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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The Discomfort of Transformation

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“The things we want are transformative , and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation . Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration – how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory , about becoming someone else ?”
Rebecca Solnit,
A Field Guide to Getting Lost

I have spent a great part of my life on the edges of the known. In design, art, home, teaching…there is a certain solitary condition to being on the edge, the boundary that separates what you think you know from what you really know. Like Solnit, whose mantra is recognizable if you read enough of her, is about letting go, disappearing in order to discover yourself in the world , while also discovering the world …I teach from a similar philosophy .

Creative thinkers have this ability to imagine possibilities . Imagining another way of being, existence . From these contrivances comes the future. But the future is long ahead , no matter how soon we wish it would materialize . No great transformation comes over night , despite the moment of the epiphany. Dreaming requires commitment to bring a vision into a reality.


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Lid to Cup

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I’m a bit worried about us. Us, being the human species. We seem to be giving up our intelligence and discernment abilities left and right.

Last week while traveling I was served this cup. It seems we need instructions for how to align our cup lids in the cup. Please tell me it isn’t so.

I believe I know how to attach the lid to the cup.


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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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Passing By

The day comes, the year passes. We stand witnessing both simultaneously.

Did we meet the expectations we had for ourselves? Can we find peace within despite the dreams we let go of?

Should we plan for the future or rest and bless the life we do not know that has yet to come?

Life comes regardless of our readiness. Finding the best of the arrival is finding our best potential.


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bootie boycott

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I know, I know. I have seen those videos on Facebook, too. But I promise you don’t look like them with the booties on. And you even wore them once before when you were much younger and it was super cold outside, like today. You want to go skiing, right? OK! Lets go….

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“Really?” she says, “these don’t fit so well. And the snow is collecting around the ankle. And they kinda’ hurt…..How about if I just lay here in the snow and wait for you to come back this way?”

photo 3-2Lesson Learned: Give up those boots. Run wild in the snow. If its too cold outside wait for it to warm up first.