Monthly Archives: December 2015

Merry Christmas

merry xmas from nick

For the first time in at least 10 years we spent Christmas at home, instead of a camper.

I have been informed that it isn’t Politically Correct to wish strangers a Merry Christmas, and I know complete strangers do read this blog. As a matter of fact, it is now incorrect to have company Christmas parties or Christmas celebrations. Merry Christmas has been replaced with Happy Holidays. 

I say, bullshit.

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Gear that Works: Flip Flops

Flip-flops are my everyday footwear unless there is some rule, like a workplace dress code, that forbids them. I have been wearing flip-flops for at least 58 years, maybe longer. My earliest remembrance of flip-flops was wearing them at the public plunge (swimming pool for you young-in’s) at the age of seven. These days a pair of flip-flops last me several years of urban walking and day hikes on our camping trips.

flip flops 1

When modern flip-flops wear out, it is the straps or strap connecting point that usually fail, leaving you with a now useless foot bed that could still go on for hundreds of miles had the strap not failed. Last week I noticed my Reef brand flip-flops were about to expire. Strap failure. Damn. Good news is that Nicole, my daughter, had bought me a pair of Chaco flip-flops last Christmas.

I hear so many hikers and backpackers complain about foot problems and they are constantly trying to find all kinds of gimmicky sole inserts, pronation control shoes, and other quackery to make their feet feel better. I don’t have any of these problems and backpack in minimalist shoes. I attribute this to lots of miles and daily walking in flip flops. Flip flops make your feet strong!

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Trendsetting Curmudgeon: Oxymoron?

A couple weeks ago I posted an article about backpacking nutrition titled Candy for the Curmudgeon. In that post I outlined several curmudgeon attributes, one being

Does not follow trends or fashion, but is a trendsetter

A good friend of mine sent me an email with this subject line: “Trendsetting Curmudgeon, now that’s a great Oxymoron” 

There was nothing in the body of the email. I need to point out that this is the same friend who sent me a box of Blackwing 211 pencils for my birthday last month.

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How To Winterize A Camper

Over the years I have noticed that many campers stop using their campers in the fall and go through a seemingly torturous and time consuming process called winterizing. Basically they are taking the camper out of commission, mothballing it – akin to the Navy decommissioning a ship. And during the following spring or early summer the camper owner re-commissions their camper. Wow, all that money spent to purchase a camper and then mothballing it for 6 months a year?

I just finished winterizing our camper.

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Hunting, Morality, and Gun Control

san bernardino mass shooting

With the mass shootings over the past few years, there has been an increased demand by the public for greater gun controls. Counter-point to these demands is positions by the NRA, hunting, and other groups. The issue is complex and battle lines are drawn. Unfortunately there appears to be no middle ground and any attempts to sway opinion or convince someone to change their point of view are about nil at best.

Amidst this debate two of my favorite backpacking personalities, two very accomplished and knowledge men, Andrew Skurka and Dave Chenault have become hunters and are now writing about their new hobbies. I have read disparaging remarks towards both of them from the animal rights people. Not that I can sway anyone’s thoughts on this issue either, but I thought I would comment on the whole volatile discourse on the morality of hunting and the larger gun control issue.

I should preface my comments with the following information:

  • I have never hunted
  • I have never owned a firearm
  • I have been robbed at gunpoint twice in my life
  • I was trained in the use of firearms in the military

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