Archive | July, 2009

Deer Ticks

Ticks are always a concern on the trail so make sure you use bug spray with DEET, tuck your pants into your socks to keep them off your silky smooth legs, and check your body thoroughly when you get home. The black-legged tick (or deer tick, picture above) can carry Lymes Disease, so they’re the ones you really want to make sure aren’t creeping around under your skin. There was an article on the NYTimes Room For Debate Blog earlier this week written by five different professors explaining what we should know about ticks and their environment and the steps we can take to control them. Some interesting viewpoints by the authors are highlighted below:

1) There are more and more ticks each year. This is directly correlated to the fact that there are more and more deers each year. In Rhode Island, each deer produces about 450,000 larval deer ticks every year.

2) Virginia opossums play a prominent role in reducing human health to tick born diseases by grooming the ticks off killing them before they even have a chance to feed.

3) This tick species bites dozens of species of mammals, birds and reptiles — not just deer. And several recent studies in New York and New Jersey have found no connection between populations of deer and ticks. In fact, abundance of black-legged ticks is more closely tied to that of white-footed mice. Ticks feeding on mice survive well and are highly likely to become infected with the Lyme disease bacterium.

July 30, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 6 }

Edward Abbey’s Firetower

Last time I’ll post on Abbey for a while, I promise. I’m sure it’s annoying. The North Rim Firetower in Grand Canyon National Park, a firetower that Edward Abbey manned for four years in the late 60s and early 70s, has been named to the National Historic Lookout Register. What does this mean? Nothing, of course. And as The Goat points out, the solitude that the great men and women who man these towers experience is cleary not filled with thoughts of making this list. But an honor is an honor folks and, without the time that Mr. Abbey spent in that tower, we wouldn’t have Black Sun, one of Abbey’s most critically unsuccessful books he ever wrote. The story of a firetower lookout who falls in a love with a young girl and gets blamed when she disappears in the park where he works, the New Yorker called the book “an embarrassingly bad novel.” I unfortunately have not had the pleasure of reading this book. Have you?

More info here

MP3: Buffy Sainte-Marie – He’s The Keeper Of The Fire

July 30, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Pachycereus pringlei

The Cardón cactus, scientific name Pachycereus pringlei, is the tallest cactus in the world with a maximum recorded height of almost 63 feet. This article says 70.

Take that, Saguaro.

July 30, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Pirates Of The Flats

Pirates Of The Flats:

What would happen if you took a group of world-famous fishing enthusiasts, brought them down to the Bahamas, set them loose on the flats for a week’s worth of bonefishing, and then captured it all on film? Well, you’d get Pirates of the Flats, which (despite the goofy name) looks to be about the coolest fishing show to come around since, well, ever.

Talk about your all-star cast: The six-episode series features Tom Brokaw, Michael Keaton (yes, the actor), fly-fishing legend Lefty Kreh, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, writer Thomas McGuane, and photographer Val Atkinson (and in case you’re wondering, they can all unfurl a sixty-foot cast into the wind before you can say “Bonefish at two o’clock”). The episodes will air on ESPN2 beginning this January. But there’s more than just star power and big fish here. Produced in partnership with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the series will highlight conservation efforts surrounding this most hallowed of game fish and the coastal environments they call home, so you learn not just how to catch bonefish but how to protect them as well. Now that’s a fishing show worth its salt.

Very busy at work today. More tomorrow.

July 29, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Oregon, 1991

An Oregon black bear falling from a tree after being shot dead in a residential neighborhood near Merlin, Ore., 1991.

A rescued cougar in her cage near Grants Pass, Ore., 1991.

MP3: Bonnie Raitt – Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead

July 28, 2009 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }


1,000 pound grizzlies in Yellowstone can’t even get them open, but a small black bear in the Adirondacks named Yellow-Yellow seems to have cracked the BearVault code. Named after the yellow tags in both of her ears, Yellow-Yellow has found away to open the both the BearVault 450, which uses one tab to open the canister, and the BearVault 500, which uses two. And apparently Yellow-Yellow is now teaching other bears too; Campers have reported seeing other bears get into their BearVaults.

Despite her knack for getting into people’s camps and food, Yellow-Yellow, who weighs 350 pounds, is as shy as can be. Ben Tabor, a state wildlife technician who has tracked Yellow-Yellow claims “It would be ridiculous for us to remove Yellow-Yellow at this point. She’s not bold. She doesn’t charge. She steals food but runs away when confronted.”

There’s a pretty amazing story about Yellow-Yellow over at the NYTimes that I highly recommend you read.

HOLY HELL MP3: Joe Cocker – Cry Me A River

July 28, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Corduroy Mountain

Found out about Corduroy Mountain the other day when I got an email telling me that Cold Splinters had been put on their blogroll. Thanks for that. Peter, the site’s writer, has a real ear for homegrown country rock and the stories that accompany each song are just as fine. Here’s what CM has to say about “Smokies” by Barefoot Jerry:

Barefoot Jerry was an all-star band of Nashville session pros. Friday nights, when the studios closed, these friends would load Ford pickup beds with bags of groceries, instrument cases, and bottles of sour mash. Forty-eight hours of freedom awaited. Tucked in an Appalachian holler was a shotgun shack, its paint peeling from the elements. The men would wheel a piano onto the creaking wood porch, pull out guitars, pass the drink. And so they would play their music, not that of rote producers. Inspired by the living beauty and primal energy of the surroundings, the men wrote “Smokies.” At least that’s what I hope happened.

Go on over and look around. He doesn’t have much up yet, but let’s hope he keeps going. Go Peter. Go.

MP3: Barefoot Jerry – Smokies

July 28, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }


Got home from a great weekend in the Catskills full of music, barns, blueberries, ponds, bonfires and jalapeno cornbread to find a great documentary on PBS about the mysterious disappearance of the honeybee. The program is about two years old, so read this to get the latest on what those smart guys and gals in white coats are discovering. It seems as though it’s a combination of factors, including farming practices, that are making the bees more vulnerable to disease. Recently a discovery has been made that bees sterilize their hives and in doing so, give the colony a form of “social immunity,” which lessens the need for each individual bee to have a strong immune system.

Godspeed, honeybees. Without you, those blueberries would never have existed.

MP3: Gary P. Nunn – Tennessee Road (thx)

July 27, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Antler – “Campfire Talk”

Speaking of blackberry brandy, read Antler’s “Campfire Talk” below. It’s real nice whether you’re contemplating suicide or not.

“Have a little blackberry brandy as your telescope to bring the stars closer in.”


Read the rest of “Campfire Talk” after the jump.

Continue Reading →

July 23, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

Ten Mile River Lean-To

A few weeks ago I went camping on the AT at the Ten Mile River Lean-To. Situated in a monster field of weeds and wildflowers surrounded by tall trees, the clean (!) lean-to is only a few hundred feet from its namesake river. Take the Metro North to the Appalachian Trail stop (weekends only) and head northeast (cross the highway) for about 10 miles. You’ll pass the Wiley Shelter 6 miles into the hike, but keep going, because it’s worth the extra time. Only bummer about the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut is that there are no fires allowed. But that ain’t no thang. There’s a huge river to keep you busy.

I spent the night in the lean-to watching and listening to a storm pass over the field while sipping on tequila and blackberry brandy with two friends that I met on the trail. Was a real time. I had put in a fresh roll of film before I headed out of my Brooklyn apartment but the shitty photo above was the only one I took on the entire trip. For the first time, I had no interest in taking out my camera.

July 23, 2009 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }