May 31, 2006
From an editorial in the Asheville Citizen-Times:
"Early this month, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by our own Rep. Charles Taylor, “zeroed out” of the federal budget money for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grants that states have used for local parks and recreation projects.
"The subcommittee also approved only $26.8 million for federal land acquisition projects, less than one-third of the $83 million in the Bush administration budget and far short of the $220 million called for by more than 120 bipartisan members of Congress."
And that, my friends, is what we call "compassionate conservatism."
May 29, 2006
Freelance writer Thomas Funke has a sensible editorial in the Battle Creek Enquirer called The wrong hikers always get the press.
"…our national media would rather cover oddities such as "Fat Man" or make heroes out of ill-prepared day hikers."
Full disclosure: I work for a local media outlet. Just the same, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Funke.
UPDATE: Tom Mangan read the same piece and came away with a different view.
"Actually, if things get so bad that proper behavior becomes newsworthy, then we'll have problems. News is everything that departs from the norm."
As an editor at the San Jose Mercury News, Tom knows news.
I understand his point and I don't disagree. Safe plane landings aren't news.
When I read Funke's essay, I didn't think he was arguing that the news media should report on safe hiker stories instead of stranded hiker stories, but Tom read it that way. Rereading it now, I can see how Tom came to that conclusion.
My agreement with Funke stems from his comments about the achievements of people like Andrew Skurka and Sue Lockewood. We ought to be able to cover stories that involve noteworthy acts, not just stupid acts.
UPDATE II: I just stumbled on this article. It explains a lot.
May 29, 2006
I've hammered out more of the gear list for a backpacking trip in Colorado that my son's Boy Scout troop will be taking in July.
Here are some of the items to be carried. (As before, * means the item is optional. § means the item will be shared with a partner.)
|Extra Clothing in Waterproof Stuff Sack or Ziplock Plastic Bag
||thin wind shirt or windbreaker
||synthetic pullover, fleece or long underwear top
||waterproof-breathable, simple jacket
||waterproof-breathable, simple pull-on; can double for long pants in cool weather
||wool or synthetic beanie cap
||wool or fleece gloves
||one spare pair each of hiking socks and liner socks
||one spare pair
|Shelter and Sleeping
||two person tarp or tent, recommend no heavier than 4 lbs.
||sufficient number to completely stake out shelter
||lightweight waterproof barrier, needed only if tarp is used
||recommend no heavier than 3 lbs.; 20-30º rating is sufficient
||waterproof, for sleeping bag
||inflatable or closed-cell
Most controversial, at least with some moms, will be the lack of extra clothing.
Next I'll post the items on the list for cooking, hydration, and personal hygiene. I've also tweaked the first part of the list, which I posted a couple days ago.
I added a bandana and liner socks. I elected to make the liner socks option, though I've always used them and feel they help a lot to prevent blisters.
One note: I need to offer thanks to Backpackinglight.com for publishing several packing lists. They have been helpful in this project.
Feel free to offer suggestions for my list.
May 27, 2006
I have an assignment and I've discovered it's not as easy as I first thought.
I've been asked to put together a new packing list for my son's Boy Scout troop as we prepare for our week-long backpacking and climbing trip this summer to Weminuche Wilderness Area in Colorado.
The task isn't so easy because packing lists can be subjective. What's essential for one person may be unimportant to another.
We decided we needed a new packing list because the one we've used on previous long distance hikes was seeming a little bloated these days. And I guess because I've been one of the primary proponents of lightweight backpacking, the task fell to me.
One consideration I must weigh is the experience the boys have with lighter gear and doing without some gear. For example, I've ruled out alcohol stoves. Though they've become popular among lightweight backpackers, they require special care and skill. It's best not to risk a week in the backcountry on something the boys have no experience with.
So I thought I'd share the list-making process here and see if anyone wants to weigh in on suggestions. For starters, here's what I have on the list of items to wear and carry. And by carry, I mean besides the items packed deep in a backpack.
||lightweight, wicking short-sleeve crew
||best: trim-fitting support shorts, boxer or boxer-briefs
||lightweight merino wool or synthetic
||make sure these have been broken in well!
||best: wide-brimmed, water-resistant
||make sure batteries are fresh
||100% UV blocking, plastic lenses/frames
||best: pealess, plastic
||even if you have a GPS, this is a must!
|trekking poles *
||not essential, but many hikers find these helpful
By the way, the asterisk indicates the item is optional. Everything else is require.
I'll post more parts of the packing list later. Any thoughts on what I have so far?
May 23, 2006
I wouldn't claim a lot of people have found this blog, but the spammerbots sure have.
In the last few days I've received dozens of spam comments. Apparently, I'm not the only one to experience this.
Fortunately, one of the features of WordPress is an awesome spam blocker, Akismet.
All but a couple spam comments have been captured and destroyed before they reached public view.
Does anyone really order a mortgage from one of these spam sites? And just exactly what is phentermine, anyway?