The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
The outdoor recreation and adventure radio show and podcast about backcountry news and activities, like camping, backpacking, skiing, and snowshoeing. MORE...
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Thu, Oct 30, 2008
This skills program is part 2 of our look at the science and skills, myths and fact around trekking poles. Is hiking with poles a trendy gimmick, or a valuable skill? (This is an update of our edition 87 originally presented on May 24, 2007.)
We hear from Jayah Faye Paley, an author and educator, and co-host of an educational DVD, POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking. Jayah's web site, Adventure Buddies, provides more information about her educational products and services. Jayah describes basic skills for using trekking poles.
Julianne Abendroth-Smith updates us on the very latest scientific results about the effectiveness of trekking poles and the effects of using them.
Thu, Oct 23, 2008
This skills program is part 1 of our look at the science and skills, myths and fact around trekking poles. Is hiking with poles a trendy gimmick, or a valuable skill? (This is a reprise of our edition 86 originally presented on May 17, 2007.)
Steve talks to Julianne Abendroth-Smith of Willamette University in Salem Oregon. She's a biomechanics professor studying the physics of hiking, and how hiking with various poles and walking sticks affect the body.
Steve talks to Jayah Faye Paley, an author and educator, and co-host of an educational DVD, POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking. Jayah's web site, Adventure Buddies, provides more information about her educational products and services.
We'll hear more from Julianne Abrendroth-Smith and Jayah Faye Paley in part two. We'll find out Jayah's techniques for using poles, and we'll update you with the latest scientific research about those techniques.
Thu, Oct 09, 2008
This skills program presents skills for building primitive shelters. This is the fifth in a series featuring primitive technologies experts from Primitive Ways. Other shows in this series are edition 141, First Skills, edition 146, Starting with Fire, edition 150, Ancient Firemaking, and edition 155, Primal Grooming.
Using primitive tools and natural materials, naturalist Norm Kidder explains how to choose a sheltered location, demonstrates how to cut wood with a rock, and describes how to build a basic lean-to structure.
Thu, Sep 11, 2008
This skills program presents primitive skills for personal grooming. This is the fourth in a series featuring primitive technologies experts from Primitive Ways. Other shows in this series are edition 141, First Skills, the edition 146, Starting with Fire, and edition 150, Ancient Firemaking.
Using primitive tools and natural materials, naturalist Sue Labiste demonstrates how to soap up, perform dental hygiene, and give yourself a manicure.
The Primitive Ways website has many articles on primitive health care and grooming. Another source of information on primitive skills is the Society of Primitive Technologies.
Thu, Sep 04, 2008
We hear J.D. and Emily in several situations where someone didn't consider this seventh principle of Leave No Trace. J.D. and Emily summit a peak, encounter a cyclist on the trail, and try to get some sleep in a campsite.
Emily and J.D., along with the other Leave No Trace traveling trainers, maintain the Traveling Trainers Blog.
Thu, Aug 07, 2008
This skills program presents advanced skills for making fire without modern tools. This is the third in a series of shows featuring primitive technologies experts from Primitive Ways. (The first show is number 141, First Skills, and the second is show number 146, Starting with Fire.)
Naturalist Dino Labiste talks about the three methods prehistoric humans used to make fire. He demonstrates creating fire by friction using a hand drill. He talks about two other methods, fire by percussion, and fire by compression. He explains what would be the best of these techniques for you to use if you had no modern choices.
Thu, Jul 31, 2008
This skills program presents a training talk and demonstration on disposing of waste properly in the backcountry. This is the third in a series of editions featuring the Leave No Trace traveling trainers.
Steve recorded J.D. Tanner and Emily Ressler giving their regular presentation of the third principle of Leave No Trace, Dispose of Waste Properly. This is an important skill that most people get, but fewer people seem to get right.
Emily and J.D., along with the other Leave No Trace traveling trainers, maintain the Traveling Trainers Blog.
Thu, Jul 10, 2008
This skills program presents the basic skill of fire building. This is the second in a series of shows featuring primitive technologies experts from Primitive Ways. (The first show is number 141, First Skills.)
Naturalist Dino Labiste explains and demonstrates the fundamental skill of fire building. Our ancestors depended on fire as a basic survival tool as far back as a million years ago, and yet today, among many people it's becoming a lost art.
Ben Lawhon, the education director for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics talks about minimum impact skills for making and using fires. The fifth Leave No Trace principle is Minimize Campfire Impacts.
Thu, Jul 03, 2008
This skills program explains the gear you can carry to tread lightly on your favorite wild places. This is the second in a series of presentations by the Leave No Trace traveling trainers.
J.D. Tanner and Emily Ressler talk about the gear you can bring along to make it easier to Leave No Trace. They talk about shoes and shelter, bags and trowels, cameras and sketch pads, lights and blankets, cans and binoculars, and radios and headphones. All of this gear, and more, can help you leave the wild places you visit as good or better than you found them.
We'll hear more from Emily Ressler and J.D. Tanner in a future edition. The series will continue several weeks from now when J.D and Emily explain more details about a specific Leave No Trace principle.
Thu, Jun 05, 2008
We hear from Norm Kidder. He's the vice president of the Society of Primitive Technologies. He talks about the society's goal to re-learn, study, and teach stone age skills. Norm explains that using cutting edges and fire were the first technological skills developed by the earliest humans.
We'll hear more from Norm Kidder in a future edition. The series will continue several weeks from now when we learn the specifics of several primitive skills.
Thu, May 29, 2008
This skills program introduces the Leave No Trace traveling trainers. This couple spreads the word of Leave No Trace, but then they seem to leave a lasting impression.
The Leave no trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches skills to help you keep your parks and wilderness areas in their best possible condition. You can minimize your impacts on these place so that others can enjoy them more, and you can enjoy them in the future.
J.D. Tanner and Emily Ressler are this year's senior traveling trainers for Leave No Trace. They'll spend the year touring the country, attending festivals, and presenting classes on Leave No Trace principles to all kinds of people, from grade school students to professional mountain guides.
We'll hear more from J.D and Emily in several future editions.
Thu, Apr 17, 2008
Steve talks to Chris Servheen, the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Chris authored several fact sheets on bears, including the most recent, Bear Spray vs. Bullets—which offers better protection?
Chris refers Steve to a scientist who's doing the leading-edge studies on how to most safely handle yourself in grizzly bear habitat. Tom Smith, an Associate Professor of Plant and Wildlife Sciences at Brigham Young University, has studied the entire documented history of bear encounters in North America for the past 120 years. Tom explains why certain deterrents work better than others.
Thu, Apr 10, 2008
This skills program is a wrap. Well, really it's about baking fresh enchiladas, in a backcountry camp, without a fire or a stove.
Steve returns to visit the kitchen of backcountry cooking author Linda Frederick Yaffe. Ms. Yaffe is the author of the books Backpack Gourmet, Solar Cooking for Home and Camp, High Trail Cookery, and The Well Organized Camper.
Our guest backpack gourmet demonstrates a solar oven that portable enough to be carried in a backpack, and simple enough to build for yourself. She uses her solar cooker to prepare delicious fresh bean and cheese enchiladas with fresh tomatoes. She also mentions other things you can make with a clamshell solar cooker.
Follow the supplemental information link below to get the complete recipe and pictures of her and the enchiladas. Ms. Yaffe mentions the non-profit organization, Solar Cookers International, which she recommends as a source for appropriate cook pots and pans.
Thu, Apr 03, 2008
This skills program looks at packing your gear for air travel to a distant trailhead. Air travel can be a hassle if you don't plan ahead and prepare.
We hear a phoned-in comment from listener Jeremy Sullivan. He relates a situation when he had difficulty traveling with his camping gear. Steve meets with Robert Cassidy, a hazardous materials specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration. Robert provides a lot of helpful information, but he explains that in the end the Transportation Security Administration has the final say at the security checkpoint about what you can take on an airliner. Steve talks to Nico Melendez by phone. Nico is the Pacific Region spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.
You can find additional information to help you identify hazardous materials to avoid taking on an airplane on the FAA's Hazardous Materials Information for Passengers page. More general information on planning ahead and preparing for air travel with your backcountry gear can be found on the TSA's Air Travel Tips pages. In particular, they have a page devoted to traveling with camping gear.
