Today, let us praise those who are not content to passively take only what the outdoor retail market offers. All hail those explorers who tinker, tweak or make things from scratch. Sometimes economic necessity is the mother of invention: good gear ain’t cheap. Other times, it’s because what’s available doesn’t meet your purposes off-the-shelf. Or because there’s no product at all for your particular niche. Continue reading →
Recently, I spent a weekend camping in an active demolition area. As I hung out at the base of the southern Garibaldi range, relentless forces were tearing down the peaks that rose thousands of feet above me. Freeze-and-thaw cycles drove ice wedges ever deeper into cracks into the rock, cleaving away car-size boulders. A vast pile of them had toppled to rest less than a hundred feet from where I’d set up my tent. Out on the colluvial fan where I collected drinking water, Raven Creek was relentlessly bulldozing tons of cobbles into Pitt Lake.
The only thing that saved me from being crushed by all this activity was the fleeting, mayfly span of my life. Saplings growing out of the boulder pile near my tent showed I’d missed being smashed by a mere fraction of a millennium. And I’d dodged being ground under a wave of rocks and washed out into the lake by just a split century.
To humans, few things seem more permanent and unchanging than mountains. Perhaps that’s why actually watching a big rockslide happen can be so disturbing: it’s like seeing a fracture in time itself.
But if mountains were sentient, if humans registered on their awareness at all, it might be as the briefest of flashes. We’d be the occasional flicker on the edge of their vision as they got on with the eons-long business of seismically or volcanically growing into adulthood. Among the community of mountains, we’d be the stuff of myth, half-seen ghosts whose very existence was much debated.
A routine inspection of my paddling drysuit had revealed a pair of notches in the latex neck seal. Stress risers like these will propagate under tension into full tears ̶ usually at the most awkward moment possible, like the first day of a multi-week tour. So it was off with the old and on with the new. Continue reading →
The picture was a combo pack of cute: a little Inuit girl carrying a squirming husky pup. “That’s a nice doggie you’ve got there.” I said as I crouched down to her eye level. “Yes,” she agreed, then added very matter-of-factly, “but he’s lame, so we’re going to have to shoot him.” Continue reading →
I love me both of my Ultimate Survival Technologies LED lanterns. (The 10 DAY 6 AA battery model is so bright that it’s replaced my 4 D battery lantern even for car camping.)
What I don’t love so much are their super-sensitive press switches. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve opened my pack or drybag to find the lantern had squeezed against other cargo and turned itself on, wasting hours of battery life. I needed a fix. Continue reading →
Regular readers know my fondness for sticking sails onto anything that floats. I even fitted a Hobie Mirage sail and Side Kick Amas onto my previous single sea kayak. As the pic below shows, the combination was a hoot for zipping around on daytrips. However, it proved too bulky to stow easily on or in the boat when not in use, so it was never very practical for touring. That’s why when I replaced my single kayak, I opted for a Falcon Sail. But that left me with a perfectly serviceable sail and outriggers crying out to be used. Continue reading →
Off-the-shelf kayak lights are an excellent way to increase safety when night paddling. By raising your light a few feet above the deck you can ensure it remains unblocked by your body and visible through the full 360. Plus, it won’t nuke your night vision by shining directly in your eyes. Continue reading →