Archive | July, 2010

Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world. It is approximately 70 feet in diameter and over 121 feet deep. The spring discharges an estimated 560 US gallons of 160 °F (70 °C) water per minute.

The vivid colors in Grand Prismatic are the result of pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The bacteria produce colors ranging from green to red; the amount of color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and on the temperature of the water that favors one bacterium over another. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, whereas in the winter the mats are usually dark green. The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat.

July 8, 2010 | Public Lands, Science | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

MSR Pocket Rocket


MSR Pocket Rocket is no doubt one of the best purchases you’ll ever make. The little, water-boiling, quesadilla-making 3 oz. stove has been a staple in my pack (and I’m sure most of yours) for many years, and using it is always one of my favorite parts about camping. There are few things better than getting to your campsite, setting up your tent, pulling out your Crazy Creek and finding a good flat surface so you can cook your dinner and read your book. (The Pocket Rocket and Crazy Creek Hexalite should be packaged together. They’re peanut butter and jelly.) The stove is small, cheap ($30 or so), has great heat control and is as reliable as the ol’ Subaru. The design is so simple, you feel like you’re using something 100 years old.

If you don’t already have a Pocket Rocket for your summer/fall excursions, go try one out. You’ll like it so much that you’ll want to cook dinner on your bedroom floor when you get home from work.

**In any proper “review” you’re supposed to list the negatives along with positives, and if I were to do that, I’d have say something about canister stoves and below freezing temperatures, but there’s no reason to think of that torture right now…

July 7, 2010 | Camping, Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Kiowa Five


The Smithsonian has an AMAZING collection of Kiowa Drawings, including the above paintings from the Kiowa Five — Spencer Asah, James Auchiah, Jack Hokeah, Stephen Mopope, Monroe Tsatoke and, briefly, Lois Smokey, available to look at through their online gallery. The Kiowa Five studied at the University of Oklahoma in the late 1920s and were prominent in the development of contemporary Indian painting. Their paintings were effectively promoted by their professor, Oscar B. Jacobson, through international exhibition and a limited-edition portfolio, plates of which are included in the collection.

Also included in the collection is the Silverhorn Target Record Book, a series of drawings that appear in a book used for recording Army target practice sessions. Most of the drawings are by Silver Horn (Haungooah), but some drawings are by other, unknown artists. The drawings were made in the 1890s while Silver Horn was enlisted in Troop L of the 7th Cavalry, based at Fort Sill, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

****The National Anthropological Archives offers digital images of every photograph and work of art in its collection for $50. Order here.

July 7, 2010 | Art/Photography, Native American | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Walden

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July 6, 2010 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Lampyridae

The next time you’re treated to a firefly/lightning bug show this summer, impress/bore the two gals/guys who are sharing your campsite with a little bit of science/common knowledge….

Fireflies are actually beetles who are nocturnal members of the family Lampyridae. There are about 2,000 firefly species who live in a variety of warm environments. Fireflies love moisture and often live in humid regions of Asia and the Americas, and in drier areas, they are found around wet or damp areas that retain moisture.

Fireflies have dedicated light organs that are located under their abdomens. They take in oxygen and, inside special cells, combine it with a substance called luciferin to produce light with almost no heat. (Say it a few times so you won’t forget it. Luciferin. Luciferin.)

Firefly light is usually intermittent, and flashes in patterns that are unique to each species. Each blinking pattern is an optical signal that helps fireflies find potential mates. Scientists are not sure how the insects regulate this process to turn their lights on and off.

And there you have it. Bring a jar and go the movies.

MP3: Dolly Parton – Fire That Keeps You Warm

July 6, 2010 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Summer Camp

This American Life replayed their summer camp episode, Notes On Camp, this last week, so take the opportunity and download the mp3 here. If you went to camp (I was in Bemidji, MN on Lake Plantagenet for a couple of summers) it’s hard to listen and not long for the days when Corn Nuts were considered more important than money and Ovations made you cool.

July 6, 2010 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July

Enjoy the fireworks.
Enjoy the HEAT.
Enjoy the bugs.
Enjoy the red, white and blue.
Enjoy the iodine in your water.
Enjoy the sunburn and Steven King books.
Enjoy the ice cold Pepsi and the 7 Layer Burrito on your drive back home from the trail.

Wave that flag,
Cold Splinters

MP3: Grateful Dead – U.S. Blues (11.15.71)

July 2, 2010 | Have A Good Weekend | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Campbellsville Apparel

I don’t usually tout too many clothing companies on this rag, but what the hell, right? Campbellsville Apparel, located in Campbellsville, Kan-Tuck-Ee, is the largest supplier of undershirts and underwear briefs to the United States military services. (A picture of a soldier wearing one of the shirts was posted on A Continuous Lean a couple of days back.) The shirts are 100% moisture wicking polyester, cheap (3 for $12), have very short sleeves (the best part about them), fit extremely well, and for those of you who are attracted to the “100% American made from 100% American components” thing, they have that going for them as well. Great for walking up and down whatever trail it is you’re walking up and down.

Buy a pack here.

July 1, 2010 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }