Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Definitions: Bluebird Of Happiness

Hike your own hike. Peck your own rainbow.

(1) The official Bluebird of Happiness was the creation of Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian playwright and poet who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1911. One of his plays was the Blue Bird, written in 1908. The Blue Bird is a fairy tale in which Mytyl and Tyltyl, the children of a woodcutter, fall asleep after a disappointing Christmas and dream that a fairy sends them to find the bird that is blue. They have various adventures but return home without fulfilling their quest, though they do loan their pet dove (which they suddenly notice is blue) to a sick neighbor child, who then recovers. The moral of the story is that true happiness is found close to home, and is a result of making the journey, not from reaching the destination, and from selflessness. This has nothing to do with hiking or backpacking, usually, though you never know.

(2) The other Bluebird of Happiness has something to do with taking a bath in freezing water, which, when you think about it, does not sound at all amusing.

However, that is only in relation to a cushy, carefree city life, which does not actually exist, despite the propaganda.

When you compare bathing from a water bottle so cold that the thermometer doesn't have numbers for it to spending the second half of your life in a cubicle, dueling with mutants and feebs all day, the calculation is no longer pointless.

And there is always the option of going Neanderthal.

Who needed to wash in the good old days? Hey? Hey? You're backpacking, and a stiff, shiny, well-buffed skin-armoring lacquer composed of equal parts dirt and dried sweat approaches 99% mosquito-impermeability.

But being clean is fantastic. So, so nice, even if the feelings associated with attaining that state are akin to having your living skin peeled back, and that makes it all worthwhile. (The after-glow, not the skin peeling.)

Once done, the grim stabbing shock of ice water, the frantic, fumbling soap-and-rinse, and the brisk, chattering rub with whatever piece of clothing most resembles a towel and is also least filthy eventually produces a warm rosy bloom of satisfaction covering great areas of the body and soul, except, of course, for that little bluebird dangling there in its nest, trying to hide until spring.

But even he is pleased, in his own catatonic way, and will thank you later.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Mo Apps


I recently found more info.


BackCountry Navigator An Android GPS app that runs on both Android smartphones and tablets.  Currently ranked top among all paid apps in the Travel and Local category.  Visit site  ▷

MapOut Offline map for hiking, biking or as city map.  Covering the whole world.  Visit site  ▷

ViewRanger USA Trails Guides & Maps for Hiking, Camping & Cycling.  Plan, navigate and share your adventures.  Visit site  ▷

Komoot Better Planning and Navigation for Hikers and Bikers.  From the deepest dirt track to the highest hiking trail.  Visit site  ▷

OsmAnd Offline Mobile Maps and Navigation.  Global Mobile Map Viewing and Navigation.  Visit site  ▷


Remember, Effort or Effit, and peace be upon you then, and dust be off you, if you can manage it.
Have something to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Maps Apps Guides

No, I don't know how to use most of the information presented here, yet.

I do have a so-called "smartphone" now, but I can barely figure out how to keep it from locking me out every time I sit down and try to remember how to make a call to someone I don't want to talk to anyway.

The good news is that the phone works, and across international boundaries, and aside from the $26-and-change I pay monthly to keep it alive, it works with just about any cell network, and it works at no cost with any available wifi network, and I've got wifi included with my rent at my apartment in Ecuador, so I have communications when I need them, for cheap, but the rest of the "phone's" capabilities are still a mystery. (Google Fi)

I realize that these gizmos can do a whole bunch more than make calls, and will get to those features eventually. It's a huge block of utility waiting to be of service.

One thing that's annoyed me in recent years is that there are no decent maps available for many places I've wanted to go.

Sometimes there is a map to be found here or there, but actually getting an actual map can actually be an exercise in futility.

When I say "map", I mean a printed one. I'm still there, with print, and paper is fine, though print on plastic is usually better. Electronics are space age, and can be stunningly informative, but I prefer to live without batteries when possible, which means that my gold standard is still print.

But, but, but...

Try getting a decent map of the Hell's Canyon area. Submit an order and wait three weeks, then end up with something with features identified in 2-point type, and trails shown as sub-hairline dashes printed in vague red on a confusing background of greens and browns and rat's nests of contour lines.

I don't see red well, but am lucky to be nearsighted, since now that I'm old enough so I can't bring small print into focus without a magnifier, I can just take off my glasses and put my eyeball about three inches from what I want to read. Fine and dandy. But there is still too much dense detail in many printed maps, and they are often 10 to 15 years out of date anyway.

And then there are those maps you "can print out at home". Ya-sure. Print out at home, just like that. Ready-doodle-doo. Got a color printer, do ya? Me neither.

I did once find got one of these maps for the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington / northeast Oregon, and was able to print out at the shop that sold the maps. That was kinda OK, considering that it was the only map I could find, but...

The map was fuzzy. Everything was indistinct. It was nearly impossible to read, both text and landscape features. Blurry. But it was the only map available, so I was glad to have it.

If I'm ever going to do more of this outdoor stuff I need to get some mobile going, like it or not. It's better than a lot of the printed maps now, and I'm feeling lame.

With that in mind I started a list of resources, some of which are printed maps or guidebooks, still the best bet overall, but I gotta get up to date on the new stuff. Gotta. So this is the start of that list.

In no particular order, here is what I've found so far...



sectionhiker.com GPS-Enabled Trail Guide Apps vs General Purpose GPS Navigation Apps.  Visit site  ▷

sectionhiker.com How to Blog on the Appalachian Trail: Apps, Devices, Battery Charger, and Internet Connectivity.  Visit site  ▷

sectionhiker.com Introduction to Map Layers for Backcountry Navigation.  Visit site  ▷

sectionhiker.com GPS Navigation with PDF Maps on Smartphones.  Visit site  ▷

sectionhiker.com The Digital Map Conundrum.  Visit site  ▷

sectionhiker.com Maplets - The Offline Map App with GPS.  Visit site  ▷

Caltopo Backcountry Mapping Evolved.  Visit site  ▷

Atlas Guides Apps made for adventure.  Visit site  ▷

Halfmile's PCT Maps Pacific Crest Trail Maps, Apps, GPS Data & More.  Visit site  ▷

REI Camping and Hiking Guidebooks.  Visit site  ▷

DelormeAmazon.com: Delorme (a.k.a., Garmin International).  Visit site  ▷

Amazon.com: Trails Illustrated Maps, Books.  Visit site  ▷

Gaia GPS Hiking Trail Maps, Hunting Units, 4x4 Offroad App.  Visit site  ▷

andrewskurka.com Just released: CalTopo app for Android.  Visit site  ▷

andrewskurka.com Suunto Ambit3 vs. Garmin Fenix 5 || Core differences + ideal uses.  Visit site  ▷

andrewskurka.com The future of CalTopo || Interview with founder Matt Jacobs.  Visit site  ▷

andrewskurka.com Essential backpacking topo maps: types, sources & formats.  Visit site  ▷

andrewskurka.com Characteristics of an expert navigator: Part I - Equipped with proper tools.  Visit site  ▷

adventurealan.com Backpacking Navigation & GPS.  Visit site  ▷

adventurealan.com How to use your Smartphone as the Best Backpacking GPS.  Visit site  ▷

adventurealan.com Huge Improvements to Next Gen Gaia GPS Hiking App.  Visit site  ▷

adventurealan.com Best Lightweight Backpacking Electronics Gear.  Visit site  ▷

adventurealan.com 2019 Best Satellite Messengers — SOS Devices.  Visit site  ▷

Hiking Project Hiking Trail Maps.  Visit site  ▷

MyTopo Custom Topographic Maps and Aerial Maps for the USA & Canada.  Visit site  ▷

Maps for Good Connecting people with places.  Visit site  ▷

Google My Maps Apps on Google Play.  Visit site  ▷


Me? Currently making the transition from old creepy guy to creepy old guy.
Have something to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps.
As always, Effort or Eff it. No sniveling.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Definitions: Country Rock

Whutchy'all see when yer above ground.

It's the rock right there. It belongs there. It don't try to hide or nuthin cos it belongs there.

It feels right at home and comfterble. Maybe even has its shoes off an its feet up. Homey like.

Not twitchy and tight like them city rocks. Nosir.

Now there may be some funny rocks inside there, evry now and then. Strange ones. Ores an such. Can't hep that.

It happens to the best uvum. Does.

But that there ain't the country rock, the country rock is the main rock all over that you see, an is twut belongs there.

Whut you see on yer hike. Sometimes y'almost feel like dancin to it too. Makes you feel that good.

Take er easy now


Me? Currently making the transition from old creepy guy to creepy old guy.
Have something to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com
See if that helps.
As always, Effort or Eff it. No sniveling.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Definitions: Escherichia Coli

Escherichia Coli is another small internal pal, one who is all too glad to be carried by you, and occasionally exchanged with others you meet.

If you are alive at all, your tummy is teeming with little guys like these. In fact, they're part of everyone, and we couldn't live without some of them.

In this case "everyone" means warm-blooded animals. And "part of" means that they live in our poop, while it's still inside us, even before we part ways with it.

Normally E. coli is quiet and friendly and causes no harm at all, but bacteria tend to get into all kinds of mischief if left unsupervised long enough. E. coli (let's just call it Coli) is one of these.

And it isn't really Coli's fault. It's the way nature works. Nature is a real mess, and endlessly complicated, which is why, every now and then, you'll see someone just go nuts, and stand up somewhere and start screaming and ripping out handfuls of their own hair. Those are usually biologists. Life is tough for them. Complicated. Frustrating. Frequently smells bad. One reason I went into physics.

But if you like you can skip the personal recriminations and blame everything on bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Yes, life is complicated. Eat or be eaten. Infect or be infected. Or, in the words of that long-ago sign in the shop window, "Dick Nixon before he dicks you."

Bacteria infect us, and viruses infect us, and viruses infect bacteria. One bites one and and then another, and so on ad infinitum.

But the deal is, there is another bacterium out there, called "shigella", that happens to make a really nifty poison called "shiga toxin".

You can get your own personal shigella (call it Shiga) infection too, if you like, but you won't like, because of this shiga toxin, which is one of the most deadly poisons known. Just a bit of it causes bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome. (Yikes! How nasty!)

You can imagine the bloody diarrhea part (like who can't), but maybe not the hemolytic uremic syndrome part.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a disease that destroys red blood cells and the linings of blood vessels. Your blood loses the ability to clot. And then your kidneys die. And there is no treatment, other than to drink water and hope.

But you die anyway, so you can skip the hoping and just save your strength for the dying.

Shiga toxin is so evil that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider it a potential bioterrorist agent. (Got any clues yet?)

So hey, you don't want no Shiga.

The kinky part is that bacteriophages (jumping back to bacteriophages) go around sucking on random bacteria and transferring DNA from one of them to another, like from Shiga to Coli for instance, and then Coli is able to make its own shiga toxin.

And then you eat some stray, now deadly Coli.

This does in fact happen, and is why people get deathly sick (and quite a lot of the time the deathly part wins) when they eat contaminated food.

So cook food well, don't share food with others from a common bag, and wash your hands.

Watch that others do these things too.

You don't want severe cramps followed by a day of watery diarrhea, followed by two to five days of bright red bloody stools, followed by death. Do you?

Probably not. Not you.


Me? Currently making the transition from old creepy guy to creepy old guy.

Have something to add? Send email to sosayseff@nullabigmail.com

See if that helps.