The third VHD poster. Please feel free to share, pass on, pin, tweet whatever you think. Would love any feedback.
30 Jun 2012 | 2 Comments
25 Jun 2012 | No Comments
A nice tip from Don Geary’s excellent ‘The Compleat Outdoorsman’ (this is the correct spelling which makes me like it even more.) This excellent book from 1981 is an all encompassing guide to the outdoors.
Tip 002 – How to remember magnetic declination.
One way to remember to add (or subtract) the degrees of magnetic declination for an area you are hiking in is to place a piece of tape on the compass telling you what must be done.
To find the correct declination for you area, or indeed, for the area you plan to hike in visit the excellent National Gyphisical Data Center. Even if you think you know it’s best to re-check as it changes year to year. In Maine I get ’Declination = 15° 44′ W changing by 0° 4′ E/year‘.
As it’s a West declination ‘Map bearing + Declination = Magnetic’ so if I take a bearing between two point on a map and translate it to the real world I add 15° 44′ and on the flip-side ‘Magnetic Bearing – Declination = Map Bearing’ if I take a bearing between two points (myself and another) in the real world I should subtract my declination to get the same bearing on the map.
23 Jun 2012 | 1 Comment
I have already gushed over Ordnance Survey maps, but I thought I’d also share this great clip made by ‘British Pathe’ about how maps used to be made in the 1950s. Please excuse the casual sexism of the time. Enjoy.
15 Jun 2012 | 2 Comments
This is a recipe from “The Edible Wild” a fantastic book written by Berndt Berglund and Clare E. Bolsby.
Hemlock (Tsuga cadanensis)
As Tea: A very good tea can be made out of young hemlock needles by steeping them in a pot of hot water for about 10 minutes. This tea is a favorite drink among lumbermen.
This is my kind of recipe. Hemlock trees are pretty easy to find in Maine. They easliy identifiable with rough grey/red bark. Their needles grow in two neat rows on either side of the branch. The needles have a distinct groove on top and two white stripes on the underside.
I headed to a small wooded trail near Freeport with my soda can stove and came across some young Hemlock trees. I cranked the stove and steeped a palm full of needles for ten minutes and gave it a crack.
The tea was quite pleasant. The taste was subtle, the flavour fragrant and piney. Like walking through a dense pine forest. I’d be happy to have this as an alternate to my regular brew and I’m glad I have experimented with it, if nothing else to increase my tea options when hiking. “The Edible Wild” is such a good book and it’s given me a ton more ideas for projects. I already started my dandelion wine, more to come on that soon.
11 Jun 2012 | No Comments
Partly inspired by Mike Clelland’s excellent Ultralight Backpacking Tips and partly inspired by Aaron Draplin’s tweeting philosophy, ‘Tips from the Archive’ is an open ended compilation of my favorite backpacking tips from hiking history.
Tip 001 – How to tell how soon the sun will be setting.
Face the setting sun. Extend your arms at full length toward the sun, your wrists bent inwards, your fingers just below the sun. Count how many finger widths separate the sun from the horizon. Allow fifteen minutes per finger. If four fingers fill the space between the horizon an the sun, with your arms fully extended sunset is an hour away; six fingers would mean an hour and a half. – from W.K Merill’s All About Camping 1965.
04 Jun 2012 | No Comments
It was impossible to predict the post war motoring boom that swept across the USA in the 1950s. The US Highway System had opened up the country and the introduction of inexpensive automobiles gave an optimistic, wealthy, America an invitation to hit the road. When they arrived at the National Parks what they found were run down tourist centers built by the Civilian Conservation Corps some 20 years earlier, the deteriorating system was stretched to breaking point and the parks were under threat. The government stepped in and set about radically developing the Parks system with an ambitious ten year plan.
MISSION 66 is a forward-looking program for the National Park System intended to so develop and staff these priceless possessions of the American people as to permit their wisest possible use; maximum enjoyment for those who use them; and maximum protection of the scenic, scientific, wilderness, and historic resources that give them distinction.– from ”What is Mission 66?”
While there were a great many infrastructure developments, the most visible and interactive were the visitors centers. In contrast to the original Civilian Conservation Corps’ rustic architecture the new buildings managed to be both bold, contemporary and visible while complementing their surroundings. They became the public face of America’s National Parks. In just 10 years more than 100 new visitors centers were open to the public.
Now more than 50 years later the national parks are at a cross roads. A lack of routine maintenance, overuse and a change in attitude amongst visitors is threatening the remaining Mission 66 centers. The architecture style has fallen out of favor and the ‘preserve or demolish’ stalemate means buildings continue to deteriorate. It now seems that history is repeating itself, when people go to the parks now, what they find are run down, dated visitors centers and an infrastructure which is reaching breaking point. Once again the parks are in danger of being “loved to death.”
What strikes me most about Mission 66 is that it represents a large scale celebration of America’s national parks, they had a plan and went through with it. It fell in line perfectly with the National Park Services’ original mission “to make the parks accessible to all and to preserve them for future generations.” I find it really hard to put a stake in the ground as to wether I am for or against the preservation of the Mission 66 architecture. I think, for me, the demolition represents the close of an optimistic, forward thinking chapter in National Parks history from a time when things could get done, my concern is whether another brighter, more celebrated chapter awaits on the next page. I hope it does.