My story takes place in the Ozark Mountains, which stretch from central Missouri down into northern Arkansas. When I was a kid, “going to the Ozarks” meant going to the family farm. In order to get to the farm, we had to drive four hours south on the Interstate, then take a rural route exit. I can’t remember the name of the exit, but I’d still recognize it today if I saw it. We’d cross Old Route 66 at an old ghost town where most of the buildings had been abandoned and the only real activity was the railroad that ran nearby.
On Thursday, October 23, 2014, there will be a partial solar eclipse of the sun, and the first visible partial solar eclipse that has occurred in North America since May 20, 2012. Even more spectacularly, the partial eclipse will occur during the sunset hours on the East Coast, which should provide a fantastic visual spectacle at or around sunset. However, skywatchers in the midwest and West Coast regions will also have excellent views of the eclipse as well during the mid-afternoon hours.
The Queen Mary is an ocean liner out of the golden age of sea travel. Built in 1936, she was designed to ferry passengers from Europe to New York City. From 1936 to 1939, she transported passengers along Atlantic Ocean; but when World War II broke out, she was converted into a troop transport ship, and transported soldiers – including a record 16,082 American troops from New York to the United Kingdom in one trip – a record that still stands to this day. After the war, she again carried passengers until 1967, until she was retired from service. Upon her retirement, she was bought by a private company and sailed to Long Beach, where she sits moored today.
To me, Halloween is the best time to celebrate this danger – and risk with stories that deal with any of the topics above – or any wilderness danger topic that I failed to mention. For the last two years, I’ve covered some of the dangers I’ve seen in the wild with Tales of Terror from the Yosemite Backcountry in 2012, which is a story about me facing an unknown problem on a trail patrol in 1998; and Freedom of the Open Road in 2013, which is a story about me facing problems from my fellow man while camping in Colorado. I’ve also been lucky enough to get a story from Melissa Avery about her experiences with the unknown in Peru (More Than Myth), and will have a great post from Missouri Howell later this month about the unknown in Missouri.
I did test the gear at the base of the Alps on a sunny day and in the mid-range of the Alps on a day with wind, rain, snow, and a little sleet. Out of the two days of tests I’ve had, I relied more on the latter in my preliminary reviews, because again, in my experience, those are the conditions that matter to me as a mountaineer, rather than how things perform in basically perfect conditions. I will be receiving this gear later on in the mail, and I will be testing it further, so you can expect to read more specific reviews about specific pieces rather than just my general thoughts here today.
While I knew I wanted to talk about the gear – what we tested, how we tested it, and what I learned (which I’ll discuss tomorrow), the more I thought about the trip, the more I realized the place to begin the conversation was about the brand ethos of Salmon and how it related to me, the Last Adventurer, to you, my readers, and the social media community as a whole. With this in mind, I ask that you bear with me for a second as I generalize my thoughts about the wilderness community as it currently exists in 2014.
On the Northern border of Lassen National Park in the Lassen National Forest is the Subway Cave, a remnant of Northern California's volcanic past. This portion of California is part of the Cascade Range of mountains, ancient volcanoes that shaped the geology of the region thousands of years ago, and continue to shape the region even today.