between here and there


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Sleeping Well

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Over the years of sleeping in the backcountry I have learned what  provides for the best sleep. First, to be exhausted provides for a good night sleep, and not so much worry about the squirrel running around outside your tent in the middle of the night. Sleeping next to a creek is great, too. The running water lulls you to sleep.

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A tent appropriate to the conditions is also helpful. The conditions could be anything from waking up with 6 inches of snow on top of your tent, or balmy summer weather that only requires a fly or no tent – as long at there are NO mosquitoes.

What you sleep in plays a part- is it super cold and you need to sleep in everything you brought ? Or warm enough and you can get by with just your shorts?

But the two most important is the sleeping pad and the sleeping bag. So here are some guidelines to consider before you invest in what you hope will provide fora great night sleep.

First, do not think you are going to get away cheap on the bag. Unless you can borrow a good bag  one from someone, its gonna cost you. If the bag you are looking at looks like this, you definitely need to re-think your sleeping bag assumptions for the back country:

Backyard sleeping

Backyard Sleeping

Just for visual reference your sleeping bag for the backcountry should “look” more like one of these:

 

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These sleeping bags are lighter weight, more fitted to your body so that your body needs to generate less energy to heat the space of the bag, which keeps you warmer in the night. Sleeping bags are rated for the temperature you will be sleeping in, so think about the temperature lows in the mountains, or look them up on the web if you don’t know. You can expect 20’s, could be colder or a bit warmer. You can boost your warmth by wearing more clothes while sleeping. My bag for late spring/early summer backpacking is a 10 degree bag. It keeps me toasty in June.  To learn more about the type of sleeping bag you should be looking for take a look at the following links. And note, that when they describe the best bags they distinguish between the car camping sleeping bag and a backcountry bag. To be warm in your tents in the Rocky Mountains you will want to have a back county bag…

http://www.theactivetimes.com/best-sleeping-bags-backyard-and-backcountry-camping/

Check out these best- sleeping bag options:

http://www.theactivetimes.com/best-sleeping-bags-2013

Another reason I am warm when I sleep in the backcountry is because of the sleeping pad. The sleeping pad is not only a good cushion for sleeping on, but the type of “cushioning” provides insulation between yourself and the cold earth. Think about it this way, your body is warmer than the Earth at this time of year, so the cold ground just sucks the body warmth right out of you. Your body is jus like a building, without good insulation between you and the outside, your body warmth just escapes….

I do not recommend this type:

roll pad

If it rolls or folds, it is a solid material. They are bulky, hard to pack and less insulative.

Instead, consider one that looks like this:

pads

These hold air in them, which provides greater insulation value, flexes more with your body and is much smaller when packing. This brand show, Alps is good, but there are many others, and they come in lots of colors. If you can afford one that supports the full length of your body that is best because your feet won’t be cold in the middle of the night.

 
sleeping pads

This image gives you a good understanding of the difference in scale between a folding or rolled piece of foam and the pad that can be inflated on-site.

 

Consider warmth and comfort, not just in sleeping , but for the miles you will be hauling all the gear into the backcountry camp up into the mountains. The important point it that you will be hiking “UP” in altitude – and big difference from walking with heavy gear on flat ground….

 

 

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snow and fire

picstitch-1How do we come to know a place? Exploration, play, living.  I spent some time in the dwindling winter snow today, appreciating what remains. Hoping for more. And worrying about fire season this summer if more of the great white stuff doesn’t fall from the sky soon.


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Cold Feet?

IMG_6676Yes. I know! Its cold out there. Don’t be bashful, maybe put some shoes on first and join us in making your contribution to Earthly Instructable: Winter Edition.

 

Interested?……Keep Reading.

This is a creative challenge from Lori Ryker, founder of Artemis institute and Anna Taugher of IAMACOLLECTION.

 Anna and I have teamed up to create a challenge to get you to collaborate with nature and get your creative juices flowing this winter. We hope you will join us in the first installment of Earthly Instractable: an online community challenge.

At the core of our existence is the desire to create and make. Regardless of scale we create everyday. The act of creation, which is activity combined with positive intention, can be as simple as setting the table for breakfast or baking a cake, and as complex as architecture or composing a symphony. All of these creative acts provide a connection for who and how we are in the world. They set-up, set-aside, negotiate, and connect us to the world we live in.

To take the opportunity to respond to the world from our own point of view provides the time for contemplation, interaction, and experience with the pure joy of nature.

We have been wondering what would come about if many, many, people were to take a bit of time in nature and spend it in contemplation and creation. This is our Challenge, take some time for yourself to “be” in nature, collaborate with and create something wonderful, wonderous!

Follow these simple steps for your semi-permanent creation:

 

First –

Step 1: Walk some distance into a natural area, stop at a place you feel comfortable in.

Step 2: Gather material that is straight in nature.

Step 3: Place the material into a cylindrical to semi-spherical shape, finished scale is up to you.

Step 4: Intertwine, wind, and connect the material until it is stable in its final shape, adding material as needed. (don’t forget it’s winter, ice and snow can be a great material to use)

Step 5: Place yourself inside your structure, en-joy.

Next-

Have a photo made of you in your Winter Earthly Instructable and post to Instagram no later than midnight February 16 with the following hashtag #earthlyinstructable

 AND THE  WINNER IS !

A winner will be selected from the top three submissions based on likes and comments submitted by midnight February 16. The winner will receive the inspiring book My People’s Dreaming: An Aboriginal Elder Speaks on Life, Land, Spirit and Forgiveness, Written by Max Dulumunmun Harrison and Peter McConchie, provided by Artemis Institute.

The winner will be announced through Instagram, and also on : iamacollection.com, loriryker.com, and on Facebook as Artemis Institute.


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Earthly Instructable: Winter

IMG_9259

A creative challenge from Lori Ryker, founder of Artemis institute and Anna Taugher of IAMACOLLECTION.

 Anna and I have teamed up to create a challenge to get you to collaborate with nature and get your creative juices flowing this winter. We hope you will join us in the first installment of Earthly Instractable: an online community challenge.

At the core of our existence is the desire to create and make. Regardless of scale we create everyday. The act of creation, which is activity combined with positive intention, can be as simple as setting the table for breakfast or baking a cake, and as complex as architecture or composing a symphony. All of these creative acts provide a connection for who and how we are in the world. They set-up, set-aside, negotiate, and connect us to the world we live in.

To take the opportunity to respond to the world from our own point of view provides the time for contemplation, interaction, and experience with the pure joy of nature.

We have been wondering what would come about if many, many, people were to take a bit of time in nature and spend it in contemplation and creation. This is our Challenge, take some time for yourself to “be” in nature, collaborate with and create something wonderful, wonderous!

Follow these simple steps for your semi-permanent creation:

 

First –

Step 1: Walk some distance into a natural area, stop at a place you feel comfortable in.

Step 2: Gather material that is straight in nature.

Step 3: Place the material into a cylindrical to semi-spherical shape, finished scale is up to you.

Step 4: Intertwine, wind, and connect the material until it is stable in its final shape, adding material as needed. (don’t forget it’s winter, ice and snow can be a great material to use)

Step 5: Place yourself inside your structure, en-joy.

Next-

Have a photo made of you in your Winter Earthly Instructable and post to Instagram no later than midnight February 16 with the following hashtag #earthlyinstructable

 AND THE  WINNER IS !

A winner will be selected from the top three submissions based on likes and comments submitted by midnight February 16. The winner will receive the inspiring book My People’s Dreaming: An Aboriginal Elder Speaks on Life, Land, Spirit and Forgiveness, Written by Max Dulumunmun Harrison and Peter McConchie, provided by Artemis Institute.

The winner will be announced through Instagram, and also on : iamacollection.com, loriryker.com, and on Facebook as Artemis Institute.


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From drawing to earth

A few months ago I posted sketches for the new studio I am building next to my house. Today the work began. After a light snow the great whiteness was removed to expose the ground of winter.

Earth is dug out, boulders as big as a car hood are discovered. All earth is set to one side, while the snow pile is set to the other.

The process is all part of a larger practice. Practice of architecture, and imagining the future. A practice in faith that imbedding this idea for living with the land is a sound decision in this particular place.

Let the adventure begin !

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Winter Wolf


winterwolf

 

 

Years Ago, when I was still new to Montana and the Yellowstone Eco-system I had the opportunity to hear the wolves howl above us in the mountains while working on a Remote Studio project miles from a paved road. The experience was heartening, beautiful, and musical magic. Reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, the wolves have grown into families who expand across the Mountain West. They are a part of the West, this place is their home. They are the wildness that makes place for us and reminds us that we are a part of a larger community that we cannot always control, but simply honor. The wolves, like the bear and mountain lion are the creatures that bring alertness to our experiences in the wilderness. They are critical to the health of the eco-system, and bring magic and mystery to us everyday. This year I hope for peace and greater respect for all those that we do not quite understand, who challenge us, and may bring a bit of humility into our lives. Without them the World would be less beautiful.

 

“Winter Wolf” is the third piece in the Bear Canyon Series.