Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

last of its kind

younger people may not recognize this thing.

it is a public telephone.

it has a current phone book on the shelf.

yep, you can use it to make phone calls. you pick up the receiver and you get a dial tone. you press buttons and voilĂ ! you have a phone call.

local calls are free.

if you still remember how to charge a call or make a collect call, you can call anywhere.

this miracle thing is located in downtown waitsfield, vermont.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

the dark corners of my soul

i think i have just realized why it is that i am enjoying the trump presidency so much.

when i was a small child, i learned that germany had been partitioned and i cried when grownups told me that it could never be reunited even though it was very sad because that's the way things were.

and then i learned that money corrupts politics and elected representatives can be bought and all the grownups told me that there is no other way to do it and it's very sad but it's the way things are.

i have been waking up every day in a world where i am overwhelmed with a sense of terror and outrage over injustices that nobody else seemed to care about very much.

and now it tickles me to turn to the news each day and find out what asinine thing the president has done or said and i have not been able to sort out why this delights me so.

until i realized that suddenly the level of terror and outrage in society as a whole has suddenly been raised equal to or above my own internal level of terror and outrage for the first time since the nixon administration and i think i find this odd equilibrium bracing.

because really? things are not so much worse than they were last year. the same people are making the same moves to deprive other people of a living or their rights or their lives. the same climate change that's been happening is still happening. the same institutional racism that's been going on for centuries is still going on.

what's different is that the ugly that's been hiding under rocks wants to come out into the light and decent people everywhere are forced to look at it up close.

it's not a good time to shrug and say that's the way things are.

all of a sudden it's stylish to fight back against the ugly.

late to the party, but hey. better now than not at all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

seriously you did NOT just.

i was in mac's market in stowe because i was in stowe and shaw's can be a pain to get to and it was day three of my never ending search for some nice fresh ravioli. not even FRESH ravioli but the kind they sell in your average grocery store.

only for some reason i have been to stores three days running and no fresh ravioli.

because i made tomato sauce, which i will tell you about later if i remember, and i thought it would be especially delicious on ravioli.

anyway, on day THREE i walked into mac's market in stowe and i asked the guy if he had any fresh ravioli and he said no, but then he said maybe and he managed to find one elderly container of buitoni cheese ravioli and that was totally not what i had in mind because in vermont there is no shortage of pasta companies selling precious little ravioli and i remarked that this should not be so hard to find and that's when the guy said the THING.

i did not even realize what he had done until i was in the parking lot and i wanted to go back in and give him whatfor, but ugh.

the guy looked at me and said "this isn't the big city, you know. here in vermont you can't always get everything you want."

seriously did he just city slicker me?

SERIOUSLY?

i live in bolton, a town that does not have a library or a pizza place or a stoplight.

stowe, for the record, has more than one art gallery. it has a sculpture garden, a bike path, a quiet path, land trust trails, tennis clubs, and polo fields.

and just for reference, they carry a half dozen varieties of fresh ravioli at the richmond market. i was going to tell you that richmond is a far smaller town than stowe, but really its year round population is about the same as stowe. i was going to tell you that richmond is not as wealthy as stowe, but it actually has a higher median income.

and this is where statistics are misleading.

most of the people who live in richmond actually live in richmond.

stowe is a town of high end resorts and ultra expensive vacation homes and there are a lot of service industry workers who don't make a living wage in a town where a plain cheeseburger costs $20.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

post-traumatic

most of the things i meant to tell you about after tropical storm irene were things that in the end i did not tell you. i took pictures of some of the lighter parts of the work, but mostly i was too worn out and i had seen some things.

it was kind of a long time ago.

i get a shiver when i go by a building i helped put back together, or one i helped tear apart, but we all did what we could.

everybody who lived in the hills bought facemasks and crowbars and trashbags and we went down into the valleys and we just started helping.

sometimes the best help we could give was to stand there and listen to people cry.

watching the hurricane tracks has been hard for me, especially the one over florida.

because i know how thin work crews get stretched, how there's more work to go around than there are people to do the work, even if you can afford to pay workers.

my dad lives in florida.

and i'm the only child who would have been free to go help him if his house had been flattened. when i realized this, i started to remember the feeling of going through mounds of debris in someone else's house, looking for a few bits that can be saved before we put everything else in the dumpster.

people would rather you weren't there, but also they'd be lost without you. it's an odd unfamiliar etiquette. the smell is horrific. you have no idea what diseases you might get. the worst part is not the heat or the backbreaking work, but the waves of other people's pain.

so anyway, it's been some sleepless nights as i thought about the possibility of going to help pick up my father's house if he lost it in the storm.

it took some damage, but it's all right.

