Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Well today I need to live vicariously through two good friends. I haven’t had many climbing adventures in awhile myself, but Saturday night I was pumped to get a call from Kelly and Julie. Kelly was pleased to tell me that they were eating dinner at the illustrious (to us outdoor folk) Moab Diner, after the two of them had spent the day successfully topping out on Casselton Tower, in Castle Valley, UT. Sweeeeet! Congratulations you two. You’re going to have to go back sometime…with me! :) That is if I ever manage to move from the prairie out west. I’ve been having a hard time managing to want to stay climbing when all that’s available is a 20 foot plastic/wood climbing gym full of 15-year-olds. That’s North Dakota climbing at it’s finest. I do very much want to ascend actual rock to actual heights again soon.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I have both a recommendation and a confession for today’s bloggin’. First off is my recommendation. I’m speaking of a book that I’m currently spending quite a bit of time in. Alison and I received it for a wedding present (it was on our REI gift registry, which was a sweet idea). As you all know I’m very involved in the outdoor world, and I now have the best book I’ve ever laid hands on regarding backpacking. It’s The Complete Hiker IV, by Collin Fletcher and Chip Rawlings. Wow. Colin, as I understand is in his 80’s, and has he ever done some hiking/camping/gear testing (or gear obsessing)! And Chip is younger, but equally suited to write with authority on trail speak. This book has know-how on pretty much any camping/hiking topic you can request, as well as very detailed reviews on tons of specific gear. I don’t know how they managed to put this whole thing together, but if you dig camping, you should spend $23 and buy this book. Do it. On the same note, we received another satisfying outdoor book, of which I’ve owned/read previous issues. Mountainneering, Freedom of the Hills, Ed. 7, is the climbing version of The Complete Walker IV. It doesn’t get as detailed into specific products, although it does delve into the subject of gear quite extensively. If you climb, it’s also a book you should buy. Do it.
On to my confession. Reading these books, as well as many others and magazines, I’ve found that I am always getting excited about some new (or very old) piece of equipment, or facet of the outdoors, that I need to involve myself with, in order to “complete my outdoor gear closet”. I think that then I will finally be able to just pay for gas as the trip’s only cost. I’ll be totally geared up in preparation for the adventure. I’m finally coming to the conclusion, by reading from other outdoor geeks, and through several years now into the obsessions, that I will never ever be done buying gear. Ever. Any fool could have told me this from the beginning, but what one has to understand about a gearhead is that they rationalize like crazy. Part of spending money on gear (and how it’s so easy to do it) is that you always think that whatever you are buying is bringing your arsenal to perfection, or at least bringing it way closer. And it does for a while (or a really long while depending on the piece of equipment) do a very good job at bringing success and a great deal of fun to a series of outdoor adventures. But myself, the gearhead, has to realize that I’ve essentially brought myself into a life-long commitment of buying new gear. It’s part of the sport. For many of us the gear is just as much part of the fun as the sport itself. I’m going on and on, but my basic confession is that I am coming to grips with myself, in that I will never be done with this. I am a gearhead, and I admit it. And I like it. Anybody want to go to REI?
P.S. (If one can P.S. on a blog in proper etiquette) One could worry by reading this entry, that I will be getting myself in trouble with my beautiful new wife by spending all our money on outdoor pursuits. Not so. Part of owning gear is that it must be owned. If you owe, it’s no fun. Saving up for something and paying cash makes it all the more tasty. The last thing you want on the trail is to be thinking of when some payment is due. Gearheads, after some lessens, can be responsible. :)
Monday, March 13, 2006
On a perkier note, I have pictures from last week’s winter camping. No Moab, but fun nonetheless. Some people think winter campers are crazy. These people haven’t figured it out yet. We’re not crazy, we just have fun differently. We see the experience in a way that others do not. Edward wrote some words that made sense in an email to me the other day. I can’t remember his words exactly, but he stated that winter camping is not just “a cold experience” as most people would see it. But rather, it is a challenge to be overcome and adapted too. It’s amazing to see what situations you can enjoy. There is more to the outdoors than going to the lake during the calm warm summer. When you see and experience all that nature has to offer you can truly enjoy it (even if it scares you a little). Just be equipped, including gear and a calm attitude. Anyhow, here are a couple shots from our little snow-camp.
Diggin' for the mornings coffee...
I can't tell if Chris is at Turtle River or on Mt. Shasta again...
Not the face of a cold uncomfortable man...