So what can an early appreciation for the outdoors do for your kid?
It just might give your son or daughter the inspiration to do great things. That’s one of many lessons I learned from Greg Mortenson, the subject of the best-seller “Three Cups of Tea.”
The book chronicles Mortenson’s life, and part of that included exposure to other cultures as well as the outdoors. He developed a love for climbing, which eventually led him to Pakistan’s Karakoram Range, home of the most wicked and sought after prize in all of mountaineering: K2.
Mortenson didn’t succeed in climbing the peak. And he got lost on the trail getting off the mountain. That in turn led him to stumble into a small village, where he was nursed back to health. The village, called Korphe, had an abundance of hospitality. But it lacked a suitable school for its children.
To make a long story short, Mortenson went through great pains to see that a school would be built there. And ever since, he’s been building dozens of schools in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, helping educate boys and girls, in an effort to better the lives of these poorest of people. A nice side effect is that an educated population is less likely to resort to religious extremism – a novel anfd effective way to fight the terrorism.
As you can tell, I loved the book and admire Mortenson. But it was one more example that I can see where a man’s love for the outdoors (as well as an open mind to cultures other than his own) can open unexpected and wonderful new paths. Read the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
SEATTLE — Authorities say the body of a climber who fell into the crater atop Mount St. Helens has been recovered.
The Skamania County Sheriff’s office says the body of Joseph Bohlig was found Tuesday, more than a day after the 52-year-old man tumbled 1,500 feet.
Bohlig, of Kelso, Wash., reached the summit with a climbing partner after a four-hour hike Monday.
Bohlig took off his backpack and a layer of clothing then decided to pose for pictures near the rim of the crater. He was backing up when the snow gave way and he fell.
Rescue hampered by weather
Foul weather had hampered helicopter rescue efforts. Overnight temperatures overnight at the crater fell into the 20s.
One rescuer reached the floor of the volcano’s crater, but had to abandon efforts to find the 50-year-old man because strong downdrafts were dislodging rocks, Skamania County undersheriff David Cox said. The rescue will pick up again Tuesday morning, he said.
“There are always overhanging cornices of snow this time of year, and unless you look carefully, you may not notice that there is nothing but air beneath you,” said Rocky Henderson of Portland Mountain Rescue in Oregon, who has climbed to the rim several times.
Rescue efforts began when a 911 cell phone call was received early Monday afternoon, sheriff’s officials said. The caller told dispatchers that the climber was approximately 5 feet from the crater’s edge when a snow cornice collapsed.
A helicopter that does contract work for the U.S. Geological Survey spotted the fallen climber on a steep slope near the bottom of the crater but was unable to pick him up because of high winds and whiteout conditions, Cox said.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter also had to abort its effort to find the man because of the winds.
The climber was heard blowing an emergency whistle Monday afternoon, and authorities last heard from him just before darkness fell.
Mount St. Helens blew its top with devastating force on May 18, 1980, leveling 230 square miles of forest.
The climb to its crater provides outstanding views of the lava dome, blast area and surrounding volcanic peaks, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Most climbers complete the round trip in 7 to 12 hours, but the service’s Web site warns people to stay back from the crater’s rim because of its instability.
More news from the Chickasaw National Recreation Area (they’re busy down there!) concerning an interesting workshop about mountain biking and trail building. This courtesy of the state Tourism Department:
National Park Service to host trail-building experts
SULPHUR – The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is hosting the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew on March 6 to talk trails, teach people proper trail-building techniques and spend time digging in the dirt.
The event will begin at 9 a.m. at the park’s Travertine Nature Center. In the afternoon, participants will travel to the park’s Rock Creek Multi-Use Trail corridor for some hands-on practice. Everyone is invited to attend this trail-building event. For more information on this event, contact Randy Scoggins at (580) 622-7245. Registration will be available through IMBA’s Web site at: https://www.imba.com/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=5
The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program includes two full-time, professional teams of trail experts who travel North America year-round, leading IMBA Trail-building schools, meeting with government officials and land managers, and working with IMBA-affiliated groups to improve mountain biking opportunities. IMBA’s crews have led more than 1,000 trail projects since the program debuted in 1997.
The crews teach “sustainable” trail-building, which means building trails that last a long time and require minimal maintenance. This helps reduce trail damage, protects the environment and enhances visitor enjoyment. The crew coming to Chickasaw is led by Chris and Leslie Kehmeier.
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area’s Rock Creek Multi-Use Trail is a network of more than eight miles of trail which connects the Platt Historic District to the Lake of the Arbuckles. It is along this trail that hiking, biking, and horse riding users will pass through two diverse ecosystems where the eastern deciduous forests meet the western mixed-grass prairies.
Looks like Colorado and New Mexico got some pretty good snow over the weekend. Good timing, too, with Presidents Day weekend and Spring Break approaching. Here are the reports:
New Mexico: http://www.skireport.com/newmexico/
This isn’t something you see every day. What at first looks like a gimpy bear turns out to be a bear with three legs that sometimes finds it easier to motor along upright. Watch the video and enjoy this unusual wildlife sighting.
News and notes from the outdoors…
Lake closure to last nine months
A bit of info for those of you who like to go to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. From the state Tourism Department:
The Veterans Lake area of Chickasaw National Recreation Area’s Platt Historic District will close at the beginning of June to allow for two major construction projects to occur. The expected duration of the closure is up to nine months.
The first project will be a rehabilitation of the Veterans Lake Dam, intended to bring the dam in compliance with modern safety standards. The second project is the construction of the north shore portion of the Veterans Lake Trail, including a new west trailhead parking area. The North Shore trail will be approximately one mile long and be placed between the North Shore Road and the shoreline, with a connecting trail to Rock Creek Campground. The road across the dam and the parking lot at the south end of the dam will be removed and a trail and new parking lot at the north end of the dam will be built as a replacement.
During the construction period access to the Veterans Lake area and the Southwest Perimeter Road will be closed from U.S. 177 to Rock Creek Campground. No access will be available to the Bromide Hill parking area, the north trailhead of the Rock Creek Multi-use trail, the Veterans Lake Trail and the Veterans Lake Pavilion during this time.
The 15th annual Frigid 5-mile run (and walk) will be on Saturday. According to the Edmond Running Club, about 1,000 runners and walkers will be participating.
Packet pickup will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Elite Feet, next to Kickingbird movie theatre. It’s in the shopping center on the corner of Danforth and Bryant in Edmond.
Good news: More runs and lifts are open, and the snow conditions look pretty decent in the Rockies. Bad news: Been a little dry the last few days, except in Utah. Plenty of time for that to change before the big President’s Day weekend rolls around. Here’s the reports:
New Mexico: http://www.skireport.com/newmexico/
Going through the electronica of the outdoors world, I ran across an interesting post on BellaOnline. It deals with what you need to do to prevent a bad encounter with a mountain lion.
Mountain lion sightings have been a hot topic here in Oklahoma, mostly because you have one side swearing they’ve seen the creatures and others citing a lack of proof.
I’ve been told that there are mountain lions in the Wichita Mountains. And late last year, in Atoka County, a landowner caught one on film prowling about his hunting lands.
They may not be as common as black bears, which we know number in the hundreds in southeastern Oklahoma. But it appears that in some fashion, these predators seem to be spreading east, finding suitable habitats in the wooded hills of southern Oklahoma.
If mountain lions take root here, they’ll become the second largest predators in Oklahoma, behind only the black bear. Male mountain lions can grow to 160 pounds while females can reach 110 pounds. Unlike black bears, the mountain lion’s diet is exclusively meat. They generally avoid people and are rarely seen. But like any wild animal, they take advantage of any opportunity to feed themselves and their young. Particularly tempting targets include pets and children, though attacks on adult humans do occur.
That said, it’s not a bad idea for hikers, backpackers, campers, hunters and anglers to learn a little about what to do to avoid a bad encounter with mountain lions.
BellaOnline listed these tips, courtesy of the Government of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Web site:
To prevent encounters
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Learn to recognize signs of mountain lion’s presence (tracks, scat and markings).
- Watch for signs of kill sites (especially flocks of scavenger birds, like crows and vultures, feeding on carrion).
- Travel in groups and make noise in sheltered areas with poor visibility.
- Walk your dog during daylight hours, on a leash.
If you do encounter a mountain lion
- Face the animal, avoiding eye contact, and slowly back away.
- Try to leave space for the animal to escape.
- Pick up small children and pets.
- Stay calm and talk in a firm voice.
- If the cougar approaches, throw sticks or rocks and act aggressively.
- If you come in contact with the animal, fight back.
Chances are, you’ll never see a mountain lion in the wild. They’re pretty elusive. But if you do, be careful and try to enjoy (as best you can) such a rare moment.
I’m not a snowboarder, but I can appreciate this video. You will too. In honor of the Winter X Games and the upcoming Olympics, here’s a video collection of some of the most amazing snowboard tricks ever caught on camera. Enjoy.