Springtime

Although this blog isn’t really focused on our daily activities, I thought I’d share a few photos.  We had time for a beautiful day out this weekend in the eastern Ozarks.  Many plants were in bloom, the insects were moving and ticks had their presence as well.

It was also an opportunity to get out the new pack and see how it felt under load.  It was fairly heavy as it contained mostly water and food but was certainly comfortable enough for a day in the woods.

Kyly the wonder dog was back in her element sniffing out creatures and diving into every possible body of water or mud she could find.  Spring was here in full force.

The only minor disappointment was the complete lack of edible mushrooms in the area.  It wasn’t for lack of looking; we just didn’t find any.

We didn’t spot any snakes either but the area is just warming up now.  I suspect they were out but not moving much yet.

A very cold tributary to Pickle Creek provided hours of fun.

A leisurely walk in the woods without any destination is one of the finest things I can think of in life.  I hope you get a chance to get out and have saunter as well.  To get in the spirit, I find it’s good to re-read Henry David Thoreau’s Essay on Walking from time to time.

You can read it HERE:  https://paleotool.com/philosophy/walking-an-essay/

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Take a Walk

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“It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk. In happy hours all affairs may be wisely postponed for this. Dr. Johnson said, ‘Few men know how to take a walk,’ and it is pretty certain that Dr. Johnson was not one of those few. It is a fine art; there are degrees of proficiency, and we distinguish the professors from the apprentices. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good-humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much. Good observers have the manners of trees and animals, and if they add words, it is only when words are better than silence. But a vain talker profanes the river and the forest, and is nothing like so good company as a dog.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Country Life,” 1857

What I wouldn’t give to chuck it all in today and just walk in the wilderness.

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Enjoy the Ride; Happy Birthday Edward Abbey

Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Ride

This is a re-post from last year.  However, I think the message is a strong one and worth think about again.

Life is short.  If you’re fortunate enough to live with the means and privilege and food security, consider yourself lucky.  When I feel low or unhappy, I always want to remember the people subjected to abject poverty worldwide through no fault of their own.  It seems that the privileged, the comfortable, and those with the least to complain about are the most vocal and judgmental and superior acting.  A few words by Edward Abbey from a speech to environmentalists published in High Country News, (24 September 1976), under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy!”

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Columbia River 2015, G.T. Crawford.

One final paragraph of advice: […] It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

Edward Abbey

The Tobasco Donkeys, a little known musical group working at the Philmont Scout Ranch recorded a song using Abbey’s words in one of the verses.  It fits well and brings a smile to my face.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Ride

Life is short.  If you’re fortunate enough to live with the means and privilege and food security, consider yourself lucky.  When I feel low or unhappy, I always want to remember the people subjected to abject poverty worldwide through no fault of their own.  It seems that the privileged, the comfortable, and those with the least to complain about are the most vocal and judgmental and superior acting.  A few words by Edward Abbey from a speech to environmentalists published in High Country News, (24 September 1976), under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy!”

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One final paragraph of advice: […] It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards. Edward Abbey

The Tobasco Donkeys, a little known musical group working at the Philmont Scout Ranch recorded a song using Abbey’s words in one of the verses.  It fits well.

Southwest Washington

Our second week on the Portland area was primarily spent north of the Columbia River in Washington State.  Battle Ground, Vancouver, and a trip to Mount St Helen’s.  Although it was hot and dry most of the time, it was a relief after spending months in the Southwest on archaeological excavations.

DSC_0840These photos are not the best, but do capture some of the beauty of the area around Mount St Helen’s.

DSC_0839The dirty snow on the mountain in the distance.

DSC_0842It was a hot and windy day for the ridge-line trail but still a great little trek.

DSC_0844The mountain, as seen from the northwest.  The enormous crater is from the most recent eruption.

DSC_0850Wildflowers are reclaiming the ashy landscape.

DSC_0861A new lake was formed from the eruption.  A beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

DSC_0855Geology, geomorphology, and biological reclamation in action everywhere you look.

Field Testing

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DSC_0167Field testing the nearly finished rucksack.  It still needs a few closures and bits but is essentially as finished as anything I make.  It’s poorly packed for a quick hike and not very full.  More pictures to follow when I get some time off to tramp around with it.

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Features: Heavy, waxed canvas truck tarp with 10-12 oz leather straps and all brass hardware.  It has an axe sleeve, two long, exterior pockets, small flap pocket, two narrow pen-type sleeves, interior valuables pocket, compression D-rings on sides, D rings for shelter roll, and loops for carabiners.

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All hand saddle-stitched and riveted at stress points.  I’ll put up a sketch of the pattern for anyone interested.