Archive | August, 2010


The $27 million Old Faithful Visitor Center opened in Yellowstone National Park last week. If you’ve been to Yellowstone, you know that Old Faithful already suffers from the overly-decorated concrete, signs, boardwalks and chains. The geyser has an eerie feeling of being man made, but when, according to the NPS, 4 out 5 of the 3.3 million visitors that came to Yellowstone last year came to see Old Faithful, I guess the old boy’s show brings in the dough. The new visitor center boasts a bookstore, a gift shop, a theater for introductory films, a research area and a 4,500-square-foot exhibition space. It has touch screen televisions that provide an interactive (!) way to learn about that good ol’ geyser that’s right outside.

One of the reasons I get off on talking about national parks and the NPS is because of its primitive aesthetic. In a world of interactive museums and the Internet, it’s fitting that our public lands consist of park Rangers, old maps, dusty visitor centers with 30 year old wildlife pamphlets and WELCOME! signs from the 70s. I guess it’s rather inevitable that they’re going to “freshen up” the parks, but $27 million on a visitor center, specifically one dedicated to Old Faithful with exhibits that look like this, seems a little excessive. But what do I know, eh?

Read more at the NYT.

August 31, 2010 | Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 9 }


Also by Mr. Marshall:
1981 – How to Make Your Own Fishing Rods (Paperback)
1979 – How To Choose and Use Lumber, Plywood, Panelboards and Laminates (Hardcover)
1976 – The Care and Repair of Fishing Tackle (Hardcover)
1976 – How to make your own lures and flies (Unknown Binding)
1970 – The Delectable Egg And How to Cook It (Paperback)

Look: Mel Marshall books on Ebay

MP3: Earth Opera – Home To You

August 30, 2010 | Food | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Hull Cook

During the late 1920s and early ’30s, a small hut stood at the Boulderfield (12,750 feet) on Longs Peak in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. The Boulderfield is 5.9 miles into the Longs Peak hike and the beginning of the hike’s most difficult portion. Guests could hike or ride horseback to the Boulderfield Shelter Cabin, spend the night in a bunk with a hot meals, and climb the 14,259-foot peak in the morning, usually by the north face, which was equipped in those days with steel cables for hand rails. For two or three years during the early ’30s, Hull Cook worked at the Boulderfield Shelter Cabin. He and Clerin Zumwalt, aka Zum, became famous for their rescues on the park’s only fourteener. Hull is pictured on the left in middle picture. Each morning the guides used to shout, “Indian’s a-comin’!” as they spotted the first hikers at the edge of the Boulderfield.

Back in April, the Colorado Mountain Journal posted some of Hull’s memoirs from his time at the Boulderfield. You can read them here:

As hotels go, ours was tiny and Spartan. We called it β€œthe cabin.” There was no electricity and no running water, unless you ran while carrying it from the spring. There was also almost no privacy. It was a two-story structure, the upper floor accessed by a ladder hinged to the ceiling of the ground-floor room. By Hilton standards it was indeed small, only 14 by 18 feet, so the space had to be efficiently utilized. Upstairs, springs and mattresses were placed directly on the floor, three on each side of the stair hole, and above the stair hole was a double-decker single bed. This arrangement could accommodate 14 people in relative comfort, unless someone had to go to the bathroom during the night, in which case comfort might be called into question. He or she would have to stumble over fellow sleepers, descend the ladder and seek relief outdoors, presumably making the effort to follow the dark rocky trail to the distant privy. No lights. Possession of matches or flashlight was desirable even to find the place, and to obviate the need for a somewhat unsanitary old-fashioned pot, and although canvas curtains could be drawn between the beds, there would have been few people with the callous temerity to use it in such a setting of crowded togetherness. If you rolled over you were apt to find yourself in bed with a stranger, possibly not all that bad if it happened to be someone of the opposite sex.

August 30, 2010 | Camping, History | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Have A Great Weekend

MP3: Jim Croce – New York’s Not My Home

August 27, 2010 | Have A Good Weekend | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

VBS + Oregon Fire Lines

The Filson booth at OR sure was handsome, especially when juxtaposed with the dreadlocked teenagers walking across tightropes a hundred feet away. (I’m not knocking dreadlocks or walking across a nylon chord. Both are extremely difficult achievements.) The Seattle-based Filson has collaborated with San Francisco-based Levi’s and made some co-branded workwear together. Check it out here.

Even more exciting is that they’ve tapped VBS (who also brought you Heimo) to make a series of videos to help promote the collaboration. Lucky for us. The first installment is a two-parter called “Oregon Fire Lines” that chronicles the daily work of the wildland firefighters who work for Grayback Forestry in Southern Oregon. Go watch it and be thankful/depressed that you work at a computer.

Watch: The Oregon Fire Lines – We Are All Workers | VBS.TV

August 26, 2010 | The World Is On Fire! | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Cardboard Bison

I was given this huge cardboard cutout of a bison as a parting gift from my last job, and after having it propped up against my window for many months, it was stolen during a birthday party in March. A couple of weeks ago, I came home from work and the thing was sitting outside of my apartment once again, with no note, no explanation, no nothing. It’s good to have it back. Who would have thought that a $35 piece of cardboard could be so desirable?

The company that makes the cutouts is called Advanced Graphics, and in addition to the bison, they’ve got bears, wolves, eagles and more. Pretty awesome gift for someone who wants a two dimensional version of the woods brought into their house/apartment/fort…

August 26, 2010 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Butch Cassidy + Aron Ralston

The Robbers Roost was an outlaw hideout in southeastern Utah that was used mostly by Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch gang. It was considered ideal because of the rough terrain and large amount of lookout points. Robbers Roost was easily defended, difficult to navigate into without detection, and excellent when the gang needed a month or longer to rest and lay low following a robbery.

The Robbers Roost is also where, in May 2003, Aron Ralston was canyoneering when a boulder pinned his arm to the wall, forcing him to cut the limb off in order to survive. Danny Boyle has gone done and made a movie about Ralston called 127 hours, and the trailer, courtesy of The Adventure Life (Mr. Casimiro worked on the movie), can be viewed after the jump

MP3: Burt Bacharach – Come Touch The Sun

Continue Reading →

August 25, 2010 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Jonathan Levitt

After a few months of emailing back and forth, I asked Jonathan Levitt if he would write captions for a couple of my favorite photographs that I could post on Cold Splinters. The above, “Hedgelings and I Bothered By:” is what he sent back. Lordy. Click here to see a much larger version.

Jonathan Levitt’s photos are of pet wolves and rural Maine, swimming in ice cold rivers and old Coleman stoves. It’s the morose side of being in the woods, the feeling that I most long for when I’m not camping. When you live in the city, that loneliness, even when felt in the company of loved ones, is the best part. Needless to say, I’ve been spending a lot of time on his photoblog, Grass Doe, over the last couple of months, admiring “Ducktrapia.” (From Jon: “Ducktrapia is a small settlement along the shores of the Ducktrap River in Ducktrap, Maine. For ten years, anthrophotographist Jonathan Levitt has been living among the Ducktrapians, documenting their way of life.”) I couldn’t be more excited that he did some artwork for Cold Splinters.

Go to Grass Doe and get lost for a couple of hours.

August 24, 2010 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Winters Of My Life

For the last 35 years, Howard Weamer has been a hutkeeper at Ostrander Hut, 8,500 feet high, 10 miles from the closest motor vehicle access. The hut was built in 1941 by the Civilian Conservation Corp for cross-country skiers. Johnny Burhop, a producer for Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Animal Planet has made a short documentary, Winters of My Life, about Weamer and the winter trips he takes to the Yosemite backcountry year after year.

MP3: Tim Bluhm – California Way

August 23, 2010 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

The Great Daylight 1972 Fireball

The Great Daylight 1972 Fireball, or US19720810, is an Earth-grazing meteoroid which passed within 35.4 miles of the surface of the Earth at 20:29 UTC on August 10, 1972. It entered the Earth’s atmosphere in daylight over Utah (2:30 pm local time) and passed northwards leaving the atmosphere over Alberta, Canada.

Watch a pretty amazing home movie of the meteoroid that someone shot at GRTE right here. (The video is a little less dramatic than Woody Harrelson watching Yellowstone erupt in 2012.)

MP3: Bob Dylan – Shooting Star

August 19, 2010 | Science | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }