I've always felt a spiritual connection with grizzly bears. They're slow, chunky and have an overwhelming affection for peanut butter--just like I do. From time to time, I'm fortunate enough to spot one, or at least the signs of one's passing, while we're in Alberta. But, as they generally don't want anything to do with people, being able to spend a prolonged amount of time with one is an incredible treat.
It's a treat that I had the opportunity to partake in earlier today.
Around 30 minutes outside of Bozeman, Montana, we saw the first sign for it: Montana Grizzly Encounter. I wasn't into it at first: captive bears aren't cool. I checked out their website as we drove. Rescue bears. Rescue bears are very cool. Five minutes later we were pulling into the Montana Grizzly Encounter. Sixteen bucks for two adults and a score of steps later, we were in.
MGE was founded in 2004 and has been giving homes to bears rescued from cruel captivity ever since. Five of the six bears that MGE shelters were rescued from inhumane situations from all across the United States. Their sixth bear, Bella, was an orphan discovered in Alaska. On her own, she wouldn't have stood a chance. At the sanctuary, she's living the best life that she possibly can. You won't find any bars or cages at MGE. The bears have a temperature controlled enclosure that they can enter or exit as they please. There's a large area for the bears to do bear things in outside of the public eye. Read the rest
Spring is here, time to toss the ratty old hammock and get a new one! This $15 replacement hammock fits my stand well.
Couple years back I reviewed this fantastic hammock stand and hammock. I live in a harsh marine environment to say the very least, and the stand has held up amazingly well. It shows some patina but no real rust. I think I'll happily be using it for years to come.
Hammocks themselves are a different story. Normal wear and tear, forgetfully leaving them outside overnight, washing them in a machine washer and dryer, all destroy a hammock pretty quickly. Once every year or two I need a replacement. This $15 hammock is just great and will help make my Spring, Summer and Fall 2017 wonderful.
Andrew Holzschuh took a photo of his shoes every day as he hiked the Pacific Coast Trail, then made a fun timelapse of his shoes' daily wear and tear.
Many hikers forgo hiking boots for trail runners on a well-marked trail like this. Eagle-eyed viewers who know the trail picked up on a detour, to which Andrew replied:
We were forced to skip like 15 miles of trail at crater lake because of forest fires (because it would have been illegal and stupid to walk a section of trail that's on fire) we also had to backtrack here and there for random reasons. to be honest I dont know how many miles we actually walked. but I think it might have ended up being more than the 2663.5
Bonus video: he also grew an impressive beard.
The Camp Champ is a stately and elegant mobile kitchen with equipment and utensils for six that collapses into a compact wooden box. Its construction reminds me of a magician's stage illusion! Read the rest
A long line of climbers follow each other up Mt. Everest. Image: Ralf Dujmovits.
1996 was the deadliest year in the history of modern climbing on Mt. Everest. In one May weekend, eight people died when they were caught on the mountain in a storm. Over the course of the year, the death toll climbed to 15 total.
In the wake of that year, people tried to make sense of what had happened—particularly when it came to the May 10/11 deaths. All the reporting brought some internal mountaineering debates into the public eye in a big way for the first time. Is it really a good idea to treat Mt. Everest as an adventure-minded tourist attraction, suitable for anyone with a little climbing experience and enough money? What are the risks of having lots of inexperienced, guided trekkers up on the mountain at the same time? Do those climbers have enough climbing instincts to make the right decisions about going on or turning back when they're exhausted and under the influence of a low-oxygen environment? What can their guides do, under those circumstances, to force a right decision? Remember: This isn't a place where help is readily available if you get into trouble. Helicopters can only go so high up the mountain. And if you collapse, the chances of somebody else being able to carry you down are pretty slim.
These questions are likely to come back into the spotlight now. Between May 18th and 20th—last weekend—four people died on Mt. Read the rest