It's on the Stove…

I look at my altimeter watch. The temperature is a fridged 15 F. We have climbed a total of 1,500 ft. in 8.3 miles. I haven’t had a decent snack since we left the car at the trail head. My stomach is eating itself but at least it’s getting a warm meal. I look in my snack pouch and all I see is a box of raisins and an energy bar. Raisins… Energy bar…. not much to choose from…. maybe the energy bar. I start to pull the wrapper back and take a bite. I might as well eat a piece of limestone. There…I see it…the campsite. I scope out the spot and decide to camp there. I look over beside me and see an opening in the trees but nothing beyond it. I walk over to the boulder ledge and gaze out at the clouds that we have just climbed through. Its beautiful. Like a flat blanket of snow covering the valley, as if I could step off the boulder and walk on it. I think to my self, “What would make this moment complete?”, a hot cup coffee or tea or even better yet….a warm meal. I unzip my side pouch and place my hand on what turns the hard climb up the trail  to a nice relaxing time by the fire…..My Stove.

 To me, having a good stove when arriving at camp or making the meals for the trip can make everything feel better. Some people like to eat everything cold but a having a stove to cook a meal or heat liquids just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But having the right stove for the right occasion is very important.

 If you are a UL’er (ultra light backpacker) then you would want a stove that is the lightest weight that you can get, efficient, small in size, good price and good quality. That’s the fun part of picking out a stove. Searching the web to find those qualites in a stove.

 If you are a person that weight is not that much of a concern when carrying it in your pack, then you can go for the bigger stoves where you have to carry liquid fuel, butane or propane.

 Here are a couple of things to think about while you are searching for a stove to purchase:

* What will I be cooking? If you eat dehydrated meals most of the time where you are just boiling water then you would want something that boils water fairly quickly and efficiently. If you are a gourmet chef while you are in the back country, then you would want a stove the is also efficient but the boil times aren’t a big concern since you will mostly be simmering your meals and cooking more than just a “Pouch” meal. 

 * Weight and Fuel: Depending on what type of backpacker you are will determine how much weight you are willing to carry for our stove. Most UL’ers like to carry alcohol stoves or Esbit Tab stoves which the stove itself can be made from aluminum or titanium and be very small “Pepsi Can Stoves” is what I like to call them. But if for the backpacker that is not counting every single ounce there are bigger stoves that burn liquid fuel such as gasoline, kerosene, white gas and others from an aluminum fuel bottle. There is also “Canister” stoves that burn propane and butane from canisters. These are little bit heavier but more stable and burn at a higher temperature.

 This will be a good start. Search the web and see what you come up with. Write down all the features of the stove so that you can compare them once you narrow your selection down. Remember to pick what will work best for you. More on different aspects of the Stove next week.

And Now… A Contest for a Very Good Cause and Some Fun

Call for Entries to Hydrate with Innate! Photo Contest
Environmentally Conscious Beverage Container Company Shows a Picture is Worth $1000 to Provide Clean Water to Developing Communities
Vancouver, B.C. – July 08, 2009 – Innate, the Vancouver B.C.-based company that creates cleanly designed gear made from environmentally progressive materials for healthy, active people, announced the launch of its Hydrate with Innate! photo contest.
“We hear so many marvelous tales about where and how Innate containers are used. Hydrate with Innate! is a wonderful opportunity to share these stories through inspiring photographs and to help provide clean drinking water through the support of a great non-profit organization,” said Robyn Gibson, operations manager of Innate.
Beginning July 1, 2009, Innate users thirsty for a challenge can submit their favorite photos of themselves, their family or friends hydrating with clear blue water, preferably with an Innate container, online at www.innate-gear.com or on Facebook at Innate Gear. Entrants should include background information about where the photo was taken and what they were thinking while they were drinking. Submissions will be accepted until November 30, 2009.
The Innate panel of judges will select the most inspiring photo and accompanying background information. The winner will receive 24 of their choice of one style of Innate Hydration containers. Plus the winner will have the honor of selecting one of three charitable organizations to receive a $1000 Canadian donation from Innate. The three non-profits, Water Aid, Water Can and Mercy Corps, were selected by Innate for their continued efforts to provide cost effective clean, safe water to people in developing communities around the world.
Gibson added, “Hydrate with Innate! is a way for our community to share stories and to help developing communities have access to clean safe water. A donation like this, administered by one of the organizations we have chosen, can create cleaner, healthier communities.”
The Hydrate with Innate contest is similar to the 2008 Clear Blue Water contest where Innate asked interested people to submit names to three new water bottle designs. More than 400 contestants entered online during the 12-week competition. The three winners were chosen by a judging panel and received 24 of the bottles they named to share with family and friends. Plus, each of the three winners selected one of  the same non profit organizations working for clean safe water that are listed in the Hydrate with Innate! contest One thousand dollars Canadian was donated to the selected organization in their name.
Hydrate with Innate winners will be announced on the www.innate-gear.com website on December 15, 2009. For complete rules and eligibility: Visit innate-gear.com after July 01, 2009, for more info.

Call for Entries to Hydrate with Innate! Photo Contest

Environmentally Conscious Beverage Container Company Shows a Picture is Worth $1000 to Provide Clean Water to Developing Communities

Vancouver, B.C. – July 08, 2009 – Innate, the Vancouver B.C.-based company that creates cleanly designed gear made from environmentally progressive materials for healthy, active people, announced the launch of its Hydrate with Innate! photo contest.

“We hear so many marvelous tales about where and how Innate containers are used. Hydrate with Innate! is a wonderful opportunity to share these stories through inspiring photographs and to help provide clean drinking water through the support of a great non-profit organization,” said Robyn Gibson, operations manager of Innate.

Beginning July 1, 2009, Innate users thirsty for a challenge can submit their favorite photos of themselves, their family or friends hydrating with clear blue water, preferably with an Innate container, online at www.innate-gear.com or on Facebook at Innate Gear. Entrants should include background information about where the photo was taken and what they were thinking while they were drinking. Submissions will be accepted until November 30, 2009.

The Innate panel of judges will select the most inspiring photo and accompanying background information. The winner will receive 24 of their choice of one style of Innate Hydration containers. Plus the winner will have the honor of selecting one of three charitable organizations to receive a $1000 Canadian donation from Innate. The three non-profits, Water Aid, Water Can and Mercy Corps, were selected by Innate for their continued efforts to provide cost effective clean, safe water to people in developing communities around the world.

Gibson added, “Hydrate with Innate! is a way for our community to share stories and to help developing communities have access to clean safe water. A donation like this, administered by one of the organizations we have chosen, can create cleaner, healthier communities.”

The Hydrate with Innate contest is similar to the 2008 Clear Blue Water contest where Innate asked interested people to submit names to three new water bottle designs. More than 400 contestants entered online during the 12-week competition. The three winners were chosen by a judging panel and received 24 of the bottles they named to share with family and friends. Plus, each of the three winners selected one of  the same non profit organizations working for clean safe water that are listed in the Hydrate with Innate! contest One thousand dollars Canadian was donated to the selected organization in their name.

Hydrate with Innate winners will be announced on the www.innate-gear.com website on December 15, 2009. For complete rules and eligibility: Visit innate-gear.com after July 01, 2009, for more info.

Sunburn….

A sunburn is something that nobody wants to have especially when enjoying the great outdoors. I have had my share of sunburns and even a major sunburn to where I couldn’t stand for my clothes to even touch me. It was so bad that my skin didn’t peel…it broke off, like 2 and 3 layers at a time.

Read more at this link:

http://4alloutdoors.org/?page_id=500

Walking through time with my father

Lampson Falls (Photo: Stephen Easter)
Father's Day at Lampson Falls (Photo: Stephen Easter)

Today, my father and I went out walking. He’s an avid geocacher, so we decided to go off in search of a cache that had just been posted near Lampson Falls, a lovely spot near our home in northern New York. Only two people had found this cache before us–it’s a bit far from the road (3.5 miles round-trip) for most cachers.

The trip began in the rain, and the weather was unsettled all day. We tromped over old logging roads, now overgrown with grass and fern, passing the occasional hill. The morning’s rain still clung to all the greenery, which soaked us as we passed.

In the end, the geocache was well off-trail at the base of a tree. My dad found it; I’d stopped looking, having grown fascinated by the sound of running water and the pattern of woodpecker holes in a venerable fir tree. We walked back along a different route, a riverside trail that’s seen a great deal of blowdown. We got to clamber over downed trees, occasionally passing beneath a fallen old king of the forest.

Eventually we returned to Lampson Falls (seen above), which drops more than 40 feet and is one of the more dramatic falls around our area. My dad laughed–I’d brought a clinometer to check the angle of the rocks at the falls, since I wanted to see how my new boots would handle the slope. I walked up and down as he watched from above.

And for a while, we just sat and talked.

I found myself thinking, as the day passed, how much we come to bear the tool-marks of our makers. Although my love of the outdoors has gone in a different direction from his, there’s a great deal of common ground, and I often thought about the ways he taught me to love the wild places of the world.

I saw a few eastern ribbon snakes sunning themselves on a rock, and I smiled. I remember climbing mountains with my dad when I was a kid. I’m sure our miles-per-hour figure was pitifully low, because I insisted on picking up and carrying every single toad, frog, and garter snake we passed. Priorities! I remember his smile, watching that young Hollis.

I remember his smile today, as we shared a walk through these familiar places.

I remember the mid-winter campout I did at Lampson Falls as I worked toward my Eagle Scout award. I remember lying on my back in the snow, gazing up through the lofty pines to a sky so black I could hardly believe it, shot through with the glimmering jewels of the northern sky. I remember my breath, flashing into fog as I exhaled. I remember running through these woods playing midnight capture the flag using glowsticks, which is how I became viscerally aware of just how many crotch-high stumps are found by Lampson Falls.

I remember, at the campsite below the falls, fulfilling a Scouting requirement of building a fire and cooking on it. My Scoutmaster felt that wasn’t hard enough for me, so he adjusted the requirement: build a fire, using only dead and down wood, light it with only one match, and cook on it. Did I mention that I had to do this in a rainstorm? That success still resonates for me more than a decade later.

I remember my dad helping me to plan and complete my Eagle Scout project, designing and building benches and a garden for a local park. He taught me to use the power tools, helped me with design ideas and the people skills needed for leadership… and he let me make my own mistakes. I have a memory of him shaking my hand when the work was finally done.

I remember the look in his eye at my Eagle Scout court of honor. I think he pinned the award on my chest, although the ceremony is a blur for me.

I remember how I felt when, as a small child, I learned that he had completed his journey to become an Adirondack 46er, someone who’s climbed all the highest peaks in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. I knew it was special, and I couldn’t have been prouder to know that my dad had done it!

I imagine how he’ll feel when I join him as a 46er. I’m halfway there; going in a slightly different direction, I’m doing them in the winter. I remember, and smile as I do, how we talk about my winter hikes when I return, sharing the fellowship of these sacred heights.

So many memories, and most of them rooted in a sense of place. My dad and I walked together today, and I felt all those memories walking along with us, just out of view–but occasionally visible from the corners of my eyes.

I can’t imagine a better way to spend Father’s Day. And, since I’m sure I don’t say this enough (how could I?): Thank you, Dad. For everything. I love you.