Wednesday, December 4, 2019

FIYH (11 DEC 2019 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.
Ever accidentally set your hair on fire? While sleeping? Me neither. (The bandages come off soon too. Woot!)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Whatup 30 Nov 2019

Current Affairs

The Innocent Pleasure of Trespassing. 

Not only can trespassing restore your faith in the impermanence of exploitative power structures, it can also restore your faith in the cleverness, kindness, and beauty of the people around you. It's a radical expression of freedom, hope, and humanity. 

Visit site  ▷


Return To Now

1400-Year-Old Giant Ginkgo Tree in China. 

Drops an Ocean Of Golden Leaves Every Fall 

Visit site  ▷


Sirena's Wanderings

Ten Years of Sirena's Wanderings. 

I haven't been posting on the blog much because I have been so busy the last year and a half with my book project, Day Hikes on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. 

Visit site  ▷


Pinoy Mountaineer

Hiking matters #634 Mt. Ryokami (1728m) in Saitama, Japan. 

Our great reward was a view of Mt. Fuji 

Visit site  ▷


Mildly Extreme

Order in the Chaos — Part I Flying Cats and Triangle Slugs. 

This little one greeted me through my kitchen window one morning. 

Visit site  ▷


Dudetrek

A Weekend in Bears Ears. 

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend. I got to see some new places, learned a ton about archaeology from Jojo, and spent a considerable amount of time speculating about the meaning of rock art. 

Visit site  ▷


Across Utah!

Hayduke Update 2019. 

My full reference is easily found at www.AcrossUtah.com/Hayduke. 

Visit site  ▷


The Atlantic

What America Lost When It Lost the Bison. 

Bison behave like a force of nature, engineering and intensifying waves of spring greenery that other grazers rely on. 

Visit site  ▷


Backcountry Post

A Route In Between Mexico to Canada Through the Heart of the West. 

Between March and September of 2019, I hiked an absolutely amazing route through the heart of the West. I began atop a "sky island" on the Arizona/Mexico border and finished in a deep, dark ancient cedar and hemlock forest on the Idaho/Canada border. And in between, I saw a lot of cool stuff! 

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Return To Now

Penguin Swims Up To 5000 Miles Each Year To Visit The Man Who Saved His Life. 

'No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do.' 

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Six Moon Designs

A Hiker's Relationship with the Land, by Rennee "She-ra" Patrick. 

I was a bit embarrassed that it took a job description to get me thinking about these issues. 

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Backcountry Post

Death Valley NP. 

Marble-Cottonwood (side slot) lollipop loop Nov 17-19,2019 

Visit site  ▷


Carrot Quinn

L2H day 0-1 full moon in Aries. 

We are now stuck in the wash, the back tires of my van wedged deeply in the sand. It’s a nice level spot, though. I guess we’re camping here. 

Visit site  ▷


Highlux Photography

Bolivia Pisiga Bolivar — Uyuni via Salar de Uyuni. 

Since we began seeking inspiration for our Americas tour a few years back, several prominent highlights stood out – some must-see locations that are unique to the world, be they natural or crafted by the hand of humans. 

Visit site  ▷


PopUpBackpacker

Preventing Blisters with Leukotape a 10+ year review. 

Left the tape on for nearly a week — hiking each day, tiling each day, and showering each day. The tape stayed secure. When I decided to remove it, it peeled off easily. 

Visit site  ▷


 


Have extra info to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps. (The commenting system quit working for some reason.)
Me? Currently lost inside my own mind. Knock loud — I'm in here somewhere.

Friday, November 22, 2019

FIYH (22 NOV 2019 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.
Ever accidentally set your hair on fire? While sleeping? Me neither. (The bandages come off soon too. Woot!)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Whatup 15 Nov 2019

Hike Bike Travel

A Cycling Trip — South Bohemian Region Czech Republic. 

The lesser known parts of the Czech Republic like the South Bohemian region are not well represented online. 

Visit site  ▷


All Women All Trails

Crowdsourced. 

What's the Best Trail Magic You've Ever Experienced? 

Visit site  ▷


How I Built This

LÄRABAR — Lara Merriken. 

In 2000, Lara Merriken was 32, recently divorced, and without a job when she decided to make energy bars by mixing cherries, dates, and almonds in her Cuisinart. Eventually, she perfected the recipe and launched her company: LÄRABAR. 

Visit site  ▷


Nautilus

Never Underestimate the Intelligence of Trees. 

Plants communicate, nurture their seedlings, and get stressed.  

Visit site  ▷


The Atlantic

Animals on the Playing Field. 

A recent collection of photos of some of the kangaroos, cats, opossums, dogs, bees, deer, squirrels, alligators, and many other animals who have taken it upon themselves to intrude on us humans while we were in the middle of our many important sporting events. 

Visit site  ▷


Backcountry Post

Album — The Blue Hour. 

Here we find Nature to be the circumstance which dwarfs every other circumstance, and judges like a god all men that come to her. 

Visit site  ▷


Canadian Rockies Trail Guide

The Loneliness of the Solitary Backpacker. 

Good luck and happy trails. 

Visit site  ▷


Andrew Skurka

Beginner backpackers Start here — Advice, info, tips & resources. 

This is a one-stop resource to help you learn to backpack, or backpack better.  

Visit site  ▷


Wenatchee Outdoors

The 'Deuce of Spades' Ultra-light Trowel. 

A very simple and durable design made in the USA. 

Visit site  ▷


REI Co-op Journal

Uncommon Challenge. 

Cook With a Candle 

Visit site  ▷


Volcano Hotspot

Volcanoes where we don't expect them. 

GARROTXA VOLCANIC FIELD, NE Spain. 

Visit site  ▷


Backpacking Light

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Review. 

The Lunar Solo, however, misses some essential performance marks that we could have overlooked when it was first introduced in the 2000s, but now suffers from comparison to more competition. Improvements to the Lunar Solo could be made. 

Visit site  ▷


The Eye Of Photography

Emmet Gowin: The Nevada Test Site. 

Aerial photographs surveying theuniquely scarred landscape of America's primary nuclear testing location for over four decades. 

Visit site  ▷


Phases Magazine

Masato Ninomiya. 

Wintertag 

Visit site  ▷


BirdNote

The Eagle Eye. 

An eagle's vision is incredibly sharp, and its eyes can weigh more than its brain. 

Visit site  ▷


Alastair Humphreys

The Spirit and Energy of Finding Adventure in the Everyday. 

I was so accustomed to these exciting activities that they no longer filled me with nervous excitement and uncertainty. To get back the feeling of risk, doubt and thrilling trepidation I needed to look very differently at adventure. So I took up violin lessons. 

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Bedrock & Paradox

The vexatious Airshed. 

My new Airshed vest promises to be a wind layer that can stay on, over a baselayer, for days at a time of mixed weather. 

Visit site  ▷


A fork in the road

Bear-Resistant Food Storage. 

The Forest Service, Park Service, BLM and others really do care about your safety. Their certification helps you sort through the marketing hype and the trolls' bullshit. 

Visit site  ▷


Mom Goes Camping

The PCT Bear Bag Hang (Step-by-Step Instructions with Pictures!). 

And don't forget your bear spray either! 

Visit site  ▷


The Big Outside

A Wonderful Obsession. 

Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail. 

Visit site  ▷


Highlux

Bolivia Patacamaya — Putre (Chile) via Volcán Sajama. 

Dipping our toes finally into the northern Atacama Desert. It's dry. Your fingernails and skin crack. Nostrils dry out and the sun has an extra intensity, while the nights often drop to freezing. 

Visit site  ▷


PCTTrailside Reader

Top 10 Experiences from a combined 75 years on the PCT. 

Howard Shapiro, the co-editor of this website, and I tried a little project. We have each hiked the PCT, some nearly 2,200 miles of the trail together, over the course of nearly four decades. 

Visit site  ▷


Parasite of the Day

Electrovermis zappum. 

Long before there were dinosaurs, long before there were mammals, the ancestors of these flukes were already going through their life cycles, and well-acquainted with the hearts of vertebrate animals. 

Visit site  ▷


Return To Now

Our Brains Need Animal Fat to Fully Function, Psychiatrist Says. 

There is no plant source of DHA, a fatty acid 'necessary for higher intelligence' 

Visit site  ▷


RV Mobile Internet

SpaceX Starlink Update: Second Batch Of 60 Satellites Launched, Service Coming in 2020. 

No matter how you look at it — there is a new space race on! 

Visit site  ▷


Highlux Photography

Chile Putre. 

Pisiga Bolívar via the Ruta de las Vicuñas 

Visit site  ▷


Long Walks and Dirty Socks

Mogollon Rim Trail (Post Hike). 

Many nights I camped between 8,000 and 9,000 ft with temps as low as 17 degrees according to locals. Believe me, I was worried about my lil' tozies! 

Visit site  ▷


Washington Trails Association

8 Uses for Trash Bags on Trail. 

The common household trash bag. 

Visit site  ▷


The Trek

The Science of What's in Your Water, and Different Treatment Options. 

You know there are bugs potentially floating in that water, but what exactly could be in there? When should you use a certain treatment over others? 

Visit site  ▷


Leor Pantilat's Adventures

Glacial Lakes Project Update. 

A project I started in 2018 to catalog the glacial lakes of the High Sierra  

Visit site  ▷


Backpacking Light

REI Quarter Dome SL 2 Review (Tent). 

So overall, I like the REI Quarter Dome SL 2. It met all my criteria for what I was looking for in a tent. It’s not the lightest option in the two-person market, but it is one of the lightest options in its price class. 

Visit site  ▷


 


Have extra info to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps. (The commenting system quit working for some reason.)
Me? Found my socks today. Time for a celebratory nap.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

LOTR

How about a story?

How about a long story about a long walk?

How about the best long story about the most interesting of all long walks?

You can grab it.

It's the BBC audio presentation of J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" (LOTR).

I bought this on cassette tapes when it first came out. It's still available, at various prices, in various conditions, on CD or even on tape, if you want to spend enough time digging around on Amazon.com or elsewhere.

But CD? Tape?

When I gave up the apartment I had lived in for 18 years and 11 months and moved out of the U.S., I had a little cassette player that I had bought after my $2000 stereo system died. It was one of the last in the world it seemed. I had bought it as insurance, and before moving I wanted to digitize my tapes while I could, but the player decided not to work any more either, so I had a box of tapes, useless, and now long discarded (donated to the local "Friends of the Library").

So what then?

A few weeks ago I decided to search around online because why not?

Bingo.

I grabbed the whole 13-hour series. Twice. Thirteen hours worth of BBC-quality dramatization, performed by real talent. Such as...

Michael Hordern as Gandalf
Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum
Ian Holm as Frodo
John Le Mesurier as Bilbo
Robert Stephens as Aragorn
All the way down to Shagrat and Gorbag

I found this on SoundCloud, and another full copy at the Internet Archive. I downloaded both to be sure I got it everything at the best quality available. (I have only one working ear, and that used to be my bad ear. Life, it can bite.)

The quality is not the best, when listened to online, through my browser (boo). But. I found that the sound quality is excellent off the downloaded mp3 files when played through the VLC media player that I use, even for me (yay) with seriously degraded hearing (nother boo). The total file size for both sets together came to 974 MB, about half that if you choose only one set. The SoundCloud files are larger, and so might be better quality.

Recommended for anyone who may have read the book, and who thought that the movie series was pretty good. Compared the the BBC's work though, the movie series is complete crap. Comic book level crap. This is the actual real adult-level deal.

 

Info

LOTR at SoundCloud: 'Lord of the Rings Full Episodes for Radio'
LOTR at Archive.org: 'Lord Of The Rings by J R R Tolkein' [sic]

The Daily Dot: 'The simple way to download anything from SoundCloud'
Two SoundCloud download options from The Daily Dot
(1) This worked for me: 'SingleMango'
(2) Didn't try this one: 'KlickAud'
General LOTR info
Review of the BBC series
'The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series)' at Wikipedia
VLC media player

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

 

Just as an unrelated teaser, I also found 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' a year or two back, and grabbed those audio files as well, while they were available. Stellar production. Now mostly forgotten. Very little walking in the story, but much intelligence. Douglas Adams

 


Have extra info to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps.
Me? Still wondering if monkeys really have more fun.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I Wonder About Magic

 

Yesterday I saw a YouTube video about hiking the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in Washington State (NordAmerika, US-of-A).

It was about a three-day hike of the 93-mile (150km) trail. But what it really was about was stuff: how light the guy's stuff was. That started me thinking. About stuff.

