It’s December, 2013, and although it usually means mild times in Toronto, a severe ice storm has left a good many residents without power, and by extension, heat. The temperature as I write this is -10° C (about 14° F), and will be dropping, not rising throughout the day. #icestorm2013 and #darkTO are the only things on many people’s mind. Many people have been without heat and power since Sunday morning, and will continue in the dark until after Christmas.
Not cold by Canadian winter standards, but with an urban dwelling and no alternative way to heat it, many people are left unprepared in a dangerous way. Assuming you have a half-decently stocked fridge and groceries for the week, the cold is probably going to be your most immediate challenge.
There are, of course, many things to keep in mind like turning off appliances, stockpiling water, etc., but here are some quick and dirty tips for those caught in the cold and dark: Continue reading
I’m the first to admit that despite my love of the outdoors and the woods, I’m relatively unschooled in the fine art of woodworking compared to some. Natural wood has a life and character unlike any other material, and it’s hard to ignore those who make this craft their pursuit.
I love to listen and learn from passionate people, and this past week, I had the pleasure of learning how to make a classic frame saw from Steven Der-Garabedian (see his work at blackwalnutstudio.ca). Steve is absolutely fanatical about woodworking, and it comes through in every action and every word he utters. Not only is he patient and accessible, but he has that other quality that distinguishes good craftsmen from good teachers—his love of his art is infectious.
(What I carry is nowhere near as nice as this, but the concept is essentially the same. These are from J.a.G Woodworking)
I’d like to talk about one decision I’ve made when it comes to kitchen on a canoe trip. There’s a part of me that wants to go as ultra-light as possible, knife and a flint striker and some rope, and improvise from there, but there’s another, more obsessive side that wants to bring every gadget possible. Somewhere in the middle is the ideal camping kit. That ideal pack obviously is different for each individual, and indeed, changes for me on a constant basis.
One peice of kit that has started coming with me on any canoe trip longer than three days is my version of a wanigan. Bill Casselman’s “Canadian Word of the Day” site describes it better than I could.
I’ve decided to take a step back and look at this site. I haven’t updated throughout the winter, and although I camp year-round, sometimes there can be big pauses between trips. So to move things along during the slow times, I will be writing reviews of various gear that I’ve tested and used. Further to that, I’m going to actually take the time to design a new site, with a good section for organizing the reviews, and perhaps a gallery. It will give me a chance to test out some new technology as well, and I’m looking forward to that.
So begins the lengthy re-design process.
So, lots of new things going on… I’ve got a new job and a new phone and probably a lot less time this year to go camping, but I’ll get a chance to check out the iPhone in the woods.
It has a gps, but I’m not sure how good it will be, since it relies heavily on being connected to the net. I don’t know if there’s any way yet to add local topographic maps for use offline.
One thing it will allow me to do is compose updates from remote areas. I know that I could just transcribe written notes, but let’s face it – if I were going to do that, I would have done it already.
One thing I’m looking forward to is trying out some solar cell chargers, since I like the idea of sustainable power. I don’t like throwing away batteries, but I also don’t trust rechargables enough to not bring alkaline spares.
A good solar system that would cover charging headlamp batteries, walkie-talkies, cell phones and cameras would be ideal.
Oh, and this is my first post using the iPhone!