It’s getting close to the “offseason” for many outdoor activities. Or, at least, the shorter days and holiday business tends to reduce our enjoyment of some of these things. It also happens to be a good time to take care of any maintenance you might need to take care of. Several years ago, I made use of the winter offseason to sew a couple of down quilts.
I have had a number of questions from readers about how to get some certain trail data onto their GPS. That answer is complicated, because it depends on the trail data and it depends on the GPS you have. If the trail data you want to use is a simple track from someone’s previous ride, you can load it directly onto your GPS. Fitness GPS receivers (like the Edge models with mapping) can do a Virtual Partner based on that file and do performance comparisons and whatnot. With a mapping handheld, you get a basic navigation (it warns you if you deviate from the trail, but not much more). If that .gpx track has more track points than your GPS receiver’s track point limit, you have to reduce the number of points in the track by simplifying it (some programs allow you to do this) or by converting it to a route, which will prompt you to turn (best used on roads where turns occur at intersections, than on trails where turns often occur dependent on terrain).
It’s well into tick season and for many, getting outdoors means dealing with ticks. Not only are they annoying little creepy-crawlies, they are also vectors for many different diseases.
According to the CDC, the following disease/tick species associations are notweworthy in the United States (they are not necessarily exclusive to these particular tick species and there are likely to be more diseases, too):
I’ve been planning to visit the Upland Island Wilderness for awhile. I ordered a map from MyTopo for this area last summer and I’ve been trying to get out here since. On the 4th, with the wife out of town, I figured I’d go hike in the Upland Island Wilderness. I wanted to see the longleaf pine savannas and the spring-fed bogs at the exposures of the Catahoula Formation and photograph some of the carnivorous plants.
The trip didn’t work out how I had hoped. The trailhead area was pretty dilapidated. Something public isn’t available, but I don’t know what.
I combined my REI dividend and 20% off coupon to grab a new pack. I really didn’t have a GOOD daypack for hiking, and I needed something I could mountain bike in for longer days. What I have works for short rides, but can’t carry enough gear well for an exploratory day.
The Osprey Talon 22 looked like it would fit for my needs. The M/L size is about 1300 cubic inches, which compares well to my Camelbak MULE at 600 cubic inches and my REI Lookout (more of a long day/light weekend pack) at 2700 cubic inches.
I’ve been working on planning a hiking trip for this trail. Unfortunately, there’s really not many good maps out there. I found a SINGLE map, but it was just an image without coordinates in the margins. How is someone supposed to use a map like this? It’s really not a map if you think about it…it’s just a picture. You can’t even use a compass with it. But I suppose the folks who created want you to buy the real thing, but that’s still a bit dangerous.
Today’s a nice day, and I finished sewing loops in my tree huggers last night, so I did some test hanging.
I’m happy to report everything went off without a hitch. I hung the hammock from my newly built pergola. It uses 6×6 posts, and the short side is about 14′ wide. I figured doing it in a controlled setting like this would go off a bit easier than trying to find the right two trees in the woods at the back of the yard for a test hang.
I’m using a whoopie sling/tree hugger setup with a couple of SMC rings, too.
As I work out a good way to hang my hammock with a minimum of knotwork (that derates the cord and is complicated to tie, especially in the dark) and metal hardware (that’s heavy), I settled on whoopie slings. Grizzly Adams from Hammockforums has a nice video that does a good job of explaining how they work. SlowBro also has a pictoral on how to make the whoopie sling.
I had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday last week. The objective was to get another blood test and to get another MRI of my head to see if I was ready to get some low dose follow-up chemo. I got there a bit early, around 9:30am (considering I live 3hrs away, that’s early). I had them print my list of appointments before I got my labs drawn. Ugh…10:30am blood draw and 10:30pm MRI. Who does this kinda crap? So I go to get my blood drawn an hour early while my wife attempts to get my MRI rescheduled later. She has to work Fri morning and leaving Houston sometime after midnight (the MRI itself takes ~45 min) is not cool. My favorite nurse ever, Nurse Glenda pulled some strings and I got my MRI done before noon. Way to go Nurse Glenda!