Archive | September, 2009

“Smoothing It”

From Nessmuk’s Woodcraft and Camping:

With a large majority of prospective tourists and outers, “camping out” is a leading factor in the summer vacation. And during the long winter months they are prone to collect in little knots and talk much of camps, fishing, hunting, and “roughing it.” The last phrase is very popular and always cropping out in the talks on matters pertaining to a vacation in the woods. I dislike the phrase. We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed – with the necessity always present on being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left. Alas for the life-long battle, whose bravest slogan is bread.

As for the few fortunate ones who have no call to take a hand in any strife or struggle, who not only have all the time there is, but a great deal that they cannot disposte of with any satisfaction to themselves of anybody else – I am not writing for them; but only to those of the world’s workers who go, or would like to go, every summer to the woods. And to these I would say, don’t rough it; make it as smooth, as restful and pleasurable as you can.

Woodcraft and Camping on Google Books after the jump…

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September 24, 2009 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Every Little Soul Must Shine

MP3: Paul Westerberg – Mr. Rabbit

September 23, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 5 }

National Wild Horse Adoption Day

Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages wild horses and burros to ensure that herds and rangelands are healthy. One of the key responsibilities of the 1971 law is to determine the “appropriate management level” of these animals as they have no natural predators. As a result, a herd can double its size every four years. Almost 37,000 wild horses and burros roam land managed by the BLM in 10 Western states, a population that’s 10,350 horses and burros more that can exist in balance with the resources of the public rangeland in which they roam.

The BLM gathers thousands of wild horses and burros each year and offers them for adoption or sale to individuals or groups who are able to provide humane, long-term care. Since 1973, 220,000 wild horses and burros, usually between the ages of 1 and 6, have been adopted.

September 26th is National Wild Horse Adoption Day. With events happening all over the country, a goal of 1,000 adoptions has been set, which could mean a savings of $1.5 million dollars to the BLM and American taxpayer.

Is there a single person out there who reads this blog that a) has enough land and resources to support a horse or b) is actually thinking about adopting one? If there is, that’d be real cool.

September 23, 2009 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Yellowstone Grizzlies are “Threatened”


A federal court on Monday effectively reversed a 2007 decision by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the population of grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park from its list of ‘threatened’ species, a designation that had entitled the bears to special protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more: “Federal Court Rules That Yellowstone Grizzlies Should Be Listed as ‘Threatened’”

September 22, 2009 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Photos by Tom Kaffine

I’ve linked to it on many occasions – twice in the post below – but I’m not sure I’ve ever officially mentioned on Cold Splinters before. It’s the definitive internet source for America’s wilderness areas and has some of the best pictures you can find on the web. Both shots above are from their Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness archive. It’s also the “only officially-recognized, national, comprehensive, inter-agency database of information about all Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and National Park Service wilderness areas.” I get lost there for hours, so I hope you’ll do the same: is a website formed in 1996 through a collaborative partnership between the College of Forestry and Conservation’s Wilderness Institute at The University of Montana, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. The latter two partners are the wilderness training and research arms of the Federal government, respectively. The program is overseen by a working group and steering committee.

MP3: Cat Stevens – Where Do The Children Play

September 22, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Sawtooth Mountain Wilderness, Idaho

Congress designated the Sawtooth Wilderness in 1972, which now has a total of 217, 099 acres. It’s some of the wildest land in the lower 48, boasting 42 peaks over 10,000 feet. Right outside the wilderness area is Ketchum, ID, where Ernest Hemingway blew his brains out. He’s buried in the Ketchum town cemetery.

Backpacker’s Senior Editor, Tracy Ross, wrote an essay called “The Source Of All Things,” that recounts her experience going back to the Sawtooths with her father 30 years after he had molested her there as a child. The essay won a National Magazine Award in 2009. It’s an intense story, but it’s well worth your time to read it.

September 22, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Juniperus communis

Juniperus communis:

Juniperus communis, the Common Juniper, is a species in the genus Juniperus, in the family Cupressaceae. It has the largest range of any woody plant, throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic south in mountains to around 30°N latitude in North America, Europe and Asia.

It is a shrub or small tree, very variable and often a low spreading shrub, but occasionally reaching 10 m tall. Common Juniper has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, which are wind pollinated. The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to purple-black with a blue waxy coating; they are spherical, 4–12 mm diameter, and usually have three (occasionally six) fused scales, each scale with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The male cones are yellow, 2–3 mm long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen in March–April.

Youtube: Donovan – Jennifer Juniper

September 21, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

The Tallest Man On Earth

Several months ago, I shared a lean-to on the AT with a few medical school students who, when all the jokes were told and all the food was eaten, asked if it was okay if they put on some music while the fire was dying down and laughable whispered talks of troubling long-distance relationships were beginning. Much to my dismay I agreed, and seconds later, the sound of The Tallest Man On Earth filled a small section of New York forest until the sun finally went down. Truth is, it was kind of nice. But don’t tell anyone.

Watch, Watch, Watch: The Tallest Man On Earth on NPR

Read: The real tallest man on Earth.

September 18, 2009 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

The Art Of Mountain Watching

Spending a season as a fire lookout is one of the most romantic ideas I can think of – the key word being “idea,” as I’m not sure I was raised right to be alone for that long. Poet Gary Snyder applied to be a lookout in 1952 and when he asked for the “highest, most remote and most difficult-of-access lookout,” he was put 8,129 feet high, on Crater Mountain in North Cascades National Park. The next summer he was stationed at Sourdough Lookout (pictured above in the 80s) where Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac would both visit. The National Parks Conservation Association’s quarterly magazine, National Parks, has an article this fall entitled “The Art Of Mountain Watching” that profiles the lookout rangers and their history at North Cascades. It’s a quick and interesting read from an amazing organization:

When you work as a fire lookout in Washington’s North Cascades National Park, your day begins at 5:30 a.m., when the sun rises over miles of immense glaciated peaks, blasts through your window-walled cabin, and pin-balls off the propane stove, lightning stool, and Osborne Fire Finder, sending diamond light in all directions. There is no snooze button on this “alarm clock,” and even if there were, North Cascades park rangers like Gerry Cook and Kelly Bush wouldn’t push it. There is work to be done: snow must be boiled for drinking water, the cabin must be tidied should a park guest come to visit and, most important, a vast expanse of pristine wilderness needs to be looked after. It is July, fire season in the North Cascades, and despite the early hour, the day is hot, forest dry, and punctured purple clouds brood on the horizon.

Read: “The Art Of Mountain Watching”

MP3: Neil Young – Lookout Joe

September 17, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Feel Free

If you’re in New York City, nothing says “America’s Best Idea” like Adam Duritz.

September 17, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }