Friday, December 16, 2011


 Beckey still climbing in his 80's. Photo by Juan Maderita.

Patagonia Books just published Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs.  As with most things Patagonia does, it looks gorgeous.  If you don't know who Fred Beckey is, do yourself a favor and read up.  The book is filled with hand-drawn climbing topos, photos, and 40 additional climbs of note, all printed on 100% recycled paper.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


A few years ago I purchased a Sno-Shu chair by Native Designs (aka Reginald Lee) based out of Westport Island, Maine.  I am a real sucker for traditional snowshoes and thus, I love snowshoe furniture.  My favorite part about the Sno-Shu chair is that it folds up for easy storage and transport.

If you feel like going with traditional rawhide lacing have a look at Iverson's furniture.  Twice as expensive but more involved design-wise.  I definitely see an Iverson log holder in my future.  Another option would be to scour eBay and tag sales for a renowned Tubbs Sno Shu chair -- which is most likely the inspiration for the name of Native Designs' chair.  Check out the following drool-worthy photos (lifted from eBay) of a Tubbs folding Sno Shu chair.


Saturday, November 26, 2011


For me Thanksgiving equates to road races.  Unfortunately, I had to sit out this year due to a nagging knee injury (I need to stay healthy for winter pursuits).  Hopefully everyone who raced Thursday morning had great times, beat their personal best, got high and most importantly had fun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Check out The Creak of Boots Trading Post where I have some traditional outdoor gear for sale (and some modern gear).  With the holidays quickly approaching you may find just the right gift.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, November 21, 2011


The following is a short film about John Coffer living simply on 50 acres of land outside of Dundee, NY.  Mr. Coffer spends his days tending to his farm and pursuing his hobby of tin-type photography.  This is part of a series of short films titled This Must Be The Place, which is produced by Lost & Found Films.

COFFER from thismustbetheplace on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The Old Man of the Lake is a 30' hemlock tree stump floating vertically in Crater LakeJoseph S. Diller first discovered the stump in 1896 making it over a century old.  An article which appeared in the 1938 volume of Nature Notes from Crater Lake documented that the Old Man rides the winds and currents to travel the lake's entire surface area and can cover almost four miles in a single day.  Read more about the Old Man here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


That sure is some gorgeous time-lapse photography.  Check out more work by Ben Canales at The Star Trail and Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


 Photo by Mike Leavenworth

Dawn Hamilton, Tom Rankin and some hiking friends were sitting around drinking beer right after a hike in the Catskills. Dawn said, "Hey, there should be a Patch for going to all the Brewpubs in New York State, and doing a hike somewhere nearby!" Thus, Views and Brews was born. Chapters can be found in the following states: New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, Quebec and Pennsylvania. I will be working towards that CT patch this winter. If your state doesn't have a chapter contact Tom and Dawn.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


"Working deep in the back country of Montana’s rugged Rocky Mountains, Pittsburgh-based photographer Tom Persinger photographed three men who spend their summers perched high atop peaks keeping watch over some of our nation’s most pristine places miles from the nearest road or modern convenience. Day and night they scan the horizon for curly gray wisps of smoke rising from the forest below: a tell tale sign of fire."

Read more about the project and check out some of Tom's beautiful photographs by visiting his site.  And make sure you watch his short video interviewing the 3 lookouts.

I found out about this project after I got home from my 8 day trip to Glacier National Park back in August.  During my second day in the park I hiked to the Swiftcurrent Lookout at the summit of Swiftcurrent Mountain.  The following photo shows me standing in front of the fire lookout and Alex Hassan is standing on the steps behind me -- small world.  Hands down, this was my favorite spot in the park.

Monday, October 3, 2011


How did Dick Proenneke cut his hair out in the wild?  With a Penn's patent "Easytrim" of course.

July 7th. An odds-and-ends day.
I put out a good-sized laundry to flutter and snap in a warm wind. Did some mending. Wrote letters and tossed them into the pile ready to go out on Babe’s express. Then a visit to the Twin Lakes’ barbershop. That little Penn’s Easy Trim is the best investment I have made for a long time.

-Excerpt from "One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey"

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The documentary takes you into the life of Daniel McGowan, an environmental activist, and the ELF.  McGowan was a target in Operation Backfire for the arson of Superior Lumber company and Jefferson Poplar Farms in 2001.  He was arrested and charged with arson, property destruction and conspiracy.  He was also labeled a domestic terrorist.  In 2006 Daniel signed a non-cooperation plea agreement with the government and in 2007 was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution.

Monday, September 12, 2011


If you have 3 minutes to spare check out Growing is Forever -- a short film by Jesse Rosten about the Redwoods of northern California. This is one of the nicest shorts I have seen recently.  I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


In 1851 the Mariposa Battalion came upon an unexplored valley in the Sierra Nevada while pursuing Native Americans.  Lafayette Bunnell, a doctor who accompanied the battalion, kept a diary during the mission.  They would be the first and last white men ever to see Yosemite unspoiled.

The documentary Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven was made in the late 80's and was part of the PBS series titled American Experience (season 2 episode 14).  The film is narrated by none other than Robert Redford, in which he recites passages from Bunnell's diary.  The film contrasts present-day Yosemite with Bunnell's experiences illustrating the devastation caused by millions of nature lovers.  Enjoy the film!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


For the past 26 years 16 expeditions have tried and failed to climb one of pakistan's 8,000 meter peaks in winter. On february 2, 2011, Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards became the first. Cory is now the only American to summit any 8,000 meter peak in winter. The journey nearly killed them. Cory carried a small camera and filmed the ordeal constantly. This is their story, as seen from the raw, honest perspective of Cory's lens.

  • Best Adventure Film, 5 Point Film Festival - 2011
  • Charlie Fowler Award, Telluride Mountain Film Festival - 2011

Watch the trailer! 

Produced by Forge Motion Pictures.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Talking Circle Media, of Anchorage Alaska, put together a short film titled No Place Like Twin Lakes.  The film is about Dick Proenneke's life at Twin Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.  The film is narrated by Jay Hammond, former Governor of Alaska (1974-1982).  It also features Leon Alsworth grandson of Babe Alsworth who flew Dick to Twin Lakes in the late 60's when he built his cabin.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


If you're a regular of this blog you probably heard of and love Alone in the Wilderness, an extraordinary documentary about Dick Proenneke. Lucky for us fans, Bob Swerer Productions just released a sequel aptly named Alone in the Wilderness part II.  Best $21.95 I spent in a long time.

Dick Proenneke continues documenting his life in the remote Alaska wilderness in this sequel to the original Alone in the Wilderness video. Watch as he builds his cache, enjoys the scenery and visits with his brother Ray.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Several weekends ago my brother in-law and I hit the AT for a relaxing weekend in the woods.  The weather was compliant and the varying terrain was terrific.  We had both hiked the northern section of Connecticut's AT (Bear Mountain and Sage's Ravine) many times in the past but the Massachusetts AT wasn't so familiar.

 Race Mountain
The Plan:
Drop off a car somewhere on US 7 in MA.  Drive back to CT and start our hike northbound at the Undermountain Trail parking lot on Rt. 41.

The Trip:
Saturday morning we pulled into the closest business (Campo de' Fiori) to the AT on US 7, and asked if we could park our car overnight.  The twenty something lady behind the counter said "Of course" as if I was silly for asking.  I threw my pack in Anthony's car and we headed to one of CT's most popular trail heads.  We took Undermountain Trail, hung a right on Paradise Lane Trail and skirted around Bear Mountain.  We arrived at Sage's Ravine which was desperately clinging to winter.  This is where we met up with the AT.   The next several miles we hiked in snow and ice along the ravine's rushing water.  Due to the immense snow melt from a hard winter the waterfalls and cascades were a sight to see.  After a wet river crossing we dried our socks and shoes in the sun and ate our lunch.  Peanut butter and Nutella on homemade bread was on the menu for me.

 Mt. Everett

The first big climb of the day was Race Mountain (2365 ft.).  This was my favorite part of the hike.  As you approach the summit the trail takes you along exposed cliffs with awe-inspiring views.  We followed the soaring red-tailed hawks all the way to the Apex.  Gorgeous.  We descended in more snow to the saddle between Race Mountain and Mount Everett where we passed The Race Brook Trail.  (This past February I hiked in on Race Brook Trail and summited Mount Everett in some pretty deep snow.  This is a highly recommended day hike.)  We quickly started the steep ascent of the south slope of Mt. Everett (2602 ft.).  At the summit lies four cement footings that supported an old fire tower.  We stopped for a snack and found a rusty tin box with an old letter boxing stamp and notebook.  I plan to go back with a replacement box and notepad; my mom will be proud seeing how she is an avid letterboxer.  We climbed down to the Guilder Pond Picnic Area and continued north on the AT to the Hemlocks Shelter where we stopped for the night.

The Hemlocks Shelter is quite popular.  It has ample room with two bunks and a large loft and it's newer than most of the shelters in the area.  Dinner consisted of beans, rice, onions and peppers.  This was my first time creating a freezer bag meal and it was a huge success.  Delicious, filling, easy prep and hassle-free clean-up.  I used my balaclava as my freezer bag cozy (I have since made a proper cozy from Reflectix insulation).

 Breakfast in bed

As the mercury dropped I added more and more layers and went to bed early in order to stay warm.  The temperature dropped around freezing during the night and my sleep system was just right.  We woke with the sun and had breakfast in bed.  We hit the trail early and made our way towards Mt Bushnell (1834 ft.).  From Mt. Bushnell we quickly summited Jug End.  After the summit we hit a group of rock outcrops with great views to northwest and southeast.  Mt Greylock is the prominent peak to the north.  We crossed Jug End Rd. and entered a remarkable pine forest.  After crossing a New England stone wall we entered an open pasture and stopped for a mid morning snack.  We crossed Rt. 41 and hiked through a swamp area with some helpful foot bridges (Thanks AMC).  We eventually hit Rt. 7, picked up my car and headed to Baba Louie's for lunch.

Cold start on day 2

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


On top of Fingerboard Mountain in New York there is a single shelter called...the Fingerboard Shelter.  This stone structure is located 350' from the AT and was built back in 1928 entirely on a rock ledge.  It is equipped with 2 (still working) fireplaces and sleeps roughly 8 people.  Despite the graffiti it is quite charming.  The shelter faces east toward a wooded valley and Lake Tiorati.

County/State: Orange, NY
Elevation: 1300'
Maintained by: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The Cedar Waxwing is a passerine bird that can be found year-round in my home state of Connecticut.  The name "waxwing" comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds.  These birds are brown on top and pale yellow on its belly. It has a crest of feathers on its head and a black mask lined with white on its face. The cedar waxwing has black legs and feet and a short black bill. It has darker gray wings and its tail has a yellow tip.

If you want to attract Cedar Waxwings plant fruit-bearing shrubs and trees.  Listen to their calls and be on the look-out for these gorgeous birds.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Did you know that Levi's catered to the caving community?  Here's a couple ads from the National Speleological Society News.

July 1957

April 1966

Monday, March 14, 2011


The National Wildlife Federation started National Wildlife Week back in 1938.  This week try to reconnect with nature - learn about your local flora and fauna, take a hike or maybe even pick up litter at your local park.  With the added daylight I'm planning some hikes this week after work.  I'll see you out there!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


In the movie The Edge Anthony Hopkins's character, Charles Morse, receives a knife as a birthday gift.  This beautiful custom knife was handcrafted by well known Canadian knifemaker and bladesmith Brian Lyttle.  Lyttle also had a role as an extra in the film.

The engraving "CM" stands for Charles Morse

Don't forget, if you are gifted a knife please remember to give the donor a coin.  If you'd like to read more about this old tradition there's a great article titled A Penny For A Knife in the September 1999 issue of Blade Magazine.

Give him a coin. You got to give the donor a coin. Old superstition.
Ah, yes. Thank you.
Give him a coin?
If someone gives you a knife, you should give them a coin in return or it cuts the friendship.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


The elusive Puma concolor couguar (eastern cougar) has been on the endangered species list since 1973.  Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that the aptly named ghost cat is extinct.  You can read the offical report here.

I also suggest reading The Eastern Cougar: Historic Accounts, Scientific Investigations, And New Evidence by Chris Bolgiano.

Friday, February 18, 2011


The CMGS was based out of 308 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA, the address of the first North Face store.  The grand opening of The North Face was in October 1966. Doug Tompkins (founder) celebrated by hiring an unknown local band called the Grateful Dead and served Kool Aid to his patrons.  The store was an instant success.

 That's one solid group of guides

Friday, February 11, 2011


 Kennedy Hot Springs ranger cabin

Kennedy Hot Springs was located within Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in the North Cascades Range.  On October 20, 2003 an estimated foot of rain hit the west side of Glacier Peak, causing mudslides to come crashing down White Chuck Creek.  It tore out bridges (8 trail bridges total), buried the hot springs and destroyed the ranger cabin.  The damage was so bad the Pacific Crest Trail was re-routed to the east side of Glacier Peak.

The most popular trail to Kennedy Hot Springs was the White Chuck Trail #643.  The above photo was taken in 1985 of the White Chuck River trail bridge.  Do you see the ranger cabin in the background?  Hikers would head to the cabin and cross the bridge to the hot springs.

The small but very popular Kennedy Hot Springs (1985)


From 1975 - 1981 Leisure Books sold illustrated wildlife flashcards through a mail subscription called the Illustrated Wildlife Treasury.  Each card had a color photo on the front and a detailed description on the back.  Every month new decks of cards were sent out to subscribers.  Collectors could then sort them alphabetically in their official Wildlife Treasury carrying case.

I loved my Wildlife Treasury cards and carrying case.  Remember those commercials?  Oh man did I want a safari pith helmet!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Wildlands Network’s 4,500 mile journey dubbed TrekEast kicked off on February 3rd.  John Davis, founder of Wildland's Network, will be utilizing human power to travel from the southern tip of Florida to the Gaspe Peninsula in Canada.  John's mission is connecting Eastern North America's fragmented wild places to create an an Eastern Wildway.  Once TrekEast is completed the Wildlands Network is planning TrekWest, TrekPacific and TrekNorth.

John Davis is currently paddling north through Florida's famous Everglades.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I am really digging Audrée Lapierre's Seven Summits infographic.  Read more about the Seven Summits here and here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Check out this episode of Still Wild by Greg Aiello.  Greg and a group of friends go on a backcountry trip that takes them out of Yosemite Valley and into the Cathedral Range where they climb Echo Ridge.  And if your interested, Greg also hosts the show Motion on the Live Well Network.

Friday, January 21, 2011


If you find yourself on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington I hope your heading to Olympic National Park.  After climbing Mount Olympus you should spend a couple days in the Hoh Rain Forest.  The Hoh is one of the largest temperate rain forests in the United States and sees over 12 feet of rain each year.  You could hike the 17.3 mile Hoh River Trail to Glacier Meadows which lies on the shoulder of Mount Olympus.

If you're lucky you might spot Bigfoot which is apparently alive and thriving in the Hoh Rain Forest.  If that doesn't pan out you'll have to settle for elk, bobcat, black bear and the northern spotted owl.

Roosevelt elk, also known as Olympic elk.

Along the Hoh River Trail you have plenty of shelters and established campsites to choose from. 7 total.  You can also pitch a tent on the gravel bars along the Hoh River which make good low impact campsites.

 Olympus Guard Station

 Happy Four Shelter