Got out for a great nine mile tour on Saturday in the Bridger Range with a buddy visiting from town. Snow conditions were stellar and after much on-the-ground analysis and two snowpits we felt comfortable picking a thousand foot avalanche path as our line of descent. All in all we were out for around six hours under beautiful sunny skies. I forgot the memory card for my SLR so my apologies for the phone can pics.
My wife and I have had a trend going this winter in which we break up our XC ski jaunts and hikes with a midday campfire and picnic. When the weather is cold a warming fire makes for a much more enjoyable lunch break. Besides, building campfires is just plain fun!
Winter bicycling can be cold in Bozeman and I gave my Bar Mitts to my wife so a set of pogies was in order. I ride a Surly Open Bar mustache style handlebar on both my daily commuter and fatbike so I built these to work with both.
I designed, patterned, and sewed these in a little under six hours this weekend. Inside is a very soft fleece over a layer of continuous filament polyester insulation. Outside is a water-shedding nylon ripstop with 1000d Multicam Cordura trims. The fleece, ripstop, and insulation set me back about $10 and the Multicam was scrap so aside from the time commitment these were pretty cheap.
Doug Chabot of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center with a somewhat in-depth description on recording snow pit data.
Nielson Brown Outdoors did a simple write-up about cookpots a few days ago and it got me to thinking I haven’t really written about what I’ve come to call my “go to” cook set up. There’s nothing special about it, and it’s not the most minimal or the lightest kit out there – but it works for me in terms of volume, weight, ease-of-use, and comfort. I do have other setups that I take out with me in exceptional conditions such as winter or when I’m trying to travel SUL but time and time again the setup below is what I use.
- Antigravity Gear alcohol fuel bottle
- Trail Designs Caldera Cone
- MSR aluminum pot gripper
- Trail Designs Caldera stove
- Snowpeak 900mL (handles removed, DIY lid)
- Backpacking Light Short-handled Titanium Spoon
- Backpacking Light 475 mL Trapper’s Mug
I’ve come to really appreciate this setup. I roll the Caldera Cone up and place it into the pot. Next the Trapper’s Mug sits inside that with the stove at it’s bottom, the fuel bottle atop that, and the spoon and gripper alongside it. The lid fits atop all of it and it’s gets perfectly fitted into a silnylon stuff sack I sewed up a few years ago.
It would be very easy to argue that this kit could be minimized from seven items to four but I like having the 475 mL mug for coffee or whisky for sipping on while I’m preparing my meal. The pot gripper is so sturdy and easy to use that the weight penalty is worth it to me. And lastly although there are many who use stoves that don’t require a stand of any type I will argue then near-perfection that is the Trail Designs Caldera with great vigor. It’s speed in heat transfer, nearly untippable nature, and general cleverness are well worth it’s weight in my ruck.
I follow a great DIY blog called “Bike Hacks” which features reader submissions for creative hacks related to bicycles. These are usually really down and dirty, low cost solutions for people more interested in function than form. As a practical cyclist I’ve created myriad hacks to the many bicycles I’ve manned in my day and have submitted a few of them to “Bike Hacks”.
The blog recently featured one of the hacks I came up with wherein I put a front derailleur to interesting use as a chain tensioner on my the DIY long bike I built a few years ago.
For those who’ve not seen my long bike which I lovingly call the RecycleCycle you can view a gallery of the build process and some of it’s recent iterations in the DIY Longtail Cargo Bike Build aka RecycleCycle gallery I keep at Flickr.
It’s been a summer of weddings on the weekends and work on the weekdays. My fiance, our friends, and I have managed to get out for a fair number of car camping overnighters with some good mountain biking and hiking during the days but the backpacking has been a bit sparse so far this summer. We penciled in a weekend trip to the Bitterroot valley to visit my long time friend Casey at the farm she’s been living and working on and to spend a night a short distance into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Complex – a land I’ve not yet explored but have wanted to.
Casey and I have been friends since the late 90s having met in Fargo, ND during college. Luck would have it that we both found employement in Glacier National Park in 2004 without knowing the other was doing the same and since then we’ve managed to stay in touch every year or so when our paths could cross. It was serendipitous hearing Casey would be only a few hours away this summer so a meetup was definitely in order.
We toured the small, farm that is being worked by the sweat (and tears) of just two gals who put in long, hot hours in the SW Montana sun to bring fresh, organic vegetables to the tables of people in the Bitterroot Valley. It’s about as honest of work as one can find.
Living in tents and teepees, and cooking at an outdoor cook shanty is about all the camping most people would need but Casey still enjoys getting away from it all and was amped to join us on a short trek up to Peterson Lake in the Sweeney Creek drainage of the Bitterroots.
We arrived at the lake about an hour before dark and Torie picked a spectacular zone on the East shore of the lake. The former marshy end of the lake had dried up in the past decades leaving a flat, soft, dry, and grassy acreage perfect for our tents.
We dined on couscous and fresh, organic veggies (of course) and shared whiskey and hard cider after. Fire danger has reached it’s height in SW Montana and with restrictions and a high wind we opted to enjoy the light of the nearly full moon as opposed to some good ol’ “Ranger TV”. The noobs at the other end of the lake must have been blissfully unaware of the fire restrictions for we could see their “TV” blazing from the tree’d zone to the West.
Morning was relaxed, the hike was mostly cool and breezy, and we had time in the late afternoon to swing through Missoula for a late lunch with yet another friend. A weekend full of good times for sure.
Heinrich C. Berann, (born 1915 – died 1999) the father of the modern panorama map, was born into a family of painters and sculptors in Innsbruck, Austria. He taught himself by trial and error. In the years 1930-1933 he attended the arts and design school “Bundeslehranstalt für Malerei” in Innsbruck.
In 1962 he painted Mount Everest for National Geographic Society, and created 4 panoramas for the United States National Park Service: Yellowstone National Park, North Cascades National Park, Yosemite National Park and finally Mt. McKinley National Park (now Denali).
- Source, Wikipedia