A long time ago in hamster years I accidentally found out about ultralight backpacking. It started with seeing a guy cooking for two on a Trangia alcohol stove. After that I went loping across the interwebs tracking down information and found more than I'd imagined. Before long I became frantic, ever more obsessed by ever less weight and the stuff that could make it happen. I spent a few years buying things, trying them out, discarding them, making my own things, and so on.

It seems like it should be over now but it isn't. That's the trouble with being one person. You don't realize that even if you've done it and recovered, not everyone else has. People are still tripping over the same door sill that I did, falling flat into Wonderland, and seeing stars.

I can understand that, but I don't care anymore.

I can understand the focus of the video I watched. I've been there. The geography is familiar. I can understand how a person gets swept up. I can understand going out and pulling down mile after mile, simply because you can. I understand watching the landscape unwind as you walk it, how you make it obey.

 

 

But you know, I had to feel sorry for the narrator. He hiked the Wonderland Trail in three days. It was sad to hear that. Sometimes you do things because you can, and if you're a backpacker newly escaped from the universe where every trip is a black hole of infinite mass, then you cut loose and run wild for a time.

But I still feel sorry for him. I hope he's been there before and has already seen it, or goes back later and moves more slowly. The trail deserves it, and so does he. The Wonderland Trail is an entirely complete world and is worthy of one's dedicated attention. Three days are not enough.

And a focus on toys isn't really the point of backpacking, I think.

One of my most vivid images since I began backpacking was of someone I saw on that Wonderland Trail. I was tripping lightly down a modest slope, in dappled shade, and came across a party going up. Well, going up is more work, granted, but they were making it really hard for themselves. One guy in particular. His pack — well I'm not sure what make and model it was, but it was huge. Huge and black, the size of a small refrigerator. And then he had another sub-pack on his front side, and auxiliary pouches strapped on. All black, everything. And a towel so he could mop sweat.

Poor guy.

Meanwhile, I had to be careful not to bounce too much as I walked past, or I would have risked floating away on a random puff of air.

 

 

But in a way we both had it wrong. He was burdened by I know not what, a huge and dark evil weight, and I was burdened by whiffs of smugness. That memory is really all about stuff after all.

I don't think that backpacking is about stuff. Whether it's quantity or quality, how big, how small, how shiny, how useful, how clever, how new, how old. It's only stuff after all. The fun is in realizing that you went out one day and someone else came home in your place, someone new and enriched.

Let me tell you something, a thing or two that happened to me.

A while ago, long after leaving North Dakota, I went back to visit the Badlands. They had put in a long trail right through the middle, north to south. I'd been there before, but if you live there you sort of drive up to something and look at it, and then drive home. By 2004 I was a different person, so I wanted to walk into it and touch it.

But that isn't the point. That wasn't the real experience. It was more like this...

At the end of my first day on the trail I needed to find a camp. So I went off the trail and paused, looking around. After a bit I thought I'd move on a few feet but looked down, and there was a rattlesnake. Its tail anyway.

The two of us were in a shallow, flat dry wash, bordered by sage. While I had stood there with my tongue hanging out, mind in neutral, the snake had made a break for it, but once its head got into the shade under a bush it forgot about its tail and left that hanging out.

This was a little startling, but that isn't the point either.

The point also isn't that I didn't see this happen, though I wish I had.

And just to be clear, the point isn't about fear of a fangy death.

The point is that it happened and I was there.

 

 

This was a blessed magic moment, and I have the memory. I wanted to touch the snake, to say hello, to shake its hand, but that would have been rude, so instead, after admiring the situation, I moved on. Respectfully. Quietly. Uninvited guests should mind their manners. Anyway, snakes don't have hands.

Another time, in the Olympic Mountains of western Washington I crossed a stream narrow enough to toss a cotton ball across. It was summer.

Wading is always a nuisance, but it makes a person stop, so I stopped, and sat, and waited to dry. And then the stream's surface suddenly erupted. Right in front of me. A small dark thing splashed on the surface for an instant, dancing crazily. Dancing upstream, right there. And then it vanished, beneath the surface I thought. I was not sure. What. What it was.

So I waited.

After a bit this thing leapt back into the world of air and light, skimming the water, splashing small splashes. The thing, it was, whatever it was, skittered another foot or two before plunking back. Into. The water.

How could this be? What sort of magic? Was. It?

