Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Biggest Loser : Environment

Everyone knows that Biggest Loser program on NBC, right? You know the one featuring morbidly obese people crying all the time and was created as a one-hour commercial for the weight-loss industry?  I propose a new Biggest Loser program, one which concentrates on limiting our expenditure of natural resources. We need to go on a diet from our wasteful ways, utilize renewable energy sources, and break away from the gas and oil corporations all together.

Just imagine, instead of a weigh-in to see how much weight you lost, we measure your consumption of electric, gas, oil, and water. Perhaps the competitive nature of Americans, would "fuel" a new green revolution. 

Now, all we need is a TV studio not owned by the fossil fuel addiction specialists.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Search and Rescue Bivy System

Being up here in the somewhat frozen North and being a member of a SAR team, means that emergency bivouacs in the winter are a potential reality.  Yes, I could take the big Gregory Baltoro, throw in my Marmot Alpinist 4-season tent and my Marmot Col sleeping bag, but now my 24-hour pack is 12 pounds heavier.  Of course, it is a lot harder to walk through all that brush.

So, what I needed was a lightweight shelter system, mainly because we don't PLAN on being out overnight.  Sure if we were planning on spending the night, I'd hump all that stuff back there, but realistically most of our SAR missions don't last overnight.  Generally IC, likes to bring everyone in and prevent further injuries.

So, I've developed a system which is highly packable, lightweight, and that I've used in temperatures below freezing.  My test nights could be called - ALMOST comfortable.

My shelter contains the following:

Weather Protection: 
  • Waterproof breathable bivy sack - I carry the Marmot Alpinist bivy - weight 14 oz.  

Warmth Layer:
  • North Face Elephant's Foot - 3/4 sleeping bag - weight 1 pound 
  • Adventure Medical Kits Thermolite bivy  - weight 6.5 oz
  • Puffy Jacket - this varies per the weather conditions, but it is whatever I have on hand.  

Sure we could denude the forest of every pine bough, but most SAR-type folks have a bit of a "green" bent too. We can improvise.  
  •  We all carry partial closed cell foam sit pads - we can use this as part of our pad.  Mine is long enough to cover my upper torso easily. 
  • Use your empty pack as another part of the pad. 
  • Nests of leaves, and pine needles work well too - if you are in the snow though, this won't work. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I need an outdoor challenge to inspire me this year

So for my HubPages account I am writing an article about the history of Appalachian Trail hiking. The History of Hiking the Appalachian Trail Of course as a thru-hiker myself ME>GA '98 I believe I have insight that many others don't have.  My one hub "An Appalachian Trail Thru Hike in Pictures" which showcases some pictures I took on my journey has been received moderately well.  I should probably tweak it a bit someday.  The problem is, that was '98 and I need to do something like that again. 

Here I am on Katahdin during my thru-hike. 
Sure since my Maine to Georgia thru-hike I've done A LOT of outdoor things, hiking on the FLT, becoming an Adirondack 46 R, paddling the Oswegatchie Traverse.  However, none of those things are as grand and as inspiring as hiking the Appalachian Trail.

So, this year, before my child comes in August - I need to do something very cool outdoors.  However, because of saving money, it will have to be inexpensive and I'm not sure for how many weeks I can go.  Because of cost saving measures, I want to keep it in the North East.

Anyway, here is a list of potential backpacking and canoeing trips:

  • Finger Lakes Trail - 560 miles - time needed about 28 days.  Heck it is the 50th anniversary of this trail this year. 
  • Long Path, 346 miles  - time needed 20 days 
  • Finish the Northern 176 miles of the Long Trail in Vermont - 10 days 
  • Paddle the Whitney Loop in the Adirondacks - 4 days
  • Paddle as much of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail as possible
  • Finish my Northeast 115 - most of what is left is in New Hampshire.  
  • Cohos Trail in NH 180 miles - new trail could be fun
I don't know, maybe I could volunteer someplace cool.  If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

For now, I go in search of adventure.... 

If you are looking for a great outdoor site, full of information check out World Outdoor Web.