Monday, September 11, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Create a state park song or poem and send it to us

856 vermont route 12

i am standing on new ground
new to me at least
because here's this trail
and these steps carved in rock
and this stream of travelers-
college kids in sneakers, families with toddlers-
but i have climbed above the place
where more than once in winter
even with crampons
i could not safely pass
and turned back.
in summer it is a whole different trail.
every day it is a different trail.
today, above that place, i call myself queen of the world,
champion of everything.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Take a picture with the biggest boulder you can find

this isn't the biggest boulder i know of, because off the top of my head i can think of two others, but not near here, but i have pretty big boulder out here, and this one is big.

it's hard to appreciate the scale of a really big boulder in a photograph, because to get up close enough to really see the rock, it's too big for the frame. and it can be hard to get a smaller thing, like you or your car, in the frame so it looks good.

so yeah.

in this picture there's nothing that smells bad. i'm just having trouble framing the shot.

i'm still not happy with it.




Saturday, September 09, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Draw a detailed map of your neighborhood or yard

for about two and a half months a year, i live on various campsites, mostly on waterbury reservoir.

i often draw little maps of my site and my neighborhood to send in letters, mostly to mb. here is a map i drew of my home and neighborhood when i was on remote site #2.


Friday, September 08, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Get up at dawn and go on a bird walk. Attach a list of the birds you saw and heard.

i decided that for the purposes of this challenge it would be just as good to get up at dawn and go for a paddle. it's really the only practical way to leave my campsite, plus dawn birding is dawn birding, and you get a different set of birds on the water.

so here's my list:

kingfisher

3 double crested cormorant
1 american bittern
1 great blue heron
1 osprey
1 bald eagle
2 ring-billed gull
3 mourning dove
5 belted kingfisher
2 red-eyed vireo
2 blue jay
2 common raven
5 black capped chickadee
1 gray catbird
5 cedar waxwing
1 yellow warbler
1 song sparrow
1 american goldfinch

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Skip stones and watch the ripples

because most of the time i am on the water i am on the res, i am not often in a place with good skipping stones.

if you're good at stone skipping you can do it with lesser stones, but i'm a wee bit out of practice.

i managed to find some reasonably flattish stones one morning, though, and even managed to take some video.

so here.


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

don't leave the door open.

there's a guy on the other ingress team who is kind of a dickhead.

by "kind of a dickhead" i mean he's the kind of guy who thinks "hey, faggot" is an appropriate way for a grownup to address another person and he will happily threaten to run you over in a parking lot because he likes to be intimidating.

over a game.

even most of his OWN teammates hate him.

and so, when he took it upon himself to message me with some little pleasantries intended to be intimidating, i chose to respond because i was feeling jaunty.

he opened with telling me to be sure to link everything up because he needs the AP (action points). this is a fairly common little bit of trashtalking, but it rings hollow coming from a guy who's already hit the level cap. i was two days from leveling up, so we made some empty little chitchat about helping each other level and then i said i had corn to roast and a hammock to put my feet up in, so i was done for the day.

and this is where it got interesting.

him: you'll learn to love me
me: nobody loves you
him: that's not what my mother tells me
me: i dunno. last time i was out with your mother...
him: do you have something to say about my loving mother?
me: she sure is loving.


so then he stopped talking and spent the next hour wiping out every portal he could find that i had made, which is really what gave me enough things to blow up and link to level up the next time i played.



fool can be played like a fiddle.

and i'm a brand new level 15.

Monday, September 04, 2017

down the video hole

i got home from the campings and all my internet friends were talking about this video, so you've probably seen it, but wow.

and then i just started watching videos.







Sunday, September 03, 2017

narrowly averted disaster

a gopro camera housing has two backs: the standard waterproof back and what they call the skeleton back, which is not waterproof, but gives you good sound quality.

you see where this is going, right?

so i was out on site 13 on waterbury reservoir and i thought "what a lovely day to toss on my gopro and film myself jumping into the water and hanging out with the fishies."

so i tossed the camera on without checking which back i had on it and hit record and jumped into the water.

only way too many bubbles were coming up from the case. there are always some because the outside of the housing captures a little bit of air on the way in, but this was too many bubbles and right away i knew what had happened and i got out of the water lightning quick and opened everything up and TOOK THE BATTERY OUT and then took out the sd card and shook out as much ater as i could and used a towel to absorb what i could and i left it open under tarps for a couple of days and then tried it with the battery and it was working, but not well so i shook it out some more and let it dry about a week and then put it back together and now it's working fine.

whew.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

2017 venture vermont: learn to tie three new knots

slipped buntline
i own an ABOK, thanks to MB.

because of this, there is never any shortage of authoritative information on how to tie knots that i don't know yet.

back in the spring when i was learning how to pitch my new tarp i learned how to tie a slipped buntline hitch (ABOK #1712), which is now in my standard repertoire of the knots that hold my campsite together.

later on i show you a little video of those knots, but right now i'm telling you about the three i learned this year for the challenge.

monkey's fist
then i learned to tie a monkey's fist (ABOK #2202). for some reason i am still carrying around a cord with a prettily tied one on the end.

then because i use clove hitches all the time but never learned to tie one without reeving through, i decided to learn how to tie a clove hitch a few new ways (because you can do that with clove hitches), which i am counting as my third knot.





i learned it as ABOK #1773, ABOK #1777, and the really spiffy-looking and eyeblink-fast #1778. i have not yet reliably learned to tie the one handed or the neat method of picking one up off the floor with one hand. i'll keep trying.


here's that video.


Friday, September 01, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Build a fairy house

i thought i was going to pass on this one, but i was hanging out on a campsite and thought it would be fun.

so i built the doorway first, a stone arch. that was a bit of an engineering feat and took two days for me to get it right. then i had to make some kind of roof and i don't know how you are with your fairy houses, but i wanted to make the fairies (ahem) something waterproof so i whipped up a little covering framed in knotweed and covered in knotweed leaves.

side note: while i was working on it i mentioned this to some very nice religious ladies of my acquaintance and the were HORRIFIED. "you don't believe in fairies, do you?"

"heck, no!" i said. what i did not say is "i don't believe in any invisible magical friends, including yours." i'm sure they would have been willing to do me the favor of pointing out the grave error of my ways in believing in fairies had i done so, but i'm more polite and don't consider myself to be doing people a favor to point out their shortcomings.

anyway, i built a fairy house.

it was fun, because i had friends coming to visit with children, and i was just waiting to pretend i didn't know anything about it, but maybe own up to having heard tiny little construction noises in the night.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

rake

when i got to site 21 there was a rake head without a handle.

i found a suitable deadfall branch and the ranger supplied me with two screws, and it was back in business.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

late to the party: 2017 eclipse

stories of the eclipse are SO last week, but i just got home from the campings and i'm showing you my pictures now.

i went to the viewing party at the deborah rawson library in jericho, which is one of vermont's fantatsic little libraries. i have talked often about rural libraries in particular and libraries in general, and it's still true that it's libraries that get you hooked up with the good stuff.

in this case the rawson hooked us up with eclipse viewing glasses, some other viewing gear, and jack st. louis, the president of the vermont astronomical society.

it was one of the loveliest parties i have been to in some time. astronomer guy brought a telescope he had rigged with a funnel and a piece of rear projection screen and it was cool to watch on that.

here's astronomer guy's telescope with projection screen.













and here he is with his telescope. he's goofing a little because he was stepping out of my frame and i asked him to stay in because a picture of a telescope is nice, but a picture of a guy with his telescope give it context.















here's a little pinhole projection i made.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Find a painted turtle & take a picture

i see turtles a lot, but not as often as i'd like and not as much since i started doing the venture challenge.

and more snappers than painted turtles, so i had sort of given up on finding one and having my camera handy, but then the other day i was paddling up into the moscow canoe access channel and there was this turtle basking on a log.

from the looks of all the turtle poop on the log, she basks there often, just not when i'm there to see it.

good to know.


