Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Definitions: Sidehill Ditch

This is another one of those colorful terms from trail building. The feature that goes by this name is used to control runoff. It's a ditch. (Whoopee,etc.)

Such a ditch runs parallel to the trail on the uphill side. The ditch collects water and redirects that water so it doesn't slosh across the trail (bad) or run downhill along the trail and chase backpackers away (even worse). After it has done its duty, a ditch like this usually dumps whatever it has collected into a culvert. After that, it's the culvert's problem.

As for the water itself, we don't care where that ultimately ends up. Really, we don't. We don't care.

But then again, other sidehill ditches are ruts worn by the passage of any of several small annoying animals we can lump under the general name of "sidehill gougers". It's them what do that (the gouging).

These gougers are smallish mammals who root on hillsides, tearing up earth in their search for food (small leafy plants, roots, insects, and grubs). There are gouger species on several continents and they are known by a variety of other names such as "sidehill dodge hodag", "rackabore", "dahu", and "wampahoofus".

The wild haggis is a related species found exclusively in Scotland. Although rare now, it was once abundant enough to become the national baked dish of that country. In case you ever wondered about that.

Anyhow, these various sideways gouging animals sort themselves out early in life into left-handed and right-handed variants, and after that they consistently turn one flank uphill. Gradually, as these critters mature, the downhill pair of legs lengthens while the uphill pair shortens until an individual animal loses the ability to turn around, or even to walk on level ground.

Difficulty in finding suitable mates, not to mention the mechanics of the mating process itself, may be a key reason for their declining numbers and bad temperament.

Yes, they are desperate. If you encounter one, keep your distance — you know what the neighbor's dog tries to do with your leg every time it gets close enough to make a grab for it. And these critters are much, much worse.

So very much worse.

And when they do get going, they drool a lot. So. Think about that then.


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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Anything happening out there? 31 DEC 18

trek-lite Wild Camps 2018.  I would love to see everyone else's year in camps.  Visit site  ▷

Backcountry Post Two weeks in the White Clouds, Idaho, July 2018.  Keeping upbeat and flexible turned out to be virtues on this trip.  Visit site  ▷

Viajar a pie 2018 in pictures.  A year of travels in snow, tarmac, rock & dirt summarized in 17 pics.  Visit site  ▷

Ultralight and Comfortable Gear Review: The Svea 123.  I say buy one and have fun, you won't regret the experience.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal The Struggles of an Introverted Adventurer.  I am cautious and careful. I like people, I enjoy their company, but I choose my adventure partners slowly.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal What the Hell Happened to the Man Who Mapped the Amazon?.  Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett.  Visit site  ▷

Section Hiker New Sleeping Pad R-Value Standard FAQ.  What problem does the new sleeping pad R-value standard address?  Visit site  ▷

The Ultralight Hiker Why These Umbrellas Will Last Forever.  You are always better off to have good things than cheap things.  Visit site  ▷

LenScratch Håkan Strand.  Silent Moments  Visit site  ▷

Zero Day Resupply A resource built by thru-hikers, for thru-hikers.  We ship to any trail in the continental United States. With standard next day shipping, resupplying for a thru-hike has never been so simple.  Visit site  ▷

Andrew Skurka Pfiffner Traverse.  A 77-mile backpacking high route that follows the Continental Divide and the crest of Colorado’s Front Range.  Visit site  ▷

Andrew Skurka Wind River High Route.  For 97 miles, the world-class Wind River High Route follows the alpine crest of Wyoming’s Wind River Range.  Visit site  ▷

Modern Hiker High Altitude Ultralight Camping Test.  What would ten fewer pounds do for the spirit and joints? A new wave of ultralight camping gear seeks to answer that question.  Visit site  ▷

The Ultimate Hang Simply Light Designs Streamliner SL Hammock Review.  The Streamliner removes extra, unused fabric by adding a catenary curve to the edges.  Visit site  ▷

Rest and Wild Mt. St. Helens.  Vertically diminished and quieter, the mountain today is still very much an active volcano.  Visit site  ▷

Andrew Skurka How to store & protect food.  From bears & mini-bears.  Visit site  ▷

Behance Grønland.  The sheer amount of ice left me speechless.  Visit site  ▷

Behance Above the Ice.  Glacier patterns as far as you can see.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal The Van Buren Sisters Were Tough-As-Nails.  Suffragist Moto Pioneers.  Visit site  ▷

SectionHiker Jetboil Zip Stove Review.  Perfectly sufficient for multi-day backpacking trips or thru-hikes.  Visit site  ▷

The Hiking Life Tents for Thru-Hiking.  A compilation of trail-tested lightweight tents, recommended by some of the most accomplished long distance hikers.  Visit site  ▷

The Hiking Life Hammocks for Thru-Hiking.  I asked a hiking buddy of mine.  Visit site  ▷

Yama Mountain Gear Insulated Pogies.  A great alternative to mittens, these pogies are like warm quilts for your hands.  Visit site  ▷

TTBOOK Peak Performance.  We talk about fear, risk and resilience.  Visit site  ▷

TTBOOK The Secret Language of Trees.  Trees talk to each other and form alliances with fellow trees, even other species.  Visit site  ▷

Ignant Photographs From The Middle Of Nowhere.  Czech photographer Michael Novotny lives, by his own admission, in "the middle of nowhere".  Visit site  ▷ 20 Days in a Blizzard.  It was a rough one.  Visit site  ▷

Idaho Statesman They created a 2,600-mile trail across the Northwest.  Creating the UltraPedestrian North Loop.  Visit site  ▷

She-ra Hikes Looking beyond the trail.  It was an ambitious plan. And they did it!  Visit site  ▷

I Heart Pacific Northwest After the fire.  Multnomah-Wahkeena loop hike.  Visit site  ▷

Reddit Ultralight Sleeping bag vapor barrier?.  It made all the difference for me.  Visit site  ▷

PCTTrailsideReade It's Okay to Take a Break.  Listen to your body. Yes.  Visit site  ▷

OutdoorGearLab Outdoor product reviews.  Our secret sauce is side-by-side comparative reviews.  Visit site  ▷

NY Times Lens Documenting the Disappearing Glaciers of Iceland.  On foot and by plane, Ragnar Axelsson is photographing the glaciers that cover his homeland.  Visit site  ▷

The Jealous Curator Emily Moore.  Just a few recent pieces by Scottish artist Emily Moore.  Visit site  ▷

Behance Pure Lofoten.  There are several places in the world where every landscape photographer would like to work. Lofoten, Norwegian archipelago is one of them.  Visit site  ▷ AEON Li.  Coming January 2019.  Visit site  ▷

The Guardian What is behind the spread of a mysterious allergy to meat?  A single tiny creature is to blame.  Visit site  ▷ Dyneema Composite Fabrics.  We dive into the design, manufacturing, and applications of Dyneema Composite Fabrics. [podcast]  Visit site  ▷

The Atlantic 2018: The Year in Volcanic Activity.  Collected below are scenes from the wide variety of volcanic activity on Earth over the past year.  Visit site  ▷

Willis Wall Multimedia Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt Review.  I guess it’s my turn to weigh in to add to the confusion, but I waited all season to come to a verdict and actually used the damn thing(s) in varying conditions.  Visit site  ▷

The California Sunday Magazine Living on Foot.  Jeff Garmire began his very long hike without a trail. Then began walking into the trackless Sonoran Desert with Arizona at his back.  Visit site  ▷

Smithsonian A Photographer’s Quest to Document the Last of the Rainforest Caribou.  The story of a rapidly declining species and habitat.  Visit site  ▷

SectionHiker A Batch-Loaded, Inverted Down-Draft Gassifier Stove by Dave Sailer.  If you’ve always wanted a jet engine to cook marshmallows with, this baby might be for you.  Visit site  ▷

Adventure Journal New Mapping of Antarctica Details Frozen Continent Like Never Before.  The Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica.  Visit site  ▷

APOD Methane Bubbles Frozen in Lake Baikal.  Lake Baikal, the world's largest, oldest, and deepest lake, is also a vast storehouse of methane.  Visit site  ▷

Dull Men's Club Where we "Celebrate the Ordinary".  Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month.  Visit site  ▷

National Park Service The President of the United States lives in a National Park  Presidents Park remains accessible, however all NPS facilities, including restrooms and the White House Visitor Center are closed.  Visit site  ▷

Death touches my ear. 'Live,' he says, 'I am coming.' -- Virgil
(Died September 21, 19 BC, age 50)

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