Just ran into the former manager of The Outdoorsmans, Terry Howell, and spent a little time catching up. Long time readers will remember the name from early on when I was doing a lot of articles on optics. He is a good guy and it was good to see him. He is also my unofficial grammarian and spell checker and for that I thank him.
I thought all these greenie weenie types were supposed to be so enlightened.
Over the past couple of months I have had the opportunity to watch all of the hunting shows that are on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsmans Channel. With the exception of Steve Rinellas MeatEater, Jim Shockeys Unchartered (the sleeveless taco bender cowboy hat look still irritates me but I understand it is part of his brand), and maybe just one or two others, it is bad TV. I mean its cheesy, contrived and generally an uninteresting waste of perfectly good air time. Worse, I don’t think it puts hunters in a very good light. Trail cams, food plots, extreme long range rifle shots, etc., etc., etc. And after airing hundreds of tree stand/ground blind scenes does anyone anywhere find them the least bit interesting. No.
Oh, I know you guys will get together at your awards dinner and profess to each other and anyone else that will listen that you are doing good by growing the sport, preserving my 2A rights, and supporting conservation efforts but I am not buying it. Its gotten too commercialized and too much about the money.
I came home this afternoon from hiking Mount Humphreys with my daughter. I cleaned myself up then sat down to watch the season finale of ALONE on the History Channel.
Congratulations to Alan Kay. He was the last man standing, literally, after 56 days in the British Columbian wilderness. I thought he handled himself with class and a sense of humor throughout the series. And he didn’t cry. I am impressed.
For outlasting 9 other men he collected a check for $500,000. What’s he going to do with the money? He said he was going to help his father with retirement, get his son an operation to correct blindness in one eye, and put whatever is left towards paying off his house.
I found many of the things Alan said funny and insightful but my favorites were reflections he made after home. He said we take a lot for granted, that the human spirit is amazing, that there is nothing like some time in the woods to put life into perspective, and you got to get quiet. I agree.
Well done Mr. Kay.
I don’t know how big the controversy really is but there seems to be quite a bit of noise from big media and pandering corporate types over the recent killing of a lion in Zimbabwe. Was the lion popular with the locals? Did the hunter and his Guide lure the animal off a protected reservation? Was it a legal hunt? Does the hunter have a history of bad acts? I don’t know but the broader argument over hunting is an old one and my experience is that it is damn near impossible to change anyone’s mind on the subject regardless of logic, proof or volume.
I do know that I am not a big fan of these kinds of look at me see what I did “trophy” pictures. Actually, it isn’t the pics I object to as much as it is them being posted and publicized everywhere but we live in a look at me see what I did society and the temptation to share is great. I suppose that by doing what I do here I too am guilty.
I can say with 100% certainty though that if I had just discovered that the lion I shot a reported 40 hours earlier was wearing a GPS tag I wouldn’t memorialize it with the typical congratulatory photograph. I wouldn’t post it in all the usual places as if everything had gone perfectly and I sure as hell would not be smiling.
If you put pictures like this out there for the whole world to see don’t be surprised by the response you get from some people.
Coming down in buckets. A rare summer thunderstorm in ‘Nado. The lightning began about 6am and has lasted all day. Incredible to look North towards the Del then South at the NavSpecWarfare base and not see a single solitary sole anywhere on the beach or in the water. That is except for me of course! On any other Saturday in mid July it would be jam packed.
Speaking of snakes. Internet generated phony pic or not that is a BFS and I am happy to see that it is now in pre hatband slash cowboy boot condition. I don’t know this guy but I do know his cousin James and he says it is legit. I figure that is 12 to 13 feet which is 12 to 13 feet too big in my opinion.
Yet another reason to steer clear of the state of Texas.
6 miles into a 10 mile hike something under my right shoe felt amiss. I figured I had either stepped in something or my Montrail Hard Rocks had finally given out on me. It was the latter. Bummer. As you know these are my favorite trail shoes.
I am not giving up on these yet. I am going to peel the tape off, clean them up real good and smear on a healthy slab of Shoe Goo. We’ll see how much farther I can go with them but I am glad I still have one new-in-the-box pair of these left.
Why do I like these particular trail shoes so much? Two reasons set these discontinued Montrail Hard Rock shoes apart from anything else currently on the market. The interior of the shoe is made of a thick high density foam with a sturdy outer fabric. It holds up very well and provides excellent support/padding. Second, is the rock shield that runs the length of the midsole. That’s what makes hiking many long miles on extremely rocky trails, like the one pictured above, possible without coming up lame the next day. Light weight is wonderful but structure is very important too.
Hike on my friends and always have a plan B.
There is an issue with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coatings that is effecting the entire outdoor clothing industry. Patagonia is not only discussing the problem openly and candidly on their Cleanest Line blog but they are also putting their money where their mouth is by leading the effort to find a remedy. That is responsible leadership and I want them to know that I appreciate it.
Here is the article.
I spent much of my Presidents Day holiday on the trail. The 75 degree blue sky weather was beautiful and the people were few. Those that I did see gave me a lot to comment on had I the opportunity to engage with them like I did when I wore the uniform. I keep my mouth shut out there now most of the time now but I thought that I would do a quick Hiking 101 (Arizona version) for my readers.
It is pretty basic and common sense, I know, but I have learned over the years that common sense is anything but common so here you go.
WATER UP – Water, water, water is what I preach to my players and considering our low humidity environment it is good advice. When you work hard in our dry heat you lose a lot of water just by huffing and puffing and sweat that quickly evaporates so you don’t notice it. Dehydration sneaks up on you. I start and end every day with a tall glass of water and try to get through at least a gallon in between whether I am going out or not. That way my I keep my internal tank topped off.
I did a little over nine miles yesterday with some pretty substantial ups and downs. My little Black Diamond day pack contained a 100 ounce Camelbak and a 16 ounce Super Man bottle. When I got back to the truck 4-5 hours later the bottle was empty and the bladder had about 10 ounces left in it. I was ready to sit down and take a break but I didn’t have a headache, I wasn’t tripping over everything and I was chit chatting with other people in the parking lot. Those are all good signs.
PROPER FOOTWARE AND CLOTHING – I left the truck wearing
- a light colored boonie hat
- Tommy Bahamas sunglasses
- a loose fitting long sleeve Under Armour shirt
- Under Armour boxer briefs
- Under Armour nylon athletic shorts
- Danner ankle socks
- Montail Hard Rock trail running shoes
- a little sunscreen on my neck
- a whistle on a neck lanyard
- a Road ID on my wrist
That’s it. I was comfortable and protected from getting too much sun.
You would be amazed at what I see out there. Everything from right out of church over dressed to damn near naked.
HIKING POLE – Never leave the truck without one. It is a third leg that gives me a little extra push on the ups and catches me when I slip or take a bad step on the way down. It also is a snake remover, dog poop flinger, back scratcher, place to hang my hat when I take a break, good place to store a few feet of Gorilla Tape, self defense tool, signaling device (with a bandana or some reflective tape), make shift crutch or splint, etc, etc.
Here are some other things I have learned from a lot of time hiking on Arizona trails…
Leave your dog at home. If you have an overwhelming compulsion to take you dog out in public and mingle with other dog owners find a dog park.
Pay constant attention to where you are putting your feet while you are moving. If you are going to look at the scenery, and I absolutely think you should, don’t do it while you are moving. Stop and look around or you are gonna take a fall or roll an ankle. It only takes one misstep.
Arizona trails are almost always super rocky, from little round marbles to salt block sized ankle breakers our trails consist of mile after mile of rocks. So, make sure you put your feet on the solid stuff while you are going down hill or that forward foot is gonna come out from under you. Go from one mostly buried rock to another and stay off the marbles and you will be fine.
Remember that most skiing accidents happen on the last run of the day and most mountaineering accidents happen post summit on the descent so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most hiking injuries happen on the way back or during the last half of the outing.
Earbuds and headphones. I love music too but I can’t hear the runner or mountain biker coming up fast on my left while I am wearing headphones or earbuds. I also can’t hear that Rattlesnake that is on the edge of the trail. Unplug.
I am guilty of daydreaming if I don’t work hard to pay close attention out there but daydreaming on the trail can get you hurt. Not a big deal usually if you are close to the car but if you are way back it can be a problem, especially if you are alone. Stay sharp.
WHAT TO CARRY – In a small day pack I carry
- electrolyte replacement fluid
- truck key
- bandana x2
- mini sharpie marker
- lip balm
- snack (mixed salted nuts in a small zip lock bag)
- bic lighter
- SPOT (second gen)
- 3 inch Ace bandage
- 6 4x4s
- Bloodstopper bandage
- triangular bandage
- Benadryl tablet x2
- tube of glucose gel
That is more than most people need to carry but the first time I don’t carry that stuff is when I will run into a bad mountain biker or horseback rider wreck. I will always stop to help so I want to be at least somewhat effective.
So get out there and do some hiking. It is good for you.
I have never heard of these guys before but I certainly know their work. Impressive. Very cool.
Check them out in this Vimeo video. If it ain’t the real deal it sure looks like it but in this day and age that is still better than 99% of the phony poser crap out there.
I have received quite a few comments asking why I don’t post more often and the answer is simple. At least in terms of gear, I don’t see much out there worth talking about.
I have spent a very long time searching for what I think is the best and with a few exceptions I am using it. Anything I look at now would replace something already in my system so it has to be pretty good to even get my attention. Two current examples. The First Lite Boundary Stormtight Jacket and the Kuiu Chugach NX Rain Jacket. Both are very nice but are they good enough to displace the Arcteryx and Sitka Gear shell layer jackets that now hang on the rack of greatness? I don’t know yet, takes me a while to test and make up my mind.
The outdoor equipment industry has been influenced a little too much by Wall Street and Madison Avenue over the past ten years I think. Like the fickle chic driven fashion industry, twice a year, the gaggle of outdoor gear folks comes out with something supposedly new and different. The next big thing. A new “fad” like waterproof down a couple years ago or now breathable insulation. There is an entire multi-faceted mechanism (echo chamber) built specifically to gin up buzz which creates a sense of urgency that in turn generates a surge of new sales revenue. Voila, goals met, champagne for the suits!
Most of these companies are more concerned about the number of units sold not necessarily producing great gear and I understand that. I am well aware that money is what makes the world go ’round but I don’t have to feed the beast and buy into it the hype. I choose to stay above the fray, keep a close eye on things, sort through the BS and let you know when I come across something worthy of consideration.
Elegantly simple. Universally useful. I give you the humble bandana.
I have mentioned the bandana many times here as part of a gear list and featured a specialized version (the McNett CamoVat) but never given the basic model the respect it deserves with a dedicated post of its own. My bad.
I suggest that you carry at least two made of 100% cotton that gets softer and better with age. Here are some of the uses I am aware of;
water bottle filter
sun protection for your head
hot pot holder
flying insect swisher
make shift strainer
The slide has come to a stop, now what? Time is of the essence and the clock is ticking. You had better get the first responders started right now or the search and rescue operation is going to turn into a body recovery.
We have news today of another deadly avalanche, this time in Colorado. I have been through enough avalanche training to know that accurate prediction is a dicey proposition at best but that is not the reason for this post. My point is based on reports from the first responders that those who survived and were rescued were very lucky to get an emergency call out via cellphone because there is little to no coverage in that area.
The good thing is that they were all wearing avi beacons but it is astounding to me that in this day and age the survivors were left to rely on cellular and not satellite communications technology. That tells me that we have done a much better job of educating people about avalanche transceivers than we have on satellite messengers and PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) so we have some work to do.
Avalanche training and wearing transceivers are obviously important but so is the ability for survivors or witnesses to call for specialized emergency assistance when the worst happens. The solution is get a SPOT, DeLorme inReach SE, or SPOT Global Phone then learn how to use it, make sure it is fully charged and carry it every single time you go out. I repeat, carry it every single time you go out. Seriously folks, this is an easy fix and I would say it is irresponsible or negligent if you don’t make this affordable preparation.
By the way, if you think that your satellite distress beacon will work when you are buried in the snow you better do some tests because if you are deep enough that you can’t dig yourself out you are too deep for the signal to get out.
For avalanche safety education start by going to the National Ski Patrol and Mountain Rescue Association websites then get some practical field training. Ignorance is a condition that can be treated and cured.
From the Wenatchee World comes this picture of a Mountain Lion that is just looking for some love, affection and maybe a little something to eat. Come on, let ’em in.
My wife is from Fillmore, California where she lived on the outskirts of town in the hills. She has often told me stories of these big cats hanging around the house and picking off pets on a regular basis. I usually just roll my eyes and ask is that like the time your dad shot the neighbors dog with a 30-30 for knocking you off your bike? I say that because I mentioned that story to her father once during one of the maybe three conversations we have ever had and he looked at me like I had three heads but I might have to start cutting her some slack on the cougar thing after seeing this pic. Wow.
I will have to ask my friend at Fish & Wildlife but I am betting if you dispatch this nuisance yourself you might end up in the back of the good Wardens pick-up wearing cuffs.
Good thing these folks don’t have a doggy door or this could have gotten pretty western.
Netflix, iPad Mini, True treadmill, a backpack and sweat.
My kids got me a Netflix subscription recently and I watch it mostly when I am on the treadmill. A good movie or a couple episodes of something goes nicely with a 90 minute hill climbing program.
Ewan, Charley and their BMW GS 1200s.
My most recent favorite is the Long Way Down series with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. They did 15,000 miles in 85 days on motorcycles from John O’Groats, Scotland to Capetown, South Africa. Great show.
UPDATE – I am now watching their first trip series called The Long Way Round where they head East from London and end up in New York. It is outstanding too.
2/23/14 – A few days ago I finished Ken Burns documentary series about the national parks (outstanding by the way) on Netflix for my treadmill slash elliptical machine time and have been looking for something new to look forward to. Based on a number of your recommendations I just finished the first episode of House of Cards and I am already hooked. Great writing, very realistic and I love Kevin Spacey in this role. Talk about your den of thieves and snake pits. Reminds me a little of my days at the House of Reps and on McCains staff but it didn’t seem so glamorous then.
Can’t wait to see the next one.
Overland International, parent company of one of my favorite websites, Expedition Portal, and favorite magazines, Overland Journal, celebrates 10 years of adventure. Congratulations guys and thanks for blazing the trail.
Their story is a good one.
Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies.
We can be educated and persuaded but not bought, bullied or bs’d.
Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who can’t or won’t turn back.
As you can probably tell there is still a lot of inconsistency in the look of the posts, particularly the older ones. I am systematically and methodically working my way through them. I am also adding some of the articles that were not caught in the backup and marking them in the title as From The HO Archives…
The fine tuning doesn’t change the content just the look. It is a vanity thing. Hang in there with me.