This edition was made possible by:
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Thu, Mar 13, 2008
This skills program presents an introduction to winter hiking on snowshoes. If you can hike, you can snowshoe.
Steve takes a hike with author Mike White, who wrote the books, Best Snowshoe Trails of California, Snowshoe Trails of Yosemite, and Snowshoe Trails Tahoe. A couple of weeks ago, they hiked out and back a couple of miles in the Tahoe National Forest near Donner Pass in California.
Snowshoe hiking is the easiest way to start exploring the wilderness in the winter. Mike explains the gear you need, and how to get started.
Thu, Feb 07, 2008
This skills program discusses things you need to know before relying on a portable GPS receiver. Finding your way there and finding your way home is not always so easy in the wilderness.
Steve talks with author Stephen Hinch who wrote the book, Outdoor Navigation with GPS. Stephen is a high-tech executive with technical knowledge of the GPS system and a love of wilderness travel.
A GPS receiver can make navigaton easier, but what do you need to know to use it, and what do you need to know when it's not making it easier? What should you look for if you're shopping for one? What's the easiest way to use one in order to keep from getting lost?
Stephen also mentions orienteering as a great way to learn navigation skills to use when you can't use GPS. Through the U.S. Orienteering Federation, you can find a local club that can teach you more traditional navigation skills.
Thu, Jan 24, 2008
This skills program is an overview of some of the ways you can call for help from the wilderness. Have you ever thought about how you'd get help if you needed it? Out of all the different ways you could let somebody know about your situation, some of them work better than others. This is an updated version of our program number 37 of April 13, 2006.
Steve talks about simple signaling techniques, like whistles, signal mirrors, and smoke signals, and then discusses various phones and radio technologies. He talks to Caroline Semerdjian at Sprint-Nextel. She mentions a page to find out their network coverage by zip-code. We replay a comment by Sgt. Phil Caporale of the Fresno County Sheriff's search and rescue unit from A Winter Storm Warning (our editions #15 & #16), where he talks about problems with satellite phones.
Steve talks to Bill Jeffrey about amateur (or "ham") radio. Bill created and maintains a web site called the Pacific Crest Trail Repeater Guide. Amateur radio is still the primary choice for most volunteer search and rescue organizations.
We also hear about Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) from Doug Ritter, a survival skills consultant and journalist who operates the Equipped to Survive Foundation. Laurel Boyers, who recently retired as Yosemite National Park's wilderness manager, talks about how easy access to rescue services makes the wilderness less wild. Finally, we hear from Tim Kovacks of the Mountain Rescue Association.
Links to more information about a number of these communication and signaling options are listed in the pages linked below, under To Find Out More...
Thu, Jan 17, 2008
This skills program is an interview with Marcus Libkind. This is a reprise of our program number 21 of December 1, 2005.
Marcus wrote the most comprehensive and widely used trail guides for backcountry ski tours in the Sierra Nevada:
Marcus has moved these guides online to his Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada web site. He will add tours to this site one by one as soon as they are field checked for updates. The whole site is about your participation—he invites you to explore his routes and then submit updated information about the ski tours from his books. Also, you can suggest new tour routes for this online guide.
If you want to get started exploring the backcountry on skis, Marcus recommends getting lessons and practice at groomed-track cross-country ski resorts first. The Cross Country Ski Areas Association has a directory of cross country ski trail systems. One good beginner's guide to winter backcountry skills is Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book.
Thu, Jan 10, 2008
This skills program is an introduction to snow camping. Snow camping is really cool, but it doesn't have to be cold if you know what you're doing. This is a reprise of our program number 27 of January 26, 2006.
In this part, Mike talks about kitchens, cooking and nutrition, and staying warm at night. Ben Lawhon from the Leave No Trace Center gives some additional tips for low-impact snow camping.
Thu, Jan 03, 2008
This skills program is an introduction to snow camping. Snow camping is really cool, but it doesn't have to be cold if you know what you're doing. This is a reprise of our program number 26 of January 19, 2006.
Steve interviewed Mike Clelland, a winter camping instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School. He's also the illustrator and co-author of Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book. In this part, Mike talks about clothing, campsite selection, and shelter. Next week in part two, he'll tell you the rest you need to know to get started.