And again. It happened. This thing. Like a mouse. Moving so fast I could see only a thing. Flash. Splash. Gone. My world was not behaving. But it was my fault.

 

 

See, I was on a long loop hike that had gotten too complex and dangerous and so I was headed back the way I had come. Because it was prudent. And now this mystery. I should have been tens of miles from there, but wasn't. I should have been tramping out long days but wasn't. I was there for the miracle because I had failed, and turned back, and crossed into a different story where they weren't expecting visitors.

If I had made other choices I wouldn't have been a backpacker at all. Nor would I have been there that day to see a water shrew impossibly running atop that stream. That was a blessing. Miles did not matter. Gear does not matter. Blessings do not comprehend scales or dollar signs.

I used to know someone who unashamedly confessed to a steep delight on entering an outdoor shop, where all the shiny things were displayed in long aisles of tidy shelves in a clean and well-lit order. I understand that. It can be fun, fun like doing an impossible number of miles in one day, because you suddenly find that you can, even though before, you couldn't. Fun like looking at things and thinking "What if?" Fun like knowing that you have money to throw, at whatever.

We all have those feelings.

An uncle of mine bought a cheap little exercise thingy. A stand with a bent metal bar running through it, like bicycle pedals. He bought it so he could exercise while sitting in his soft chair, watching TV, and smoking. He tried it once.

I heard about someone else like that. Who fanatically loved the Home Shopping Channel. Enough to buy two stationary exercise bicycles and not use either, and then to buy a third because it folded for easy storage in even the smallest closet.

 

 

That's the thing.

It's the difference between reality and imagination, between a mathematically perfect plan and the dangerous wet kiss of serendipity.

You can look at things and imagine yourself among the gods. You can decide to crown yourself a newly minted god and plan a mega-hike. And complete it, on schedule. And that's fine.

There is nothing so fine, though, as being awakened in the dead of night, hanging all trussed and helpless in your backpacking hammock, by a barking elk suddenly mad with fear, only a few hand's breadths away, when it walks into your scent.

As watching a solitary bee-fly hover endlessly over a nondescript flower, attacking anything and everything that comes near, except you.

As realizing that a herd of deer has coalesced around your shelter, to fight over your urine.

As noticing that, through a gap in the shrubbery across a small meadow, a bear is quietly watching, to see if you behave.

 

 

It is easy to want things and to buy things, but wanting them and buying them, and even using them don't always change you, and I think it might be more important to change, even in random, unpredictable ways, than to always be in control. It might not always be good to be strong and drive those arrows right into the center of that target. After all, that bullseye is a very small and soulless thing to be obsessed with.

So if you go to Mt. Rainier, take time to enjoy it.

Many people plan two weeks. A lot don't finish the hike. Knees. There is some up and down, but if you are in reasonable shape, and don't carry too much weight, then you shouldn't have a problem. The biggest problem is making reservations.

The good news is that you can to do this by long distance, but then you can't be sure of the weather and all that. The worst part though is having to commit to specific camp sites on specific days. Some of these places have the trail running through them, and none offer privacy. You are registered, and have a tag, and are expected to be somewhere, on time.

But if you are somewhere that you can do it, are mildly devious and yet responsible (as in taking responsibility for your own actions), especially if you camp lightly, as in using a backpacking hammock, you can do a thing.

You can hide.

Assuming that where you are going has enough campsites open in approximately the right places, on roughly the right dates, you can register appropriately. Then each day you stop near to where you should be, in case you meet anyone who wants to check your tag. And then, and then, you disappear.

The next day you quietly return from inivisibility.

This is called stealth camping, and is more fun than a titanium cook pot. But you need to be clean and careful. Careful to not make a mess, to clean up exactly everything, to be quiet and respectful, and never to set the place on fire. And also, if you get arrested, hey. Them's the rules. Federal offense and all, if you are in a place like a national park. Which is why I prefer traveling through national forests to national parks.

But there is room out there, lots.

In Mount Rainier National Park alone you have 368 square miles (950 square km) to roam in, and aside from the tall pointy glacier-covered part in the middle, most of it is comfy, spacious forest. So when you're moseying along, it's magic no matter what.

No need to rush.

Because.

You can't rush magic.

Especially if you try.

 

 

 


Have extra info to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps.
Me? Leaving behind only failures, carrying away only regrets.