Awhile back, I posted an item about Southern Nazarene University head football coach Mike Cochran’s annual ritual of taking his upcoming senior football players to Colorado to camp, raft and climb a mountain. He does this as part of a leadership development program for his team’s leaders. This year, they went to Buena Vista, Colo., and tackled Mount Yale, a real leg-buster I did a year ago. Join me in offering the guys a hearty congrats for tackling this peak! Here’s a write-up of the trip from SNU’s Scott Secor (photos courtesy Mike Cochran):
The 2009 convictions:
Again, major congrats to the group for this accomplishment!
Looking to start some discussions or ask questions about outdoor recreation in Oklahoma and beyond? Check out this newsok.com link and start the dicussion!
Check out this video from “Alone in the Wild.” The show is still filming and will air in the fall. But the subject, Ed Wardle, is sending videos of his time there.
Background: Ed is in the backcountry of the Yukon Territory, Canada, seeing if he can survive three months there by himself. Like “Survivorman,” he is filming his own stuff and has no support crew.
This one is interesting, in that two plants he shows look somewhat alike, but one is edible and the other is deadly poisonous. Have a look:
Interesting wildlife opportunity scheduled for the fall. Read here to see what’s going on at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton:
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge will be conducting “Bugling Elk” tours for the general public during September and October. The tours will take participants into the Refuge’s Special Use Area during the height of the elk mating season, thus, offering a unique opportunity for wildlife viewing.
At this time of year the bull elk compete for available females to form their harems. To vent their feelings of frustration and aggression, the bull elk produces a high-pitched whistling sound. Tour participants have the opportunity to hear the bugling and to search for elk in their natural habitat. Other species of wildlife such as bison, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey are not uncommon during the tour although weather conditions make wildlife viewing opportunities unpredictable.
The tours are conducted by members of the Association of Friends of the Wichitas. Binoculars are highly recommended for viewing distant wildlife. The tour bus is accessible to persons with limited mobility. Wheelchair lift and tie-downs are available upon request.
The tours will begin at the Visitor Center. Visitors may obtain a Refuge leaflet from one of the dispensers located at each of the five entrances. The Visitor Center location is noted on the leaflet map.
Bugling Elk Tours will depart promptly at the indicated time. Each tour will last approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Due to the length of the tour, children must be at least eight years of age to participate. There will be a $5.00 reservation fee per participant which will be collected at the beginning of the tour. Reservations will be retained until ten minutes prior to the beginning of each tour. After that time, stand-bys will be accepted. If the bus seating capacity is filled after accepting standbys, late arrivals with reservations will not be able to participate in the tour.
Interested persons are advised that the Refuge’s public programs are intended for individuals and family units. Interested individuals are invited to call for reservations which are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. This tour is one of the most popular, so it is suggested that interested individuals call on the first day that reservations open. Reservations are required and may be made by telephoning the Visitor Center on the following line only: (580) 429-2151.
Tour dates are:
Sept. 6, 10, 12**, 13, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26**, 27
Oct. 1, 3, 4, 8, 10**
**6:30 a.m. tours
Other tours 5 p.m.
Arcadia Lake will be the centerpiece of a big triathlon coming to central Oklahoma. Hillapalooza is set to take place Aug. 16. This is a cool event because it features two competitions: One is an Olympic triathlon (1,500 meter swim, 40k bike ride and 10 k run) while the other is a Sprint triathlon (400 meter swim, 11-mile bike ride and a 2-mile run). So it offers a little of everything for experienced and novice triathletes.
You can still register, but time is running short. For more on this, check these links:
Ready for a long ride in Green Country? Check out this bit of info about the Cycle Fandango in Broken Arrow and get your bike on!
Date: Oct. 17-18
Cost: Early Bird Registration Cost $60 per person if received by Sept. 25
Location: Holiday Inn Express
2201 Stone Wood Circle
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma 74012
Tour northeast Oklahoma from Broken Arrow along the Arkansas River Valley and into the foothills of the Ozark Mountains to Greenleaf State Park and back.
Early bird registration cost is $60 per person if registration is received by Sept. 25. After Sept. 25, registration cost is $65 per person. Registration includes long sleeve T-shirt, complimentary water bottle, dinner, breakfast, road support, entertainment and transportation of luggage.
