Archive | December, 2010


Bill Hafeman was a master birch-bark canoe builder from Big Fork, Minnesota. CBS interviewed Hafeman in 1982, where at the time Hafeman was seen as one of the last craftsman left in America still building these canoes. CBS returned in 2008 to interview Hafeman’s grandson, who carries on his grandfather’s legacy, building birch-bark canoes by hand in the north woods.

Hafeman in his 1982 interview…

“I wanted to live in a wild country like the Indians did … I didn’t want to live in a city where you go to work by a whistle, go home by a whistle.”

WATCH: Hafeman Boat Works 1982, 2008

December 8, 2010 | Interviews | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }


From Edward Abbey’s book A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

“High technology has done us one great service: It has retaught us the delight of performing simple and primordial tasks – chopping wood, building a fire, drawing water from a spring…”

More Abbey wisdom from this 1982 PBS interview,
Watch Abbey’s Road: Part I, Part II, Part III

December 7, 2010 | Music/Movies/Books, Quotes/Poetry | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }


Head on over to Winter Campers and learn how to make a quinzee and a variety of other snow shelters for the coming season:

A quinzee (also quinhzee) is a combination of an igloo and a snow cave. Quinzees are suitable in marginal snow conditions, or when a crust is not available for igloos, or when there is not enough deep packed snow for a snow cave. On the flip side a quinzee won’t last an entire winter season as do some igloos. Usually quinzees are made for 2-3 sleepers.

Quinzees require a fair bit of work to complete and are usually used when spending more than one night in the same spot. If built properly a quinzee will be warmer to sleep in than a tent.

Youtube: Iris Dement and Emmylou Harris – Our Town

MP3: Iris Dement – I’ve Got That Old Time Religion In My Heart

December 6, 2010 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }


Just about any thrift store or garage sale has a pile of these guys. Usually leaning among the dozens of pairs of downhill skis, you’ll find some old 3-pin cross-country skis, almost always for less than twenty bucks. They also pop up in the ‘free’ section on Craigslist all the time. If you’re lucky, the boots will come with. If you’re really lucky, those boots with be your size and in a condition that still looks like something you’d be willing to put on your foot.

Current cross-country skis have gotten shorter in design, but for the skis from the seventies and eighties, the old rule generally still holds true: When standing with your arm outstretched straight over your head, you should be able to cup the tip of the ski in the palm of your hand (pictured above). Waxless skis, introduced in the early seventies, have a fishscale, textured pattern on the bottom of the ski (kick zone) between the skier’s feet and the snow.  If not waxless, grab some $9 wax at your local outfitters, throw on that Norwegian knit, and get outside.

December 6, 2010 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }


MP3: The Tallest Man on Earth – Into the Stream

December 3, 2010 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }


The Sierra Club is helping to lead a petition to establish the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as a National Monument. This year marks 50 years since President Eisenhower signed the papers to protect Alaska’s upper-most reaches and it’s wildlife. Established in the northeastern extremes of Alaska, the ANWR holds the largest variety of flora and fauna of any reserve north of the arctic circle. Growing concerns about oil drilling in this sensitive area of our nation and the building effects of climate change are the Sierra Club’s cry for establishing this area as a new National Monument, with more restrictions on such private interests. And for good reason. Pictured above are Sierra Club Conservationists Edgar and Peggy Wayburn, who in 1980 were instrumental in the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which expanded the Arctic Refuge and effectively doubled the size of the US National Park System.

December 2, 2010 | Politics, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }


December is here and that means snow.  Feet of it maybe, depending on where you hang your hat.  A winter-time gear staple should definitely be a good pair of gaiters.  Generally made of heavy nylon/cordura or Gore-tex, gaiters prevent snow from slipping in the top of your boots, with a closure at the top and an instep strap at the bottom.  Lace hooks help keep the gaiters from riding up.  Good rule of thumb when buying gaiters is to err on the small side.  You want these guys to be snug. After brushing up on your quinzee building, grab a pair. Any types of gaiters that y’all swear by?

December 1, 2010 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 5 }