Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

Do not believe everything you are told.

Years ago I was researching global warming. Most of it was through online sources which led me blogs. These were the most prevalent and may be so today. There was one site I connected with because the blogger had similar interests with me and lived nearby. He always noted that he was a publicized expert, though I took it with a grain of salt.

Reading a few of his anger filled global warming posts, I decided to do more in depth research using his sources so I may understand his side. I asked for his resources, after all he was making extraordinary claims which required extraordinary evidence. A request for his sources is a valid request. Any researcher or reader would like to have the opportunity to vet the research or whatever else it may be. I saw this as an opportunity to learn, understand and maybe even agreeing with his point of view, though not as angrily. It was a moment for me to educate myself. Kindly, I asked for his sources in order for me to learn and understand.

A day later he responded to my comments. It was typical of his blog posts. There was much anger and insults thrown at me for not already knowing the “truth”. If I didn’t know where the sources were, he wasn’t going to waste the time to provide them. He basically denigrated me and made every attempt in his return post to invalidate me. A vitriolic attack for a simple and valid request. There was no hint of doubt or accusation to his posts. I just wanted to see the information myself.

He hasn’t been the only global warming person to act this way. I have seen it everywhere from the internet to the television to people in my community. These people treat anyone not blindly believing in the most acrimonious and belittling manner. Local people are not as angry in many instances, but they have their denigrating movement and quip to insult you especially in front of people.

What is the most disappointing are the academic people advocating change on behalf of global warming with biasness. There is one young mathematician that believes in global warming that she’ll sacrifice his knowledge in order to push for a cause that she doesn’t clearly understand or know. She sticks her nose in areas she is not familiar with or prepared for. She is blinded by a propaganda belief and willingly follows this belief to the edge. Shame on her for her actions, but she is unapologetic for the mythical cause is most important.

These people understand little of what is going on because they choose not to understand. Their religious belief in global warming overwhelms everything else. Earth is an interesting lab where changes 100 years ago are displaying the effects today. If we rehabilitate our land, that is putting wetlands back in or allowing for streams and rivers to overflow onto the flood plains for example, we can solve many issues we see today. If we listen to people more familiar with the environment, the Inuit or similar groups, we may avoid making tragic mistakes.

I can’t confirm CO2 doesn’t affect the climate, but I can say the way we have altered our landscape around us has. Deforestation has done more to increase temperatures than CO2. Changing whether by accident or intentionally a waterways natural flow or path can affect the microclimate. A single railroad bed through a wet land can change the hydraulics, so can a major city, wind mills or even major solar power centers. Instead of chasing a red herring, we should focus our money and efforts on the problems we can fix and improve our Earth.

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Australia Started Everything

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

I was reading a few posts from someone in Australia. This got me thinking about goals in my life. These specific goals are visitation goals. One of my biggest dreams or goals is Australia. I have long wanted to visit Australia and explore the land. I even stated I was willing to relocated to Australia at my company. The Aussies are not the only ones I have a desire to visit.

The U.K. is also on my list. Unlike Australia where I want to explore the land and its beauty plus a few other no land related reason, the U.K. is on my list for historical reasons. There is such a wealth of history on the island that I have a yearning to visit it.

Italy is likely to move into my number one visit. There is a urge to visit some ancestors in the southern part of Italy. History also plays a part in this. This is the most likely visit.

Uruguay is another country I would like to visit live in. There is some attractive quality about the country that I can not put my finger on. I don’t expect to ever live there.

Antarctica is another place I want to visit. I actually applied for a job once where it would place me in Antarctica. I would have love to have spent two years down there.

These are the major places I want to visit. Australia was the first. I don’t know why or what has me wanting to visit Australia. It could be Alby Mangels or some obscure movie or documentary I saw. I’m not sure. Still, I would like to visit Australia someday.

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It’s Beginning To Snow

December 14, 2013 Leave a comment

The first flakes of this storm are beginning to fall. They will cover the older snow from earlier in the week. I sit here with the grim knowledge that we will have to go outside and clear the driveway and cars at some point.

The tiny snowflakes are falling at a gentle pace. Their silent descent lulls you into a trance as you watch snowflake after snowflake trickle down from the sky. This advance guard of snowflakes acts as scouts for the larger flakes that will come in droves. This invasion is a beautiful site to see… if you only intend to stay inside or play outside. The wonderful physical transformation we do not see initiates the breathtaking site we see on the ground.

The snowflakes have picked up their pace and size. Like the beautiful works of Beethoven, Mozart or any of the great composers; a snowfall is a concert in full where you softly begin while building to the climax of the outdoor concert.

Yeah, it is all beautiful until we go out to clear the driveway; the beauty is then lost.

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Soup For The Hike

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Hiking is an outing I enjoy. It is so nice to enter an area where sane creatures roam. I’d rather hang out with a bear, bobcat, deer, squirrel or any other animal for I know their intent. Even though the woods are noisy, there is a peacefulness in the woods.

Last weekend I spent time working on a light weight food item for time in the bush. I was working on soup. The intent was to get the vegetables in my soup to be lightweight. This is done by dehydrating the veggies. Through dehydration, I reduce weight and still retain most of the nutrients found in the vegetables. In the bush, I can reconstitute the veggies with hot water. It becomes a healthy but low calorie meal.

I took one green pepper, a carrot (blanch first), several slices of onion and kale; dehydrated the lot in a small group of hard items. Taking a chicken bouillon cube or rather a portion of one, I was able to make a tasty soup. I did have too much onion in the soup. What I need to do is add chicken.

To dehydrate chicken at home, first pressure cook the chicken and then dehydrate the chicken. This will help with flavor and texture.

On the side, most of my kale was eaten by the family. Dried kale was rather tasty.

This soup is a healthy but low calorie selection for backpacking or hiking.

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Need More Weekends

October 26, 2013 Leave a comment

One activity I enjoy is hiking in the bush. I’ll even make a trip to the Appalachian Trail to spend a day hiking. Unfortunately with two youths and a spouse, I can not do this event for they have their activities, too. Today is a lovely day where I can only sit and sigh as I look out the window.

Today is a soccer game for Youth 2. This will require the entire day for we have an hour drive to the game. I’m looking at throwing three to four hours into this. Tomorrow is another reason why I won’t be able to hike.

I keep thinking someday the time will be there. If I could make the time, I’d have more weekends.

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Vacation #4: Camping II

August 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Camping on Mt. Desert Island or Acadia was a special treat for the family. Fortunately, we had excellent weather, and I did not need to plan for rain. We were also lucky to not have to wait in a line to get our tent site.

Having experienced campers brings not only speed in the set up but order, too. In less than 20 minutes we had two tents, clothesline, water and bedding in place. The Educator was amazed at the speed with which this was all done. I give credit to Youth 1.

After reviewing the campground map for bathroom, water and drainage areas, we were ready for camping life. What was the first thing we did? We went out to dinner at Subway. Admittedly, I was too tired to break out the stove and cook a meal. The drive had worn out the two adults. Let’s just say it was an early night to bed for two of the four (8:30). The remaining two would go to bed by 9:30.

Breakfast was a two person deal. Youth 2 prepared the sausages while I handled the eggs. Nothing like having breakfast outside with the mosquitoes. Clean up took longer than anticipated. You improve each day and as the routines are learned.

What did we do about bathing? There was no showers at the campground and the store a mile down the road had showers $2/2minutes. It was the Educator who came up with the brilliant idea of a wash basin. This method of washing is simple. You wash from head down to feet. You use a wash rag with some soap. Don’t use too much soap or you can rinse yourself. Yes, we were able to wash everything. After the wash, we washed our hair. I will proudly state we were cleaner than the other campers. We were really taking a bath in a very small bathtub.

Our campsite was nothing more than a base camp. We ate our lunches and dinners on the road while breakfast was at the site. This meant waking up very early in the morning and leaving as early as possible. Since noise time didn’t start until 8a, stealth was necessary. It didn’t always work.

As for our other meals, we packed the stoves with us. In fact, all of the non-sleeping gear was maintained in our vehicle. This is food, stoves, propane, towels and electronics. The meals were cooked at Bear Brook picnic area on the Park Loop Road. This provided us the mobility needed to see everything we were interested in. Also, this limited our need to eat out.

Planning ahead allows you to prepare tasty meals. Know what stove system you have and then plan your meals. Most of our breakfasts were cereal. This allowed a quick clean up and a quick meal. Some of our meals were steak sandwiches, beef stroganoff, hamburgers and grilled chicken salad. These meals were made at Bear Brook. Our steak and hamburgers were purchased at a farm near where we live, and they were pre-made. The chicken was prepped at home and food saved. The beef stroganoff was prepared at home as well. This saved time for us. Yes, you can cut up onion and green peppers and freeze them. The chicken marinated in Italian dressing saves well. My buying live lobster and cooking them at the site was shot down by the Educator. I really wanted to do that. Oh, think about dry ice as a way to keep items frozen. We used 30lbm of dry ice and it lasted three days. This saves a lot of money in buying ice and keeps your food frozen.

There was wood provided where we stayed. Thankfully, we overloaded on wood the first night, so we had plenty for a while. The wood was normally gone by the time we came back to camp. You CAN NOT bring wood onto the island, and you’re not allowed to gather wood on the campground. Please do not bring wood from home. You can introduce an invasive species that can devastate the island. Google or Bing Emerald Ashe Borer to see what an invasive species can do. In fact there may not be any healthy Eastern Hemlock trees in New Jersey or Eastern Pennsylvania because of an invasive species.

We were only 1/4 mile or less from the ocean. This provided some opportunity to walk along the shore. What was also nice was the campfire talks held by the park at our site. Just a five minute walk, and we were there.

The insects were there at all hours. Even the wind hindered them little. I recommend Repel. I hate insect repellents, but it was worth it.

Our campground’s bathrooms were nice except for many of the people using them. Sadly, there are people that do not take of things that is not their own. The treatment of toilets by these people is rude and makes it miserable for those cleaning the bathrooms. The sinks are not much better.

There were a few changes I could have made to our camping experience. Water was a big issue. We were using 3L jugs, and this resulted in many water trips. Fortunately, it was only a thirty foot walk. 5L collapsible jugs next time. The Educator thinks a campsite with a pool would be a good idea. I say camping without children, too. Just kidding.

If you do not camp, think about trying it. It is a cheaper alternative to a $200+/night hotel. If you plan well, you’ll have a great time.

Categories: Outdoors

Vacation #3: Camping

August 24, 2013 Leave a comment

When planning this trip back in April or May, the Educator and I decided to try tent camping. I was hesitant for the Educator is not a known camper. The camping equipment we had was for AT or PCT equipment and some cheap camp a night gear and go home not caring if it broke.

Camping equipment is not a one size fit all. There are minimalists such as those that may hike the Appalachian Trail or family campers that stay at campgrounds. There are those with travel trailers who believe they are “camping” and of course the pop-ups.

You can break these groups down even further. We have those that camp without a tent, with a single person tent. These people tend to be hikers. There are the group campers that use tents. Think Boy Scouts. Groups of families are group campers, too. Now we have the family campers. Each has a different requirement for equipment.

Where you camp dictates the equipment you need. In the bush (woods) you do not want to carry a Coleman stove or lantern. At a campground, these items are a must. All thrown in is your vehicle. Can you carry everything? Hiking in the bush is far easier than a campground. I require less equipment.

I have tiny stoves for when I am on the AT. Sometimes I sleep without a tent. One year I spent the night out in 19F weather. Don’t worry, I was rather toasty. In my possession are Coleman stoves. These I have used for the single nights of camping or when we lose our power for four days. My tent equipment consists of two cheap Ozark Trail tents. At the time, I was thinking about one and done camping.

When planning on camping, you need to find out what camping equipment you need. For my family, it is not the Minibull stove I have but the Coleman stove. You need to find the right size tent. I would recommend a roomy tent for camping at a campground. There is nothing more damaging to a family than tight quarters. You may need several tents. A lantern is a must, too. Do you want propane, white gas or battery? You need to think about what you will sleep on. Will the ground do or is a pad needed. There are blowup mattresses and cots, too. One of the best ways of determining what you need is to ask questions and search on the internet. Don’t forget tarps and rope. Learn some knots.

Research campgrounds! Know what they have and do not have. You don’t want to go to a place and find out there is no water. Speaking of water, take a water container – platypus. You may need to find out the size of the campsite. A large family may require two sites.

Research the weather. Know the type of weather at the location as well as the ten day forecast. Monitor the forecast for a week or two before you leave. This will give you an idea of what the weather will be like.

Food, glorious food! Don’t forget to plan this out. What will you take and how will you store it. We prepared our meals ahead of time and food saved them. Dry ice was great for the frozen food. Plan this out or you’ll be shopping at high priced stores or just eating out.

For my family, we packed two tents, two air mattresses and two cots, We could fit 4 in a tent with much discomfort if needed. Fortunately, it was 3 in one and 1 in the other. We used two Coleman stoves – a two burner and the other a single burner with a grill. I purchased a griddle and was it ever worth it. We almost forgot the two pots we were bringing. We had tarps for under our tents and a spare tarp for rain. We also took 4 folding chairs. The one item forgotten was bug repellent. Had to buy repel (natural version), and I recommend it. We planned our meals and still packed too much food. I will admit, we finished planning the night of our trip. A busy schedule prevented a proper planning. We only forgot two or three minor items.

Take the time to plan your camping trip. This will prevent a horrible experience. The Educator enjoyed our camping. There was a contingency plan in the event of things going south – hotel.

There is much I left out and have forgotten. Use this as a reminder of what to look for.

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