Video: ‘Spirit Canoe’

A great video from Symbols of the West, “Spirit Canoe” is a “mystic journey of a man who is in search of himself and navigating through a passage with the memories of his once self and a special figure who lingers in his soul. He is setting out on a quest, armed with his old map and small canoe, to venture the river in hopes that a new path will reveal a novel future, unfamiliar and restoring. This is a story of the spiritual compass that no one can ever expect to understand; it’s powers, it’s unknown.”

The scenery is wonderful, with beautiful mountains and streams. Give it a watch.


Two ways to see the outdoors

The New York Times and Sotheby’s, via a link on the Times website, offer up two ways to get outdoors:

1. Buy the $3,575,000 Snowmass, Colo., Lazy O Ranch:



Enjoy panoramic views from this dramatic, fully remodeled home on 3.56 acres overlooking the majestic 1,400 acres of Lazy O Ranch! Features include 6 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 2 half baths, 9307 square feet, spacious floor plan, top of the line finishes, striking log accents, ample master suite, wine room, theater, recreation room, air conditioning, two car garage, mature landscaping, pond/water feature and privacy. The ranch amenities include common horse pastures, barn, tennis courts, fishing ponds, hiking/riding trails and a manager on site 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Just 16 miles to the center of Aspen, and 6 miles to the quaint town of Basalt with specialty shops, restaurants, and renowned Gold Medal fishing in the Frying Pan River. Seller will consider a trade for a U.S. commercial income property of equal or greater value. Flexible and Creative Owner Financing Available. Originally $7,450,000 Now $3,575,000

(Hey, it’s reduced!)

2. Head out into our national parks and forests.

From Times columnist Nicholas Kristof:

During an August vacation with my family, I enjoyed lodgings so spectacular that not even Bill Gates or Warren Buffett could ever buy or rent them.

The scenery was some of America’s finest: snowcapped mountains, alpine lakes, babbling brooks. The cost? It was free.

We were enjoying some of America’s public lands, backpacking through our national patrimony. No billionaire can acquire these lands because they remain — even in a nation where economic disparities have soared — a rare democratic space. The only one who could pull rank on you at a camping spot is a grizzly bear.

One of the greatest things about heading into the outdoors is that it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong, you can spend a fortune outfitting yourself with all the latest gear and creature comforts, but you don’t need to do so in order to have a good time. Also, once you do have the gear your need — bargain basement or high end — the cost-per-day of being outdoors is not very high. Campgrounds are cheap. The miles you hike vs. the cost of food produces a nice return. Even a plane ticket, if planned out in advance, isn’t horrible when stacked up against vistas, rocks and waves. A bundle of wood may cost $5, but you get a couple of hours of enjoyment out of it while sitting around a fire. And, inexpensive beer and wine taste pretty good under the stars.

Think I’ll stick with the second option…

Could this sticker defeat mosquitoes?

Kite Patch from SPARKHOUSE on Vimeo.

The Kite Patch is designed to emit a mix of chemicals that makes us (humans) invisible to them (mosquitoes). Designed as an alternative to the sprays and lotions containing DEET and other compounds, the Kite Patch is meant to be worn on a piece of clothing and to provide 48 hours of protection.


Olfactor’s non-toxic compounds work against mosquitoes’ long-range abilities to detect humans through CO2, as well as dampening the insect’s short-range ability to sense us from our basic human odors. These chemicals, which give off a “faint pleasant smell,” will be applied to a small sticker, which [Grey] Frandsen [vice president at ieCrowd] notes is the cheapest, easiest, and most adaptable way to design a spatial insect repellant. The patches will then be shipped off to Uganda for field testing, which should begin before the end of the year. “Really, what we’re doing is creating a rapid scientific development process, a rapid prototyping process and then a very aggressive go to market strategy,” Frandsen says of ieCrowd’s method.

If this patch is successful in the real world, it will have a tremendous effect on the continuing fight against malaria. According to the World Health Organization, in 2010 there were approximately 660,000 malaria deaths worldwide and about half of the world’s population is at risk from the disease.

The patch sounds like it could become a great option for those of us who love the outdoors, too.

You can donate to the Kite Patch campaign on Indiegogo for a few more days.


Can you actually outrun a mosquito? Outside Magazine has the answer.

Have you ever wondered what it looked like on the inside when a mosquito gets you? A French study used a microscope to see how mosquitos feeds on blood. Let’s just say they have a very long and very determined snout.

Follow @mountainscallme on Twitter.

This old, blue tarp

Shenandoah River State Park

Shenandoah River State Park

I don’t remember where I got this blue tarp. Campmor? Wal-Mart? I’m not even sure when I bought it, but it must have been when I lived in upstate New York, so that was more than 15 years ago.

What I do know is this thing has been with me on many, many trips and has saved a lot of them.

I attract rain when I go car camping. It’s been this way since I was a kid. My father and I joked about renting ourselves out to farmers in need of rain for their fields.

So when you are dealing with a rainstorm nothing makes life better than a tarp over your head. It isn’t very fancy – no cantilever wings, no super lightweight silicon impregnated fabric. Just good old ripstop polyethylene in an 8’ x 10’ size. I have a ziplock bag filled with odds and ends of rope that gives me all the options I need for rigging it among trees (or occasionally to a picnic table or a roof rack).

I don’t think about the tarp that much – other than making sure it is packed for the trip, rigging it is it isn’t too stressed by wind or water pooling and then making sure it is dried out before being put back into storage. But when the rain starts to fall, I am really happy to have it overhead.

Some tips for setting up a tarp:

There are a number of tarps on the market that are designed to provide better protection and easier setup than the traditional square/rectangle. Here is one and another

A Fitpacking trip I went on used something similar to this, which was nice because of its multiple anchor points.

The knot I love about all others – even more than the figure eight – is the taut-line hitch. Perfect for tarp lines, tent lines, even moving all your furniture in the back of truck.

Here is pretty nice illustration and website:

Here is a good video, with some know illustrations, on how to pitch a tarp:

Have a great day.

The Dirtbag Diaries: Tales of Terror

I am beyond excited to have my story included in the Dirtbag Diaries annual Tales of Terror Halloween podcast. I have been listing to Fitz Cahall and others spin wonderful stories about the outdoors since the podcast began. Check out my spooky story, plus others by Micah McNulty and George Braun.

Also check out two of Fitz Cahall’s excellent films: