at sea level. I immediately felt dizzy. After a few moments, the feeling went away, but when I began walking around, once again, I felt short of breath. 

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Gizmodo Earther

Undead Tree Stump Is Being Kept Alive by Neighboring Trees. 

We tend to think of trees as individuals, but the roots of some species fuse together to allow the sharing of resources, such as water, carbon, mineral nutrients, and microorganisms. On some occasions, these elaborate root systems involve a seemingly dead tree stump, an observation first made in the 1830s. 

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CarbonBrief

Global extent of climate change is 'unparalleled' in past 2,000 years. 

Over the past two millennia, the planet has experienced several episodes of extreme warming and cooling as a result of natural changes to the climate. The new research confirms, however, that these climate events were patchy - impacting different parts of the world at different times. By comparison, human-caused climate change affected 98% of the globe simultaneously through the 20th century, the research says. 

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APOD

The Veins of Heaven. 

From the edge of space, about 80 kilometers above Earth's surface, the icy clouds themselves still reflect sunlight even though the Sun is below the horizon. 

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VICE

Stop Blaming Instagram for Ruining the Great Outdoors. 

We don't need less nature photos on social media, we need more funding for our public lands. 

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NWPB

Central Washington Fire District Will Use Goats To Reduce Fire Risk Around Wenatchee. 

In June 2015, the Sleepy Hollow Fire burned to the edge of Wenatchee. Flames rushed through, consuming brush and cheatgrass and quickly destroying 28 homes and three businesses. People and machines have trouble getting to the grasses. Enter goats: 300 of them. 

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Return To Now

Woman Knits Lace Fence For Her Garden With Giant Needles. 

It took her about three weeks to knit a blanket of lace large enough to surround her front garden. Her creation was so popular, the Shetland Textile Museum asked her to make one to display at the museum. 

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DesignBoom

Monsieur Plant grows a love of nature in france with installation TREE HUG. 

Botanical artist christophe guinet - known as monsieur plant - installs a 'human-vegetable' work entitled TREE HUG in the gardens of europe in annecy, france. 

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The Adirondack Almanack

Burying Beetles: Nature's Grave Diggers. 

A regular chore of mine is to dispose of the mice and moles trapped in our home. I place them on a 4 x 5-foot patch of dirt and rock - which I have named the grave site - beside my woodshed. There, they typically disappear overnight 

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The Trek

Trekking to Kyrgyzstan's Ala-Kol Pass, Day 1. 

The Ala-Kol Hike that we are doing is touted as Kyrgyzstan's most beautiful and popular hike, so we are eager to see what that is all about. 

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CTV News

Lyme-infected ticks are so common in parts of Canada, testing no longer done . 

OTTAWA -- Lyme disease has settled so deeply into parts of Canada many public health units now just assume if you get bitten by a tick, you should be treated for the potentially debilitating bacteria. 

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Gizmodo

In First Half of July, the Amazon Lost Nearly 400 Square Miles of Forest. 

Bolsonaro has had a clear agenda since taking office: privatize the forest and hand it over to industry. 

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Gizmodo.

Satellite Images Show Vast Swaths of the Arctic On Fire. 

Intense hot conditions have also fanned flames in Siberia. The remote nature of many of the fires there means they're burning out of control, often, through swaths of peatland that's normally frozen or soggy. 

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Young Adventuress

10 Kiwi habits we should all embrace. 

Everyone is entitled to holiday and no one is made to feel guilty for actually taking their allotted holiday time. Many people take a month off entirely and no one bats a single eyelash. 

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Mobile Photography Awards

LANDSCAPES WINNERS | 8TH ANNUAL MPA. 

If it's true what Henri Cartier-Bresson says, that our first 10,000 photos will be our worst, then mobile photography has given people an historic opportunity to quickly get past 10,001. The MPA is a showcase for photographers and artists who have embraced this decisive moment. 

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APOD

Lightning over the Volcano of Water. 

Pictured earlier this month in a two-image composite, lightning stems from communication antennas near the top of Volcán de Agua (Volcano of Water) in Guatemala. 

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The Washington Post

Walking Britain's 'deadliest path.' . 

This walk is sublime. Just avoid the bombs, tides and quicksand. 

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Shutterbug

Watch This Jaw-Dropping Time-Lapse of a Storm Comprised of Over 120,000 Images. 

Vorticity 2 consists of approximately 122,000 frames of time-lapse captured over 54 days and nearly 40,000 miles driven during the spring months of 2018 and 2019. 

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The Big Outside

Ask Me: What Are the Best Hikes in Idaho's Sawtooths?. 

Living in Idaho for over 20 years now, I've hiked most of the trails in the Sawtooths over the course of at least 20 trips, and climbed a number of peaks. 

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Highlux Photography

Perú: Ausangate Circuit & Rainbow Mountain. 

The southern hemisphere winter sky is amazing at this time of the year, with the Milky Way extremely bright in the sky as early as 7.30pm. The nights in Chillca were cold though, with -10c recorded two nights in a row. 

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Volcano News

Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska – Neighbor to Fisher Caldera. 

Shishaldin is one of the more active Aleutian volcanoes. AVO lists 63 reported active events since westerners discovered it in the late 18th Century. The most recent was a period of unrest in 2017. The most recent large eruption was 1999. 

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VICE

The New Guy in Charge of Public Lands Thinks We Should Sell It All. 

In 2017, Pendley wrote in favor of Trump’s plan to shrink various national monuments, lamenting how monuments can get in the way of things like coal mining and deriding the Antiquities Act, the first US law protecting natural resources. 

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GOOD

18 of the most incredible animal photos captured by Google Street View. 

Launched in 2007, Google Street View has given us an incredible way to see the world. Google Street View has also inadvertently taken some fun photos of the animal kingdom. 

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The Trace

How Many People Have Been Shot Near You This Year? 

Every day, 30 Americans die in gun homicides. Another 200 are injured by bullets. These incidents of gun violence are recorded in every corner of the country. Including yours. ['Enter a city or street address.'] 

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Kathleen Loves Yoga

How Much Does It Cost to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail? . 

Not only is this a popular question, but it’s also the hardest one to answer. For as many different hikers there are on trail, there are just as many different budgets. 

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Reddit

Wilderness Backpacking. 

Brought my phone stabilizer with me while backpacking in the Sierra’s this weekend. Didn’t regret it. 

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Section Hikers Backpacking Blog

Tarptent Aeon Li Dyneema Tent Review. 

While I’m critical about certain aspects of the tent, I’d definitely use it if I could fit it horizontally into my favorite multi-day backpack. 

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Wenatchee Outdoors

Minimalists Guide to Wilderness First Aid. 

Dr. Mark Shipman, who spent the length of his career in Emergency Medicine and is an avid climber, mountaineer and skier, helped me narrow down wilderness safety to a few key tips and suggestions 

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Have extra info to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps.
Me? Enjoying winter in at the equator: Clear, calm, blue. Chilly until the 800-degree sun hits you.