Archive | June, 2011

Off the Grid

In 2006 Survivorman Les Stroud documented his family’s move from their urban home in Ontario, CA (very much on-the-grid) to renovating a century-old farmhouse and outbuildings in the Canadian backcountry, miles and miles away from any wired utilities or even year round road access. The documentary ran on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) and is archived to watch online here.

After you watch this, watch Snowshoes & Solitude, Stroud’s 1994 year-long jaunt into the Canadian wilderness, living for a year in a handmade shelter with his wife and by their wits.

June 17, 2011 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }


Thank you to Wilderness Workshop, Oi Polloi, Hickorees Hard Goods and Woodlands Supply Co. for carrying Cold Splinters Campfire Shorts. Couldn’t have asked for better shops. You can still buy a pair here too.

Happy hiking this summer, friends.

June 16, 2011 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

George Sheehan

The late George Sheehan (November 5, 1918 – November 1, 1993) was a runner, doctor and author of many books, most notably one of my new favorites, Running and Being: The Total Experience, which was published in 1978. (You can buy it here on Amazon, or, if you’re like me and obsessed with the local Salvation Army, find it at the neighborhood thrift store with a far better cover.) The guy is a philosopher, not a trainer, overusing quotes from people like Thoreau and Nietzsche and relating it to the power you feel after spending a Sunday afternoon running in circles. Sounds cheesy, sure, but it’s more meditation than motivation. If you’ve read and enjoyed Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, then you’ll love Running and Being.

Sheehan was the oldest of 14 children, and while he was a track star at Manhattan College, he didn’t renew his interest in running until age 45 while living in New Jersey. He began running in his back yard (26 loops to a mile) and five years later, he ran a 4:47 mile, which was the world’s first sub-five-minute time by a 50-year-old.

Read the book if you haven’t already, and make sure you watch this video, THOUGHTS ON THE RUN, about Sheehan and running the Boston Marathon. It’s a wonderful Youtube gem.

June 15, 2011 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }


I spent a little time on the Appalachian Trail this last weekend, hiking a section around Dutchess County, NY. At one of the shelters was a Southbounder (a thru-hiker going from Katahdin to Springer instead of the more popular route, Springer to Katahdin) who, quite literally, didn’t stop talking from the second I arrived until the second he left the following morning at 9 am. And dude was up at 5 am, shouting to his trail buddies about the point system at REI that allowed him to get all of his awesome equipment. It was painful. But that is neither here nor there..

Cracker Jack, the chatter box’s trail name, reminded me Southbounders, a 2005 film about Olivia, a gal wandering down the 2,000+ miles of the AT, finding herself along the way. It’s, well, not the greatest form of entertainment you’ll ever come across (see the trailer after the jump) but it’s streaming on Netflix and you don’t exactly see a fictionalized version of something like this everyday. Do whatever you’d like with this information, but if you’re at home and need a little motivation to get outdoors this summer, attempt to watch it. Although I’m not sure what’s harder, hiking the entire length of the trail or watching Olivia romantically explain her self-given trail name for the first time, Next Step, right before she kisses Rollin, her love interest that she’s fallen in love with after reading his journal entries at each lean-to.


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June 15, 2011 | Camping, Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Round the Gitch

Northern Michiganders Lindsay Bean and Jess Laxo left this past Sunday to paddle the perimeter of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. They pushed off from Marquette, MI in their 17-foot canoe with homemade cover and spray-skirts. The 1400-mile trip is on somewhat of a schedule due to the obvious necessary food drops, hoping to wrap up the paddle around the middle of September. For those who have never been, Lake Superior is beautiful, hostile and cold. There are long stretches of uninhabited shoreline, with rugged cliffs interrupted by seemingly forgotten coves.

Check out their Facebook page to follow the trip, and to catch some gear flicks and parting photos. Check some press on their sendoff from the local paper, The Mining Journal.

June 14, 2011 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Rick Wilcox and IME

International Mountain Equipment (IME) in Conway, New Hampshire, is home to one of the greatest basements in all of New England, a large consignment section of cheap outdoor equipment and apparel. The entire shop, which has three levels total, is owned by Rick Wilcox, an extremely experienced mountaineer, who, among many other accomplishments, reached Everest’s summit in 1991 at the age of 43. He was the 200th person to stand on the top of the world. Wilcox reminisces about the adventure in the Conway Daily Sun here, and as you’ll see, he’s a little bitter about all the technology that is available to climbers today.

Whether or not you read the interview, make sure if you stop by IME if you’re in the Whites this summer/fall/winter/spring.

June 13, 2011 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Tufts Mountain Club

More Photos + The Loj

MP3: Jimmy Cliff – Sitting In Limbo

June 9, 2011 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Fully Loaded

Check out this site (no longer active, but archived) for hundreds of images of fully loaded touring bicycles from around the world. I love the look of these, packed to the gills with stuff bungeed down with old tubes all over the bike, piled half way up the riders back. Literally a home on two wheels. From crisp off-the-shelf Rivendell’s and Surly LHT’s to re-appropriated garage sale scores, sure to please. Love it.

June 9, 2011 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Summer Words To Live By

“Sit as little as possible; give no credence to any thought that was not born outdoors while one moved about freely—in which the muscles are not celebrating a feast, too.” – from Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is

Ironic that I’m at my computer blogging this? Yup.

June 8, 2011 | Quotes/Poetry | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Western States 100

Above is Anton Krupicka, ultra-marathon runner, two-time winner of the Leadville  Trail 100, and graduate student in Boulder, CO, my home away from home. Along with Hal Koerner, Geoff Roes and Kilian Jornet, Krupicka is the subject of a new film that documents the events leading up to and following the 2010 Western States 100. I won’t give away what happened, so you’ll have to watch the film (or look on the internet), but it was an exciting race. The 2011 race is on June 25th, and although Krupicka, who reminds me of Fred Rohe, author of Zen of Running, usually running with nothing but a pair of short shorts and his New Balance shoes, won’t be racing this year, the Western States is always an interesting event to follow, even if you’re not a closet fan of the so-called “Grand Slam of Ultrarunning” like Cold Splinters is. And in case you don’t know what the Western States 100 is:

The Western States 100 is a 100-mile ultramarathon that takes place on trails in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains annually on the last full weekend of June. The race starts at the base of the Squaw Valley ski resort and finishes at the Placer High School track in Auburn. Runners climb a cumulative total of 18,090 feet and descend a total of 22,970 feet on mountain trails before reaching the finish. Because of the length of the race, the race begins at 5:00 AM and continues through the day and into the night. Runners finishing before the 30-hour overall time limit for the race receive a bronze belt buckle, while runners finishing in under 24 hours receive a silver belt buckle.

Watch the trailer for Unbreakable: The Western States 100 here.

June 8, 2011 | Long Hairs | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }