Whither the Weather

I would argue that to really love the outdoors, nature, life beyond the comfy confines of a house with a thermostat set to something above 60º, a person has got to love weather.  Real weather- not just blue sky, sun’s rays on the shoulders, balmy T-shirty stuff.  Or maybe what I’m getting at is that to truly love the outdoors, the untamed world, the realm that scalds, freezes and wind whips-  a person has got to love clothing…

In any case in seeking to enjoy life beyond the built world its best that a person know how to dress.

Here’s a list of my favorite essentials in order of affection (but then again I’m fickle):

1. Long johns (preferably silk or woolen)… photo courtesy of underwear expert


2. Earflap hat (makes your head feel snug as a hibernating bear)

3. Insulated socks (don’t even think cotton or synthetic)

4. Camisole or undershirt (wicks off sweat, gives you something to strip down to)

5. Vest (with dip in the back to warm the kidneys)

6. Wind pants (like having a portable house, something like a hermit crab)

7. Gators (keeps the snow out of that vulnerable gap between ankle and pant cuff)Isadora duncan

8. Cowl (better than a scarf because it won’t commit murder like Isadora Duncan’s did)

9. Wool sweater naturally waterproofed with lanolin smallSheep (I like the smell as well as the  look)

10. Mittens (superior to gloves- or to have it all- woolen half gloves worn inside mittens)

(Joking..)  HalfGlove    Bonus Item: Ice grippers,

         there’s a zillion kindsSnowGrip



So embrace the weather, love it, romp with it, get down and dirty with it.

And for another little nudge of inspiration here are a couple books:

Chasing The Monsoon by Alexander Frater


The Future of Ice by Gretel Ehrlich

I love them both

Posted in Adventure, Alexander Frater, Climate Change, clothing, danger, Depression, exhilaration, Footwear, Gretel Ehrlich, Happiness, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neil Young: MY HERO

Who’s Going To Save the Earth?

Who’s Going to stand Up to the

Big Machine?

Join me in answering with one Voice:


Posted in Africa, Apathy, Australia, China, Climate Change, danger, Depression, exhilaration, Gobi Desert, Happiness, Lapland, Mexico, Mt. Washington, mushrooms, Music, Neil Young, Nepal, Serengeti, South America, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Tuckerman's Ravine, Viggo Mortesen, Walking, weather, Wild | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Night Hike

There’s something uncanny about Labor Day, at least here on the East Coast of North America.  The day before Labor Day you can strip, don your bathing suit, head for a body of water, dive in and swim, re-emerge, remain scantily clad while going to get an ice cream cone still dripping from your plunge, and not see one goose pimple.

Not so the day after Labor Day.  Forget your damp bathing suit.  Grab a sweater and restock your cabinets with cocoa  and scotch (preferably Chocolate Mamas chocolate and Oban…).

hot-chocolate_article_banner_imgOn the East Coast of America where I hail from, the day after Labor Day (post-Labor Day: PLD) means summer is done.  Dead.  It means winter is descending faster with each breath exhaled.

Pull a sweater over arms and long underwear over chilled gams, a plunge in temperature is not a problem; what is a problem post Labor Day is a sudden absence of LIGHT.  Daylight. Come noon PLD you should be looking for your flashlight.

 To hikers what this means is PLD you now have stark choices; get up at 5:00 AM to get a jump on the sun as it makes an arrival, forego breakfast altogether or eat nuts and berries from a Scotchpocket on the trail.  That or sleep in and after dragging out of bed attach a headlamp to your dome to keep the oncoming shadows at bay.

 (Excuse me while I pause to pull at my hair and growl a the dimming sky seen out my window at 5 past 1:00 PM.  This typed in werewolf blood…) 

Point is, to deal with miserly PLD daylight you can either cut down on your activities and pleasures- hiking say- or embrace your inner werewolf and celebrate the dark.  I recommend the latter…

This said, a few days back when faced with a restless dog, legs itching to move and a darker shade of grey settling all around, I lace up my boots, dressed my dog in her orange reflective coat, reached for my newly purchased LED lantern and took to the trail.


Posted in Adventure, danger, Depression, exhilaration, Happiness, Hot chocolate, Night, Scotch, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Want to be Happy?


British and American scientists have published new research showing that group nature walks help us combat stress while boosting mental well-being.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England evaluated 1,991 participants in England’s Walking for Health program, which hosts nearly 3,000 walks per week for more than 70,000 regular participants. They found that the nature walks were associated with significantly less depression in addition to mitigating the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress. The findings were published in the September issue of Ecopsychology.

Excerpted from Lauren Steele’s article for Outside Magazine

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There is a Goddess: Sarah Marquis

I wish this were me,  This could be me.  And this could be you.  But this is Sarah Marquis.  Sarah is Swiss and she has been pursuing adventure for 20 years.  She walked 10,000 miles in three years.

Sarah says,

“Let your soul touch the earth… go walking!”


Here’s a link to more about Sarah: http://www..ch/pg/pages/view/163/bio


Posted in Altitude, Australia, China, danger, exhilaration, Gobi Desert, Mexico, South America, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jon Henrik Fjällgren: Colombian Laplander, Singer!

Words not needed… Enjoy!

And another performance, this one in Stockholm, without reindeer alas

Posted in Jon Henrik Fjällgre, Lapland, Music, Reindeer, Sweden | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildebeest Dream

I will one day soon go to Africa to see this incredible scene for myself.  Meanwhile I’d love to hear from any of you out there who have heard the snorts of wildebeests and felt the thundering beat of their hooves as they gallop across the Serengeti.

May the wild remain wild forever!

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Scalp tingle anyone?

Living is fun


Photographer Robert Bösch and friends

Posted in Altitude, Climbing, danger, exhilaration, heights | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It’s beautiful out!

Go Hiking!

Photo by Dayna Ferrone, My Shot

….. Do as I say.  I did.

I took my dog Katy on a hike at Goose Cove in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Here are some scenes:

An odd hole —->


Goose Cove with nary a goose in sight, but beautiful all the same.


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Sleep- Always Playing Hard to Get


Sleep and I love each other, but like all couples we have to work at our relationship.  Let’s just say it’s not always a bed of roses.  And then again maybe it is, consider the prickers and whatnot.  A bed of pine needles would be much more comfy.

The point is I enjoy hitting the sack as much as anyone.  Plenty knocks me out flat; a full day outside, a vigorous hike followed by a good meal and some wine, the usual.  Sleeping when the opportunity presents itself, or is seized upon, is not an issue.  The issue is everything else.  Meaning, everything else in life that isn’t sleep.

Sleep is domineering.  When we’re asleep we’re not able to build a kayak, write the next great American novel, learn to fly, or even mow the lawn or shovel the driveway.  Well- yeah, okay, we, our corporeal selves, are doing lots of things while sleeping; repairing cells, carrying out complex metabolic processes and this and that, but otherwise when sleeping we’re not doing anything much but lying flat, stone idle.*  And herein lies the problem.  My problem.  I respect sleep, understand its importance, love it like a puppy. But still I have a hard time choosing it over other uses of my time.  And there’s always coffee.

So- about hiking and sleep: I’ve done some of my best sleeping while on hikes, or more precisely I’ve done some of my best sleeping while on extended hikes, big exciting hikes involving heavy backpacks and creative camping food.  And notably all of this sleeping was done in a tent, a hexagonal, dome tent I bought many moons ago from Eastern Mountain Sports.  This tent is so old it’s olive green.  I love my tent.

Some of my best (or most memorable) sleeps:

• On the West Coast Trail, any night of the 8 total:  I slept so well I don’t remember sleeping… except the night after we’d eaten lentils for lunch and lentils for dinner.  There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing…

• In a lean-to on Mt. Katahdin in Maine:  I only remember this night perhaps because my brother and I dreamt the same dream.  In the middle of the night I sat upright in my sleeping bag saying loudly “We’re sinking, we’re sinking!” and my brother still sleeping called out “We are, we are!” There was a torrential downpour outside, but we, under the shelter, were dry and not sinking in the least.

• Every night of a solo trip x-country:  I especially remember the night I followed a shooting star to a campsite.  Driving in my faded yellow Toyota Corolla I’d choose a campground on my map and navigate to it while listening to Tom Waits on my stereo. Every night.  Once inside my tent, though a young woman traveling alone, I always felt safe and luxuriously content.  I slept like a baby every night of the trip.

• In my backyard:  I love sleeping in my tent so much that I sometimes choose it over the good old bed.  I especially love sleeping in my tent when the wind is whipping, owls are hooting and light rain is falling. Worst night sleep in a tent:

• On a trip with my high school hiking/outdoor adventure group: Freezing cold on a winter expedition I nibbled on my chocolate-heavy trail mix, slept maybe 5 minutes, and rose with a pounding headache.  Take home message: go easy on the chocolate in trail mix and be equipped with a sleeping bag of adequate temperature rating when winter camping!

* Go on- take me up on this, leave a comment.

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