Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Not To Die

Okay, I figure that you are reading this because you don't want to die. Or you do want to die and don't want to make a mistake and live. I hear you. (see end note) Anyhow, if you follow this 13,562 step plan, you are ensured to never run into any risks on the trail. The reason being that you won't ever make it to the trail.

How Not To Die Step One
Know what your thingymabobs do when they are seeking attention. In other words, learn CPR and then take a wilderness first responder course. Knowing how your body works is invaluable when you're out on your own. Did you know that some dislocations, while easily fixed, need immediate attention? The way arteries run through limbs make some dislocations more critical than others. And for the most part, dislocations are easy to fix. Learn how! While you're at it, learn which internal organs you need and which you can ignore.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Philosophy of Gear or Why I Bring a Soup Strainer

Why use gear?

Gear makes it easier to perform a task. Is it possible to head out into the wilderness with only a knife and survive? With the requisite knowledge, sure. Is it more difficult? Less likely to succeed? Less comfortable? Yes, yes, and yes. For safety's sake as well as convenience's, almost everyone will carry gear of some sort. The gear may range from a rucksack and a few candy bars to a four person tent, mattress, full mess kit, books, whiskey, and a set of boules for Pétanque. Both methods are correct! The first belongs to an ultralight hiker who has extremely low risk of exposure (mid summer) and knows exactly what she is doing. She is also an expert who is taking risks. The second method belongs to a hiker who loves the luxuries and has the power to haul a heavy load. She is unaccountably obsessed with playing Pétanque on mountaintops. [Do you know this girl? Have her number?] One item both types of hikers should have brought is a towel. In fact, I don't know how they missed it. Something clearly went wrong here; I'm going to have to contact my editor. The only thing I can tell our les belle femmes at this point is Don't Panic.

Clearly, the writer has gone off his rocker. Please pardon us while we eradicate him. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Diary entry: Weekend hike

Good morning!

I have been terribly remiss in my postings here, please accept my sincere apologies. This post qualifies as a diary entry. In fact, that's a good idea. I'm going to tag all such entries such. Have I confused the antecedents yet?

Lately everyone around me has been getting sick. Folks at work are taking handfuls of days off, friends are sniffling for days on end and generally feeling pretty miserable. It took a while, but I finally caught it too. That virus was a stubborn son of a Buick and knocked me out for about eight days. I learned something important from it: my writing is shoddy when I'm sick. Go figure.

Since I was below full physical fitness, I of course scheduled a fifteen mile hike for this weekend (being certain of recovery by that date). By Thursday I was feeling back up to par but hadn't done any serious hiking for two and a half weeks. No biggie, right? Fifteen miles is a jaunt in the park.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Shelter Choice: Hammock

My journey to hammocking began with the proposition for a through hike. I knew my existing equipment massed more than I wanted to carry over some 2000 miles. One of the big three, my four pound tent, was due for an upgrade.

Whiteblaze served as the jumping off point for my research into lightening my load. There were endless posts about shelters, shelters from big time manufacturers, from the cottage industry, and from enterprising do-it-yourself backpackers. Light weight tarp tents appeared to be the shelter of choice for many. Some used a tarp and ground sheet, and some used just a bivy. Every once in a while, a poster would claim a hammock to be their shelter of choice. This last being entirely new to me, I became intrigued and delved deeper.