One Reason We Do This

Economist Henry Jacoby was interviewed recently on NPR's excellent Planet Money podcast. At one point he said: 

The kind of standard line you have in international discussions is we’re trying to limit the increase to 2 degrees. That’s something that would avoid the really bad outcomes. If you get to 5 degrees, we’re talking about a world that we don’t really understand. It’s deadly serious business. If we could hold it to 2 degrees, which won’t be easy, we could probably survive a lot better. But 5 degrees is effects on ecosystems, agriculture, on sea level rise – is something that we just barely understand. 

We all care about climate change. But it's such a huge issue I often find myself just kind of...forgetting about it for weeks at a time. Then something like this will snap me back and I realize - it's up to us to get outside, enjoy our wild spaces, and think about how to protect them. 

Peace guys. Get it.

Stillman

As It Happens: Notes from the Premier

Last month was the premier of the Dusty Camel's first feature-length documentary, As It Happens. It follows Dusty Camel founders, best friends, and wildmen, Andy & Ian, on their 2600 mile trek from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you haven't seen the trailer, check it out here

I was at the premier (part of the Outdoor Rise Festival - they did a cool composite picture taken from the film for their website) and wanted to offer my thoughts. I saw the dudes off at their farewell party, helped them cut the film when they got back, and I've probably seen it 10 times back to front. 

But I was still blown away by how it looked on the big screen and how the incredible audience response.

 

Camel somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Directors talk about going to see their own movie and sitting in the back of the theater to see if the audience laughs, gasps, and cries at all the right times. And that's what happened. Moments that I was so used to they had lost their punch came alive again, and some of my favorite, profound moments landed just as I imagined they would. 

 

As brutal as the hike is depicted in the film, it actually under-represents how difficult it was. It was a record snow year. Both Andy and Ian got badly sick (at one point, hiking 25 miles a day with the flu - you try it). They ran out of water. They ran in to TOO MUCH water. In one scene, Camel (Andy) is just starting the day's hike surrounded by burned out (or blighted) trees. He tells the camera he woke up with a headache, tried to eat a Snicker's for breakfast, but felt too sick. It looks like hell. HE looks like hell. Definitely not your typical upbeat, acrobatic Go Pro techno music adventure entertainment. It's a real story about hiking an insane distance.

 

Afterwards, people had a ton of good questions - everything from "what boots should I wear on a thru-hike?" to "did you see a bear?" Ian's response: we saw plenty of bear ass, running away from us!

My crap cell photo from the 3rd row during the Q&A

If I have one criticism of As It Happens it's that these guys are walking encyclopedias of backcountry know-how. I learn from them all the time, and I would have liked to see more tips & tricks. How to improvise a windbreak, how to keep your gear dry, how to clean up for the ladies in town (vital information). 

So - that's my recap. Stay tuned for much more regular updates, gear reviews, and the next adventure from the DC. 

Peace. Get it.

Stillman

Brunton SolarRoll... torture tested

I know I have written about the SolarRoll by Brunton before, but I had to do a rewrite after really relying on it for over a month now. I can say without hesitation that it is my favorite techno gear I carry, and that's saying a lot.

Everything from my GPS, to cell phone is charged via the solar panel. At first, we had brought the Sustain battery pack with us to keep as a back up should we not have ample sunlight, or run into a problem. However, a couple weeks into the trek, we sent it back. I southern California we have so much sun, and are in clear areas so often, that there was simply no need. That paired up with the ultra efficient panel, we have never once run out of juice. It can charge my cell in about two hours of sitting in the sun, and when the batteries are running low I strap it on the pack of my pack and charge while hiking.

My favorite part about the solar panel is the fact that its flexible. Out here, having something delicate is not an option. Everything gets beaten, bent, and torn -- but not this guy. 10 ounces of pure flexibility and reliability, I can roll it up fairly small and clip it to the front of my pack. I do my best to keep it from getting squashed, but sometimes it's just inevitable and it does. I can say with certainty that it is super durable and pops right back if squished up.

While it is a bit long -- it wraps around the top of my back (near where my head is) and goes all the way to the bottom -- it rolls to only a few inches in diameter and is well worth the size.

One thing I did notice, was it's good to wipe it down every now and again. Being out in the desert, it gets sand and dirt on it all the time. It is much more effective when clean. That being said, I've only felt the need to wipe it down twice.

The best part it, I can charge nearly anything with one cable. Included in the box is a car charger adapter. Instead of getting a car charger for each of my devices, I got a removable USB car charger, and just taped it in. This allows me to charge anything with a USB, without switching cables and having bulky chargers.

I have been super happy with these guys so far, and am sure will have nothing bad to say (other than having a difficult to understand user manual) anytime soon! Brunton won me with this one.