Please call 918.251.1518 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
So yesterday I put up a post about how I think TV producers are somewhat slyly (and sometimes overtly) using the story “Into the Wild” to market reality programs with a “surivial in the wild” theme. (Link here: http://blog.newsok.com/outthere/2009/08/03/chris-mccandless-and-the-marketing-of-the-wild-tv-film-latching-on-to-famous-books-tragic-story/ )Adventure TV has been around awhile, but a few certain shows seem intent on capturing the mojo that John Krakauer’s famous book created.
So I posted that item on a popular online forum for outdoor enthusiasts (14ers.com) and got some responses you all may find interesting. And I asked if people saw the same trend I was seeing.
This user went by the name Dex:
What trend are you referring to:
1. People with a lack of wilderness knowledge going into the wilderness?
2. People with mental issues going into the wilderness?
3. Media and hollywood exploiting the above?
4. Romanticizing of the people above?
The one that annoys me the most is number 4. Marshall Mcluhan said “People become what they observe.” I hope people don’t watch the hollywood movies.
Interesting. Not everyone, though, saw my point. Says Gary:
I am sorry but, I see no trend. The same types of people that use the outdoors today have always used them. With the millions of people go into the wild each year, there are as many stories as there are people.
The most interesting post, however, came from Jim. He sent me this link:
Some eerie similarities between what happened to the man featured in the Denver Post story and what happened to Chris McCandless (the subject of “Into the Wild”).
What I found, so far, is folks are more concerned with what real people do in America’s wild places than they are about how entertainment media use such stories to market their own programs. I’ve got no beef with that. Thanks to all who read and commented via the forum.
Chris McCandless and the marketing of ‘The Wild’: TV, film latching on to famous book’s tragic story
I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the last few years. And it has to do with one of my favorite books.
In 1996, outdoor writer, mountaineer and author John Krakauer wrote a story for Outside magazine about Chris McCandless. That magazine piece later become a full-blown book we all know as “Into the Wild.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it goes something like this:
In the early ‘90s, a young man and recent college graduate decided he was not going to do what everyone else did after college. He bypassed graduate school, a professional career and all the other things most college grads do because he viewed these pursuits as empty.
That man, Chris McCandless, gave away all his money and left behind his possessions to live a vagabond life. He wandered the western U.S., picking up odd jobs along the way and living wherever he might end up that particular day, be it in a town, a transient camp or out in the woods. He even took on a new name, calling himself “Alexander Supertramp.”
His real dream was to see if he could make it by himself in the wilds of Alaska. With few supplies and limited knowledge, he made a go of it and did pretty well until some small mistakes piled up and claimed his life.
The bus-turned-hunter’s cabin was his home that summer, and it’s the place where he died. A lot of people were inspired by McCandless’s story, and many hikers still venture to the old bus where he died as a sort of pilgrimage.
The book is one of my personal favorites, and is definitely one that captured the zeitgeist of my generation. But in recent years, the McCandless story has become so much more.
Sean Penn turned the book into a moody, artistic film. And then, the title of the book started to be incorporated into other entertainment media.
Last season, the creators of “The Alaska Experiment” retitled their program for its second season, calling it “Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment.” The play on the book titled is only thinly veiled, and a second link between the book and the program was the program’s setting — southern Alaska’s backcountry.
The latest effort to capture the book’s mystique is “Lost in the Wild,” a National Geographic Channel show that is filming now.
I think this is going to be an interesting show. But it also does more than just make a play on the more famous book’s name.
The subject of the film is planting himself in the arctic bush (Yukon Territory, Canada, and not in Alaska. But very similar). He plans to stay there through the summer months. He’s by himself and will have to hunt, fish and forage for food. Much like what McCandless had tried to do nearly two decades ago.
Of course, there are differences. Ed Wardle, the filmmaker and star of the show, is checking in with his people on a daily basis, is providing online updates and is letting everyone who will go online now or tune in this fall to see his life in the Yukon outback. McCandless chose total isolation, didn’t want visitors, didn’t want any human interaction.
But the parallels are striking. And as long as the “man vs. the wilderness” theme remains popular on television AND as long as “Into the Wild” remains a part of the American psyche, I think we’ll see more of this in the future.
Thankfully, the programs described here are pretty benign (that is, if Mr. Wardle survives through the show’s taping through September). Chris McCandless’s story is not. While he is admired in many ways for living life on his terms, his demise was a lonely, agonizing way to go. And definitely not something to be emulated. Hopefully our televised survivalists will stop short of subjecting themselves to such an end.