Monday, August 28, 2017

let's get this show going.

ok, i am home for the time being from the campings.  it turns out five and a half weeks is about the time it takes for me to feel like i could go home a while and be happy staying there.

i still don't feel super ready to leave even then, like i want ONE more day.

interesting phenomenon, though. the longer i am out there the less i think of to say that doesn't sound like oh, look. fish.

it seems fully interesting at the time but does not make for good blog posts.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Weave a camp placemat or sit-upon.

i wasn't going to do this one, but i was doing knotweed abatement at my camsite and decided to make crafts with the knotweed, just because.

turns out it makes a sturdy weaving material, if not an easy one to work with.


Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 venture vermont: ID two different invasive species outside.

unless you just walked in ten minutes ago, you know i spend a lot of time on waterbury reservoir, which, sadly, is an infested body of water. it has a number of invasive infestations both aquatic and terrestrial and i have both done my research and have blessing of management to conduct my small invasive abatement programs, which boil down to whenever i am staying on a campsite that is near an infestation (sometimes i choose a site based on an infestation) i spend a little time each day pulling and properly disposing of the invasive.

the department of forests, parks and recreation recommends this site: vermont invasives

so here are the two invasives i work with most:

 this one is brittle naiad.



and this bad actor is japanese knotweed.



















what these two have in common is that although they will prefer to flower and seed, they will be happy to propagate and can send out new shoots and roots from ANY NODE, so any part of a stem floating around is a potential new infestation.

when you pull it, you have to be careful not to leave stray pieces floating around (particularly important with the naiad) and you have to make sure to dispose of the plants properly. if you have time, it's as easy as leaving the plants in a hostile environment until they are dry and dead. naiad simply needs to be pulled out on land where it can't grow and left somewhere it won't blow back into the water.

knotweed will be happy to grow in water or on land so any part you cut needs to be left in the sun and turned regularly until it turns brown and then you can drop it anywhere.

break up the root ball as much as you can and maybe hang it up in a tree to be sure.

knotweed are versatile and sneaky.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

i have not died.

i'm just, you know, camping.

later there will be pictures.

i promise.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

bring in the crops

i have berry bushes outside my house. they arrived by way of neglect and they fit in with my natural state of neglect landscaping.

my neighbors can have flowers and junk. i have a half dozen delicious raspberries.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

relaxation grade: advanced

i think i told you that mb got me one o' them inflatable sofas last year for my birthday.

here i am lounging on it on the rock beach of site 13.


why, yes. it is a warm day. this is my bathing suit, because i sunburn through clothes.


this is the view from my inflatable sofa.

Friday, August 11, 2017

flask gets judgy: gas station

dear those people at the gas station,

i think you perceived that i had seen you and disapproved somehow.

i did not disapprove of your motorcycle, which is bitchin'.

i did not disapprove of your tats. those are on your skin and your business.

i did not disapprove of your badass swagger. more power to you.

why i judged you and found you wanting was YOU WERE SMOKING AT THE GAS PUMP. granted, most times at the gas pump the accumulated fumed do not coalesce into a ball of flame, but if they're going to do so, someone smoking that close to the working nozzle is a good way for that to happen, especially on a hot day.

don't be an asshat.

love, flask




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Learn a new method for collecting water outside or making it safe to drink

i decided to make a solar still.

in principle i have always known how to do this but never tried it.

in principle you can use this method to purify or collect water, depending on how you set it up.

you need two containers and a plastic sheet, and a way to fasten the plastic sheet around your container. your inner container should be suspended or propped up about the water level.

if you are collecting rather than purifying, your outer container is a hole you have dug into the ground deep enough so that there is some moisture.

your plastic sheet should sag over your collection container so that condensation from the hole (or from your water that needs purifying) drips down to be collected.

since i usually have no shortage of water, i decided to set myself up with a purifying version, which also saves me the trouble of digging a hole.

 here's my setup. the materials are all things i typically have with me outside.

well, the rock is just a rock.

but a pretty heart-shaped one.

my collection jar is suspended under the low point with a shoelace.

i set it up and let it run for four days.
this is how much purified water i got.

i think what i learned is that the surface area of my evaporation needs to be much larger in relation to the collector, and that to make this work your really need warm sunny days.














Tuesday, August 08, 2017

critter baffle

i kept seeing things like this in shelters along trails, but was having trouble parsing what they were for.


apparently it's some kind of critter baffle. you maybe hang your food from there and it keeps the mice and squirrels out. won't help you against bear, but presumably your other food is hanging ten feet in the air between two trees.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

quiet, maybe

guys, it's not that i have nothing to say.

oh, wait. maybe i don't actually have anything to say.

i dunno.

i left the house to go camping three weeks ago and only occasionally show up at my desk. it seems like a lot of trouble to assemble pictures.

and thoughts seem to drain right out of my head.

so maybe i'll write.

maybe i won't.

it's very green out there, though.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

flooding at waterbury center state park

about a month ago while i was staying on remote site 2 there was some rain. a LOT of rain.

like four feet of water rise in a day rain.

i went over to waterbury center state park in my boat and took some pictures.




Friday, August 04, 2017

2017 vermont venture: Cook a meal over a campfire

you knew this was coming.

i told you i don't cook on a fire all that often, but when i do, i do.

so last weekend i made this meal:


it looks less fancy than it is: it is roasted eggplant mixed up with hummus and cider vinegar to make a thing not entirely unlike baba ganoush, a perfectly baked potato, stuffed mushroom caps, ans roasted sweet corn.

deelicious.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Start a fire with just one match. Bonus: use no matches

when i'm summer camping i don't make many fires. it takes a lot of firewood to cook potatoes, and i'm not keen on hanging about the fire when i could be inside by comfy bug net. plus i don't like to smell of smoke.

but if i have company, i'm happy to roll out the stops and make a fire and cook food (yes, you will hear about that later) because what seems like a waste of resources for one person making one meal seems reasonable as part of a larger entertainment.

so barb was out at the site last weekend and i made some food, but first i had to start a fire and my preferred way is with spark. i can DO it with a match, but i like using spark.

because i'm all fancy.

and it's good to stay in practice.

regrettably in this video it doesn't go up in one stroke the way i like, and i'm blaming it on breezy afternoon, shaky hands, and bad hand position.

anyway.




Wednesday, August 02, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Climb a fire tower

it was a thing i didn't do much, because hurty things.

but after i started playing ingress this year for fun and fitness, (join the BLUE team, boys and girls!) i started thinking "well, maybe i CAN do some of those firetower hikes."

plus venture challenge.

so this year so far i have been in the firetowers on mount elmore and on belvidere mountain.

others may follow.

woohooo!
me on the belvidere tower

same clown, elmore firetower

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

things you're probably doing wrong: office


this woman is editing a contract. if your working space does not look like this, you are doing something wrong.

Monday, July 31, 2017

open letter to people using mountain trails

dear people using mountain trails,

those rocks that look like somebody put them in the trail? somebody probably did put them there. they are not for keeping your feet dry, although they will certainly do that.

they are for protecting the trail from the erosion caused by your boots.

use them.

love, flask.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

2017 venture vermont: sunrise, sunset

it says "Watch the sunrise or sunset from the summit of a hill or mountain" and this is a challenge for me.

because to schlepp myself up a mountain and be there in time for sunrise, i have to leave the house at like 0200. and to get up onto a mountain for sunset and THEN COME DOWN means i get home at about 0200.

unless i go in winter, which represents other problems.

like the venture challenge deadline is in october, anyway.

so i was kind of thinking that one was out of my reach, but then two things happened: i started taking a medication that works, and i started playing ingress for fun and fitness.

(remember, boys and girls, you want to join the BLUE team. we're the RESISTANCE.)

so now i go marching up and down mountains like 30 years have been removed from me - okok, i'm slower than that, but my point is that i can DO it- and suddenly because of that and because i have some new lightweight camping gear i'm thinking that one-night backpacking excursions are no longer off limits to me.

so i pack up my stuff and head on up the long trail south from appalachian gap because i'm thinking stark's nest would be a dandy place to watch the sun set and rise from.

now, that is some rough terrain up thar. it's got a bunch of climbing and a whole mess o' staples and ladders and a couple places you WISH it had staples or something but instead it's got some sad-looking roots and a crack in the rock and you realize EXACTLY why you got turned back that one time you decided to try this hike on snowshoes last winter.

uh, anyway.

so i got up there in PLENTY of time to see the sunset (and read half a book) but that was anticlimactic because it had gotten cloudy in advance of the night's storm and it was filthy windy wet weather on the way down in the morning, so i decided to go around the long way and take the stark mountain trail down as far as the sunnyside chair before rejoining the long trail, which adds almost a mile to the trip but cuts out the worst of the difficult descent, and provided a welcome shelter at about lunchtime.

and of course there are pictures.

staples

cave bypass trail? no thanks.

view from theron dean shelter

view OF theron dean shelter

there was a lot of this nonsense.

no, no an elevated treehouse it's a sled shed. i
n winter the ski patrol stores a sled there.

sunset facing west

sunrise facing east

filthy weather

ready to go

mmm, slippery when wet.

it's very green here.

often when i am in these fantastically green places i think of hundewanderer, whose lovely hiking photos are all taken in a landscape so different than mine.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

strider bikes

you've probably all seen this clip of the dutch kid turning around to ride the course again.




yeah, the kid has the proper attitude to life.

but i want to talk to you about balance bikes.

they are awesome.

used to be we had trikes and then bikes with training wheels and learning to ride the two wheeler was scary and bruising.

and then some genius realized that if you put tykes on little bikes with NO PEDALS they just scoot along. they develop balance skills way ahead of kids not on strider bikes and those little duffers pull their feet right up and they are FAST. many of them ride much more proficiently than they walk, because being able to coast makes them much faster on a bike than the are on foot.

then when they're big enough, you can get them a bike with pedals. since they will already have acquired bike balance skills, adding pedals is no big deal.

i know this because little kids with balance bikes are all over the place at my weekly mountain bike race venue. some of those little dudes to an entire 2.5k lap.

Friday, July 28, 2017

fairy lights

i have a pretty low profile on a campsite, which means that people coming in late day often assume my site is vacant and try to camp there.

also, i like pretty lights in the evening.

when i am on the res i enjoy looking at the lights and fires of my neighbors. it gives a nice feel to the neighborhood.

so i have these:


Thursday, July 27, 2017

signs of summer

i saw these in my neighborhood:



welcome to west bolton

a piece 
of paradise

hope you packed the
BUG SPRAY!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Hike to a waterfall

if i have to be fully truthful about this, really i wasn't hiking TO a waterfall so much as i was hiking up a mountain with the intent of going BY a waterfall, which i think should count.

although the stark mountain trails have awesome maps, there's not so much in the way of summer trail markings, so it's easy to be on a ski trail that you think is probably the right one but really isn't.

at least that's true for some of the lower parts of the mountain.

so when i saw this waterfall, i assumed it was a problem of summer dryness (because yes, there was a whole week of dry weather) and it was nice and all that, but i did not see why anyone would label it "the waterfall".

but then on the way down i was on the right trail and saw this:

hike to a waterfall: check.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

gear review: mountainsmith tour with strappettes

reminder: nobody ever asks me to review gear, but i use gear and sometimes like to tell you how it performs. i do not receive gear from merchants or manufacturers to try out.

there.

a long time ago (like, i was either still in college or just out of it) i bought a handsome mountainsmith lumbar pack. i loved it and used it for all the things, making it my de facto purse. in those days, there was only one model of mountainsmith lumbar pack, and i had it.

but then as more and more people had these bags and used them, mountainsmith came up with design changes that reflected how people were using the bags, like an improved shoulder strap.

and i saw these improvements and wanted one of the newer bags.

problem: my old bag was still in good shape and worked just fine. so i told myself i would use it hard and rough and wear it out and get me a new one.

twenty years later i still have not succeeded in wearing it out.

apparently this is a common story among fans of the original mountainsmith bag.

so this spring i decided to JUST GET A NEW ONE ALREADY, especially because the new one has more carrying space to hold my junior naturalist materials.

i bought the mountainsmith tour and a set (pair?) of strapettes, which are mountainsmith's packpack-style straps that can swap in and out for the shoulder strap to stabilize a large load for a longer hike.

my mom did the ordering, which is significant, because i didn't much care which color came, so she ordered huckleberry, which she judged to be the most handsome. this is only significant because she also apparently decided to nickname the bag "huckleberry", because a bad needs a nickname.

"huckleberry was shipped!" she'd tell me.

or "huckleberry's here!"

so me 'n' huckleberry, we're tight now.

we've carried a lot of stuff up a lot of mountains and i will tell you that this bag is tough like the original, has more carrying space, and the strapettes make it a comfortable carry for long days even with two full water bottles, a field guide, and a pair of binoculars.

and part of what i love about the strapettes is that if you don't need them and you just want to carry the bag as a purse or with fewer straps, they pop right off.

so yeah. would recommend.

be sure you like the color, though, because you're going to have the bag a LONG time.

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